Things I've Learned and Loved in 2008

Training in horseback archery in Nikko, Japan. (Photo: David West)

2008 has been one of the most exciting years of my life. I did more dealmaking and met more people than in the last 5 years combined. This produced many surprise insights about business and human nature, especially as I uncovered tons of my own false assumptions.

Here are some of the things I learned and loved in 2008. I’ve linked to posts that I wrote when exploring some of the concepts in more detail…

Favorite reads of 2008: Zorba the Greek and Seneca: Letters from a Stoic. These are two of the most readable books of practical philosophies I’ve ever had the fortune to encounter. If you have to choose one, get Zorba, but Lucius Seneca will take you further. Both are fast reads of 2-3 evenings.

Don’t accept large or costly favors from strangers. This karmic debt will come back to haunt you. If you can’t pass it up, immediately return to karmic neutrality with a gift of your choosing. Repay it before they set the terms for you. Exceptions: ubersuccessful mentors who are making introductions and not laboring on your behalf.

You don’t have to recoup losses the same way you lose them. I own a home in San Jose but moved almost 12 months ago. It’s been empty since, and I’m paying a large mortgage each month. The best part? I don’t care. But this wasn’t always the case. For many months, I felt demoralized as others pressured me to rent it, emphasizing how I was just flushing money away otherwise. Then I realized: you don’t have to make $ back the same way you lose it. If you lose $1,000 at the blackjack table, should you try and recoup it there? Of course not. I don’t want to deal with renters, even with a property management company. The solution: leave the house alone, use it on occasion, and just create incoming revenue elsewhere that would cover the cost of the mortgage through consulting, publishing, etc.

One of the most universal causes of self-doubt and depression: trying to impress people you don’t like. Stressing to impress is fine, but do it for the right people — those whom you want to emulate.

Slow meals = life. From Daniel Gilbert of Harvard to Martin Seligman of Princeton, the “happiness” (self-reported well-being) researchers seem to agree on one thing: meal time with friends and loved ones is a direct predictor of happiness. Have at least one 2-3-hour dinner and/or drinks per week — yes, 2-3 hours — with those who make you smile and feel good. I find the afterglow effect to be greatest and longest with groups of 5 or more. Two times that are conducive to this: Thursday dinners or after-dinner drinks and Sunday brunches.

The two blog posts whose principles I’ve practiced the most in 2008: The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen (from 2007)

; The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm (from 2008)

Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.

(Suggested reading: How to Test-Drive Friends)

Related: Money doesn’t change you; it reveals who you are when you no longer have to be nice.

Total Immersion swimming

(Suggested reading: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days)

It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do. If you have a strong informed opinion, don’t keep it to yourself. Try and help people and make the world a better place. If you strive to do anything remotely interesting, just expect a small percentage of the population to always find a way to take it personally. F*ck ’em. There are no statues erected to critics.

Related: You’re never as bad as they say you are. My agent used to send me every blog or media hit for The 4-Hour Workweek. Eight weeks after publication, I asked him to only forward me positive mentions in major media or factual inaccuracies I needed to respond to. An important correlate: you’re never as good as they say you are, either.

It’s not helpful get a big head or get depressed. The former makes you careless and the latter makes you lethargic. I wanted to have untainted optimism but remain hungry. Speaking of hungry…

Eat a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and go for a 10-20-minute walk outside afterward, ideally bouncing a handball or tennis ball. This one habit is better than a handful of Prozac in the morning.

(Suggested reading: The 3-Minute Slow-Carb Breakfast, How to “Peel” Hardboiled Eggs without Peeling)

I dislike losing money about 50x more than I like making it. Why 50x? Logging time as an experiment, I concluded that I often spend at least 50x more time to prevent a hypothetical unit of $100 from being lost vs. earned. The hysterical part is that, even after becoming aware of this bias, it’s hard to prevent the latter response. Therefore, I manipulate the environmental causes of poor responses instead of depending on error-prone self-discipline:

I should not invest in public stocks where I cannot influence outcomes. Once realizing that almost no one can predict risk tolerance and response to losses, I moved all of my investments into fixed-income and cash-like instruments in July 2008 for this reason, setting aside 10% of pre-tax income for angel investments where I can contribute significant UI/design, PR, and corporate partnership help.

(Suggested reading: Rethinking Investing – Part 1, Rethinking Investing – Part 2)

A good question to revisit whenever overwhelmed: Are you having a break-down or a breakthrough?

Rehearse poverty regularly — restrict even moderate expenses for 1-2 weeks and give away 20%+ of minimally-used clothing — so you can think big and take “risks” without fear. (Seneca)

A mindset of scarcity (which breeds jealousy and unethical behavior) is due to a disdain for those things easily obtained. (Seneca)

A small cup of black Kenyan AA coffee with cinnamon on top, no milk or sweeteners.

It’s usually better to keep old resolutions than to make new ones.

Chloe Sevigny. ‘Nuff said.

To bring in a wonderful 2009, I’d like to quote from an email I received today from a mentor of more than a decade:

While many are wringing their hands, I recall the 1970s when we were suffering from an oil shock causing long lines at gas stations, rationing, and 55 MPH speed limits on Federal highways, a recession, very little venture capital ($50 million per year into VC firms), and, what President Jimmy Carter (wearing a sweater while addressing the Nation on TV because he had turned down the heat in the White House) called a “malaise”. It was during those times that two kids without any real college education, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, started companies that did pretty well. Opportunities abound in bad times as well as good times. In fact, the opportunities are often greater when the conventional wisdom is that everything is going into the toilet.

Well…we’re nearing the end of another great year, and, despite what we read about the outlook for 2009, we can look forward to a New Year filled with opportunities as well as stimulating challenges.

Happy New Year everyone!

Goofing around at a maid cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo. (Photo: David West)

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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182 Replies to “Things I've Learned and Loved in 2008”

  1. Hey Tim,

    Loved this post. I’ll incorporate the walking while bouncing a tennis ball into my routine tomorrow.

    2008 was full of crazy things I never thought I’d do. I went fully freelance and, thanks to your book, have some pretty massive things going for 2009.

    I’m beginning to lose weight (11lbs in 2 weeks) and tracking it on my blog, hoping to perhaps help anyone who might come along.

    Anyway, thanks for your book and if I could get a chance to talk with you through email I’d appreciate it. Not expecting it but thought I might try.

    Have a great New Year and I’m looking forward to your next book. And also, I’m kind of curious about the education system research you talked about in the video in your last post. (I’m an avid hater of public education).

    Thanks man!


  2. Karmic debt… I know this blog isn’t about spirituality but sometimes I wonder if all those torrents I’ve downloaded will come back to haunt me in some way.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, Tim.

    I’ve been telling fellow directors, actors, producers & writers about 4HWW since it was released. You have many fans in Los Angeles.

    Hope to work/play with you in some capacity, soon.

    All the best,


  4. karmic neutrality? haha good one Tim. If that is really true, then how come Kim Jong Ill has not died of excessive karmic debt, yet?

  5. Why bounce a handball/tennis ball during the walk? Perhaps it is because the act is a simple one, but it takes just enough concentration to stimulate brain activity, thus allowing your mind to wander. At least that’s my hypothesis. Tim?

  6. Tim, this may be your best blog post of the year, in my opinion.

    I love this:

    “…If you strive to do anything remotely interesting, just expect a small percentage of the population to always find a way to take it personally. F*ck ‘em. There are no statues erected to critics.”

    Happy New Year Tim!

  7. Hi Tim,

    Thanks so much for all your efforts this past year, they have inspired and moved me. I only wish that I had 1/10th the creative juice that you had, but your ideas have helped me personally.

    I love the statues to critics idea.

    Best wishes for a fantastic 09.

  8. Happy New Year,

    I’m just amazed how you continue to love Japan — I thought my home country went out of fashion more than 10 years ago . . .

    Very good read — I especially like the slow meal and “What matters is how many people do” part.

  9. so much of what you said resonated with me. it came at a perfect time in my career and life…

    so many changes to be made, it is good i know have a better understanding of who i care to impress and what i am really striving for in my life.

  10. Great article.

    Probably one of the best.

    All the information is great.

    Keep up the great work and cant wait to see more things from you.

    Only moving ahead in 2009.

    Good luck.

  11. Thanks so much for commenting, all!

    To Bryan — why bounce a tennis ball or handball? — because it’s fun and makes you smile! It’s just enough to make you present-focused and pull you out of your preoccupied head for nice walk.

    Happy 2009! It’s going to be a great year 🙂

    G’night y pura vida a todos,


  12. Hi Tim,

    This was an awesome post. I wished I had spent some time doing what you did – recap the lessons I learnt last year. I especially like the point about not having to recoup your losses the way you made them. It applies to aspects of life other than finances too, I believe.

    Thanks for writing this. I’m going to sit down today or tomorrow and journal my personal lessons learnt. Great post!

  13. Happy New Years!!!!! Tim, you bring a smile to me when times are not that great!!! I really want to say THANKS AGAIN for inspiring hope : )


  14. @Tim

    Well… for me, one of the biggest highlights of 2008 has been getting hold of your book – 4HWW. And it is wonderful for all of us to be in touch with you – its an enriching experience 🙂

    Happy New Year to you too.

    Take care

  15. Tim,

    thanks for the book and all the cool ideas. It looks like it fits my situation really well.

    I’ll try the kenyan coffee and walk thing next.

  16. thanks for sharing these Tim!

    I had a pretty good year and one of my top 5 “magic moments” this year was reading your book and being so so so inspired by it

    I wish you well in 2009 my friend

    p.s. thanks for the Book recs. I’m always looking for good books to read. =)

  17. Tim thankyou so much for everything you have inspired us with this passed year.

    2009 looks to be one of my best yet- my fiance and I are going on our first mini retirement, to Chile for 4 months for snowboarding then on to Costa Rica/ Nicaragua to learn to surf for 2 months.

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou and we wish you all the best for 2009

  18. Tim,

    Words can not possibly express the profound impact your book, blog, and other ventures have had on my life. For Christmas I gave out over 30 copies of your book, and most of the recipients have already read the entire thing and have had the same “eureka moments” I experienced.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and being so open in embracing your readers (the live video chat was awesome). I’m only 20 minutes from Princeton, so next time you are in the area giving a presentation I’d love to check out.

    Thanks again Tim, and Happy New Year!

  19. With this new I have two words for you Tim: Thank you.

    You’ve changed my life, the way I look at the world.

    Greetings from Buenos Aires che!


  20. Thank YOU,

    KIm and I just wanted to say thank YOU (from Rio de Janeiro). Without your passion and commitment for creating a muse we wouldn’t have been inspired to create ours. We spent the last night of 2008 with 2 million people on Copacabana beach watching the fireworks (while are muse was ticking away)!

    From the beaches of Rio,

    Happy New Year

    Rob and Kim

  21. Hey Tim,

    That was really well structured. I think I’m going to head over to my blog and do the same for 2008. It sure was a fabulous read. I was just reading your entry in “You’ve Got to Read This Book” (co. Canfield,). It’s great summing up your life in terms of the book that’s influenced you the most.

    Keep up the amazing work on the blog! And keep the stories coming in. They’re great reads.

  22. Tim,

    Happy New Year– Great post. I would just like to say that I have always had an instinctive “the glass is 1/2 full mentallity”. Probably from my competitive athletic 27 year career. But you have really prodded me this year to take my life to the next level by taking more risk.

    I agree with you on a lot of things; namely that the amount of opportunity that is around us is at an all time high. I can tell you that after I read your book in June of 08 (and pulled my head out of my _ss) I accomplished more with my fitness business’s in Dec. (normally a slow time cause everyone is running around for X-mas like chickens with their heads cut off) then in the 11 months prior.

    Also reading your book has allowed me to think outside the box.

    As I was raised by a blue collar worker (great work ethic but little creativity and risk taking power) and being a truck driver myself for 18 years with the same mindset now find myself truly living a dream life. The main reason why is I started following people like you. And you know the old saying, “You turn into who you hang around”.

    So thanks so much for inspiring us all, keep up the great work. I am very much looking forward to your next book. If I can help you out in any way, please, let me know.

    I have learned a lot about fitness & health since I have been passionately studying the affects of intense athletic competition since 1979 as a drug free athlet.

    I also have had the luxury of being “arguably” the busiest professional fitness trainer in the world; as I have sold and serviced over 1.8 Million $$$$

    of one hour work-outs to a wide variety of clients.

    Professional athletes, stay at home house moms, CEO’s of big companies and small companies, mail-men, pastors, busy double income couples, to sick, diseased, and physically challenged individuals.

    Through the experience of passionatelly studying what works and does not work for fitness, fatloss, muscle gain, athleticism, stress reduction, energy management, and longevity; in over 18,000 work-outs with clients, and over 8,000 personal work-outs I have learned alot.

    Among one of the biggest things I have learned is that it is common knowledge what to eat, and how to train, but what is considerably more important than that is “how to think”. How to reframe situations and how to empower ones self with “looking at things from a different perspective”. This is the area that I am most passionate about and believe I have leaned the most. In fact; I have had several clients reverse diseases and physical limitations by focusing on some unique mental strategies that I have developed.

    In fact, as fast paced as today’s society is our attitude can take us up to new heights or down low to a deep dark place with in hours. So we need to stand guard over our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions daily. I found out that a fellow worker and person that I held dear for 10 years took his own life.

    But on the other hand I had a client save his life and basically reverse a disease with his thoughts.

    If you would like to check out a 3 minute video of his experience go to;

    [website and full information available at URL through Darin’s name. Sorry Darin — comment policy!]

    So any way Tim, I would love to help you in any way that I can; cause I know that like my buddy Tom Venuto’s new book “The Fatloss Solution”, your upcoming book has the potential to impact and save many, many lives.

    And I am also very interested in your mission to over haul the school system.

    I believe that guys like us, and the likes of Tony Robbins could do it.

    Let’s keep rocking baby in 09.

    Darin (The Chicago Kid)

  23. Excellent stuff – and an especially good throwback to two key blog posts (The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen and The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm).

    The concept of “routine enables innovation where it’s most valuable” has been a life-changer.

    Many Thanks!

  24. As always, great information and a tidbit to make us want more! As in, who do you owe the Karmic debt to? 🙂

    Thank you for starting off 2009 by giving me a workable lesson plan. I agree, while the major media report obstacles to growth and an economy gone south, all I see are opportunities. 🙂

  25. Tim and all-

    I anxiously await posts to this blog because its always entertaining, useful, and inspirational. I wish you all the best.

    Tim- A special thanks…You’re book has caused me to change my life and the way I look at it. I picked it up having no real idea what to expect while on a trip. I’ve read it over and over and given it to several friends and family members as a gift.


    Paul C.

  26. What a great reflection on the past – it is one of the ways we can better look into the future. Everyone should be taking some time out over the next few days to complete similar lists of their own.

    One thing I’m going to do is assess my previous year’s dreamline – and establish my next one. It’s going to be bigger and better of course.

    It’s been almost one year since reading 4HWW (first time). Since then I’ve left a stagnant corporate job, visited family and friends across the US, have plans to climb Mt Hood soon and leave for China and a wanderlust across SE Asia in one month.

    I’ve also set aside time to begin writing and helping others through tutoring and an exciting Birthday Challenge fundraiser for my local homeless shelter – it’s called Adrian’s Birthday Challenge and I recommend everyone to set up their own Birthday Challenge.

    Much love and respect to Tim and everyone else who sees this,

    Adrian Reif

  27. Hi Andre!

    I was at La Viruta on Monday night! It was great fun, even though I had to remain on the sidelines due to a complete lack of Tango training. Feliz Ano Nuevo!



  28. Your insights and policies are excellent. I wanted to add a comment about your non investment in public stocks because of the manipulation and putting your money into cash and fixed income securities.

    I agree 100% with your investment conclusions. Put your money in safe places and invest in areas that you know really well and have control of the outcome.

    You might want to consider getting out of the US Dollar. Even if you’re making 5% from fixed income, but the dollar’s value is dropping 10% a year, you’re losing 5% a year in “purchasing power.” Which is what ultimately everyone is after. As the US Dollar goes down, almost every aspect of our life in the US will get more expensive.

    A great book to read is Peter Schiff’s “Crash Proof.” He predicted the whole financial crisis we’re in now and gives very sound and conservative advice on where to put your money (fixed income assets outside the US Dollar).

    His site is

    Happy New Year

  29. great blog and I hope every one has a great 2009, I know I am working very hard at making mine the best ever.

  30. Tim,

    2008 started with me reading your book, but learning that there is more to you than just the book. You are an inspiring individual. I reference your philosophies on life often. Thanks for this post. Great read on the first day of the new year.


  31. Hey Tim,

    First of all, thank you for a wonderful book and an informative blog. Hope you keep sharing your thoughts with all of us.

    Second. Thanks to people like you, I finally started my media company and it’s going through a growth fase right now and soon i’ll be putting it all on auto pilot.

    Furthermore for this year; I want to help others acheive financial independance, start a private pilot licence, finish my last year of college and being abroad at least 4 months of the year. Is it easy? No, but it ain’t hard either.

    Greets and pura vida para ti tambien desde Holanda.

  32. Tim,

    We don’t know each other yet, but after reading your book + blog for the past year, you’ve become one of my top role models.

    Thanks for the high value you contribute to those of us who are serious when we say that we want to live life to its fullest.

    Wishing you a year full of excitement and inspiration…


  33. I like your point on recouping losses elsewhere.

    While it’s an expensive hobby to keep a spare house around, and it’s bad for business, I like the fact you trade-off between being a landlord vs. playing the game where your strengths and passions are. That’s good for business!

  34. Tim, wanted to share my New Year’s tradition with you:

    I spent the day creating the new year by mapping out my dreams for 2009. This helps me to visualize the year ahead and all its possibilities (not to mention helps breaks down the action steps needed to achieve them).

    Here’s wishing you even more adventures and success in 2009!

  35. Great post..its always good to learn from the mistakes and victories of someone that has inspired you…I hope to glean your wisdom and apply it practically to my life….is there any news on the continuation of the “Trail by Fire” Show?

  36. Tim

    Thanks for the great words of wisdom and book nods. For the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward to the New Year due to things I have put into action…many thoughts, views, and methods crystalized after reading 4HWW.

    Let me add my own saying that I came up with recently that helps me…

    “The road is littered with those who have given up in the face of adversity, but it is paved by those that persevere.”

    Thanks and Happy New Year everyone!

    Spencer Hope Davis

    Raleigh NC

  37. Tim’s linked comments about deliberating too much reducing one’s effectiveness reminds me of a quote from a column in the March, 2005 ESQUIRE: “”Winners have about a third the number of thoughts in a day as losers.”

    Also ZORBA THE GREEK is a great novel, and I know Tim didn’t read any fiction for a number of years, so I’m glad he’s learned that those who avoid fiction often don’t appreciate the special form of communication it is. Even Albert Einsten said, “”Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist, more than Gauss.” (Carl Friedrich Gauss was a renowned German scientist and mathematician.)

  38. Tim, loved the high protein and walking tip but most importantly the comments from your mentor put everything from the media in perspective. Everyone should slow done and take stock of their lives.

    Thanks Tim ! You really inspire me !

  39. Thanks for sharing! So many good links & tips in here!

    The photo of you w/ the maids is amazing. Your photos are so diverse and wild, they almost seem unreal at times.

  40. WOW, Tim — you really put a lot of thought into that! Thanks for wrapping it all up in a neat little package for our convenience 😀 Following your lead, Amigo, and still looking forward to our rendezvous with destiny on the tango floor when I finally get to gaze into your blue eyes and ask for that number in person 😉

    Here’s my wrap-up for the year following up on our Five-Year Cyber-Party inspired by our friend & mentor, Jack Canfield:

  41. Whoops! Should have put the link to my blog in the Website space (click my username to view “UPDATE 2009: HAPPY NEW YOU!!!”)

    Oh, and btw, Neuro-training rocks! (e.g., walking with tennis balls, etc. — check out the vid of our crew on a backwards walkabout the neighborhood in the “Naturally F1T Family” group on our freeschool network (see link above/”NFF Schedule” thread.) My son, Keith, was experimenting with special effects and such that week. Add a little excitement to your daily stroll and shift into reverse! LOL HAND-pda :o)

    Cheers ~

    Penne & the CanDo! Crew :o)

    Still hangin’ out here in sunny central Florida

    Where the Orange & Palm trees sway… just like in LA!

  42. Hola Tim,

    Life is meant to be awe-inspiring and I enjoy your pizzazz. I admire your insights and when you uncover false assumptions. Your level of output is vastly determined by the size of your questions and I benefit from your zest for life, no- nonsense approach (this is a gorgeous quality) and your skills to think big, act bold and live a larger life (with purpose) each time you face adversity or success. So, continue doing your best, think bigger and aim higher.

    By the way, I just requested your 2008 favorite reads from the public library (4hwk made it to the Los Angeles Public Library’s most requested Non-fiction titles- congrats).

    Aside from those two books, I also added Radical Honesty to my reading list and will do a 21-day no-compliant experiment to start off the New Year…can’t wait.

  43. Correction: I meant to say that I will join in and do a 21-day no-complaint experiment, though a no-compliant experiment would be fun too.

  44. Hey Tim, great advice, I especially like the thoughts on recouping losses. As someone who rents out an investment property dealing with tenants can be a costly and time consuming nightmare if you get the wrong people which has happened to me in the past. It’s a bit of Russian roulette. Anyway it might even be a profit if you have it long enough!

  45. Yet another great post! I especially like the part about ‘You don’t have to recoup losses the same way you lose them.’. That’s a great point and I think people stress too much about money. For example owners of a home should worry less about their investment and enjoy the fact that they have a place to live. Same with renters, stop feeling guilt that your ‘blowing’ away your money.

    Hope you have a great 09 Tim!

  46. I loved the post. Especially the mention of Zorba as a practical philosophy read. I have been advocating the same book to all my friends for years and when i find myself in unpleasant situations, i ask “what would zorba do?”


  47. I have bookmarked this post and also added a few quotes from it to an inspiration file that I have for when I need a few pick me ups. There are a few parts that I would like to have made into wall decals, especially the part about having a break-down or a breakthrough.

    Thank you for inspiring me in 2008 and I wish much success to you and to everyone in 2009.

  48. “One of the most universal causes of self-doubt and depression: trying to impress people you don’t like”.

    This is a great point. Trying to impress the wrong people means you are constantly thinking about the people you don’t like, and bringing yourself down. Great advice to try to impress the people that you want to emulate.

  49. Need a book reco from Tim or others in the comments section.

    Looking for a book to help jumpstart the changes I’m implementing for the next twelve months. Something to keep the focus.


  50. Your house will sell when it’s priced right! Renters are no big deal when you get the right ones. If you can write a book, you can rent a house. I rent 100’s annually, there’s nothing to it.

  51. Thanks for the whack up side the head with this post! Just what I needed to realign my brain and it’ll make a great cribsheet…

    Pura Vida!

  52. Hi Tim,

    First of all I want to wish you a very happy new year as well and thank you for your compliment about my English here on your blog. (I’m the Dutch guy, remember?).

    Second, your book was the most inspiring I read last year. Not just because it is well written, but you do what you teach and this is very important. It motivates me to motivate other people as well. And because I always preach to people around me that nothing is impossible if you are focused enough, I have this ‘outlandish plan’ this year: becoming a corpse on one of the CSI shows.

    I choose this goal when I was thinking about this question in your book: ‘What would excite me?’

    When I make it, I have the proof for others that they can achieve their goals also.

    Thank you so much for all and keep up your good work!


  53. Maybe I’m missing something. Communication is to write to you at Twitter, but since you are following ZERO people, how are we to answer your question about The Chair?

    I think The Chair looks really uncomfortable. Go for comfort, Tim.


  54. Tim,

    In 2008, I read your book for the first time. Things have never been the same. Thanks for the constant inspiration and introspection.


  55. Tim, over the New Years holiday I was discussing your “trial by fire” theory of learning new skills with my father; that is, streamlining the learning process to the core learning points and pretty much dispensing with everything else. Neither of us had seen the show. History Channel chose not to broadcast it in Canada 🙁 .

    My father insisted that there’s no possible way that one can become as adept at a new skill in such a short time – say, learning a new language – as someone who’s studied for years. The conversation actually got quite heated.

    I got to wondering if it’s a generational thing. Have you found that young people are more willing to accept the possibility that the traditional style of learning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? My theory, based on my own very limited experience, is that those over 40 generally tend to view traditional learning as the tried and true method, the one and only way, that actually works, while younger people tend to be more open to the possibility of new and different learning formats.

    I think it might be because those over 40 are generally finished with their formal education, and there may be this element of, “If I had to do it, then everyone else has to do it too!” going on. When they find out there’s a viable short-cut, they may feel somewhat cheated.

    (For the record, I’m 48 but tend to be a bit of an iconoclast, especially when it comes to learning.)

    Just curious to see if your experience mirrors mine.

    Happy New Year, Tim!

  56. Tim,

    Even though we’ve never met, I consider you a mentor. You’ve inspired me to set goals and take on challenges in 2008 that I thought were too big to rise above. Now that I’ve conquered those I am looking forward to bigger challenges in 2009.

    See you around.


  57. Great blog, as usual. I gave my brother a copy of your book for Christmas and, as expected, it’s totally changed his life, like it did mine.

    2009 is starting out great, despite what the nay-sayers in the media are blathering on about.

    Thanks Tim!

  58. Hi All!

    Thank you so much for continuing the dialogue with great comments! Thank you also for the kind words about the book and blog. Just remember, though: when you get results, it’s you who does it, so you should give yourselves a big pat on the back. I just write the words 🙂

    @Marvin – regarding generational differences to learning. First a quote from you:

    “My father insisted that there’s no possible way that one can become as adept at a new skill in such a short time – say, learning a new language – as someone who’s studied for years. The conversation actually got quite heated.

    I got to wondering if it’s a generational thing.”

    Tim: I think there are a number of potential causes for this:

    1) As you pointed out, there can be an “I’ve paid my dues and so should you” emotional response. If I spent 10 years busting my ass reciting grammar tables, I certainly don’t want to hear that I wasted 9.5 of those years.

    2) Older generations, since the beginning of time it seems, have proudly considered younger generations lazy. I don’t think they are totally to blame, though, as this could be partially because…

    3) Many of the tools and options we have now in a flat digital world simply didn’t exist 20 years ago. The online zeitgeist also — for better and worse — has a uniform lack of respect for conventional methods, so it’s easier to find successful cases of experimentalists doing things faster, cheaper, and smarter.

    Hope that helps!

    Pura vida,


  59. I like the idea of the walk bouncing the ball – but for a different reason…

    It make me think of the original rocky movie –

    and then I think about Tony Robbins talking about how Rocky came to be –

    it doesn’t get much more inspirational than that – I still can’t believe Sly had to sell his dog…

    best of luck in 09 Tim

    See you on the mat someday –

  60. Having just finished billionaire Richard Branson’s new book BUSINESS STRIPPED BARE, it’s clear that an anti-learning-things-quickly attitude is certainly not an age thing, because Branson (who was born in 1950) says in the book that one thing that drives business commentators CRAZY is how he has succeeded in so many different businesses and how he has mastered them so quickly. Here’s a quote Branson gave to “Forbes” in their February 24, 1997 issue: “If you can run one company, you can run any company. You can learn the nuances of a particular industry IN TWO MONTHS.” Branson said that in 1997 and he said it again (in his new book) in 2008, so he must be on to something.