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
Did you see us in the Dallas Morning News Business Section?
Purchase our book synopses from 15minutebusinessbooks.com.
We present two books a month, every month, and make the audio recordings and handouts of our synopses available at our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com
Meet our 2015 Sponsor
Acuity – Redefining Sales Cultures
Tom Niesen and his team, through Acuity Systems and Sandler Training, are ready to help you improve your sales process and increase revenue throughout 2015. Just click here to visit their website – and then, let Acuity help you improve your sales effectiveness in 2015.
Reading the handout, listening to the recording – it was “…like Power-Reading a Business Book”
- First Friday Book Synopsis in DallasJuly 10th, 201510 days to go.
First Friday Book Synopsis (on the SECOND Friday in July) - July 10, 2015Friday, July 10, 2015 ⋅ FFBS only (online sales): $29.00 ⋅ FFBS only (Harvard Business School Club of Dallas): $29.00
- Outsiders bring new paradigms. ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/the… 7 hours ago
- Watching this with my summer class of students - in connection with the difficult challenge of persuasion ffbsccn.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/the… 7 hours ago
- The Six Lessons of the Business of Paradigms -- Wisdom from Joel Barker: wp.me/pmm68-16G 7 hours ago
- I am in Houston for the first Wardens' Retreat for 2015. Attendance is a bit down, but spirit and participation are both quite high. 1 month ago
- Today's Dallas Morning News has a feature article about the First Friday Book Synopsis. Link; dallasnews.com/business/colum… http://t.co/AbfBiILX5T 1 month ago
- Again - it is absurd that Colby Lewis did not get to go 9 innings tonight with an 11-1 Texas lead and fewer than 90 pitches in 8 innings! 1 month ago
- The Rangers' Rodriguez should have gone out for the 9th for a complete game. The lead was 7-1, and his pitch count was not high. Absurd. 1 month ago
- Don't forget Running for Clean Water on May 9. For information or to register, go to: r4cw.webconnex.com/register http://t.co/dupwDGonDi 2 months ago
- Face It, Your Brain Is a Computer bobmorris.biz/face-it-your-b… 20 hours ago
- How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard bobmorris.biz/how-to-fix-a-b… 20 hours ago
- What it takes to build your Digital Quotient bobmorris.biz/what-it-takes-… 20 hours ago
Recent visitor count
- 967,692 visits
Site created and maintained by Dallas website design company bigDwebsitedesign.com
- If You take “No” for an Answer too Easily, You May Need to Make a Change – Insight from Elon Musk
- Ego vs. EQ, insight from Jen Shirkani – (or, maybe, it is a real fight with your JQ – your “Jerk Quotient”)
- A conversation with Grant McCracken on how to build “a living, breathing culture”
- Big Data May Already Be Disrupting Your Favorite Sport
- Laurie Sudbrink: An interview by Bob Morris
- 4 Assumptions We Make About Every Successful Business – Insight from my e-book, 12 Vital Signs of Organizational Health