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Summary: Tribe Of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss

Author Tim Ferriss reached out to 100+ brilliant minds and asked them 11 questions about living a happier, more productive, more fulfilling life.

“Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask… If you want uncommon clarity and results, ask uncommonly clear questions.” – Tim Ferriss

One of those questions was, “What do you do when you feel overwhelmed and unfocused?”

Among the hundreds of answers in the book ‘Tribe of Mentors’, I discovered three daily practices that many smart and successful people turn to when they feel overwhelmed and unfocused.

Book Summary: Tribe Of Mentors - Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

Daily Practice #1: Move

“(Whenever I feel overwhelmed and unfocused I) Walk. Walk. Walk. A 30-minute (or even 15-minute) out-of-the- office walk with no devices almost invariably clears my head.” – Tom Peters

When you walk, you walk into a state of clarity. Each step you take leaves a bit of overwhelm in your tracks.

“I’m kind of bummed that it took me so long to realize how great it makes me feel.” – Jimmy Fallon

The next time you feel overwhelmed and unfocused, drop what you’re doing and go for a long walk (bonus points if you walk a new route).

Daily Practice #2: Meditate

“(When I feel overwhelmed and unfocused) I drop into my breath…” – Leo Babauta

“A few moments of focusing on my breath helps me move beyond the surface and go deeper.” – Arianna Huffington (paraphrased)

“(When I feel overwhelmed and unfocused) I observe my breath for a few seconds or minutes.” – Yuval Noah Harari

Babauta, Huffington, and Harari all rely on a simple form of meditation to eliminate overwhelm: breath awareness.

A twenty-minute meditation session simply involves shifting your attention from a distracting thought to the natural rhythm of your breath…over and over for 20 minutes.

Each time you shift your attention to your breath, a little bit of overwhelm falls away and a small amount of focus is restored.

Author Yuval Noah Harari says, “Without the focus and clarity provided by this practice (two hours of daily meditation), I could not have written Sapiens and Homo Deus (two best-selling books).”

Several people in ‘Tribe of Mentors’ recommend 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Some suggest using the app Headspace to get started.

Daily Practice #3: Memento Mori

When Naval Ravikant, CEO and co-founder of AngelList is overwhelmed and unfocused, he repeats the words “memento mori.”

Memento mori is Latin for ‘remember you must die.’

Death doesn’t need to be dark and depressing. In fact, realizing that you’re going to die one day can be a great tool to clarify your priorities.

Tim Urban, creator of the blog WaitButWhy, uses death to pick projects he works on and people he spends his time with.

When deciding what creative project to work on, he asks himself: “Would I be happy if my epitaph had something to do with this project?” Urban says, “For me, the epitaph test is usually a reminder to focus my time and effort on doing the highest-quality and most original creative work I can.”

When considering who to spend time with, Urban asks himself: “Is this someone I might be thinking about when I’m on my deathbed?” and “If I were on my deathbed today, would I be happy with the amount of time I spent with this person?”

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and unfocused, don’t push on. Don’t answer ten more emails and don’t do an extra hour of work. Instead, move, meditate, and memento mori (remember that you could leave this earth right now).

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” – Henry David Thoreau


The book is a collection of short interviews with more than 100 successful people from different fields and backgrounds, who share their insights, tips, habits, and routines that have helped them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges. The author, Tim Ferriss, is a well-known entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and investor, who has written several best-selling books such as The 4-Hour Workweek , Tools of Titans , and The 4-Hour Body . He is also the host of The Tim Ferriss Show , a popular podcast that features interviews with world-class performers.

The book is divided into 11 sections, each focusing on a different theme or question that the author asked the mentors. Some of the questions are:

  • 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?
  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
  • 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?)
  • What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
  • What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
  • 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?
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
  • What are some of the commonalities among those who have been able to sustain excellence over decades?

The book is not meant to be read from cover to cover, but rather to be browsed and sampled according to one’s interest and curiosity. The reader can choose to read the interviews of the mentors they admire or resonate with, or explore new perspectives and ideas from mentors they are unfamiliar with. The book is also rich in references and recommendations for further reading, learning, and action.

The book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn from the best in the world and apply their wisdom and strategies to their own life and work. The book offers a diverse range of insights and advice that can help anyone improve their performance, productivity, creativity, happiness, health, relationships, and more. The book also showcases the human side of the mentors, who share their struggles, failures, fears, doubts, and vulnerabilities. The book is not a formula for success, but rather a guide for exploration and experimentation.

The book is not without its flaws. Some of the interviews are too brief or superficial to provide much depth or detail. Some of the mentors repeat similar answers or recommendations that may become redundant or boring. Some of the mentors may not be relatable or relevant to some readers due to their background, industry, or personality. Some of the advice may not be applicable or practical for some situations or contexts. Some of the advice may contradict or conflict with other advice from different mentors.

The book is not a definitive answer to life’s most challenging questions, but rather a starting point for further inquiry and reflection. The book does not tell the reader what to do or think, but rather invites them to ask themselves their own questions and find their own answers. The book does not provide a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s problems, but rather encourages them to experiment with different tools and tactics and find what works best for them.

The book is not a magic bullet for success, but rather a catalyst for change and growth. The book does not guarantee results or outcomes, but rather inspires action and learning. The book does not promise happiness or fulfillment, but rather challenges discomfort and uncertainty.

The book is not a tribe of mentors, but rather a tribe of learners.

Overall, I think Tribe of Mentors is a valuable book for anyone who wants to learn from the best. It is a great source of inspiration and practical advice.

Here are some additional thoughts on the book:

  • I think Ferriss does a great job of interviewing his mentors. He asks them thoughtful questions and gets them to share their insights in a way that is both informative and entertaining.
  • I also think the book is a great resource for practical advice. Ferriss’s mentors share their best tips on everything from productivity to relationships.
  • However, I do think the book can be a bit overwhelming at times. There is a lot of information to take in, and it can be hard to know where to start.
  • I also think some of the advice may not be relevant to everyone. For example, some of the mentors are entrepreneurs, and their advice may not be as helpful for people who are not entrepreneurs.
  • Overall, I think Tribe of Mentors is a valuable book, but it is not for everyone. If you are looking for inspiration and practical advice from the best, then I highly recommend it. But if you are looking for a more focused book, then you may want to look elsewhere.

In conclusion, “Tribe of Mentors” is an invaluable compilation of insights that offers readers a unique opportunity to learn from some of the most accomplished individuals in the world. Tim Ferriss’s expertise in selecting interviewees and his ability to extract meaningful advice make this book a go-to resource for anyone seeking guidance, motivation, and practical strategies for success and self-improvement. Whether you’re looking for career advice, life lessons, or a dose of inspiration, this book has something to offer for every reader.

Final Thoughts: “Tribe Of Mentors” is a valuable resource for those seeking insights and guidance from accomplished individuals in various fields. Tim Ferriss successfully curates a diverse collection of interviews that offer practical advice and inspiration. While some may find the book repetitive or lacking in depth, the breadth of perspectives and actionable insights make it a worthwhile read for personal growth and self-improvement.


“Tribe of Mentors” is a quick and inspiring read that provides practical advice and insights from successful individuals. While it may lack depth and focus, the book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to gain advice and inspiration from a diverse range of mentors. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a motivational and practical guide to achieving success.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Note: The rating is based on my personal opinion and may vary based on individual preferences and perspectives.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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