Book Review: ‘Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World’ by Timothy Ferriss

By Barbara Danza, Epoch Times
January 24, 2018 Updated: October 8, 2018    

Author, investor, and podcaster Tim Ferriss delivers with his latest book, “Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World,” a timely encyclopedia of life advice curated from a variety of successful individuals from different walks of life. The result is a very giftable resource that hits shelves just in time for holiday exchanges and for formulating those New Year’s resolutions.

As Ferriss tells it, “this is the book that [he] wanted to read” but couldn’t find on bookshelves, so he created it himself. The author reached out to those he deemed the “best of the best” in business, sports, entertainment, and other fields. He posed the same 11 questions, a collection he has honed in interviews over the past few years on his wildly popular podcast, “The Tim Ferriss Show”:

  1. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
  2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.
  3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
  4. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it—metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions—what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)
  5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (This could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
  6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
  7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
  8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?
  9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
  10. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?
  11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

The answers are a veritable mix of actionable advice, philosophical wisdom, and abundant wit.

Ferriss’s “mentors” include Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Ashton Kutcher, Greg Norman, Tony Hawk, Larry King, and Tim McGraw, among many others. Investors, sports stars, authors, comedians, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more offer their takes on Ferriss’s queries, leaving something for everyone.

Ben Stiller’s billboard would read, “Be here now.”

Jimmy Fallon names “The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone as a book he frequently gifts (since, he explains, he attends more kids’ parties these days).

Ray Dalio’s most impactful purchase under $100 has been “a pocket notepad to jot down good ideas when they come to me.”

In addition to the advice itself, the list of over 130 mentors is a resource in itself. If you don’t know who some of these individuals are, their social media handles are provided, in most cases.

Easily digestible in bite-sized portions, “Tribe of Mentors” is the perfect gift for college students, self-help junkies, entrepreneurs, and dreamers who are striving for something more.

‘Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice From the Best in the World’
By Timothy Ferriss
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
624 pages; hardback, $30