10 Books Tim Ferriss Thinks Every Entrepreneur Should Read
Tim Ferriss, the productivity expert, author and inspirational speaker, is an avid reader, and has highlighted many books on his show and through his blog, seeking to share some of the same wisdom that inspires him.
From self-help to science fiction, there is something for everyone, and these 10 tomes have been selected from the many that make up Ferriss’s library. See what he recommends and why, and get ready to spend your Sunday mornings curled up with one -- or several -- of these books.
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
What’s worth doing in life? This is the question that fabled entrepreneur Derek Sivers answers in this audiobook, packing 10 years of experience into a compact 90 minutes.Ferriss's take: “Short, hilarious and profoundly practical. I’ve reread these 40 lessons dozens of times," Derek is a philosopher-king among startup contrarians, and he knows how to get what he wants, however odd. I love this guy.”
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
Tara Brach, a Buddhist student and therapist, wants to show the world how to trust in the innate goodness of humanity. Self-doubt is a part of the modern human condition, leading to many profound sources of suffering, but through a variety of storytelling techniques from case histories to guided meditations, readers can emerge from this book free of constrictions.Ferriss's take: “This book was recommended to me by a PhD neuroscientist and is what finally helped me tame anger, one of my most destructive (and persistent) emotions. It’s easy to aim for 'successful' and be miserable. This book is the antidote.”
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
The creator of the Dilbert comic strip in this book wants to help you succeed, but by telling you all about his failures. Scott Adams doesn’t offer a roadmap in his book, but rather examples to glean tips and tricks from that make it easier for luck to find you.
Ferriss's take: “Scott, the creator of Dilbert, has an incredible approach to 'career planning' that's as effective as it is unusual. He’s beaten all the odds and can help you do the same.”
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
No one makes it big without a little help from some friends. Amanda Palmer, musician and TED speaker, knows the life of a starving artist, but most importantly how and when to ask for help along the way.Ferriss's take: “I tend to isolate myself, often at the worst times possible. Amanda helped me to learn to ask friends and family for help. It was a game changer.”
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull knows that creativity is an essential ingredient for success. The man who helped bring iconic films such as Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. into the world was able to crush box office records by curating a work environment focused on eliminating barriers to the creative process. His book can teach readers how to incorporate a creative energy in their own work and in any field.Ferriss's take: “No matter your circumstances, storytelling and creativity are two 'meta-skills' that can take your business and life to the next level. Ed is a master.”
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman
In this autobiography by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, a curiousity is revealed as the author guides readers through adventures of his eccentric mind.Ferriss's take: “Feynman’s books hugely impacted every aspect of my thinking when I first read them circa 2005. Since then, I have studied Feynman’s letters, teaching style, discoveries and beyond. How many Nobel Prize winners also safe crack and play bongos in bars for fun? Feynman makes me want to be a better teacher and, ultimately, a world-class parent.”
Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is set 20,000 years in the future and is full of mystery and intrigue. Noble families, drugs and war converge to form a compelling and complex narrative that analyzes power and prestige, and what it means to be a true epic of a literary genre.Ferriss's take: “Dune presents, despite my synopsis, perhaps the most incredibly detailed and oddly believable fictional landscape I’ve ever encountered.”
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
In anticipation of an attack from a hostile alien race, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is specially selected to train in space combat, excelling in all areas of school. But struggling with pressure and managing expectations makes for a hard and lonely ascent to the top.
Ferriss's take: “Through Ender’s journey, you’ll learn how to capitalize on your strengths and those of your teammates, as well as exploit your adversaries’ weaknesses. Ender is a futuristic Level 5 Leader we can all learn from.”
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
As thick and fast-paced as a Harry Potter book, this is a an epic story of a samurai. From raging battle scenes to pensive transformations, this plot plunges into everything from near death experiences and Zen monkhood.Ferriss's take: "Musashi’s transformation from talented yet conflicted young warrior to one of the greatest (perhaps the greatest) swordsman of all time teaches you about critical thinking, strategizing and ultimately, that there is more to life than merely surviving. Musashi re-created himself from nothing and rose from destitution to legend. Why not you?"
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
This classic novel tells the story of two men and an extraordinary friendship. Departing on an adventure to Crete, the pair of unlikely friends teach each other about the joys of living a life full to the brim and in the moment.Ferriss's take: “I have recommended this outstanding book before. It pits the instinctive against the intellectual, the simpleton (brilliant at times) against the over-thinker. Finding myself with my head frequently stuck up my own ass, this book is a constant companion and reminder to step outside of my brain.”