Housekeeping: Getting in Front of VIPs and Building Schools

Banksy grafitti close to the Roundhouse, Camden Town, London (Photo: CanonSnapper)

Just two quick housekeeping items, then back to our regular programming — some fun content coming — next post.

First, how you can get your product or service in front of 200 influencers this week; second, an update on the overwhelmingly successful school campaign.


The “Opening the Kimono” event is fully booked, and — my goodness — what an audience it will be! Top bloggers, highest-followed Twitter users, authors of 20 or so New York Times bestsellers, the team that engineered virality for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, top executives from huge companies that are household names, and many more.

If you have a product or service you’d like to get in a gift bag for this 200-person group, please fill out this form ASAP. First responders get priority. Note that, if you’d like to do this, all physical products would need to be shipped to Napa, California to arrive no later than this Friday, August 19th


I am speechless about your birthday donations to Room to Read. I’ll have much more to say on this, but here are the basics:

– Of a target $20,000, you raised more than $30,000. Absolutely incredible.

– I will therefore match $30,000 instead of $20,000, for a total of $60,000, which means we can build THREE schools! Those schools will be built in Cambodia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, to be completed in spring of 2013.

– Instead of 20 names on plaques, we’ll therefore have 30 names (10 per school): 27 top donors, and the three top commenters/fundraisers, as voted on my all of you below. The #1 voted commenter will also get the promised round-trip ticket described in the last post.

Please vote on the below commenters, choosing the person you think was most effective as a fundraiser:

David Turnbull

Bjorn Karlman

Melissa Rachel Black

Rachel Rofe


Please see each of their comments below this voting box, and vote on your favorite here! I cannot thank you all enough. Much more soon…


David Turnbull

What does education mean to you?

Education, to me, is the opportunity for life to change for the better. It’s the one thing that can be consumed, but then reused forever. Once something is taught, its with the student for the rest of their life. It’s a long tail benefit with an enormous impact for both current and future generations.

And here’s what I’ve done:

1. I have a YouTube channel with over 33,000 subscribers. In the two recent videos I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time talking about this charity drive. You can find the videos below. (Skip to 3:00 for the relevant bit) (Skip to 2:58 for the relevant bit)

2. I also have a blog that receives upward of 20,000 visitors per day. I have done two blog posts where I mention this charity drive. At the moment, both of these are on the home page and probably will be for the next 24 hours.

You can find these blog posts here:

3. I have a Twitter account with just under 5000 followers. I’ve sent out two tweets asking for retweets. You can find them here:!/Nintendo3DSBlog/status/97159620669341697!/Nintendo3DSBlog/status/97618243363155968

I have also tracked the clicks from all of these sources, along with the retweets. You can find the details here: (make sure you include the + symbol at the end of the url).


Bjorn Karlman

Grattis på födelsedagen, Tim! (happy bday in my native Swedish).

Education to me is quite simply the leverage that allows individuals and societies to improve and grow. It is absolutely critical and I truly believe that the lack of it lies at the root of the majority of global problems. I ABSOLUTELY support Room to Read’s efforts to promote literacy and education.

As the Third Culture Kid of overseas nonprofit worker parents that invested over a decade of their lives to working on public health, education and medical projects in Africa and Asia, you definitely caught my attention with the Room to Read library building project.

I want to make a positive, international, sustainable and SMART impact for education in developing countries using today’s tools so your ephilanthropy ideas are like music to my ears. I officially work in health care philanthropy and I can say that you are miles ahead of most of the sector’s stateside fundraising professionals.

Here’s my stab at supporting your project (I share numbers/measurement backup sheepishly as I am only starting out in my quest to do good online and you and several of your readers are clearly already demigods in the arena):

1) I made an online donation

2) I tweeted from different angles about the project to my (wait for it…) 345 followers

3) I posted to both my personal page (with a very international and well-traveled 1135 friends) and my blog fan page on Facebook 317 fans

4) I wrote a blog post focusing on the importance of doing what REALLY matters and including multiple links for people to give to your project. (I am working hard on expanding the blog and currently it has a worldwide Alexa world wide ranking of #678,322 and stateside #54,940. It ranks as “relatively popular” (#140) in the Chico-Redding, CA area where I live and in San Francisco (#20,403). Alexa estimates the positive 3-month increase in global reach for the blog at 960%. I am trying to employ MED rules to keep this momentum going while avoiding burnout)

5) Emailed my blog subscribers (AWeber results show a 50% + opening average on the emails I send to them)

6) Posted two links (one directly to the cause page and one to my post) to my other accounts: (Google Buzz, Gtalk Status, MySpace, LinkedIn,, FriendFeed, Flickr)

7) Sold my wife on the cause and the donation 🙂

Alright, that about covers it. I am drawing inspiration from the following 4HWW passage about the Princeton undergrads that you urged to compete for the RT trip ticket to anywhere in the world:

“It was a difficult challenge, perhaps impossible, and the other students would outdo them. Since all of them overestimated the competition, none of them showed up.”

So this is me showing up. But regardless of the outcome, Happy Birthday again and thanks for using your platform in a uniquely meaningful way. You’ve convinced me of what CAN be done:)


Melissa Rachel Black

“What does education mean to me?” Great question and one that has certainly influenced my life.. that was the exact one I answered in a scholarship application essay in 2006 which won me a four-year fully paid tuition at the University of California. My answer then was “a combination of learning and doing” and thinking about it now, it still rings true.

I might be deep deep deep in debt if it weren’t for that opportunity.

Without reading I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today–growing my muse doing what I love designing and printing gangster-rap greeting cards, while living abroad. Literacy is an amazing skill and definitely one that should be available to all.

Going to spread the good word every way I can. I would be honored to win the trip (currently planning an epic adventure with my great friend) but I’m here to support no matter what.

Thanks Tim.


I replied to “What is education” in my previous comment, and just decided that even though there’s not much time left and I have a smaller audience than many of the other contributers, I would tell the silly little fearful part of myself who said my idea was stupid and that it wouldn’t make a difference to kindly SHUT UP. 🙂

1. Created a new card in my muse shop dedicated to Room to Read & this fundraiser.

2. Uploaded photos of it on flickr with a description & link to the donation page (57,790 views on my account)

3. Initiated a store-wide sale and will donate 50% of all income to Room to Read before 11:59 PST

4. Shared a link to your donation page on my muse’s fanpage (92 fans)?

5. Shared a link to your donation page on my facebook (874 friends)

6. Tweeted a link to your donation page on twitter (96 followers)

7. Shared a link to your donation page on google+ (In 20 circles)

8. Shared a link to this blog post in our 4-Hour-Workweek Berlin meetup group (61 people)

9. Sent a link to your donation page in my muse business’ newsletter (88 people)

For measurability:

Donation page:

This blog post:

Viel Erfolg!


Forgot to mention–if I win the round-the-world ticket, I’m going to Australia, Fiji, & New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, and more with one of my best friends, and we’re going to continue the Room to Read mission… we will make a book!

She (from Britain) and I (from USA) will co-create a book called EATSRALIAN! with the help of local chefs & creatives to celebrate & examine the different food cultures of the big 3 English-speaking countries. We will organize food parties with local eateries and include their recipes, and invite designers, photographers, and illustrators we meet along the way to contribute imagery.

Food, art, friends, reading, and travel… an epic adventure. Nothing finer in my book.

And even if I don’t win, I’m glad to have participated in any small way. Thanks & happy birthday.


Rachel Rofe

What does education mean to me?

Education, to me, is the highest leverage thing we can possibly do to solve the world’s problems.

When people are empowered with education, there is hope. People can take education and they can do things with it. They can look for new solutions to problems in the world. They can learn to stand up for themselves. They can make change.

Most importantly, they can learn there’s another way instead of what they have now.

If you think about it, life is one huge white circle of possibility. So many people have problems that cause them to be hyper-focused on one tiny black speck in this HUGE infinite white circle, when they could be looking at such a bigger picture.

Education opens someone’s eyes to all of the infiniteness.

I know this because I went through it personally. I’ll give you a little bit of my back-story, not to get sympathy, but because it formed the reason why education is so huge for me. The quick version is: just a few years ago I was 100 pounds overweight, broke, and totally despondent.

I was sexually and physically abused throughout my childhood, hated myself so much that I wouldn’t brush my teeth or shower for weeks, and grew up thinking it was normal to be raped by my father. (This is EXTREMELY vulnerable for me to be sharing, by the way.)

When I was 14, my little 11 year old sister called me crying. She saw my father throw my mother’s head into a wall. Then he told my sister how she wasn’t really his daughter (untrue), and he tried to drive her and my mother into oncoming traffic. My sister had to reach through the center console and turn the wheel around.

I’m trying to keep this short, so I’ll just say things didn’t get better from there.

I honestly had no idea there was any other way besides the life I was living. I was focused on that black speck, not knowing about the huge infiniteness of possibilities in this world. I thought I’d forever be fat, with low self esteem, and no idea about how to stand up for myself.

EDUCATION is what saved my life. I came across a book called Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind. I never knew about personal development before and this totally shook my world up. The book led me into a 3 day seminar, and then a Warrior Camp, and countless more books.

That education taught me that it was possible to change my story.

I honestly didn’t know I could before that.

I learned that I could do anything I wanted to.

Since educating myself, I changed my life around completely. I’ve lost the 100 pounds, traveled to many places, and quit my dead-end retail job and started working for myself. I was a cover story in a magazine for my weight loss, was featured in a few magazines for my entrepreneurial skills, and wrote a book about meditation.

I’ve had so many people from my school days find me on Facebook and tell me they were blown away at the things I’ve accomplished. I think most people don’t know how much things can change. That’s why education is so crucial.

Of course, education isn’t just for people like me. Educating people in poor countries is literally their key to enhancing their lives and opening them up to other opportunities besides the ones they’re currently open to.

For example, a lot of little boys in Afghanistan aren’t able to go to school. They’re too busy trying to raise money for their family. Many boys end up entering the Taliban not because they believe in it, but because it pays.

That’s a TRAVESTY.

And that’s just one example. I’ve read so many stories about children who are forced to play small and live small lives… and also so many about the exceptions, with people who DID get to educate themselves and make their worlds so much better.

All of this to say… I am EXTREMELY passionate about education.

And since talk is cheap, I should point out that 2 weeks ago a friend and I raised $50,000 for underprivileged children in a school in an Indian Reservation in Arizona. I am so proud to know that the people who donated and I helped possibly re-write a child’s entire life.

You can read about it here if you like:

I found out a little late about this contest but I still did my best to do several things to get the word out.

I wrote a blog post. I told my friends. I emailed it. I posted to Twitter, Facebook, my Facebook Page, Google Buzz, GTalk, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, and Flickr. I posted about it in an online forum.

I also ran a campaign and paid people $.30 per click to come over and check it out. I figured this would be a way to broaden my reach and hopefully get others spreading the word too. Hopefully the money I spent translated into thousands of dollars for the library.

You can track how many clicks I’ve been able to bring over by going to this specific link: (make sure to keep the + at the end). That link will give you stats on how many people came, and from where. I sent most people to my blog post first.

Thank you very much for this opportunity, happy birthday, and congratulations for raising all the money you did. 🙂



To me, education means freedom. And that came, mostly, from reading (although I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to attend great schools and to acquire a degree or two along the way).

Reading, though, was at the core of it all: I grew up in a library (literally, my mum worked as a librarian when I was a kid) and I have been an avid reader ever since. I believe the ability to read from an early age is crucial to an inner sense of freedom and empowerment—and to upward social mobility (it definitely has been for me, as I hail from a so-called “developing” country).

It’s a great initiative, Tim, and I hope you keep up the good work!

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

* Tweeted to my 280+ faithful followers:

“It takes $20,000 to build a library. Donate to Room to Read to help build one now: #Reading = freedom!”

* Posted a question on my Facebook feed:

“What does reading mean to you?” with a link to the donation page

* Messaged my librarian friend, explaining the project to her and asking her to forward the message to her colleagues. She’s one of the most social-media-savvy librarians I know, so I expect that to make quite an impact. 😉

* Added a donation link to our Shopify store (we’ve been featured in today’s Shopify New Store Fridays blog post, so we expect a spike in traffic 🙂

* And much more to come!

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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40 Replies to “Housekeeping: Getting in Front of VIPs and Building Schools”

  1. WOOHOO!!! Thank you for making me one of the top 5!! I am very excited about this and will make sure to get my friends to vote. When does this contest end?

    1. Agreed! Thanks for sharing your story and for all the time and energy you’ve dedicated to this cause. Voted for you 🙂

  2. Last comment for now, I promise. 🙂

    a) This is very timely because I just got to Arizona a few hours ago. We’re giving out backpacks filled with school supplies to the kids tomorrow!

    We’re going to do another charity event this Christmas. This time, my goal is to build a school. I’ve found places you can get GREAT schools created for only $10k. Amazing.

    b) Since you’re wanting people to vote on who was most effective as a promoter, I should say that I know for a fact the money I spent on the campaign led to at least $1,000 more in donations.

    c) If I win this contest, I will blog about what I see and learn. I always blog about my travels and do my best to pass on the education that I get via traveling… this way it extends to way more people than just me.

    OK… thank you again, I am so super excited about this!!!

    1. @Rachel-can you supply me the link/info to where you can get a school built for 10K? would love to do some fundraising myself.Thanks, and good luck

      1. Sure!

        Someone read my charity blog post and sent me this:

        It’s a speaker’s VERY motivational TED Talk about how he created a school, and what factors he uses to get people he knows to donate.

        He has this hook of “build a school in 3 hours”, and it’s awesome. (It’s where I learned about the $10k schools)

        If you want to research more about him, his blog is here:

        …and then he works with to donate $10k per school.

        And this one is cooler than others, in my opinion, because they actually tell you where the school you’ll built is. (Many others don’t!)

        Hope to help! 🙂

  3. Tim,

    Congrats on the huge success of your latest project to better the world we live in. You are a great role model, and I look forward to achieving a level of success that allows me to do projects such as this on a similar scale.


    Darren Michaels

    1. Voted for you mate, simply because you provided way more than just a comment, the two youtube links, sealed the deal for me.

      Keep it up!


  4. Hey Tim,

    Congrats on the miss-assive birthday collection. Also congrats on being a good dude for upping your share to thirty even though you didn’t agree to originally. You’re a good sort.

    For my pick of the commenter i’m going with Melissa Black. Mainly because she used a muse to help promote which is cool because it’s what you’re all about here i feel.

    Anywho. Have a good day all.

    1. Thanks Gareth! I tried to incorporate as many positive connections as possible, to tie everything together creatively–so, thanks for noticing!

  5. Congrats to the top 5. My hat goes off to you.

    Thanks again Tim for the wonderful life opportunities. I look forward to the next contest.

  6. Thank you for giving such an incredible birthday gift. I’m definitely inspired to do something similar next time I celebrate another year around the sun! Cheers to your continued health/wealth/& wisdom! -George-

  7. Really? congrats and everything, but timing is a Bi@ch, hope to get on that high tide another time soon…

    Why wasn’t his stuff available 8 years ago when we where bringing the worst academical achieving State in my country to to top 3, changing all the teaching culture and what not… guess that’s the dark-side of being precocious, 78er here as well!!

    Congrats nonetheless!

    Getting myself immersed in the 4 hour work week book next week, 4hb was amazing, physically rejuvenated and ready for more!! hope to contribute something significant soon along with people from my generation and not happily retired fearful bureaucrats!!!


  8. Congratulations Tim to you and your readers here for raising so much money for education. You have some of the brightest and ambitious readers in blog world.

    I’m happy to hear the Napa event is coming together. I’m really looking forward to it.

  9. Tim, let us know if there’s a way we can help in the building of these schools, I’m close by and would love to come participate in Cambodia!

  10. Ahhh! Amazing! Thank you so much for including me in the top five.. I’m beaming! 🙂

    If I win and this new dream becomes a reality, I’m donating 10% of my book sale profits back to Room to Read so the gift keeps paying it forward.

    P.S. Cheers Gareth, truly appreciated!

  11. Wow, I am clearly still in disbelief – it took a friend from Atlanta to let me know that I had made the short list of 5 commenters!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Or in my native Swedish again, tack så väldigt mycket Tim!!

    Congratulations to David Turnbull, Melissa Rachel Black, Rachel Rofe and MK – your comments were clearly superb and I am honored to be in your company!

    Tim, when I think about how quickly you have raised $60,000 (including your very generous matching gift) I am absolutely in awe of how the principles of the 4-Hour Workweek and the 4-Hour Body can influence philanthropy. I have been talking up ePhilanthropy at all the fundraising conferences I attend and it seems that people are only slowly catching on. You proved that one blog post IN TWO WEEKS can make a world of difference, energize thousands and build three schools. How’s THAT for 80/20:)

    Along the same lines, I was intrigued by the “Secrets of a Super Human” article in July’s “Outside” magazine that mentioned your plans to “hack everything from fitness and humanitarian aid to surfing and medical research.” As humanitarian aid and philanthropy in general are passions of mine, I am really, really impressed with your putting your money where your mouth is. We NEED your kind of innovation.

    You really have inspired me. I would love to hear about some of your other philanthropic adventures. I wanted to tell you that the fact that 10% of author royalties on both your books go to charity is extremely commendable. And great causes too! (4WW – educational not-for-profits, including and 4HB – cure-driven research, including the excellent work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)

    Thank you once again for the great honor of making the short list. I woke my wife up to tell her the good news:) She was extremely excited. She was still excited when I woke her up for the SECOND time to make sure that regardless of whether I win or not, we’ll visit at least one of the Room libraries/schools that are built thanks to your efforts with the last couple posts!

    Congratulations Tim, as I said in my comment on your original post, “you’ve convinced me of what CAN be done:)”

  12. Tim, Happy Birthday! That’s absolutely incredible of everyone and very generous of you to give an additional $10k! Also Congrats to the top 5. You all are amazing. I assumed the competition would be tough so (admittedly) I didn’t even compete. But you all made me realize now that no matter how little my followers on facebook, Google+, Youtube may be, or no matter what the incentive, even one more person contributing would have been a great help. Thanks for your inspiration.

    One of my goals in life is to become very wealthy, not to enjoy what it brings for myself but because I love to give. My Grandfather was a fairly wealthy businessman and he LOVED giving and philanthropy. In fact when he passed away the main phrase used to sum up his life was “100 years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, what kind of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but that the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” As cliche & used as that phrase may be it always sticks with me. My grandfather was a very giving man, both financially and with his time. My father is following in his footsteps and I hope to as well.

    In summary, thank you Tim for writing books/ blogs that continually remind us that we should not be defined by our occupations but rather what we can accomplish with the finite time we have on earth. I can’t wait to share a glass of Malbec with you, Charlie and everyone else on Thursday! And thank you to all of the contributors/ commenters on this blog. You bring Tim’s messages full circle & help other see that you can put these principles into action.

    1. Hello Blake,

      I also think that is awesome that Tim can show us that a group is stronger that one person. I was not able to send money as I do not have foreign currency bank account (I live in Poland) but I wanted very much to send stationery things. I saw that few people on blog wanted also instead of money give sth else. For me it is amazing, that so many people even if they can’t give money that would like to give sth what can be used in library (like books).

      I know how important is helping hand. Because I am looking for it for myself. I set up a company with my friend, but friendship and doing business together doesn’t match well. I would like to sell my shares or the whole company. I would like to find a Business Angels, company or a person who would like to buy it. (

      I am still looking for an investor for my father company. ( He runs a clothes company. He has been selling a lot of clothes from his collections, but once customers have stopped to pay on time. Customers means owners of stores, as he had only one company store, all clothes he has sold to different stores in Poland as well as in Europe. Then world crisis became and it stopped his production. He had to fired almost everyone. From 100 employees only 8 people still work in his company.

      As hard as possible we try to find a good solution for his company. We have everything what we need: production floor, qualified stuff, recognizable trademark. The only one thing we miss a lot: a helping hand that will help us to pull ourselves by our bootstrap. Just be back on our feet.

      Something I used “we”. “We” means me and my sisters. My father has a four daughters and everyone says to him “poor guy” : ) 4 girls. But we feel wonderful being together.

      Someone said that sth “There is bottom to bounce away from him”. I hope and I truly believe that very soon we will be jumping to the sky.

  13. Congratulations on the successful fundraising campaign Tim!

    I have a quick question about donating gifts for the Komodo conference… When should we expect to be notified if we were chosen to donate?


  14. Congratulations to the fellow finalists! Tim, thanks a lot for this inspiring contest—reading others’ entries was absolutely enthralling—and a heartfelt thanks for matching the $30,000. And a personal thank you to each and every one of those who contributed.

    The round trip can be an educational experience in of itself, and I hope that whichever one of us is chosen as the finalist, s/he would make the best of it!

  15. This is off the topic but do you believe in retirement savings? Like 401ks, IRAs and things that you have little control over?

  16. This sounds like such a great event! It’s nice to know the good things that are happening because of generous people.

  17. God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with.

    We are not cisterns made for hording; we are channels made for sharing

  18. HOW can I possibly pick one from the five? You are all awesome and so, I will be blindfolded as I cast my vote! Congratulations to all of you, thank you to Tim on behalf of our future and GO, DO!

  19. Ironic that you have a Banksy piece posted on the day I read you signed with Amazon Publishing! Making a deal with the corporate devil & then celebrating anti-establishment graffiti – hmmm…. I guess all the work we have done promoting your books in indie bookstores will now go toward helping put us out of business!

    1. Tim typically ignores detractors, as he wouldn’t have enough time to accomplish any of the great (and personal) things he does if he spent all the time required to reply to stuff like this.

      Since I’m currently just an oil field worker who’s ass was chapped by this (and the searing Utah desert heat from long weeks) completely out of place comment, I’ve decided to defend his honor, unsolicited.

      Jeff Bezos, originally just an entrepreneur who had a good idea and executed it perfectly to become the corporate devil his company is today, is still the majority stake holder in his company. Granted it’s only like 25%, but the point is the conglomerates and bank share holders are below him on the shareholder list. Random house, on the other hand (which I imagine Tim also still has a deal with) was originally the publishers for his two books. They are owned by a German media giant, and aren’t in any way “Indie,” barring any imprints they may have under the illusion of indie.

      The key to many successful business’s is adaptation, so these little indie book stores who promoted these mainstream NY Times #1 books may need to adapt. I promise you that Mr Ferriss isn’t going to be the catalyst to put you out of business.

      To put this comment on a post about building schools and picking a contest winner is almost as classless and tasteless as this rebuttal. No more drinking and reading trolling blog comments for this Trolling commenter!

      On topic, great job everyone. I meant to donate at the time I read the previous post, but somehow ended up on Kiva and neglected to do so. I’m donating now, and voting for Turnbull. It was a really hard choice. I went with the biggest numbers and the dude whose interests were close to mine, but I may log in on a friends computer and contribute to Ms Rofe’s numbers, as in many ways I can relate and she seems to have practiced philanthropy quite effectively and seems pretty awesome.

      Either way, you both have a new reader/follower.

  20. Beautiful! That is a very special birthday gift. I can’t wait to see those libraries! Earthships maybe? Double purpose libraries for the community!

  21. Huge congrats and that’s awesome you’re matching it all! Love to see countries, such as Nepal getting some help. And glad to see David Turnbull getting some love. Hopefully, he’ll resurrect Barefoot Geek someday.

  22. It is a great article. Education plays a great role for building a powerful nation. Life is nothing Without education. Hope everybody in this world will contribute as much as they can contribute for helping the children who are not getting the proper eduction..