The Value of Aggression — Ode to Dan Gable

Dan Gable is a demi-god in the world of wrestling. He’s been called “Sports Figure of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. Why?

As an athlete, he had a 182-1 prep and college record. His single loss, in his final NCAA match, infuriated him. To make up for it, he out-trained the world and won the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics…without surrendering a single point. This is like winning Wimbledon on serves alone.

Most impressive to me, as coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, he was able to replicate his success. He had a recipe. Here are a few stats from his 21-year career:

21-year record — 355-21-5 (94.4% wins)

Big Ten record — 131-2-1 (98.5% wins)

21 Big Ten Team Titles

45 National Champions

152 All-Americans

The above video clip is from Dan Gable – Competitor Supreme, which my mom bought for me when I was 15. It changed my life.

I watched it almost every day in high school, and it kept me fighting through all the various losses in life. Didn’t finish the SAT in time? Watch Dan Gable. Have a guidance counselor laugh while telling me I don’t stand a chance of getting into Princeton? More Dan Gable. Lost my first important judo match in 7 seconds? Watch the Iowa Hawkeyes…again and again and again. Then, return to the same tournament six months later and win.

In life, there are dog fights. You must learn to enjoy them. Few people look forward to banging heads (literally or metaphorically), and therein lies the golden opportunity.

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But there are factors inside your control that greatly improve the odds. Being aggressive doesn’t guarantee success, but failing to be aggressive nearly always guarantees failure. In a modern world of political correctness, glad handing, and fear of offending everyone and anyone, the art of the fight is undervalued.

Remember: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.


In Other News:

Have you read The 4-Hour Body but not put a review on Amazon? Please leave one here! It would really mean the world to me.

Have you read The 4-Hour Workweek but not put a review on Amazon? Please leave one here! I actually read them!

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.)

128 Replies to “The Value of Aggression — Ode to Dan Gable”

    1. They make better entrepreneurs.

      I wrestled in college, and have quite a few wrestling buddies that went on to be phenomenal entrepreneurs.

      1. I would agree with this. I’m a UK entrepreneur who favours MMA, though I believe college wrestling experience would have helped me considerably.

  1. I could watch these videos a hundred times and never get tired! We need more of that fight in EVERYONE! So many meet with one single failure and resolve to give up and quit. They look at successful people with spiteful envy and reduce their years of dedication to “luck”. If only. . . they say.. and do nothing.

    I will be forwarding this to everyone!

  2. When he said, “Regardless of whether you win or lose, you have to be aggressive,” my mind went into cheerleader mode.

    “Be, aggressive, be, be, aggressive!”

    There’s no hope for me.

      1. I’m an artist (painter), and I’m gonna sell insurance in a few weeks. This is exactly what I needed to see.

      2. Tim, I wrestled in college, and have been an entrepreneur since age 17.

        Business was… I won’t say an ‘easy’ natural transition… but easier due to wrestling.

        We wrestled Iowa at a few tournaments.

        I am from Oklahoma…

        I bought your book a few years ago, and it changed the whole way I look at business.

        If you need a case study from an entrepreneur/wrestler… please get in touch with me.

        Also I think you and I have a few mutual friends in Austin.

  3. So long as aggression isn’t confused with anger. In fact, anger is antagonistic to aggression, evident even at the hormonal level.

    I can wait to see how this ban thing pans out. Best of luck Tim, your’re as much an inspiration now as you were two years ago.

    1. Thank you for comments, Sebastian and all! I still have my moments of doubt, but I’m as excited as ever to be here.

      1. Hi Tim,

        A little off the subject of this blog, yet found it hard to find any other way to contact you. Do you know of any company who has adapted the 4-hour work philosphy accross the entire company? We are putting this into our strategy and would like to speak to others who have done this – if any.


    2. Anger is integral and inescapable. Recipe for ruin is to deny this. To channel anger into productive outcomes is our best shot. To understand what drives our anger is a shortened path to self-awareness and proactive behavior. Not to go all zen, but it’s true…the universe was born of yearning, anger is born of squelched desire. It informs us of the importance of our unfulfilled needs. Too much suppression/denigrating of this vital instinct in my opinion. Probably relates to aggression in that way. Good luck with the brick and mortar wars Tim, and congrats on #1 number 3…

      1. I agree with jballz. Anger is neither good nor bad. Like all emotions it is neutral. However, anger is the energy of change. Used correctly, it provides the fuel to get us what we want. I’ve always admired fighters/wrestlers for their controlled use of anger/aggression.

  4. Watch out bookstores who have banned Tim’s book, I’m pretty sure this is his message to let you know he is out for blood!

    Btw Tim, two things: replace your blog video in the upper right corner to your new 4 Hour Chef trailer (great trailer by the way, totally got me psyched about the book which I guess was the point) and if you are looking for a way to share the first chapter of your new book to your physical book buyers, maybe you can talk with someone on Amazon to make available the sample for its kindle edition.

    Give them hell,

    Joao Eira

  5. These days a lot of people avoid the fight and go straight from disagreement to reconciliation. That’s not natural and can only lead to more stress.

    Good luck with the book release, can’t wait to read it!

  6. Thanks in large part to Tim and 4 Hour Work Week, I bounce around from place to place a few months at a time, and I sometimes train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with world class grapplers.

    And there’s common trait in all of them. Yeah, they’re incredible technicians but that’s not it…they WANT it. They just want to win so effin’ bad. They cultivate and channel a primal aggressiveness that is both scary and utterly fascinating. Especially when you feel it percolating inside your own self.

    Dan Gable tapes should be prescribed in place of anti-depressants. 🙂

  7. Tim,

    As a University of Iowa alum during the glory days of Dan Gable, I have one problem with hailing Coach Gable as a hero. While his winning record cannot be contested, the behavior of many of his wrestlers off the mat should have been and should be under scrutiny. During my four years at Iowa, rumors abounded of sexual assaults and gang rapes committed by “Dan’s boys.” I knew women personally who had been assaulted by University of Iowa wrestlers because they had simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time. At that time, rape of this nature was something women were ashamed to admit and rarely reported. Instead, they suffered in silence…the perpetrators never held accountable for their actions.

    Coach Gable and the University turned a blind eye to the women brutalized by this cultivated and then misdirected aggression. (for the record, it was not only the wrestlers who were guilty of this kind of misdirected aggression.)

    We need to be careful when hailing the value of aggression when instead of serving its intended role, it ends up hurting innocent victims.

    1. Dear Lauri,

      Thank you for your comment. Of course, this is very serious. Allow me to offer a few thoughts:

      – First and foremost, anyone guilty of rape should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. End of story. It’s horrific and evil.

      – Second, I don’t believe Dan Gable would ever turn a blind eye to rape. Most people are aware, but his sister was raped and killed in his family’s home. He has VERY strong feelings about such things.

      Having spoken with him personally, I would expect zero tolerance from him towards anyone (especially his athletes) associated with rape.

      – Lastly, as you rightly pointed out, aggression can be creative or destructive, like many things (fire, blades, etc.). Aggression, when misdirected or unfocused, is absolutely negative. The key is to harness it properly and wield it responsibly.

      Much appreciate you adding to the dialogue,


      1. I think there are different uses of the word aggression. In the instance Lauri speaks of the usage of aggression refers misguided anger and entitlement. The way that Dan Gable is using it he is referring to tenacious persistence.

        Thanks for the post Tim. I’ll be watching you on CreativeLIVE this week. I missed the deadline for submitting a video to be one of your live “students”, so I’ll be home watching from my couch…can’t wait!!!

      2. I would suggest the distinction you are making would be “violence” as a specific concept related to aggression. If choosing words carefully… anger and aggression can be embraced as necessary aspects of the human experience. Violence is the negative aspect of those forces, which we all must recognize in ourselves and in society. To come to terms with anger and use force of will (“aggression” if you prefer) without violence…is an element of grace.

      3. Tim,

        THANK YOU for your thoughtful response. After receiving emails from some of your readers accusing me of slander, I thought to clarify the intent of my comment. I did not intend to libel Coach Gable (and thank you for providing more information on the man), I only meant to point out that there can sometimes be unsavory consequences to cultivating aggression in the same way that there can be unsavory consequences to cultivating priviledge (as in the culture of the priesthood that allowed for eons of sexual assault to go unreported and unchecked). It requires emotional maturity (in both men and women) to be able to know what to do with the “leftover” aggression once the sporting event, legal debate, video game, conflict of war, is complete. When emotional maturity is not present, this unfulfilled aggression can sometimes come out sideways and cause harm to another. Sadly, there is not always adequate education or supports in place for those being “coached.” And, unfortunately, we live in a culture where the victims are still afraid to report their assault – out of shame and out of the knowledge that 1) people might not believe them and 2) they will be ridiculed themselves for “telling the family secret” and 3) have to be the ones to prove that they were not somehow at fault.

        Thank you again for your thoughtful response.

      4. Now you are just back peddaling with a bunch of nonsense. Your first post was way out of line and you were speaking of things you knew nothing about!! Again, go away.

    2. I am a white man who grew up in the middle east…in Dubai specifically. we mostly played soccer there. Then i moved to Canada for university. And I was shocked to see how differently sports were played and taught in North America compared to the middle east.

      I saw coaches telling their players to be aggressive and injure opponents. I saw parents yelling at their kids playing in various sports to be tough and to “take him out” or “knock him out”

      Yes….parents and coaches were teaching young athletes to injure and to curse at their opponents

      I have been elbowed in the face…..stomped on deliberately, cursed at…with the opponents insulting my mother in the hopes of “getting under my skin”

      When I questioned those players their response was always: “stop being such a pussy….this is sports…if you dont like it then leave”

      this sort of treatment forced alot of the non north american players to play dirty as well….

      This culture of “us versus them” begins with the coaches and the parents.

      “If you put a good person in a bad system, the system always wins” – Deming

      The truth is as shown in Michael Moore’s documentary Bowling for Columbine…The United States has had a historical record of creating a “us versus them” mentality.

      us versus the red indians

      us versus the russians…or the cubans..or the mexicans or the blacks or the muslims

      This mentality is prevalent in sports too….when at the end of the day sports is not meant to create hatred of opponents or aggression towards them

      And take a look at the most popular sports in North America….they all involve aggression and violence:

      american football, UFC, boxing, pro-wrestling, ice hockey (where the fans celebrate the injuries and concussions of rival team members)

      so yes….there is nothing wrong with having a strong and fierce desire to win…..but lets take a look at where pure aggression has gotten us

      and another area where the teaching of aggresion has resulted in the rape of women and crimes against innocent civilians abroad is in the USA military as this documentary shows

      Also see the movie peoduced by Mark Cuban

      1. Hi, Tim’s man in India, please tell Mr. Ferris the following:

        There is nothing good in aggression. This kind of teaching/training creates the kind of persons mainstream media never portrays because the stories where the US citizens are the bad guys rarely get told. Aggression is praised only by the people who apply it, never by the ones who have to suffer under it: ask any injured US veteran how he or she thinks about aggression.

        Sports should be about the praise of the human body as well as the human spirit, it should elevate men and women both physically as well as spiritually, not degrade them to their most primal instincts and have them use their reptilian brain.

        The ancient greeks trained in the Gymnasion which couldn’t be further away from today’s gym. They trained their bodies and learned philosophy and other arts in the same time and place. How come after 3000 years we actually went backwards?

        Obsessively wanting to win, like Dan Gable used to teach, is what creates the mentality which gets you in the Mitchell Report or strips you of seven yellow shirts.

        Aggression also should have no place in business. Have you never been annoyed by an aggressive “foot-in-the-door”salesman or by the large amount of advertisements for the same crappy useless products you find in your mailbox or inbox everyday? (Ok, maybe some could use the Cialis or the enlargement pills but most of us don’t.) How good do you think employees feel when fired after an aggressive take-over of the company they have worked for? A culture which always focuses on the winner is doomed because in the end there’s no one left to beat. The ultimate winner shouts his “Nike!” standing on a pile of carcasses.

        I follow Tim religiously but this time I am really disappointed. Why didn’t he use the word drive instead of aggression? Aggression is blind to the circumstances, it focuses on extermination and not on solution, it is destructive and subhuman. You can’t be aggressively good or moral, or human or loving.

      2. Thoughtful counterpoints. Unchannelled aggression is simply destructive.

        I suppose it can be made useful, in service of a difficult goal. Looking at fighters/competitors even: all are motivated differently. I love the movie “Warrior” – one brother’s fueled by anger, the other by love of family.

  8. Can anyone elucidate on the reasons behind all these bannings for the 4 Hour Chef? I saw on the update here that over 1,000 bookstores have banned it- What’s up with that?

    1. Hi Jozef,

      My publisher is Amazon, and the rest of the book world wants to see them lose. That’s the super short version! Should be a great fight.

      Thank you for the comment,


      1. Already pre-ordered mine… Just waiting for the update on my Kindle… Take Luck, Buddy… You will be the victor in this battle…

      2. Those publishing houses dont realise that they are fighting a losing battle…the only way for them to benefit is to open themselves up and embrace Amazon’s publishing goals…the sooner the better for them

      3. Interesting. The nearest book store to me is a Barnes & Noble. It is over 30 minutes away, which means dedicating a significant amount of time and gas to get there. On the rare occassion that I actually visit the B&N, I find that their prices are significantly higher than Amazon. It just isn’t worth the trip to me, unless I need the book TODAY.

        Of course, these days, if I really do need the book TODAY, I just look to see if there’s a Kindle edition. I can be reading the book in seconds, I don’t need to leave the house, and I don’t need to wait for shipping.

        This ban is a desperate move by desperate people. Amazon is my first choice for almost anything other than groceries — and if they can find a way to deliver groceries to me for the same cost as a trip to the grocery store, including the cost of gas and the inconvenience of dedicating three hours to the task (we drive to a grocery store that’s over 30 minutes away because it saves us so much money over the local, union stores), that will change too!

    1. Because I’m the first major acquisition of Amazon Publishing. Barnes & Noble and so on don’t want to carry Amazon books. Amazon, in contrast, carries books published by B&N (Sterling imprint).

      1. Hey Tim,

        I really like this “fight” between the publishers.

        Even if you lose- and the odds are against you-

        it takes the publishing world in a different (and better) direction.

        I suppose it also goes without saying that if they are fighting you, you’re doing something right.

      2. Yes but surely it would make sense for them to stock your book as it will be extremely popular. It would make business sense for them to stock your book, whether they like it or not. Does this mean we can ONLY but the book through Amazon?

        I don’t care i will be buying it anyway.

    2. As an owner of both 4HWW editions and a signed copy of 4HB, I’m a big fan and sorry to see you caught in the mdidle at the forefront of the Amazon boycott. Your books help people live better lives. I also have close ties with friends in the independent bookselling world, and have significant issues with some of Amazon’s tactics.

      For anyone that’s interested these two articles provide further context:

      1. I’m going to avoid speculating about Tim’s preferences. It’s clear that some people will double down on their support of him because of the boycott and it may help with marketing. Still, with the book not prominently displayed in retail locations in the Christmas shopping season, there will be costs in terms of sales and the number of readers who can get the book in hand. Those positive and negatives could cancel eachother out, but there’s a good chance of a net negative, which is why I think it’s unfortunate for Tim.

  9. Tim, you are an amazing inspiration to continue fighting every day. Just know that you have all of us to help you fight against these people who don’t want you to succeed. I can’t wait for your book and I’m going to buy 10+ copies and give them to friends and family!

    Thank you so much for everything and we hope you continue for a long time!

  10. Grew up in Iowa City. He let me watch one of his last official practices when I was a kid. At the time it was unbelievable.

  11. The Hello Bar at the top is not reflecting the shocking 1100 bookstore number at the bottom of the post.

    Feel free to delete this comment after viewing.

  12. Hi Tim,

    I really enjoyed the principle behind the blog post and I subscribe to your thought process as it mirrors mine. Unfortunately, I have witnessed many men try to also adapt this principle and get it horribly wrong. They damage themselves and everyone around them. It’s a fine line and sometimes the more aggressive men can’t balance worth shit.

    Keep up the good work.


  13. I can see how Dan Gable’s advice pays off in the tennis world. Dangerous players like David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal profit greatly from this mentality, and it’s mind-boggling how long they keep up their levels of intensity.

    P.S. Hey Tim, I know you recently picked up tennis. One main thing that tremendously improved my game was better footwork. What you’ll discover is that most players you come across have god-awful footwork, and that if you can outlast them during a match, you’ll most likely win. That’s why talented players lose to bulky football players – football players train exclusively on movement.

    In any case, I look forward to your next book. Cheers dude!

  14. Poor move by the bookstores. This is a frontal attack. This, it seems to me, will rally all of Amazon’s resources. If I were in your shoes I would be freaking juiced! Though, there would be moments of doubt this certainly has the potential to be epic. Not only will it be win or die for your book, but also be looked at for the near future of publishing.

    Bad strategy B&N and friends.

  15. This message is especially important as environmental xenoestrogens and a whole host of other novel issues are taking men further and further off of the mark.

    I recently watched a lecture by the “Men are from Mars” guy and he recommended ‘tongkat ali’ as a potent herbal supplement to normalize testosterone signaling. Any experiences with it? I have no real issues in that arena, but the biohacker in me is still going to give it a shot.

    And let the haterz hate. Embrace it. A man is judged better by the power of his enemies than by the power of his friends. 1,100 bans is a great place to start. You’re going to hit the list and we’re all pulling for you.


  16. Lately I’ve stuck to E-books. I’m buying 4-Hour Chef in hard copy. First task: bringing it into Barnes & Noble for various activities.

  17. Tim, as a loyal fan who doesn’t ALWAYS comment/post, don’t be discouraged. I still stop by and read the blog, and I’m still telling everyone I know about the book, as I’m sure thousands of others are.

    If you haven’t, I would try to get on some talk shows just to get a bit more PR. Use this Barnes and Noble drama as an opportunity to pull a Ryan Holiday.

    Keep putting out good content, living the life we wish we had and telling us about how you did it. The rest will take care of itself.


  18. Great post, Tim.

    Do you know if there is any way I could get “Competitor Supreme” as a digital download. I did a Google search and checked iTunes with no luck.


      1. Great post as usual. Just wanted to be included in any threads that might get me access to information for a digital download of Competitor Supreme.

      2. I’m looking for a copy of the video also. I’ll take it in any format I can get it in. If you can find it in digital format, please let me know. If it is available in VHS, I guess that would be fine too… Thanks and great post.

  19. Hi Tim:

    For the sake of sparing you the time of reading words which are meaningless (these past 18 words are, in fact, of high cognitive capital)..

    What’s the status of finding a smart and attractive girlfriend?

    Best Regards,


    PS: I’m on pg. 264 of “The 4-Hour Workweek”.. GREAT JOB. Congrats on doing it.. and doing it well good sir.

  20. Just watched the longer video on the link to Dan Gable’s name. The video finishes with Dan talking about the high school athlete who could have broken the 4 minute mile but chose not to because he was so far ahead of the competition. Dan said that this “bothered” him … Honestly, I think both you and your publisher are way ahead of the competition in so many ways.

    So, I just want to know what the equivalent of breaking the 4 minute mile is for the launch of The 4-Hour Chef?

  21. Remember the Alamo!

    Aggression and audacity can be a powerful force! We still talk about the Alamo today. Hopefully The Four Hour Chef release will generate a lasting impression. Good job Tim!

  22. Hi Tim,

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    I had to say something to a post like this. You are a badass. This is the sort of thing that not only helps motivate and enlighten me out here in the interwebs, but reflects the iron will that in the end is the true measure of a man. Thanks for all I’ve learned from you so far.

    Here’s to another NYTime Bestseller.


  23. Keep being agressive with the launch of the new book Tim!

    Ordered the new book on Amazon, and I look forward to reading it on the 20th.

  24. Dear Tim

    I am a long time fan and lurker of your blog. Iv read both your books many times over and have adopted you as the leader after which I should base my life philosophies on, the best decision of my young life.

    In facing the major challenges that life throws at us it is easy to feel like the world just has a grudge and your being punished for your good work, i guess in your case it really is that petty. i do, however, sincerely believe that this is the type of revolutionary sequencing of events that cements greatness. Dare i make myself sound like a teenage girl and say TIM YOU AAARRREEEE GREAT! AND AWESOME TO BOOT!!

    As a person who wants to see nothing, but your unending success i just want to encourage you. They may be making the first moves against you, but they do not realise that they are taking on a challenge that could see them “tapping out”.

    Tim this is your strength, you have always found ways of bettering the current methods of how things are done. Your books read like corny advertisements promising the world in under four hours a week, but the magic is in the fact that none of those claims are empty, you made it happen, time and time again. Perhaps in your pursuits of constantly moving forward you have not stopped and reflected on your achievements thus far, my friend you are entering this challenge with the power of a super storm, do not fear the big buildings when they are filed with little men and women who can only snip at your ankles in an attempt to use you as a pawn and hinder your progress.

    This is what you are built for, this is the moment when everything you have learnt will be put to use in the most glorious of victories. As a role model, you have no competition, I encourage you to rely on your army. You demonstrate to motivate, well Mr Ferriss , speaking for myself, id gladly take off my jacket stand back to back with you and whip every one of those bookshop owners asses.

    Stay brave, keep strong and remember you are steel forged in fire.

    – Zain Solomon

  25. Love the clarity of your writings Tim! I never looked at aggression in a positive light until now. I am a big believer in process and habits over destination (victory or loss). “regardless of whether you win or lose, you have to be aggressive”, ties in very well with that philosophy. So does “Being aggressive doesn’t guarantee success, but failing to be aggressive nearly always guarantees failure.” Add focused aggression to stoicism and I think you have a good formula for improving the odds for success, whatever that may mean. Love it! Its time to implement it!

  26. Damn… ever since I discovered a competitive drive in my 6th year of college I’ve been able to succeed and accomplish goals. But I ALWAYS seem to forget to stay competitive and stay WANTING to defeat others.

    I always just get fat and happy at the first signs up success.. This post is really good because it basically confirmed what I discovered during my troubles in college. The only reason I started getting A’s at the end was because I suddenly wanted to BEAT college, beat my fellow classmates, and beat my professors and show them all that I CAN fucking do it and that I will do what ever it takes to destroy all those f****ing tests, presentations, and what ever the f*** was going to challenge me.

    After I graduated it was amazing, because just 2 years prior I felt like it would be impossible to do and I was just scared of it all.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing Dan Gable with us, you deserve +1000 karma/internet points.

  27. I’m skeptical of sportstars, or even business winners, who offer general success advice. If it worked, wouldn’t they be a success in lots of things, not just their sport? Many people have a talent for a particular area, or, in the case of business got lucky. It doesn’t mean they have useful advice. Consider the advice people over 100 have on how to live that long (they wouldn’t have a clue). I’m also reminded of one of our greatest swimmers (Australia) who said, on younger swimmers, “whether or not they win gold depends on how badly they want it”. You think the swimmers in the final haven’t given everything to be there? I could ‘want’ the 100m sprint record more than anyone. But, white, 37, not built that way: it ain’t going to happen. So, yes, good on him, but take any advice with a grain of salt…..

  28. Another great post, Tim. Already ordered The 4-Hour Chef, of course.

    Regarding the comments of Laurie, Steve and Tim about rape and violence on the sports field: Perhaps it might be a good idea for coaches to rigorously teach their athletes about contextualizing their agression and defining where the boundaries of behavior should be within a given context rather than “one size fits all” behavior. A hammer is a great tool for driving nails but not much else. In my opinion, everyone needs everyone else in this world. If we had to make all of our own stuff instead of just driving to the mall to select a new item, life would get pretty inconvenient pretty fast. I think free time would pretty much disappear. Everyone has value in our society…even those who really don’t want to do much. Not everyone discovers what they are passionate about and it seems to me that many have lots of emotional pain from events in their past that they just can’t let go of…and they sometimes act out.

  29. Hi Ferris, I really appreciate your long videos and your first 2 books are not bad, as I have not read in depth yet. I probably will buy this chef book too as I have put of learning how to cook for a decade. So, do go out there and do your best. And when you are in Singapore, an if, do drop me a message to hang out.

  30. I don’t usually engage with mass mailings, but this post really hit a nerve. I’m going through a messy divorce (one that felt, initially, that it was going to be straightforward and reasonable). I’ve been trying to behave rationally and maturely – like a grown up who is very concerned about the welfare of her two young boys and trying to make sure everyone gets thought this in one piece. My ex swings back and forth between reasonable and batshit crazy and has been steamrollering me and putting me on the defensive. This post on aggression helped me realize that I need to stand up for myself – firmly and unequivocally. The thing about “the size of the fight in the dog” has been added to my other mantras of “truth and love will prevail over hate and fear” (Vaslav Havel), and “power is finite, strength is unlimited” (James Carse).

    Thank you for the unwitting support.

    Willow Benavides

  31. Tim,

    You can’t go wrong emulating Gable. I have had a poster of him in my office for over 20 years. It’s a head shot with pure intensity staring right at me and the words, “Once you’ve WRESTLED, everything else in life is EASY.” So true! Here’s a link to it:

    You have big ones Tim, like the guy who threw Chris Taylor:

    Have you posted a list of the booksellers that are boycotting you? I’d like to see it, because I will boycott them!! And despite popular belief, wrestlers read.

    Good luck!


  32. OMG, I lost my first Judo Match in 7 seconds too! It’s been about 20 years and I STILL remember the feeling… Gable is the man. I had the pleasure of working a few wrestling camps he attended (NC State) and his presence is one of a kind. Thanks, Tim!

  33. All this banning is definitely worthy of national news so the publicity for the book should be there.

    Also, you could sue Barnes & Noble. As a bookseller they shouldn’t be able to ban a book that people actually want based on what company publishes the author.

    Tim, have you discussed this with your attorneys? Do you have a case against B&N in court?


  34. I’m not sure if Tim can comment on this question but I’d love to know what others think – because of what’s going on between Amazon and B&N+ (Tim as a master strategist in this historic showdown); wouldn’t AMZN be a great stock to own? (mind you, AMZN is a good stock to buy anyhow right now).

  35. Tim,

    Do you plan on writing a book on “Learning Japanese”? I have gone through few books, but almost all of them are either pompous, too theoretical or ask the readers to follow a method that is not interesting. I like your methods. I am sure if you wrote a book on “Learning Japanese”, many would buy it.

    Also, does the 4-hour chef contain information on learning Japanese? Would you suggest any book that you found useful?

    Thanks from Pune, India,


  36. Question on the ban and the bestsellers list: If we plan on buying additional copies for friends and family, would you be better served if we buy them separately, in a bundle all at once at pre order, or spread out over several weeks? Just curious if the best sellers lists see bulk orders of the same books as one, or if they issue any penalties for the second, third, or fourth orders of the same book.



  37. Hey Tim,

    Great post! Saw the comment on you looking into the digital download of this video. Any luck? Perhaps you can do an update when you do find it. I would love to watch this, especially when I encounter set backs as you have done. Thanks a bunch.


  38. All they’ve done is give you awesome marketing ammo. “Banned in 1100 bookstores” has a catchy ring to it. Who doesn’t want to read a banned book? Also, I look forward to reading it throughout my entire thanksgiving break. Sorry, family 😉

  39. So basically “Prevent Defense” doesn’t win you games? This is why I loved watching the Niners with Bill Walsh coaching. He played the same way all game long as the score never dictated his decision. Better yet, Loyola Marymount with Westhead at the helm just hitting the gas pedal to the floor all game long. Win or Die my way.

    All truth serum in your post. The job I wanted from the depths of my soul, went to some Gable cranium as he snatched it as I was napping on the sideline. When you want something bad enough you push through!

  40. I can´t say I agree on the aggression, having been a life-long martial artist. Aggression will only get you past opponents who are either

    1. Not able to match your aggression themselves and have a comparable level of skill or,

    2. Become scared by your aggression, or

    3. Do not have the required skills to beat you anyway.

    While the above three reasons will statistically be enough to make you win most of the time, it is a deluded sense of “mastery” that comes with it, and the psychological outlook that kind of person ends up with is unhelathy not only for him but for those around him.

    On another note, personally I think Aleksandr Karelin is the undisputed best Greco-Roman wrestler ever, and it sort of proves my point, because when they interviewed him at the Antlanta Olypics, where he got gold, he simply said for him wrestling was like playing, a lot of fun.

  41. Tim,

    Just read 4 Hour Workweek. I swear that stuff is like Crack! I am addicted and now I can’t get enough 4 Hour anything.

    I love the post about Aggression. Don’t want to confuse it with Abrasion, though.


  42. My last brick & mortar bookstore purchase was The Four Hour Body. If it weren’t for a 40% pre-order discount, I probably would have done the same on launch day for 4HC.

    B&N fighting Amazon is like mass fighting gravity. Major book retailers were headed in a downward trajectory *before* pulling one of its most popular authors. This is unfortunate for all parties involved.

  43. That DVD is sold out at both stores btw =(. Has anyone found it anywhere… Tried Ebay, amazon and other online sources. No luck.. yet

    Cheers & Gr8 Post


  44. I can tell you this. Aggression is all well and good, but without the will to prepare, it’s worthless. A wrestling match lasts for 12 minutes. To be as unstoppable as Gable was, the preparation he went through had to be almost non-stop.

    The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

  45. I’m not going to lie, my comment is technically unrelated to the blog post… but I can be creative and tie it all together, just watch. 🙂

    The following is 100% true:

    Aggression definitely has value. It was built up aggression which had me walking into a world renowned fight gym in the Seattle area (home to Amazon…) to help get my head back on straight. I currently train in boxing and submission wrestling/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Next week I will also be adding kickboxing to the mix (seriously… that’s part of the 100% truth thing). I train beside a current UFC champion and other UFC fighters. Whatever… no big deal. Just another day in the life of a preschool teacher.

    My submission wrestling coach was the one who suggested I read your book “The 4-Hour Workweek” since I was beginning to feel an inner urge to expand my life experiences. I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world, but have never been able to afford to on a preschool teacher salary (which is less than an elementary teacher).

    So far the book has been fascinating. I especially liked the part about finding a technicality in regards to winning the kickboxing championship. Well done. It reminded me of an extra curricular activity I did as a child called Olympics of the Mind (now called Odyssey of the Mind). I know, it sounds more nerdy than chess club… but it was an amazing experience which encouraged kids to think beyond the limits (including rules) of their sheltered worlds. My team won 5th at the world championships… so as I was reading through the chapters I kept telling myself, “I got this. No problem. I’m the queen of thinking outside the norm!”

    Needless to say, I’m still having trouble figuring out a way to liberate myself from the classroom so I can just teach the preschoolers from home. I thought about getting an assistant in India… but I’m not sure that plan would go over very well when… say… a child has an accident in his pants…. 🙂

    Kidding of course.

    Anyway, so frustration (for the moment only) sent me back to the “System Reset” chapter in the book in which the challenge to contact someone unreachable was outlined.

    “I’m going to try that,” I thought to myself. “I’m going to try contacting the author of this book.”

    And here I am. 🙂

    So as you can see… in my case aggression and wrestling have proved to be of great value. Through a series of perfectly timed happenings, I was lead to the knowledge outlined in your book which could prove to be extremely valuable in regards to my future. And I swear, my above story is completely true. If you come to Seattle, I’ll give you a tour of my fight gym and you can investigate for yourself. A 110% guarantee of pure honesty. 🙂

    Take care!

  46. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” (Gandhi)

    I remember reading in your book how a dozen publishers turned you down with your first book – then titled “Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit”. 🙂

    That was step one.

    Now you are at step three. They fight you.

    Guess what the next step is!

  47. BIG Dan Gable fan! Went to Iowa for wrestling camp back in the day. Lincoln Mc, Brands brothers… those guys were gods in my eyes.

    I learned a heck of a lot about persistence, “intestinal fortitude”, and self-determination and there’s no doubt I carry those principles throughout my life today.

    It always come down to YOU on the mat. Can’t blame anyone else.

    Love the sport!

  48. Hey tim,

    My senior year, I would watch this every single morning and sometimes in the evenings to keep me pumped for working out as often and as hard as I could. Dan’s principles are amazing. I thought, “Dan didn’t get scored on in the Olympics? Okay. I’m not gonna get scored on my senior year.” I had a total of 22 points scored on me. Record 40-2 in CA.

    I attribute a ton of my drive to Dan’s Competitor Supreme video. So powerful. It still stirs up strong emotions thinking about it. I left home for two years and the tape got lost. I cant find it to buy it online. Any chance that you have it still? Still looking for it.

  49. This is the book I always thought needed to be written. Cannot wait to read it. Thanks, Tim for the heads up. Hope you’re enjoying life!

  50. You can get the Dan Gables dvd here:

    I spoke with Melissa from the Dan Gables museum and should gave me her direct line to order his DVD, her number is: 310-233-0745.

    Hope that helps anyone who is trying to get a copy of the dvd.



    1. Does anyone know if the ‘competitor supreme DVD’ link ( included in this blog post is a legitimate company with any contact details? This website has successfully taken my money 4 months ago, but I’m still waiting for the DVD to arrive, the digital access login does not work, and I can’t find a way of contacting the company directly. Thanks!

  51. When I wrestled, I would play this quote in my head from Dan Gable,

    “When I’d get tired and want to stop, I’d wonder what my next opponent was doing. I’d wonder if he was still working out. I tried to visualize him. When I could see him still working, I’d start pushing myself. When I could see him in the shower, I’d push myself harder”

    Modeling Dan Gable helps me push harder. I agree when he said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything in life is easy”.

    How true and it does apply to life.

  52. In Jiu Jitsu, we use what’s known as the ‘Gable Grip’. It’s one of the most effective and strongest grips you can use. I’m almost positive that came from Dan.

    Thanks for the post Tim!

  53. Tim,

    You are absolutely right. Being too cautious is something I’ve been guilty of on plenty of occasions in my life.

    Much better to break out the aggression and bust some heads. Feels much better than being a politically correct pansy-ass!



  54. Hey Tim…You’re my Dan Gable. When the occassional tough day pops up, I listen to the 4HWW (:

    Best of luck with the new book. Can’t wait to get it tomorrow.

  55. My parents used to drive me from TN to Gable’s camp every summer in Iowa City in early 90s. I’ll never forget the day Gable actually demonstrated a move and used me as his drill partner. Incredible to be in touch with real greatness. Gable and those early 90’s Hawkeye teams changed my life.

    Oh, and I had “Competitor Supreme” as well. Great film.

  56. Thanks for sharing this Tim.

    After reading so many positive comments about this dvd/tape I am going to check it out.

  57. My heart skipped a beat when I saw you post this Tim. I really enjoy all of your media and Dan Gable is truly a hero of mine. As a native son of the Hawkeye State, Dan Gable is a name you learn early and hear often. My mother attended high school at Waterloo West with Coach Gable, she said he may have been the quietest and most shy person in the school. What a contrast with the man who stalked the mats for all those years. His success on the mat will never be rivaled, but to know Dan Gable is to know that he wrestled his biggest demons off the mat.

  58. Great article! I wrestled in HS and college and used to watch this Dan Gable video all the time. Last year I spent a lot if time trying to find this Dan Gable video that you played a part of to no avail. Do you know the name of it? I would really like to track it down.

  59. Effective and straight to the point. Thanks for sharing Tim… This just motivated me to physically and mentally train harder today.

  60. Dan Gable and Tim Ferriss kick lifes ass from here to infinity and beyond. How can you argue with these numbers? I pressed this as a reference for a future blog post and will be returning for more inspirational advice from Tim. Thanks bud.

  61. Little known trivia: the second opponent in this video (the one in blue getting chased off the mat) is Jim Gruenwald, who moved past this butt-kicking to eventually become a 2 time Olympian. Mostly by following the Iowa style and using that mindset to chase down one of America’s best ever Greco-Roman wrestlers in Dennis Hall. Jim had an ultra-supportive wife and multiple kids before he finally made his first Olympics. Shows what you can do sticking with it.

    Clearly Jim wasn’t ready during this match against one of the Brands brothers, but STAYING in the battle against better opponents is half the battle.

  62. I purchased digital access from, got an invoice, but nothing else… Replying to the invoice email, my email bounced back. Is there anything wrong with the site? Maybe you should not link to it… It’s not very nice, losing $37…

  63. My lack of aggression has stopped me a number of times. Which is strange, I get angry/aggressive in private. But in public? I’m the nice guy.

    It’s time to get aggressive.

  64. As someone who survived one of his 2 week intensive summer camps during my HS years I can attest that the training stuck with me through my wrestling career and on. I have lost and won many personal and business situations with aggression and learning when best to use it takes some training but man is it awesome when it fires people up and gets things moving!

  65. I am currently a highschooler, and was wondering what meathods there would be to use the DiSSS meathod to become a better wrestler, specifically freestyle. I understand you used special weight loss methods to get an advantage, but for the skills and techniques of wrestling what would be a good way to use the DiSSS method.

    Thank You

  66. Could you stop with all the pop-ups on your web pages? The pop-ups make the pages unreadable. It makes us resentful. There’s even a pop-up blocking your header with a full picture of you. That must have cost some money, and we can’t even see it. You’re here to serve us, not yourself. So do that. If we want to buy something, we’ll find it. If not, no pop-up is going to help.