13 X-Mas Gifts That Can Change (or Save) Your Life

Playing Santa isn’t easy. (Credit: GarlandCannon)

I dislike shopping, but I love finding the perfect gift.

Finding that gift, though, gets harder with time. Those damn adults seem to already have everything. That includes me.

More salt and pepper shakers? Nah. Alternate versions of the shirts I got last year? No, thank you. In the eternal quest to eliminate clutter, I now give Santa a not-to-buy list instead of a wish list.

If you’re having trouble thinking up killer (in the good sense) gifts, here are 12 goods that deliver.

All of them have either changed my life or saved my ass…

#1 – Israeli SilentEar Ear Plugs – $17.90 for trial pack

I have tried almost every earplug and noise-canceling gadget on the market, from $1 throw-away pairs to Bose headsets. I wasn’t really satisfied until I ordered these SilentEar plugs, introduced to me by Andrew Rosca when we were traveling in Vietnam. Get the trail pack, which includes multiple sizes. It’s not fun to order the wrong size and have to re-order.

#2 – Zorba the Greek – $10.20

Zorba the Greek is one of the two most impactful books (the other is the short Letters from a Stoic) I’ve read in the last two years. It’s both Epicurean and Stoic philosophies wrapped into a laugh-out-loud story you will never forget.

#3 – Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Color Mobile Scanner – $242.99

This is the only scanner I have ever liked. Like isn’t strong enough. I love this scanner and have used it to remove at least 90% of the paper from my life. No more binders and folders for records, no more stacks on tables and desks.

I’ve never had a single paper jam, and it’s small enough to throw in a backpack for travel.

#4 – YouBar Customizable Protein Bars – $15+

Forget the maltodextrin-laden candy bars masquerading as meal-replacement bars. Adding protein to a Snickers bar does not make it good for you.

Skip to YouBars and create your own from all-natural ingredients. I suggest about 12 grams of protein per bar for optimal texture. Delicious and unique to you. They will even label the bars with someone else’s name for gifts.

#5 – Kershaw Ken Onion Leek Serrated Folding Knife with Speed Safe – $36.30

I have collected knives since taking pack trips through the Teton mountain range as a teenager.

This Kershaw knife with “open-assist” (basically a side-opening switchblade) is the most all-around convenient and beautiful knife I currently own. Fixed blade knives are awesome, but the balance and utility of this Kershaw blade is outstanding.

Be sure to get it with the serrated edge.

#6 – The 4-Hour Workweek Organic Yerba Mate Set – All profits go to DonorsChoose.org – $49 (only 250 sets available)

This is an exciting one for me. Samovar Tea and I have partnered to create an Argentine yerba mate set of three mate blends!

Here’s the bonus: All profits will go to DonorsChoose.org to benefit US public school students, and when you buy the set ($49), you get a $50 gift card to DonorsChoose! For obvious reasons, this is limited to 250 sets.

Yerba mate, with it’s unique nutrient and stimulant composition, is my favorite beverage on the planet. 3-4 hours of kick-ass zen productivity with no caffeine crash. Most people have never tried organic mate, and this is your chance.

#7 – Motor Trend 11-410 Power Center Jumpstart with Compressor – $84.16

I bought this Motor Trend device after getting stranded at the airport due to a dead battery. This compact powerhouse has prevented disaster on at least half a dozen occasions. From inflating tires to jumping the car without a second car, this is the Swiss army knife of fixing car trouble. I don’t take any trips without it.

Sidenote: The reason my battery was dead the first time? GPS plugged into the adapter. Even though it was turned off, it was draining the battery while I traveled. Unplug or be prepared.

#8 – Logitech Squeezebox Boom – $275.37

The Logitech Squeezebox Boom was my introduction to Internet radio streaming at home. Though I now use Sonos for higher-end playing, Sonos costs 4-6x as much as this simple and compact device. The Boom allowed me to listen to Pandora (here is my channel) and Rhapsody, the only two places where I now find and listen to music, while jamming on whatever needed jamming.

I haven’t seen anything better for the price.

#9 – Kindle with Global Wireless – $259

I resisted the Kindle for ages, as I like to take copious notes in my books. Then I went traveling with Matt Mullenweg and Kevin Rose on two trips. Then two things happened. First, note-taking became possible (which you can export as text files), and second, I was getting scoliosis from carrying a stack of books with me while Matt and Kevin sat pretty with their slim Kindles.

So I bought one. Now I won’t go anywhere without it, though I still prefer reading paper at home, so I often get both paper and digital copies of books I like.

#10 – Aqua Sphere Kaiman Swim Goggles – $11+

Some of you might recall how I conquered my fear of swimming. I went from a maximum of two laps to almost two miles in about two months. It’s still hard to believe.

In doing so, I logged a lot of swim time–I now love swimming–and tried every goggle out there. These are the bomb and elegantly seal the eye chamber without me feeling like my eyeballs are getting sucked out of my head. In world where it is rare, these puppies are comfortable and stay in place.

#11 – Sous Vide Supreme – $449

I first saw this French-inspired water oven, designed by Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, demonstrated by the world-famous Heston Blumenthal, head chef at the Fat Duck restaurant in the UK, which was voted by his peers as the best restaurant in the world in 2005. This is the first device to allow the “sous vide” method (French for “under vacuum”) of cooking at home.

I had the single best chicken and steak of my life using this machine. It is possible to evenly cook just about anything while retaining all of the juices. From main courses to desserts, Heston called it the greatest home cooking innovation of the last several decades.

#12 – Dedicated Virtual Assistant Through AskSunday – $279

AskSunday is the personal outsourcing service I’ve used most in the last two years. Speed-dial a NY 212 number and get connected to someone in India or the Philippines who speaks English well and can do just about anything. For everything from fact-checking to travel on the run, it makes life infinitely easier.

#13 – The New and Expanded 4-Hour Workweek – $14.85 (Kindle $9.99)

First, let me apologize, as I know this is my book. But there is a good reason.

The truth of the matter is that since April 2007 when this book first came out, my life has changed dramatically. It’s hard to believe how much has happened. 100s of case studies have come over the transom from 35+ countries, I’ve found gaps in the material, more families have provided tips, and this new and expanded edition adds in everything I’ve wanted to add for the last 2.5 years. It quite simply applies to more people and provides more examples.

Don’t get me wrong: the older edition still works just fine. This version is just better, and includes the best updated resources as voted on by 60,000+ people.

If you order two copies, you can get free shipping, so why not give one to your friend or dog? Dogs love the 4-Hour Workweek.

I will also do a live 2-hour Q&A on Dec. 22nd for all who order now. Take a perusal through the new edition and think up some questions!


Happy hunting!

May you get what’s on your wish list, and give the same to your loved ones.

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.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

179 Replies to “13 X-Mas Gifts That Can Change (or Save) Your Life”

  1. Love the list bro. The Kindle is one gift that I am dying to get. And your book is the one gift that I am giving the most this year. No one can understand when I tell them that time shouldn’t be an issue.

  2. nice post tim. will have to get the new edition of your book 🙂

    what do you mean by “global wireless” on the new kindle? I am assuming you can hook up at wifi spots, but does it have some type of other mobile internet connection? do you have to pay data usage when downloading books?

  3. I love my Kindle….but I still enjoy making physical notes in regular books. Do you have any suggestions for organizing your notes from your Kindle?

  4. I picked up a Kindle 2 a few weeks ago as well, and although I’m not about to drop the $300+ AUD on another one as a gift, I will continue to brag about it friends and family because it’s so amazing. It’s fantastic that I can read the first 1-2 chapters of so many books instead of simply perusing the blurb like you have to do in book stores.

    But this post is going to cost me a bit of money because now I have to pick up Zorba the Greek and buy the tea set. I’d preorder the new version of 4HWW but it seems silly to buy a paperback book with the Kindle in hand. Is there going to be a Kindel version available at launch? Or is there some other eBook store I could get it from? 🙂

  5. Oh yeah, forgot to add that you should add to the list “an assistant from Bangladesh”, which I am getting my mother this year. <– Best gift ever!

  6. Hey just an extra question, does yerba mate go off? And how long does that take because i found and old (sealed) bag that has to be a year old and im not sure if it will still be good


    -Michael Banfield

  7. Great list Tim and going to pick a few things off the list for sure…

    Looking forward to the updated book as well! Ordered it a few weeks ago and might have to pick up a few more copies…

    When is your next book scheduled to come out?

    Be well and chat soon!

  8. For swim goggles, I recommend the Swedish Goggles. They are extremely inexpensive $4-5, and are a top choice by many. They were engineered for the Swedish Olympic swim team several Olympiads ago. They are extremely light weight, custom fit (because you dial in everything about them), and they create a great seal with almost zero pressure on your eyes sockets. If you are used to goggles with foam or rubber seals, these may seem counter-intuitive since they have no seal around the edge… it is simply the lense itself. They work great. I have used them for over 15 years now, since my days of competitive swimming in junior high.

  9. Great list!! I know this took a lot of thought. You just made my Holiday shopping much easier. I am definitely going for the work out bar because the snickers bar is adding too much to my turkey neck. I’ve been fighting the kindle idea…love the real thing. You know, like no implants. I want the new expanded version of your book…love the original and still get goose bumps from excitement when I listen to it on cd in the car! It just has that dream we all want to live. Oh yeah, the ScanSnap is a must have, tired of all the paper. Well, I’m done for the season. Thanks again for all the hard work! How much for the pooch shot with the Santa hat? That’s the winner!

  10. Hell yeah, I missed that list last year!!! Glad to see it back, though I think I have 4 of the 12 already….lol



  11. Hi All,

    Thanks for the comments! Just to answer a few questions:

    1) Yes, the new 4HWW is available on Kindle, for $9.99:


    2) Yes, yerba mate can go “off” or spoil. I still drink older stuff, as it’s bitter no matter what, but I try and replace after 4-5 months if you’re not sealing it air-tight in a bag of some type. In the end, Argies will use the same bag for 6 months+, so around there is fine.

    Any of your top gift suggestions?


    1. Hi Tim.

      In your book your mentioned the “Canon Powershot” as

      your favourite camera.

      Didn’t see it on the website list.

      Just wondered if you still feel the same about it?

      If so which model ?


  12. Nice one on the SilentEar earplugs. My motorcycle is my main vehicle so I use earplugs daily. First though that came to mind was “will the flanges fit in the helmet?” but according to their sales page, it looks like it will. Good stuff. Thanks Tim.

  13. These guys are solid http://www.cubesquareinformatics.com/ … I’ve been working with them for a few months now…very workflow oriented stuff so not a ton of free thinking tasks…but they’re incredibly affordable ($3! an hour for basics)

    Great list Tim, I can see myself buying and wanting a few of these…if you know any fitness beginners or someone looking for something new, check out kettlebells…the all in one gym in a barbell. I can’t speak higher of them, perfect for compact intense effective workouts. The workouts can really go anaerobic and benefit runners too.

    I plan to read through the updated 4 hour work week and see if there’s anything more to pull into my project site for testing. Hope the fitness book and your travels are experiences to remember.

  14. Glad to hear you like the ear plugs. I don’t travel anywhere without them anymore, and I have a pair in my night stand for lazy fall weekend mornings when those ~!@#$%^ leafblowers howl outside.

    Great list as always! Shameless plug at the end 😉 but hey, the book is worth every penny!

  15. The Neat Desk is on my wish list! In addition to scanning business cards, receipts and documents it has intelligent software that picks out the important items (like location, date, amount) and then uploads it so you can assign tax codes to it. Helps simplify April 15th! Then for contacts it synchs with your outlook contacts so your phone is always up to date. Hotness! On another note, the foo dog for the blog posting makes me laugh!

  16. Woops. Should’ve clarified. Since I’m Down Under there appears to be licensing restrictions for the Kindle version of the book. I’ll buy it anyways but it’d be cool if there was some way I could get a digital copy. 🙂

  17. Gift idea: http://www.fitbit.com/

    Wear it all day and all night, tracks your moving and sleeping patterns, syncs wirelessly with your computer. Not bad at $100 (if you can get one–they are temporarily backordered).

    From the website:

    The Fitbit Tracker contains a motion sensor like the ones found in the Nintendo Wii. The Tracker senses your motion in three dimensions and converts this into useful information about your daily activities. The Tracker measures the intensity and duration of your physical activities, calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled, how long it took you to fall asleep, the number of times you woke up throughout the night and how long you were actually asleep vs just lying in bed. You can wear the Tracker loosely in your pocket or clipped to your clothing, even bras.

  18. Animals love using my roof for a trampoline during the early hours of the morning, so I lose a lot of sleep. Thanks for the tip on the earplugs. I’ve been looking for a good brand. I’ll have to try these out.

  19. Tim,

    Thanks for the gift guide…. This could get me in trouble!

    I’m intrigued by the Sous Vide cooker, do you use it? If so, what’s your experience with it… seems somewhat inefficient. From the example on the site, they show preparing each food type individually and then pulling them out to make one dish. But it doesn’t look like you can easily do this, since the time to cook is a few hours for most dishes

    Would like to see the Tim Ferriss guide to Sous Vide… see if you can use it in everyday situations.. Then I could see the true potential of this machine.


  20. Just treated myself to a Yerba Mate set. Thanks for the tip.

    Didn’t realize we carried the same knife. Love my leek.

  21. Jose’s 09 Make it Mine- Holiday List:

    1.) Great VAs who provide screen shots of work done and will work from $.95 cents an hour to $14 an hour. No budget is too small, there is much talent and people available.http://www.odesk.com/w/

    2.) IF you must run Windows on a mac, New Fusion 3 by VM -Ware:


    3.) Classic book on dealing with people:


    4.) I love t-shirts- These are my favorite – Viva AMericaN ApP…


    5.) Love NIKE running shoes, but never the style in stores- http://nikeid.nike.com/nikeid/index.jsp Made to order and fairly quick.

    Happy Holiday Seaons!!!


  22. Any more news on the live Q&A? I plan to buy the expanded edition locally and would love to know how to participate after purchasing.

    Three gift ideas of items I own I always get asked about:

    Belkin Surge Protector with Remote Control – $35:


    Bath & Body Works Men’s Cologne – $24 (more women ask me about what I’m wearing than any other I’ve used; no joke)


    Dynaflex Gryoball – $35:

    http://bit.ly/6WtjGW or I prefer http://bit.ly/5Hrg6H

  23. Well, I wish someone would invent and sell “The can of TRUTH”… lol. You spray it on your FINICIAL ADVISORS…and if someone is lying, they turn purple. It would be kind of like marked money. That’s my Holiday gift suggestion.

  24. My top pick are Vibram Five Fingers, hands down. Both changed my life and saved my ass a majority of times, lol.


    Sooooo, super thankful for Vibram Shoes 🙂 Super easy to travel with and fun conversation icebreaker. Oh yeah! Luv’em, fits my lifestyle to a T.

    Someone you know is shy? Had them over a pair of these shoes, they’ll enjoy the attention.

  25. Everyone keeps raving about the Kindle, but I think Apple’s gonna drop a huge game changer with their tablet coming out soon.

    Tim anyway of getting the new book before Dec. 15th if we don’t have a Kindle? I’m on vacation then and it’d be a great read for the beach!

  26. per the latest round of FTC requirements, you should probably start adding disclaimers to when you get paid by the links (e.g. affiliate commissions..)., or at least check with your legal council.

    those earplugs are awesome, except for sleeping…at least for me.

  27. Ditto on the Vibram Five Fingers. Bought them after first seeing my friend bring them as one of only 2 pairs of shoes on a 19,000 mile bike ride from Alaska to Argentina (http://anticompass.com) and then Tim recommending them. Best pair of running shoes/conversation starter I own 🙂

  28. Hi Tim,

    Good post. Would love to be able to buy your new book on my International Kindle, but because I am an expat in Norway I am not able to get it as the Kindle version in Europe. Way to go publishers!

    I probably will crack and buy it as a hardcopy, but wish I could cut down on my travel weight by just having it digital.

  29. On traveling with pocket knives, do they have to always be checked in? I’m a carry-on-only person.

    Another vote for the Vibram Five Fingers. I wear my KSOs 90-95% of the time.

  30. Hi Tim, great post!

    I am very happy you talked about Zorba the Greek. It happens that this is my favorite book and a book I can always go back to when I encounter turbulence in my life. It was actually the first book that invoked an emotional reaction from me: when I finished it, I hugged it and kissed it!! haha

    Whenever I am scared to try something, whenever I am overthinking, whenever I am not enjoying life as I could, Zorba is there and teaches me a lesson! Plus, he gave dancing a whole new meaning, by communicating through body language instead of words…



  31. The Sous Vide Supreme looks interesting. I currently Sous Vide with an $140.00 Arberins.com Sous Vide controller that I use plugged into a 35 Cup Rice cooker. I just did our Thanksgiving Turkey this way, and due to it’s success I will be trying a Duck next weekend. I also use an aquarium pump with some silicon tubing to circulate the water to do a true impression of an Immersion Circulator like the pro’s use.

    If you haven’t yet invested in a Sous Vide Supreme, I’d also take a look at other cooking controllers on the market that will allow you to pick your vessil size, incase the 9.9″/12.6″/6.8″ capacity of the Sous Vide Supreme won’t do everything you want it to.

  32. I have read your book “The 4-Hour Workweek”.

    It’s “awesome” “????”?”??” .

    I have started internet business lately.

    I am traveling addict, multi-language learner.

    I care too much health.

    You taught me how to live my ideal life-style.


    Takehisa Hosomi from Tokyo.

  33. Hi Tim, and thanks for a great list of ideas!

    About your love affair with this scanner: You see, I’ve been looking around the internet for that kind of product, and I stumbled across the Neat Receipt from the Neat Company. Have you got an opinion on those?

  34. Tim great list, I am always trying differing brands of ear plugs to find “the ones” for me so your recommendation is great, just ordered a trail pack.

    Thanks Have a great Xmas.

  35. Hi Tim,

    Have you seen the Nook? It’s Barnes and Noble’s version of the Kindle. It has a few extra features and is the same price.

    I appreciate your blog. Hope you have a blessed holiday.

  36. I consider myself an earplug connoisseur but I haven’t trid those earplugs. They are only 32dB noise reduction — you can buy 33dB ones at any drug store. But maybe this “block all frequencies” thing isn’t mumbo jumbo and actually is a difference worth caring about. I’ll try em! Thanks Tim.

  37. Youbars! What a fantastic idea. Totally brilliant. I can never find the right combo that also lacks added sugars.

    Thanks, Tim!

  38. Tim,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I TRUST your recommendations.

    Also, today the new FTC regulations go into effect about affiliate links/testimonials. Just be sure to disclose somewhere on your site (“conspicuously” as the regulations say) that you earn a small commission off any products linked to/purchase through the site.


  39. I love my Kindle, but I still like taking physical notes in a “real” book. Tim do you have any suggestions on organizing your Kindle notes?

  40. Youbars, not that’s something new!

    That is a wicked idea because all the stuff out there is pure sugar and leaves me searching for toothpicks or a toothbrush. Not very convenient when you’re on the run.

    Thanks Tim!

  41. Tim,

    I pre-ordered the new 4HWW several weeks ago, and would like to engage in the live Q&A you mention. Where does one find more information on this Q&A?

    Thank you,


  42. Tim,

    Great post as always!

    I am curious about the Sous Vide Supreme cooking methodology. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but I know you are incredibly busy, so I’d like to open this question up to the group also.

    Does anyone know if cooking your food in plastic bags is dangerous? I remember the criticisms that Nalgene and plastic water bottles received about leaking toxins into drinking water after being exposed to direct sunlight.

    Is it dangerous at all to cook food in plastic bags at temperatures between 120-190 degrees Fahrenheit?

    Thanks for your time!


  43. I’ve been looking at gifting premium subscriptions to software services like Evernote (www.evernote.com), Remember The Milk (www.rememberthemilk.com), ReQall (www.reqall.com) or Mozy (www.mozy.com). I for one use these services on a daily basis and now find them indispensable, as do many of the people I shop for.

    Plus the comments on the Vibram 5 finger shoes make me want to direct people shopping for me here! 🙂 I must have a pair!

  44. Was thinking of giving Snuggies and Chia Obamas but after this list may reconsider… 😉 Probably will hit up the Amazon prime account to send out the new 4HWW and some other books…

    If everyone didn’t make fun of me when I wear my Vibram’s, I think the shoes would be excellent gifts for actives

  45. Amazon lists a bunch of sizes for the Aqua Spheres. Anyone have tips on fit? I can’t find a size guide anywhere (including mfg’s site).


  46. Love the dog pic! Grateful for your work- think u may be Napoleon Hill in a last life?

    Want to post your dog reading 4HWW on my site!

    Sending you JOY!

    Chris Souchack

  47. Any chance I could get you to add my book, Waltzing Australia, to your wish list? Not remotely stoic, but a good read — and some people have told me it has changed their lives.

  48. My swimming goggles broke last week :(. Time for some new ones :), I’ll start with the ones you recommend and see if they pass QA, ha ha. Thanks for an awesome list.

  49. You need an external hard drive to back up all those glorious writing files on your computer 😀 Otherwise, maybe a Digital Pen Scanner (it scans everything you write and makes a digital copy of it for you)…great for authors and students 😀 My personal favorite Christmas toy: http://joby.com/gorillapod

    Tim you need a disclaimer: Be careful when using this list on women… women are not as pragmatic. 😀 Things like appliances, gadgets, self-help books, Virtual Assistants, food can carry a lot of “implied” meanings. Women don’t always want something “useful” or that YOU think will “change” their life; Women want to feel pretty or appreciated.

    For mom/wife/family: a spa treatment, a thoughtful excursion together, jewelry, high quality lotions, extended hug and “I love you.” For female friend/co-worker: a candle, plant(not flowers!), hand-written token of appreciation/respect (in a card).

  50. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 Color Mobile Scanner seems like a great idea to remove paper from your life. My question is: where do you safely and securely store all those digital copies? Do you use any off-site backup services for your digital files?

  51. MozyHome works pretty well for me – on both Mac and PC. MozyPro needs a lot work, however – the interface is extremely convoluted and not user friendly at all.

  52. I have been using SousVideMagic/Tiger rice cooker (14L) for two years for sous vide cooking and I have been getting professional results.

    Sous Vide Supreme looks good but it is just a bath with no built-in circulation and the pot is not removable. Sensing is done outside the water. I don’t see how accurate it can get.

  53. Tim,

    Nice list. Thanks. And here I was thinking I was going to keep my personal Christmas shopping list under $1000. 🙂

    Still a little leery about Kindle because of the whole digital rights management issue. Need to check on some open source possibilities before I take the plunge.

  54. how does ask sunday compare with elance…

    have been using elance for a couple of projects….been a good experience….would like better

  55. Thanks for the heads up on Ken Onions knives.

    More of a Fallkniven F1 man myself.

    A real life saving knife, not your everyday carry though!

    Great list Tim.

  56. Did not understand why Zorba the Greek was so life changing. It would be great to hear your reasons!

    I read it and thought Zorba was a happy, but deceptive guy just asking for an STD. He did have some good one-liners though.

    Definitely got to get a kindle this next year (with 4HWW of course).

    Agree with you on the Letters from a Stoic though; one of the best books I’ve read.

  57. Dig the list Tim and am anticipating the updated book!

    Any ideas on lower priced wines out there that are still very good?

    How about a sturdy multipurpose bag for 10 day travel?

    I have a J-O-B but do hospital work 3 days per week so I’m able to travel 10 to 14 days and only take 36 hrs of “time off”. A co-worker of mine has been to India, Bhutan, Palestine and a few U.S. trips in the past 12 months. It’s not quite like owning a business but condensed workweeks in healthcare can offer flexibility and benefits or might complement a growing internet business.

    I have trips planned for Canada in Feb and Hawaii in March and hope to plan many more thanks to ideas from your book and blog!

    Thank You!

  58. If you read Kazantzakis’ autobiography, _Report to Greco_, you will find out that Zorba was real, somebody Kazantzakis actually knew.

    “Truly, the curtain embroidered with blossoms, birds, and men – this must be God. This world is not His vestment, as I once believed; it is God himself. Form and essence are identical. I had returned from my Aegean pilgrimage holding this certainty, this priceless booty. Zorba knew this, but could not say it. He danced it. I thought to myself, If only I can transform this dance into words!”

    Here’s my Solar Christmas List


    It includes solar cookers for Darfur refugees, a buy-one-give-one solar flashlight (and AA battery charger) for your own personal solar civil defense preparedness, and bees and trees from Heifer International which you can also use to offset your carbon footprint. My guess is that I’m pretty much green for as much air travel as I can stand due to a decade and a half of buying a bundle of trees each year for planting around the world.

  59. Guys don’t normally buy others guys a book, but they do if that guy is busting out something new in life.

    Nate Green commented above (click on his name for a sweet blog) and it made me remember his book “Made to Fit” he wrote last year.

    If you’ve got a pal who’s “getting into shape” or getting serious about how he looks, Nate wrote a really smooth book. I don’t get excited about many books, but this is truly the only one book a guy needs on the topic of fitness. Get’s straight to what’s important for most guys: Looking buff.


  60. I have to say that the Motorola Droid phone seems to be a nice Christmas gift. Why? Portability. The great video quality and the 5.0 MP camera (with zoom and flash) finally allows a media guy like me to combine my flip cam, still camera, voice recorder, 5G iPod, wristwatch, net book, and of course phone. I use gmail, g-calendars and g-docs already so it seems like a good set-up. I like the tethering feature too – possibly use it for my home wireless network.

    As it is now, I have to take my murse (man-purse) everywhere I go just to tote my tech tools. However, I don’t want to become one of those guys who lives on the thing.

  61. @Morgan, obviously an external drive will back-up all your digital files, but what if something happens to your home/office? Those are some REALLY important files that are just lost. I was hoping to get some suggestions on off-site back-up solutions. I’ve heard of a few out there, but was wondering if you, or Tim, had any suggestions.

  62. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll be ordering the earplugs today. The QuiteEar version, with less attenuation, looks useful as well.

    You say that Sonos is many times more expensive than the Logitech SqueezeBox Boom. I disagree. The Sonos now has their own “boom”, the S5, which costs $400 and offers a much better built-in speaker system. And you don’t need to purchase a controller if you use the free controller app for the iPhone or iPod touch (or the free PC/Mac app.)

  63. I love your recommendation of the Logitech Squeezebox Boom. I’ve never heard of a machine that could get internet radio! Internet radio is quickly becoming more accessible and more versatile than regular AM/FM radio. Does pandora work with it?

  64. Let’s not make generalisations or anything Morgan!!! Not all of us girls want pretty things for Christmas!

    Hey Tim, I am traveling and am in Vietnam at the moment. I am based in Australia ordinarily & just bought the Kindle 2 as Amazon have finally opened it to the rest of the world to buy. Can I buy your new version of the 4HWW electronically for my kindle as an Aussie? Or do I have to live in America? If the answer is the latter, do you have any plans to allow electronic access to the world’s citizens?

    Thank you for taking the time to compile your list.

    Cheers, Fiona Jones

    1. Hi Fiona,

      I hope it’s open to the world, but I’m not sure, to be honest. Fingers crossed that it’s the case!

      Happy holidays,


  65. what about the spiderco? I had one for years with the clip – that is what I like the best is the clipit version of the spiderco – stainless with the serrated edge – it would cut anything…

    I understand the balance but who throws a pocketknife? (unless you’re bond)

    just curious – great list!


  66. Tim,

    Here is my gift idea. I did this last year and it got a pretty good response. I am the second youngest of 5 twentysomethings. I kinda swiped the idea a little bit from the movie “Pay It Forward”, but I put my own twist on it.

    I decided there were a number of books, movies, and CDs that have been pretty influential in my life and have messages that would be good for my siblings to hear. I gave each of my siblings (including my sister in law) one of these items that I thought was particularly important for them to read. They were supposed to read/watch/listen to the item, then mail it to the person in the family they thought would need it next. Eventually, the item would be mailed to my parents so they could read/watch/listen and then they would keep them in a family library. It was a good way to give everyone in my family 5 gifts instead of just one, and share some of my favorites with them. We’re all lawyers, law students, or prospective law students so getting a reading assignment for Christmas doesn’t bother anybody.

    Last year’s list:

    “The Monk and the Riddle” for my sister-in-law who was struggling in a job she had no passion for.

    “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” for my married brother. I knew he would be having a kid soon, and thought it would be good for him to see what he should teach his child about finance.

    “E-Myth Revisited” for my brother/partner in crime. I could think of no better book to get him up to speed on the fundamentals of starting a business.

    “4HWW” for my sister. She hates her job. Feels like she’s way overworked and has a difficult time managing her schedule.

    “Karate Kid” for my college football playing younger brother. I find this to be a really motivational movie (I know its pretty cheesy). Mr. Miyagi has some great advice for life in general.

    The only real hold up was my sister. She ended up being a bottleneck in the process. I keep hounding her about 4HWW, but she’s stuck in that big law firm life style and it is making it very difficult to get through to her. You can take the book to a lawyer, but you can’t make her read…

    Anyway, this year I’ll probably change things up since a lot of the books last year were business oriented. I’m definitely going to put Ramit Sethi’s book in there. I’m going to check out “Zorba the Greek”. Perhaps George Friedman’s “The Next 100 Years” will be on the list, too. I’d like to find a health/physical fitness book. I personally like the Abs Diet from Men’s Health, but am always looking for something new. Any ideas?

  67. Is that even you or one of your minions? You’d think a best selling author wouldn’t need to flog Affiliate sales links to make money.

    1. LOL… I don’t need to flog affiliate sites to make money. You are correct. If that were the case, I’d have chosen less expensive items on average for higher conversion.

      Not using affiliate code when I’m going to recommend them anyhow just seems wasteful. The few cents Amazon will send me are just simple bonuses in passing, not the motivation.


  68. @Keith – well the easy solution would be to keep them in two separate locations or get a fire proof box. As for online storage… your research would be just as good as mine. I know it is all the “rage” they are saying but personally, once you give people your stuff nothing is ever sacrosanct. I work for intelligence… you release it and some monger can access it.

    @Fiona -Sorry, meant to merely stress the use caution. All of these could work for the right person. I definitely never said we all want pretty things or that even some of us do…although this is not a particularly crazy notion. I did say we like to feel pretty OR appreciated. A useful, potentially life changing book like the 4HWW can make us feel very appreciated for our passion of life, time, or entrepreneurship. 😀 Cheers

  69. @Fiona as far as I konw, you can buy it. I still don’t own a kindle (I am Italian), but I have had no problems buying kindle books from my “Kindle for pc” at Amazon.com. That is: it doesnt matter where you are from, amazon offers you to send the book to any of your Kindle “devices”.

    As for my whislist, this year I am going large packs of Dr. Bronner’s magic soap. Got the Idea from Leo Babauta’s zen habits. Great for treveling.

  70. My favorite knife for the past year or so has been a Gerber EAB. It’s a small moneyclip/knife that uses disposable razer blades. I keep it in the coin pocket on my jeans that otherwise would never be used for anything. I don’t worry about taking it off when traveling,and it’s never been a problem. Rapid Tools makes Serrated Razer Blades which fit perfectly if you cut a lot of rope.

    On the other side of the spectrum my favorite large knife is the Rekat Sifu. Unfortunately the company has gone out of business and they are no longer available. I’ve since stockpiled a few of them.


    If you eat out in fine dining environments you are most likely eating food that has been cooked in a plastic bag. Sous Vide is used quite often to offer a very consistent product to the end customer. BPA, which is the chemical that was leaching out of Nalgene water bottles is only found in hard polycarbonates. So that specific danger is not present. Another thing to keep in mind is you are typically cooking Sous Vide at much lower temperatures than other methods while still pasteurizing for safety. A good real world example of this would be Tuna at the local supermarket. You could compare canned tuna to the newer vacuum sealed pouches of tuna and you will notice a difference. This is because the canning process requires two stages of pasteurization at higher temperatures, while the vacuum packed tuna is only pasteurized once, and at a lower temperature.


    Cooking multiple dishes Sous Vide takes similar planning as cooking multiple dishes in your oven at the same time. Although it is difficult to “overcook” in Sous Vide. I also rarely cook a complete meal that only makes use of Sous Vide. It’s not really supposed to be a Crockpot replacement.

    P.S. +1 for Vibram FiveFinger KSO’s.

  71. Tim,

    loved your Xmas gift list specially the earplug ( I do travel and spend a lot of money on noise cancellation, last deception was the Monster Dr. Dre’s @ US$300 ) and the last SousVide machine .. I am dying to fly to US and get one for me, I have found sousvide cooking last year and actively sending out the word.

    But I am writing for another reason, I saw your upcoming trip possibly to Buenos Aires and wanted you to know that Brasil (São Paulo) is 2 hours away from there, most people speak english and spanish is somewhat close to brazilian portuguese and I bet you would have a lot of fun here. Let me know if you need tips or a place to stash the suit and shoes, would be a honor.


  72. Serrated? No way, straight is the way to go, more usable space at the most important part of the knife (close to the frame). I picked up a smaller CRKT M16 for a thanksgiving present to myself as I felt like a serial killer carrying around my larger one (any holiday warrants a present).

  73. S300 Scansnap Scanner

    I love this scanner too! It scans anything you can throw at it and does fine with those little gas station receipts. I have one in my car when I travel and just scan my receipts as I make purchases for reimbursement.

    Easiest way to keep digital copies is using Evernote. You can set up a profile for the Scansnap to scan directly to Evernote. What a timesaver and Evernote can search the text in the scans. You can then access your files from any computer.

    I somehow lost the USB power cord and cannot find a replacement anywhere. Not even Cables to Go. The dealer Scansnap sent me to wanted $27 shipping!

  74. Tim,

    Speaking of your new book, we’re all totally excited. I’m getting the Kindle version. But I was wondering, are you going to do an audio version of the new edition as well? I bought the CD form of the audio book a while back and stuck it on my ipod, (and it’s still the only thing on my ipod)

    And am I way out of line suggesting that you do the audio reading?

    The dude who blackstone audio hired to do the reading of the first edition seems a bit… hardcore/harsh/angry at times. I don’t think he fully captured the true hope, beauty, and positivity of the words. Regardless I listen to it, and only it, every day when I run. I just think it would be Ultra Awesome to hear you read it.

    Muchas Gracias in advance for your time!


  75. Hi Tim,

    Just want to thank you for all the information you put up on this blog, twitter, and your books.

    Thank you so much, you have enriched my life.

    Can’t say enough thanks


  76. Today I finally read all your blog posts (Including the ones from your old website) I read only for 15 minutes a day so it took many months but it was worth it. I just wanted to thank you for all the useful information on the blog and on your book ( I have read it 3 times already). You already allowed me to transform my life (which I thought it is a lot harder here in Colombia South America because many of your recommended resources wont work here). Today I work less than in 2008 and I am generating a lot more in terms of money, and fitness!!

    Ill Buy your new book right away!!

    Once more Thank you Tim Ferris!!!

    1. Dear Juan Carlos,

      WOW — thank you so much for reading all of the material! That’s a lot. Es un gran placer conocerte.

      Feliz Navidad y que tenga mucha suerte en el ano nuevo!


  77. I love the scanner idea tim! I cant count the times where that would have helped while I’m out meeting clients or even on the train reading the paper. I usually end up with at least 5-10 things I have ripped out of magazines and newspapers by the time I’m done with my commute.

  78. I’m looking forward to the new 4 HW. I have both audio book and the hard cover for reference. Definitely a must get. Looking forward to new case studies also an update on outsourcing.

    I’m not trying to kiss your ass or anything but you’re good. For those who have the discipline to pursue the stuff you write about it’s, it can actually work. Though some of it is bullshit.

  79. I second the notion of you narrating your book Tim. I have the audio book Zack mentioned… the guy’s voice does no justice to your book IMO. Come on, I know you’re just dying to let the Tony Robbins passion out of yourself 😉

  80. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for this post, I find these types of posts from you very interesting and I’m sure everybody agrees picking gifts can be challenging so it’s great to get some fresh ideas and quirky ideas. Quite an interesting little gadget I’ve come into contact with recently are these mini projection boxes my friend has started distributing over at http://www.beambox.co.uk/ . They have built in memory, weigh very little and allow you to watch films as long as you have a flat surface like a wall. Best wishes for the festive season!


  81. Great post! Thanks!

    As I am about to take off to Thailand and Uganda and start living like the NR this month, the ear plugs and 4-Hour Work Week (Revised Edition) on my Kindle are welcome additions the my list.

  82. I think the Sous vide thing is still a bit impractical for the home chef even though the supreme looks pretty sweet. Thomas Keller’s Under Pressure book talks all about how you just don’t get the same results with a “food saver” type device as you do with a restaurant-grade vacuum sealer – which costs quite a bit… and the idea of heating up plastic bags for 72+ hours makes me wonder where all those wonderful toxins go…

  83. I’ve actually never bought anything on that list besides your book for anyone, so I’m sure it’ll come in handy over the next few years.

    I’ve got a couple to add… I think tickets to an event someone hasn’t been to before is always a good way to go, like tickets to a fight in Vegas or something fun like that.

    For something small, listening always helps. My girlfriend doesn’t have her own Christmas ornament so I got her a hand made one with personal inscriptions from a place in Texas. She loved it 🙂

    Thanks for the list, I’ll be sure to save it!

  84. Tim was this filler?

    I`ve found that giving an amazing gift works better. When someone out of nowhere says oh I like this, buy something like that. Seriously it will save you tons of money and time. Seriously I had one friend spend $30 on my birthday and I felt it was a vein attempt to show up a bunch of college students, I had two friends who came with gifst that cost at total of less than $30 combined and they gave the two best gifts I could imagine, A bag of royal thai coffee which has a retail value of about $8, which is great because it shows that she knew I liked coffee and was personal because she was thai, the later was a book of MC Escher prints, which is one of my favorite things Ive ever gotten and that costs $12. So spend the 5 minutes learning what people like and you save yourself loads of money and time.

    When I buy a gift I either get something I know they want but wouldnt spend the money to buy, or a bottle of their favorite alcohol, or candy, because it always works to make sure that people feel thier tastes are respected and known.