Month: February 2017

Book notes – Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

Book notes – Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss


  • “No one owes you anything”. – Amelia Boone
  • Rehearse the worst case scenario’s (especially when your competition doesn’t) – Amelia Boone
  • In training, consistency is more important than intensity. – Christopher Sommer
  • Do a 5-day fast 2 to 3 times per year to reboot the immune system and purge precancerous cells. (Fast = trace amounts of BCAA’s and 300 – 500 calories of pure fat (MCT). – Dominic D’Agostino
  • “PLAY!” – Jason Nemer
  • “The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life” – Tony Robbins
  • “Optimal depends on what you are optimizing for” For example: high LDL (‘bad’) allows you to build more lean body mass at a faster rate. – Justin Mager
  • “Strength is the mother quality of all physical qualities” – Pavel Tsatsouline
  • “Strength is a skill, and, as such, it must be practiced” – Pavel Tsatsouline
  • Practice going first; like, say hello first. – Gabby Reece
  • Overcome jetlag by exercising (15 min. bike ride) – Paul Levesque
  • Floyd Mayweather before a match:
    “Why would I be wound up? Either I’m ready or I’m not. Worrying isn’t going to change a thing”.
  • If you don’t do something well, either:
    – Improve
    – Eliminate
    – Delegate
    Paul Levesque
  • Be fearless – Adam Gazzaley
  • Sleep potion:
    – 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    – 1 tablespoon of honey
    – hot water
  • Kickstart the day. Do 10 pushups immediately after waking up.
  • Do less than you can, before things become a burden. – Chade-Meng Tan
  • Do the smallest possible thing. For example in meditation: focus on doing just one mindful breath. – Chade-Meng Tan
  • Are you on the offense or the defense? Survey the challenges in your life: did you assign them to yourself, or are you pleasing someone else? – Chris Sacca
  • Become good in asking the plain in sight questions. Cultivate the beginner’s mind. – Chris Sacca
  • “Be your unapologetically weird self”. Be authentic, since that is what’s lacking in the world. – Chris Sacca
  • Stress test ideas (even if you agree) by creating a ‘red team’ to argue the other side. – Marc Andreessen
  • “Strong views, loosely held”. Develop strong views! But be willing to change your mind around new information. – Marc Andreessen
  • “Everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” – Marc Andreessen
  • “If (more) information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs”; it is not what you know, it is what you do consistently. – Derek Sivers
  • Ask ‘why?’ 3 times (when questioning your own motives) – Ricardo Semler
  • “Busy” = out of control – Derek Sivers
  • Derek’s did his bike ride consistently in 43 minutes, ending up red faced. When he went on the same bike ride focusing on enjoyment, he did the ride in (just) 45 minutes. – Derek Sivers
  • “Treat life as a series of experiments” – Derek Sivers
  • What, if done, will make the rest of my to-do’s easier or irrelevant?
  • “When you can write well, you can think well” – Matt Mullenweg
  • “Everyone is interesting. If you’re ever bored in a conversation, the problem’s with you, not the other person.” – Matt Mullenweg
  • Commonalities across the best investors:
    – Cap the downside
    – Find low risk vs. high reward
    – Diversify
    – Contribute
    Tony Robbins
  • You will never be the best at anything, but you can always work hard. – Casey Neistat
  • Follow what angers you (it is all creative material) – Casey Neistat
  • “Which of these highest-value activities is the easiest for me to do?” (80/20) – Reid Hoffman
  • Go to sleep thinking about a problem, as a “request to your subconsious” – Thomas Edison – Reid Hoffman
  • “Failure is overrated”; most of the time, you/things fail for multiple reasons, most of which you will not even be aware of. – Peter Thiel
  • Say no. If people want things from you that do not align with your mission and you say yes? Their mission is now your mission. – Seth Godin
  • “Once you have enough for beans and rice – Money is a story” – Seth Godin
  • Coming up with ideas is a numbers game – Seth Godin
  • Think about developing systems instead of goals, so you allow yourself to inevitably succeed – Scott Adams
  • A new product doesn’t need to be better than all competition. It has to be first (the only) in a category.
  • Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses – Chase Jarvis
  • Ask the dumb question everyone else is afraid to ask – Alex Blumberg
  • Complaining is destructive. “When you complain, nobody wants to help you”. – Tracy DiNunzio
  • If you do not fully understand, ask: “I don’t understand?” – Luis von Ahn
  • The canvas strategy: make other people look good by clearing their paths. – Ryan Holiday
  • A long life isn’t guaranteed. Nearly everyone dies before they are ready.
  • Make your health your #1 priority.
  • Life’s constructs are not some natural order, but rather some superstructure that we humans created. – BJ Miller
  • Stargazing therapy: when you are struggling: look up. Ponder the night sky, the vastness of space and time. – BJ Miller
  • Freeform days seem idyllic, but are paralyzing in practice due to paradox of choice and decision fatigue. – Jocko Willink
  • If you want to be tougher, be tougher – Jocko Willink
  • In life, look for:
    – A senior to emulate
    – A peer who is doing better than you
    – A subordinate doing better than you did
    Chris Fussell
  • “The secrets in life are hidden behind the word ‘cliché'” – Shay Carl
  • “Follow your passion” is terrible advice. More importantly: does a job provide variety, does it give good feedback, allow you to exercise autonomy, contribute to the wider world? – Will MacAskill
  • Conquering fear = defining fear. Once you try to quantify fear, worst-case scenario’s end up being (temporary) 3’s or 4’s on a scale of 10.
  • In making decisions, also consider the cost of inaction.
  • Perfectionism leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis – Whitney Cummings
  • Don’t expect others to understand you. This is unfair, because we don’t understand ourselfs and generally have a hard time communicating – Alain de Botton
  • Putting your thoughts on paper is the best way to develop ideas and review and improve your thinking.
  • Two words for conflict resolution: “Say LESS”. – Amanda Palmer
  • Change your words, change your world. Your language impacts everything. – Eric Weinstein
  • In every situation, you have 3 options:
    – Change
    – Accept
    – Leave
  • Watch every thought you have and ask: ‘why am I having this thought?’ – Naval Ravikant
  • “We are nothing”:
    – The universe is gigantic and has been around for over 10 billion years
    – There are entire civilizations that we remember by just one word (Mayans, Sumerians)
    – We are basically just monkeys on a small rock, orbiting a backwards star in a huge galaxy
    Naval Ravikant
  • “75% of success is staying calm” – Sam Kass
  • “Don’t be shy” – Richard Betts
  • “Write verything down, because it’s all very fleeting” – Marc Birbiglia
  • If you don’t understand, keep asking questions. Don’t worry about sounding dumb – Malcolm Gladwell
  • If you approach every problem from just your moral compass, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes – Stephen Dubner
  • Choose courage over comfort – Brené Brown
  • Worrying is a waste of time – Jason Silva
  • The best business ideas:
    “How can I scratch my own itch?”
    “Where am I price insensitive (where do I spend a disproportionate amount of money?)
  • Tackle problems by trying the opposite of what other people are doing.
  • Lose the small decisions by delegating them. Free up your own time and willpower.
  • When losing (money), you do not necessarily have to make it back the same way you lost it.
  • Instead of adding to solve a problem, what could I subtract?
  • What would it look like if it were easy?
  • The five monkey story – Bryan Johnson
  • The key to ideas is starting. Act first before the inspiration will hit. – Robert Rodriguez
  • “Good” – Jocko Willink:
    – The mission got cancelled? Good. We can focus on another one.
    – Didn’t get the job? Good. Go out and gain more experience, build a better résumé.
    – Unexpected problems? Good. We have the opportunity to figure out a solution.

This book is awesome. I like to advocate that silver bullets do not exist. However, the principles and nuggets of wisdom will have the effect of  a silver cannonball. I highly recommend this book. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either: Tools of Titans on
Amazon: Tools of Titans on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
Book notes – Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Book notes – Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely


  • We tend to prefer things we can compare easily. We don’t know if A is better than B, but we do know A is better than A-. We therefore prefer A over A- and B.
  • Decoy effect: when you go out and bring a similar looking friend that looks slightly worse will increase your own value.This is done in marketing, when appliances are sold next to inferior models that do not have the intention of being sold.
  • ‘In order to make man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make that thing difficult to attain’ – Mark Twain. (scarcity = demand).
  • Price relativity makes us behave irrationally when faced with discounts. We go out of our way to save 1 euro, but we have no problem in paying an extra 500 for those leather seats in a 25k car.
  • Unrelated numbers can become an anchor when faced with a decision.
  • Social herding is basing your own decisions on the behavior of other people, for example going to Starbucks since it is always crowded. But also when you base your behavior on your own previous behavior. If you do something a lot, it has to be good…
  • We do not know optimal prices for goods. How much should milk cost? We reference the current price to the historical prices of the same good and determine whether something is good value. But if we could erase all memory, optimal prices may be completely different from actual prices.
  • When there is a choice between a free and paid option, we place a disproportional favor on the free option, and ignore the benefits of the paid option, which could provide a lot more value.
  • [A] FREE! [option] is appealing, because there is no inherent loss.
  • The cost of FREE: When a free option requires time (for example: a queue), you are spending time that cannot be spent elsewhere.
  • Social norms, like motivation and self-definition are often more important to employees than a paycheck, though companies tend to move more towards market norms (pay etc.)
  • Paying someone when social norms apply (ex. helping someone move), actually decreases their motivation, since now their effort is quantified by a monterary amount.
  • We can hardly predict how we will behave when we are faced with our own emotions.
  • It is easier to avoid tempation than overcoming it.
  • Create systems in order to combat procrastination. Example: a recurring appointment with a personal trainer to get you into the gym regularly.
  • Part of why e-mail is such a distraction is because some e-mails provide a dopamine hit.Like with gambling, most of it is junk (losing when pulling the lever), but every once in a while, we receive the e-mail we WANT.
  • Form habits: combine short term rewards with favorable ‘negative’ behaviors to instill habits.
  • We become immediately attached to what we own (loss aversion).
  • We have an irrational compulsion to keep doors open, though results tend to be greatest when unimportant doors are closed.
  • The story of Buridan’s Ass: the donkey that dies of starvation after being indecisive.
  • When faced with a decision, it is important to also consider the effect of not deciding at all (inaction).
  • Our experiences are very much shaped by our expectations.
  • Placebo effect: hormones are secreted by mere expectation.

After reading this book, you will never view the decisions you make the same way. You will start to recognize WHY you tend to make certain choices, which allows you to make smarter decisions overall. If you liked these notes, you can support my blog by purchasing the full book on either: Predictably Irrational on
Amazon: Predictably Irrational on Amazon
Check out this book on Goodreads. I rated it 5 out of 5.
My trick to reading over 9.000 pages a year

My trick to reading over 9.000 pages a year

At the start of 2016, I tried to quantify my desire of wanting to read more. Other than being fun to do, reading is one of the most valuable activities in life. It allows you to:

  • Improve skills like analytical thinking and memory, but also learn new skills from the texts itself.
  • Learn about people and different personalities you encounter in real life.
  • Gain perspective, form and alter opinions.
  • Improving vocabulary and writing skills. As I prefer reading books in either Dutch or English, it also helps in becoming more proficient in secondary languages.

Futhermore, it is the ultimate activity for winding down after a busy day. By reading for an hour before bed, you consequently eliminate screen time to favorably impact melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Because reading requires focus it can act as a de-stressor, since your brain is occupied with reading instead of engaging in imaginary discussions and reminiscing about cringe-worthy past experiences.

Though I had an interest in reading more, it was still a challenge to do so with life getting in the way. In order to read more, I combined the following 3 principles I learned:

  • Start by doing the ‘smallest’ possible activity. An entire book seems like an obstacle, but just 25 pages before you put the book down, that seems doable! For some people this amount may be less, 10 pages. This clears the hurdle of starting to read, since the activity will only cost half an hour of your time at most.
  • To put time and effort into something, block off a moment in your calendar dedicated to just that task. For me this is the moment before I go to sleep.
  • James Clear has written an article on measuring, in which he states: ‘What we measure, we improve’. Once he started measuring how many pushups he did, he became stroinger. By recording his values, he began living with more integrity. He tracked his reading habit of 20 pages per day, which increased the numbers of books he read. I applied this same strategy by literally creating a 365 day grid on a piece of paper. This piece was then stuck to the cabinet next to my bed. After I read 25 pages for that day, I crossed off the box relating to that specific day. This allowed for a visual reminder of how much I read until the present day. On top op that, it motivates me to keep a streak going and to prevent gaps in the overview.

The result was that I read 7.125 pages; or 32 books in 2016. I intend to break that number and at least read the  9.125 in 2017, so I created a new grid. In addition to a “reading grid”, I now also added a pushup grid (45 pushups daily) to get me to do 16.000 pushups in 2017. Most likely it wont stop there, since the 3 principles noted above are applicable anywhere in life.

Use rewards to trick yourself into the weight room

Use rewards to trick yourself into the weight room

Two weeks ago I wrote about the benefits of intermittent fasting. How pushing your first meal until later in the day can actually help you feel more satiated with less food. I was reading Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational when I came across a chapter on procrastination and self-control. Basically, the text explains how it is completely logical that people find going to the gym and eating well so difficult.

The conclusion of the chapter is that we humans are exceptionally bad at doing the best for our future selves. Think about it. We choose to eat the extra pizza, or endulge in that extra serving of ice cream, only to foist ourselves with the promise to make up for it the next day. When the next day comes around, we find all kinds of rationalizations to continue our bad behaviors.

Since future you is not your best friend, we have to trick ourselves into making the beneficial decisions right now. The solution provided by Dan Ariely is to couple something we dislike with something we love. He gives the example of an overweight movie lover who will only allow him-/herself to watch a film while walking on the treadmill.

I found that intermittent fasting helps me to get into the gym at least 4 times a week, by providing me with a guilt-free post workout meal. Because my lunch and dinner consist of around 60% of my total daily calories, I will allow myself to eat the remaining 40% (approximately 1000 calories) ONLY after I worked out that day. This doesn’t require a lot of discipline, since the lunch and dinner will be fulfilling meals on their own, curbing my desire to snack in between. I will make the first meals as healthy as possible, so I don’t have to skimp on more typically “unhealthy” foods later on.

The anticipation of the rewarding post workout meal helped me make going to the gym a habit. Furthermore, it helps me go to the gym when I’m not particularly looking forward to it. Though this is just one example of pairing good and bad behaviors, this technique can be applied across your entire daily life. It may just help push you to make that final step.