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Person Worth Following: Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating people alive. Additionally, his work and ideas have had an incredibly profound effect on both my life and way of thinking.
This is going to be a long bio, as I really want to do him justice.
Ferriss was born in 1977. He attended Princeton University and graduated in the year 2000 with a degree in East Asian studies. During his time at Princeton, he went through an extreme depression and nearly killed himself. He wrote an incredibly powerful essay about this experience, which you can read by clicking here. After college, he worked for a data storage company, but soon left and founded a nutritional supplement startup. During this period, his girlfriend left due to his excessive workaholism, and he eventually sold the company. This experience inspired him to write his first book, The Four Hour Work Week which discusses strategies he used to optimize the functioning of his startup. The book spent 7 years on the New York Times best seller list, was translated into 40 different languages, and was the book that kindle users highlighted most in 2017, despite the fact that it was released in 2007.
Around the same time period, Ferriss set the Guinness World Record for most tango spins in a minute, and became a kick boxing champion. Since then, he has written four more best selling books, starred in two TV shows: The Tim Ferriss Experiment and Fear(less), and has a blog with over 1 million monthly readers. Most importantly (For me at least) he created one of the most popular podcasts of all time: The Tim Ferriss Show. In it, he interviews world class performers from a variety of different fields in an attempt to understand how they have achieved their success. The stories and ideas expressed on this show have radically transformed the way in which I live my life. Additionally, one of the alternative treatments mentioned on the show has improved my state of mind so radically that I’m currently writing a proposal for a scientific study on its effects. My hope is that the results of the study will help build mainstream approval for this form of intervention. But I digress…
All in all, what I like most about Ferriss is his relentless commitment to learning and experimentation. He is the opposite of an armchair philosopher. He gets in the trenches and figures out what works and what doesn’t. For his second book, The Four Hour Body, he subjected himself to a wide array of diets, exercises, and lifestyle interventions, to test their efficacy. For his first TV show, he documented his attempts to master skills such as rally racing, parkour, drums, surfing, golf, and language acquisition, using rapid learning techniques. After spending many years as an angel investor in the Bay Area, he took an indefinite break from startup investing in order to focus on his podcast, and his primary charitable project: research into the therapeutic application of psychedelics at Johns Hopkins University. Last I checked, he had personally donated $1 million to the funding of said research.
In conclusion, I’ve come to believe that Tim Ferriss is one of the smartest, wisest, and friendliest people out there. I have nothing but respect and gratitude for the man. If you’d like to get a better understanding of his life and ideas, check out the video below. I’d highly recommend skipping to 52:27, where Tim talks about his experience at a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I guarantee you’ll find his description of the retreat fascinating, even if you’ve never given meditation a minute of thought.
Book I’m Enjoying: The Industries of the Future, by Alec Ross
If I didn’t have a kindle and was reading a paper copy of this book, my highlighter would be running out of ink. And that’s in spite of the fact I’m not even half way finished. It’s packed full of hard stats and powerful anecdotes about the massive changes taking place in fields such as robotics, genetics, and digital currency. If you’re interested in what lies ahead, this one is for you.
“In 2013, 1,300 surgical robots were sold for an average cost of $1.5 million each, accounting for 6 percent of professional service robots and 41 percent of the total sales value of industry robots. The number of robotic procedures is increasing by 30% per year, and more than 1 million Americans have already undergone a robotic surgery.”
“Google has hired the former deputy director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ron Medford, to be its director of safety for self driving cars. Medford explained that Americans collectively drive approximately 3 trillion miles per year, and more than 30,000 people die in car accidents. Worldwide, those statistics are enormous; approximately 1.3 million people die every year in car crashes.”
“Johnson & Johnson’s SEDASYS system automates the sedation of patients undergoing colonoscopies, easing the over $1 billion cost of sedation each year. The services of anesthesiologists typically increase the price of surgery by $600 to $2,000. SEDASYS, already approved by the Food and Drug Administration and going into hospitals today, would cost only $150 per procedure. It would not eliminate anesthesiologists altogether. Instead, like autopilot, systems like SEDASYS merely aid the doctor, enabling an anesthesiologist to monitor ten procedures taking place simultaneously as opposed to having an anesthesiologist in each operating room.”
Ross, Alec. The Industries of the Future (p. 33). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
Recommended Online Reading
- 25 years ago, China had no installed solar panels; They now have more than any other country.
- In the past ten years, the total portion of the world’s energy supplied by renewable sources such as wind and solar has risen from 5% to 12%.
- In 2017, China invested more in renewable energy than any other country, investment that I’d imagine was probably incentivized by their fossil-fueled public health crisis.
Side note: I really wish that proponents of renewable energy would spend more time emphasizing the threats that fossil fueled electricity generation and transportation pose to public health, as opposed to the threats they pose to the environment. Unlike the issue of global warming, most people can agree upon the reality and urgency of compromised public health. Everyone wants their relatives to be healthy, and the effects of dirty energy generation on public health are far more immediate and tangible (And therefore more psychologically impactful) that its effects on the climate. I strongly feel that shifting attention to pubic health issues associated with fossil fuel use would accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
- The town hall will take place on September 4th on CNN
- According to a CNN poll, 96% of Democratic voters are in favor of taking aggressive action on climate change
- Last July was Earth’s hottest month since we began recording climate data in the 1880s
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