Here’s an excerpt from an interview of Tim Ferriss conducted by Herb Schaffner for BNET (March 10, 2011), The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
* * *
Tim Ferriss‘ first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, hit the bestseller lists in its first weeks of publication in 2007and has remained an influential and talked-about phenomenon ever since (as has Ferriss’ blog).
Memorably dubbed “part scientist and part adventure hunter,” Ferriss developed his manifesto for productivity and personal freedom from his early success as an entrepreneur, angel investor, traveler and athlete.
The 4-Hour Work Week exhorts readers to tap into their passions and establish passive income streams so they escape the 9-5 rat race and live a life full of meaning, pleasure and wealth. He explains how to take “mini-retirements” and work remotely so you can incorporate a globe-trotting lifestyle into any job.
Four years and one global recession later, Ferriss followed up with another #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Body, his guide to radically improved health, stamina, athletic performance, and sexual satisfaction. What has Ferriss learned in his development as a self-described “lifestyle design” guru? We caught with Ferriss recently, right before he was taking off for Austin to appear at the SXSW Film Festival. In an interview, he explained everything from what’s on his strict media diet to why “personal branding” is a dumb concept.
Given that people still boast about their 60-hour work weeks, why do you think your book caught on so quickly?
I was most pleasantly surprised by how large companies like Google and Microsoft embraced the book, especially within high-end engineering groups. Fundamentally, the book is about multiplying your per-hour output, which a lot of the literalists miss if they judge a book by its title alone.
Since 2007, it’s become clear that our basic tenets — devoting 80% of resources to the most productive 20% work activity, batching repetitive, low-importance tasks — apply to Fortune 500 companies as much as start-ups or individual careers.
The 4-Hour Workweek advocates going on a strict low information diet. Practicing discipline in what and when we read sounds very good, but can be hard to do. What have you read that you found valuable, and why?
First and foremost, Letters from a Stoic by Seneca.
Lucius Seneca, who was effectively Rome’s wealthiest investment banker, one of the most famous playwrights of his generation, and an advisor to the emperor, penned this volume as a collection of letters to his student, Lucilius. It’s almost 2000 years old, but it could have been written today. The letters cover pragmatic and philosophical solutions to just about everything: business negotiations, mourning, lawsuits, avoiding interpersonal politics, and much more.
I’ve re-read portions of this book at least 30 times over the last four years.
Since 60-75% of my audience is male, I feel like I can learn from Esquire and Men’s Journal (where I am an editor). I also subscribe to Hacker Monthly.
What about online reading–blogs, Twitter?
For blogs, I’d tell people to keep it simple and read the archives of (venture capitalist) Marc Andreessen’s blog and essays of Paul Graham. Mobile makes the web more ensnaring. The potential for permanent distraction, for chasing the latest shiny object in lieu of priorities, is greater than ever. Create a “not-to-do” or a “to-ignore” list– as opposed to a longer “to-do” or “pay-attention-to” list.
Even though social media has been a valuable tool for me, I believe most [leaders] should focus their resources elsewhere before jumping on the bandwagon. If Steve Jobs doesn’t feel compelled to use Facebook or Twitter, it’s probably makes sense for most executive teams to focus on improving operations first.
For national brands, both FB and Twitter can be valuable for customer service, yes. But both FB and Twitter are more routinely used to avoid doing things that are more uncomfortable and more important. If you’re considering dedicating staff to social media, ask first: “Am I doing this to put off doing the uncomfortable?”
What advice would you offer executives and entrepreneurs interested promoting their personal brand?
First and foremost, don’t write a book unless you like to write! The successes are rare, and a good book will take at least one full-time year of your life.
Second, don’t focus on “personal branding.” Focus on building and sharing great products, services, or actionable content. The personal brand is a side-effect, a natural result, of doing something valuable for others. It’s not the objective.
Making the world a little better off, a little happier, is the goal, at least for me. That doesn’t happen if you’re focusing on yourself.
* * *
To read the complete interview and check out other material, please click here.
Herb Schaffner is president of Schaffner Media Partners, a consultancy specializing in business, finance, and public affairs publishing expertise, and is found on Twitter and Facebook.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 Posted by Bob Morris | Bob's blog entries | "Don't Focus on Personal Branding", 4-Hour Guru, “part scientist and part adventure hunter”, BNET, BNET newsletters, Esquire, Facebook, Google, Hacker Monthly, Herb Schaffner, Letters from a Stoic, Lucius Seneca, Marc Andreessen’s blog, Men’s Journal, Microsoft, Partners Twitter, Paul Graham a “not-to-do” or a “to-ignore” list– as opposed to a longer “to-do” or “pay-attention-to” list FB and Twitter, Schaffner Media, Seneca, The 4-Hour Workweek, The CBS Interactive Business Network, the SXSW Film Festival, Tim Ferriss, why “personal branding” is a dumb concept | Leave a comment
St. Simon’s After-School provides no-cost after school care to over 650 disadvantaged elementary school age children in DISD. These are children whose family income is near or below the poverty line, parent/guardian has a job, and who would otherwise be latch-key kids on the streets. They are provided a nutritious snack, help with homework, and a safe, nurturing environment until they can be picked up. Through a cooperative arrangement with First Books Dallas, the children are also given free grade appropriate reading books twice a year.
- First Friday Book Synopsis in DallasDecember 5th, 201414 days to go.
- The Six Lessons of the Business of Paradigms -- Wisdom from Joel Barker: wp.me/pmm68-16G 18 minutes ago
- RT @MeghanMBiro: Recruitment - Why do the Good Ones Leave? goo.gl/jT4Y7g via @tonyrestell 23 minutes ago
- Only 21 out of 500 Fortune 500 CEOs are women (at time Lean In was written) ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/unt… 55 minutes ago
- Do you know someone who fights change when something new is mandated that he or she didn't create? Read here: ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/ran… 4 weeks ago
- Our CHANGE workshop is just around the corner. Please click here for details about our November 12 session: ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/lea… 1 month ago
- We have a great workshop for you to learn how to cope with or manage change. Click here. ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/lea… 1 month ago
- Be sure to register soon for our November 12 workshop on Managing Change. Click here: ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/lea… 1 month ago
- We can't wait for our CHANGE workshops on November 12 and 13. Early-bird registration is still available - Click:. ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/we-… 1 month ago
- Here’s a terrific gift from Harvard Business Review bobmorris.biz/heres-a-terrif… 5 hours ago
- Kill the Company: A book review by Bob Morris bobmorris.biz/kill-the-compa… 5 hours ago
- What Warren Buffett would do to end the deficit in 5 minutes. bobmorris.biz/what-warren-bu… 5 hours ago
Recent visitor count
- 861,018 visits
Site created and maintained by Dallas website design company bigDwebsitedesign.com
- Until There are More Women in Positions of Leadership and Influence… – More Reflections Prompted by Lean In
- Lin O’Neill Speaks at December 5 Book Synopsis
- Six Questions to Discuss with Your Leadership Team – Prompted by This Era of Perpetual Innovation
- The News is Filled with Stories of Incivility, and Worse – A Sad Reminder from M. Scott Peck
- A Short Update about our Monthly Event, the First Friday Book Synopsis, and our 15minutebusinessbooks site
- Benedict Carey: Part 2 of an interview by Bob Morris
- If the People You Lead Do Not Grow as Persons, You’re Failing as a Leader | The 16% on Servant Leadership – Start with Robert Greenleaf’s Original; All that Follows is Commentary and Elaboration
- Susan Ball on Here Are A Number of My Blog Posts Dealing with Speaking/Presentation and Communication Issues – (frequently updated)