Celebrity Picks: Tim Ferriss's Favorite Reads of 2017

Chris Schluep on December 30, 2017

Photo credit: Andrew Kelly

If you were searching for a mentor, you would be wise to attach yourself to Tim Ferriss. But if you wanted to do even better, you could attach yourself to Ferriss and his Tribe of Mentors. In this book, destined to be another huge best-seller, he tracked down more than 100 eclectic experts to help him, and you, navigate life.

What does Tim Ferriss like to read when he's not podcasting, writing, improving, or studying the thoughts and habits of other uber-successful people? Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that his list includes books with words like "extreme" and "radical' in them. See his picks below, and look here for the latest celebrity favorites.

Tim Ferriss's favorite reads of 2017

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Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
I reread sections of this book regularly. It was introduced to me by one of the co-authors, Jocko Willink, who’s become a friend. Jocko is one of the scariest human beings imaginable. He is a lean 230 pounds and a Brazilian jiujitsu black belt who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the special operations world, and his viral podcast interview on The Tim Ferriss Show was the first public interview he’d ever done. Jocko spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and commanded SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly-decorated special operations unit from the Iraq War. Upon returning to the United States, Jocko served as the officer-in-charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams, designing and implementing some of the most challenging and realistic combat training in the world. After retiring from the Navy, he co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership and management consulting company, and co-authored Extreme Ownership, which became a #1 NYT bestseller. If you want to become faster, stronger, and more resilient, this book is for you. It details practical philosophies and strategies that have been vetted in the field by the world’s most elite warriors. The principles can be applied to war, business, life — everywhere.

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Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
I was first introduced to Tara by Maria Popova of BrainPickings.org, who said, “[Tara] has changed my life, perhaps more profoundly than anybody in my life.” I then read Tara’s first book, Radical Acceptance, after it was recommended to me by a friend and neuroscience PhD who is extremely skeptical of anything remotely "woo woo." I digested 10 pages each night in the tub, and it immediately had a huge impact. So much so that I initially stopped reading after 20% to test-drive the lessons in real life. There was a lot to work with. Perhaps my favorite lesson relates to actively recognizing anger and other types of what we consider “negative” emotions. Rather than trying to suppress something or swat it away, we say to the emotion/ourselves, “I see you.” This counterintuitively helps to dissolve or resolve the issue. For instance, if you’re meditating and anger comes up, maybe the memory of some personal slight, you might silently repeat “anger, anger” to yourself and acknowledge it, which allows you to quickly return to whatever your focus is. I’ve always been a fighter, and calm acknowledgment doesn’t come naturally to me, which makes it all the more valuable. Fighting emotions is like flailing in quicksand—it only makes things worse. Sometimes, the most proactive defense is a mental nod and wink.

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The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
This book blew my mind. It is beautifully written, incredibly erotic, and will make every reader deeply uncomfortable at some point. It's the most unusual blend of genres I've ever encountered, including elements of autobiography, fantasy, historical fiction, political commentary, and more. I found it on a shelf in an old house, and since there were two copies, I took one down and began reading. Even though I was on book writing deadline myself for Tribe of Mentors, I carved out time every morning to read 5-10 pages with a cup of tea. I immediately began recommending it to close friends, who were similarly stunned by this book. Give it 20-30 pages to really get warmed up and grab you.

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