The book Vagabonding traveled with me around the globe for 18 months.
This post is a dream come true.
Starting in college, I’ve fantasized about somehow driving fantastic but under-appreciated books into the limelight. I have a soft spot for out-of-print tomes and niche publications.
Flash forward, nearly 15 years later…
After three #1 bestsellers, I’ve finally pulled the trigger. For the last several months, I’ve been quietly buying audiobook and e-book rights to books that have changed my life, and producing audiobooks in professional studios.
This post launches the Tim Ferriss Book Club, and the first book is incredible: Vagabonding.
Why a Book Club?
There are several reasons…
- I was greatly influenced by books recommended by Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club (e.g. Love in the Time of Cholera), despite the fact that I wasn’t her demographic.
- I could never find a book club for 20-40-year old males, or a curator for that demo. I’m now in a position to give it a shot myself (and extend it to women, of course).
- Based on recent experiments (BitTorrent and elsewhere), I think I can at least double an author’s print sales with my marketing of their audio/e-book. I like helping good writers.
- This blog’s community is incredible…and we like books (see comparison to TV and NYT Op-Ed impact). The idea of having thousands of people read the same book each month, all interacting with one another and the book’s author, is thrilling to me. And, last but not least…
- You’ve asked me to start a book club for years!
The time has come.
This leads us to Rolf Potts and a little tome with a huge impact…
“Vagabonding packs a serious philosophical punch and has a cult-like following among independent travelers…”
— The Oregonian
“This book will become a travel classic, and belongs in all travel collections.”
— Library Journal
Starting in 2004, I traveled the world for roughly 18 months. The lessons learned formed the basis for much of The 4-Hour Workweek.
On my journey — from the back alleys of Berlin to the hidden lakes of Patagonia — I had next to nothing: one suitcase, one backpack, and only two books. One of those books was Walden by Henry David Thoreau (naturally), and the other was Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, written by Rolf Potts.
Since 2005, I’ve continued to read 1-3 books per week on average, or 50-150+ books a year.
Vagabonding easily remains in my top-10 list for life-changing books. Why? Because one incredible trip, especially a long-term trip, can change your life forever. And Vagabonding teaches you how to travel (and think), not for one trip, but for the rest of your life. Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside magazine and a brilliant travel writer himself, has said of Vagabonding, “I think this is the most sensible book of travel related advice ever written.”
In my own dog-eared copy of Vagabonding, I have notes, underlines, and highlights on practically every page, ranging from the tactical (how to pack intelligently, what to bring, what not to bring, where to go, etc.) to the philosophical (the Upanishads, how to slow down after a lifetime of rushing and caffeine, etc.). I also have a wish list of dream destinations on the inside cover, including places like Stockholm, Prague, Paris, Munich, Berlin, and Amsterdam. The list goes on and on.
Using the Rolf’s tips, the same tips you can learn in Vagabonding, I checked them all off. I was able to explore many of them for 2-3 months at a time at my own pace, unrushed and unworried. It was a dream come true.
Everything in Vagabonding works. This book changed my life completely, and I wish the same for you.
Enjoy the adventures. May you have many of them.
Here is Chapter One from the brand-new audiobook, which includes new case studies and a Preface by yours truly:
From there, each chapter is better than the last. Click here for the full audiobook.
If you’re an author, agent, or publisher who’d like to talk about including your book in the Tim Ferriss Book Club, please tell me here.
Still on this page? Let’s keep going, then.
Here’s the jacket description of Vagabonding:
“Vagabonding” is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel, once thought to be the sole province of students, counterculture dropouts, and the idle rich. Potts gives the necessary information on:
Financing your travel time
Determining your destination
Adjusting to life on the road
Working and volunteering overseas
Handling travel adversity
and re-assimilating into ordinary life
Not just a plan of action, vagabonding is an outlook on life that emphasizes creativity, discovery and the growth of the spirit.
Any special requests for this book club? Ideas or suggestions? Please let me know in the comments.
We’ll have some special reader-only events with Rolf soon, so be sure to listen to the book! It’s also available on iTunes, but it helps both Rolf and me more if you download the book through Audible.
I hope you benefit from this book as much as I have over the years. If you pay attention, it can change your life.
Posted on: November 11, 2013.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.