The $5,000 Secret Santa and Other Goodies

This is a housekeeping post with one time-sensitive update and smaller recommendations. It’s split into two parts:

  • The $5,000 Secret Santa
  • Bite-sized Recommendations: 2 Books, 2 Movies, 2 Tweets, and 2 Songs.

The $5,000 Secret Santa

The short version: I’ve decided to go crazy and do a one-time-only $5,000 Quarterly box. It’s limited to the first 1,000 people, and it will ship before December 25. For that reason, I’m calling it the “Holiday Mega-Box.”

If you’re interested in learning more, please click here. (Note: This is completely separate from the regular Quarterly subscription described below)

Normally, every three months, I ship out a box of amazing physical products with a personal letter explaining everything. It costs $100 per box, and thousands of people subscribe to it here. The theme is obsession–the ideas and objects I can’t get out of my head. Sometimes I’m hooked on a great travel gadget. Other times, I find an incredible book or productivity hack through my experiments. Here are the contents of some previous boxes. They’re often worth $200 or more and include custom items you can’t buy, liked original artwork from Simon Bisley or letters from authors, etc..

Interested in the absurd $5,000 box that’s destined to be unforgettable? Click here.

Interested in becoming a “curator” and creating your own boxes? does all the legwork of procuring items (or manufacturing them), as well as fulfillment and customer service. Click here if interested.

Bite-Sized Recommendations

Here are a few things that have been capturing my interest recently: 2 books, 2 movies, 2 tweets, and 2 songs…


Wilderness Essays

Who (on hiring, especially the “Selection” section)


Into Great Silence



Armless guitarist killing it

Down more than 200 pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet


Orchestrated Incident (Gramatik)

Pa’ Bailar Ft. Julieta Venegas (Bajofondo)

Did you like these bite-sized rec’s? Would you like more, no more, or something different? Different categories? Please let me know in the comments!

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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108 Replies to “The $5,000 Secret Santa and Other Goodies”

  1. I’d love to see an updated post with the recommendations from the podcast, like how the King of Kong documentary has been suggested by multiple people in interviews.

    Love getting my Quarterly shipments, and have learned to stay away from Twitter in the time when others are receiving their packages and mine hasn’t made it’s way to Vancouver yet!

  2. Are you saying this box is going to cost us $5000? Also the reccomendations are cool, however I think they would be better presented in a podcast format.

    1. Hi Gabriel (and all),

      Yes, the one-time box will cost $5,000 USD. It is completely separate from the normal Quarterly subscription.



      1. It would be amazing if this one-time box was, in any way shape or form, related to the the Shopify “Build a Business” Competition (or a similar form of mentorship).

  3. Tim, I am intrigued. I got all your quartery parcels up to now and there where really inspiring things in all of them, but also some less interesting (sleep machine with US 110V power requirement not working in Europe). $5,000 is a big bet though without telling us any hints on what we can expect. Are you testing our price flexibility vs. follower loyalty? 😉

    1. Hi Martin, I had the same issue with the Dohm here in THailand but you simply need to contact Quarterly and they’ll fix everything. They are amazing, less than a month later I received a 220v Dohm delivered for free. Great service.

  4. Hi Tim,

    Your bite-sized recommendations are excellent. You’ve said for quite some time that you go through 5-6 books a week and I’m always curious on what you’re reading, so thanks for sharing and keep it up!

  5. Hi Tim,

    I think your bite-sized recommendations are excellent. I’ve long been wondering what books you read, since you’ve said you go through 5-6 of them a week. Keep it up please!

    Also, miss your in between episodes. I think a short Q&A format would be great!

  6. No brain needed here…fastest subscription I ever made!

    What about 2 videos/documentaries that captured your interest lately?

  7. You’re doing an excellent job as a curator. I’d definitely pay to increase your rate of output as a curator. The music, movie & documentary, book suggestions you’ve been giving have been very valuable.

    The act of referring people to resources is often undervalued. But for me, having good curators saves me A LOT of attention and adds a lot of quality to life.

    One of the charms of the Random Show was the feature of you and Kevin simply sharing awesome stuff.

    I’d love to see more of it. It does add A LOT of value.

    Categories: More music, documentaries, books if possible.

    *You could start featuring Models in diverse subcultures and skills that inspires people to take up the skill. Such as marksmanship, archery, swimming, and other procedural and physical performances.

    *Something I’d really LOVE to see would be more sports/physical skills or procedural performances. Including guides or inspiring models in the skill/activity.

    I think a lot of people are hungry for “adventure”; getting away from the computer and actually doing something physical.

    I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to biking, motorbiking and -boarding lately, and have been training parts of my nervous system I forgot I even had (“vestibular system”?!). It’s been extremely gratifying and exciting. Almost rejuvenating.

    TL;DR: More curation! It adds a lot of value. As a new category, introduce PHYSICAL SKILLS – flow-inducing activities that use more than the fingertips.

    We didn’t evolve to tap a keyboard for 12h/day. Big parts of people’s nervous systems’ are just dormant and craving some form of activity.

  8. Tim,

    I’ve just sorta skimmed through your work and have observed from the “sidelines”. I’ve lurked because we share similar attributes and I enjoy your deconsctrutionist perspective. Lots of value.

    I am curious, have you recommended or reviewed Charlie Munger’s work? I would tend to believe you have. Sending a friend or two “Uncle Charlie’s Almanac” for Xmas is probably one of the best gifts you can ever give or receive.

    Charlie is a bad hombre……

    I have another for you. I have Tweeted this to you, but I am sure it got lost in the wash. You need to connect with and interview Bryan Garner, author of countless books, namely Black’s Law Dictionary. I recently had the pleasure of attending one of Bryan’s three hour courses at our Alaska bar conference. Bryan is one of a kind and chuck full of incredible value. Your audience will enjoy and reap outstanding returns.

    Like Timothy Leary said…….”Find the others.”

      1. Tim,

        The science of influence is a major passion of mine. We use the work of Cialdini, Kahneman, Rapaille, Tversky, Hogan, Gigerenzer and others to draft influential legal narratives to gain compliance from juries, both in criminal and civil cases. Everything we use from word choice to graphics is based upon scientific, neuro-cognitive principles. Bryan’s innovation of the Deep Issue Statement is among the most genius concoctions I’ve come across with regards to wordsmithing and legal influence

        I’ve been into this “bio-hacking, quantified-self, Multi-disciplinary” movement for a decade or more, I’ve met and reviewed some pretty top notch material – yet all in all, pound for pound – the most dynamic bad asses I’ve come across are top notch personal injury attorneys. Not the run-of-the-mill goofballs. I mean the inner-circle, underground folks with Billions in verdicts. You get to see theory applied by master craftsman with HUGE stakes on the line. Nowhere else, does this really happen. We live to experiment.

        One day, in due course, I’ll share my story. I think you’ll find it interesting, it’s unlike anything you’ve come across. From ISP founder to junkie to Alaska outdoor guide to successful legal career.

  9. I think there’s some confusion about the $5,000 box. Obviously, this is separate from the normal quarterly. It’s a special thing for a limited amount of people and has no bearing on your normal subscription.

    Anyway, I love the bite-sized recs. It’s always good to find new media worth checking out.

    1. Thanks, Ethan. Yes, you’re correct. It’s totally separate from the normal subscription. I’ll try and clarify!

      1. Hey here is an idea how about Mr. Ferriss put in a perk for those who subscribed to the quarterly a lottery (or chance) to win a free $5000 box as way of showing client appreciation or for his loyal followers /customers/ subscribers etc..

  10. I think the Bite-Sized Recommendations are a great idea. Love to see more. Perhaps include 2 Apps, 2 Websites, & 2 recipes to cook something great. . Just a few of my ideas. Though its nice to know when you recommend something if you have any financial or a consulting ties to it.

    The $5K box is out of my reach for something “unknown” .. But I am loving the $100 boxes so far.

  11. Love the bite size rec’s. Maybe quotes as well? Great quotes are never a bad thing. Also for the podcast I would love to see you interview a politician or pick someone’s brain about politics. Those 10 minutes in the Tony Robbins podcast where you discussed Obama was unbelievable! Would love to hear more stuff like that!

  12. 5 grand is completely pulling the piss out of your followers. Don’t you have enough money? Unless you are using the proceeds for feeding kids in Africa, I’d say this is ridiculous.

    1. I’d say you don’t know anything about it. Perhaps ask questions before casting stones? I find that to be a good and fair policy.

      1. For his next outside-of-the-box trick, Tim will send you a dozen hungry African kids; feel free to feed them 😉

      2. As a long time appreciator of Tim’s work (like many of us here), and without knowing anything at all about the $5K box, I would put my 3 year old’s university fund on this not being a ploy to increase Tim’s net worth.

        In fact, it’s likely to be quite the opposite 🙂

    2. As a subscriber to Tim’s quarterly boxes since #tim02, I can say that I seriously doubt Tim is getting his net worth boosted substantially by this. Factor fulfillment costs as well as wholesale value I seriously doubt there is much left of my $100 investment every month to make anyone filthy rich. I’m not totally naive and I’m sure money’s being made, but the value of this service and Tim’s boxes are amazing and totally make my day when they arrive! The last box (#tim07 ?) was outstanding! I’m wearing my Misfit Shine as I type!

      1. Thank you, Shawn, and you are correct. I spend almost 100% of the budget of these boxes to make them as incredible as possible.

  13. Hi Tim, love your work..

    I singed up to this Quarterly special. but if possible, I’d like to know what it is about before spending this amount of money!

  14. I like the bite-sized recco’s and have already clicked on your above links out of curiosity. But after reading a bit… my first thought was “I wonder what Tim liked about this?” I listen to your podcast’s so I already know why the links attracted you or your guest. So I suggest you provide a brief description for additional clarification on your picks. Thanks for sharing your interests with us!

  15. Sou brasileiro tenho 27 passai por muitas coisa neste vida nunca me conformei de passa 8 horas dentro de uma empresa por isso sempre pedi demissão com mais ou menos 1 ano concordo com este livro mais estou desempregado e meu país nunca foi referencias em ajudar pobre como fazer sim umas da cincos coisa que escrevi a quinta era falar com você Tim Ferriss

  16. Greetings Tim,

    Well this is an exciting post! I am interested and signed up as soon as I saw the link earlier.

    Not sure what will be in the Holiday Mega-Box, but from my perspective your content always delivers major value.

    I really hope I make the cut. I have been a long time consumer of your content and have found your topics to be really enjoyable and actionable. I am currently stepping through the 4-Hour Workweek and am aiming to have some new income automation streams next year. This time of year I also do a slow carb diet to make it through the holidays and start the New Year off well. So I am looking at this as another nice way to enjoy some of your 4-Hour related obsessions going into the New Year.

    In any case this holiday box opportunity seems really awesome! Thanks for putting it out there!

  17. Stellar book recommendation with Who–Geoff Smart is awesome. He’s doing great work here in Colorado curating a rock star team of mostly private sector leaders to run the state government. One to watch.

  18. Music selection: Good. Promising.

    Movie selection: Looks good, especially Snowpiercer. But trailers are so damn misleading. I want to see if you would still suggest it AFTER you’ve seen it.

    The Armless Guitar Tweet…and I bitch how I don’t have enough finger dexterity. Geez…

    So I like the movies, tweets and songs. Especially the songs.

    P.S. You might be interested in a group “Above and Beyond – Sun and Moon (Acoustic)”. What makes them so fascinating is that they are Electronica DJs who are classically trained. They decided to turn some of their club music into an orchestral set and it sounds brilliant.


  19. Hi Tim,

    I have noted down every book you have recommended during the last three years. I have enjoyed these book tremendously and I am always super aware to make a note when you recommend new books.

    I think this bite sized concept would be great if it means you can recommend more of the books that has made an impression on you. If you could add only like one or two sentences also so get a greater picture of why you liked it would be perfect.

  20. Hi Tim, I’m a big fan of your work and a disciple of 4-Hour Work Week/Chef and will be starting Body soon. I have a book recommendation I thought you’d find interesting: “Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet”, by Mark Adams. It’s a biography about a turn of the 20th century self-made man who thought America was becoming weak from poor diet and lack of exercise after urbanization following the civil war. He was among the first to promote weight lifting, avoid white flour, and was a hysterical (probably bipolar) character. He discovered and developed Charles Atlas, advised Joe Wieder, and created sanitariums around the country to promote fitness, becoming an advisor to presidents and world leaders, as well as an enemy of the American Medical Association. Anyway, it’s a fascinating read and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for all you do — Dr. Brent Greenberg, Greensboro, NC

  21. You’ll want to check out anything by Robert Macfarlane based on your “Wilderness Essays” recommendation. Esp the book Mountains of the Mind.

  22. Tim, I love the fact that you watched Into Great Silence. I watched it when it first premiered, they only held one showing in Britain in this obscure cinema in a random city in southwest England – I was 15 at the time, so I had to get my stepfather to take me to see this three hour German French-speaking documentary on Carthusian monks and he agreed only on the trade off that I went to this museum/country park of old houses. He fell asleep in the film and I thought it so amazing I immediately bought the DVD when it came out so I could watch it again. 😀

  23. I am highly intrigued, but 5K is out of my price range, for now.

    I am hopeful that you will do a follow up post on the box after it ships.

  24. Bite-sized recommendations: always great. It would be cool for each book to go with a relevant tweet, song, etc. Perhaps even cooler if the two recommendations were strangely connected (or disconnected). Sending love from China.

  25. I also love the bite sized recs! I always enjoy asking people (even strangers) about their fav recent book/music/experience instead of how’s the weather? or how are you?

  26. Tim,

    You should ABSOLUTELY keep doing the bite-size recommendations! I’ve been following you for many years, after your first appearance on the Rogan podcast, and have since caught up with every tool you find interesting or helpful. I’m fascinated with your passion for learning and for finding people that are equally as passionate towards just about anything. On a personal level, I absolutely love the book recommendations. I’m always interested to see what you’re reading and what has influenced you to do what you do. I love the bite-size recommendations and the show notes to your podcast. Keep the flow heavy, my friend.



  27. Love your blog and all the horizons you’ve broadened for me since ‘finding’ you in our local bookshop a few years back (The 4 hour work week). I’m always saying if I did even 10% of the things you recommend I’d be a very, very different person – unfortunately I am an appropriately named ‘Lazy Susan’ – some day!!! That said, I really like the idea of ‘Bite-Sized Recommendations’. Today is a new day and I’m going to chase up all 8 recommendations. Hooray for me. HOORAY for you. Very tempted on the Secret Santa. May be divorced but I will seriously consider!” Gulp!! Here’s to impulsivity!! Cheers

  28. I like the price point of your Secret Santa box Tim. You offer your readership a ton of value and there is a lot of cool stuff you can offer in a higher priced box that you would never be able to offer in a $100 box. Bravo for taking the leap to a higher price point. It makes sense to do this sort of thing on occasion.

  29. Gramatik is marvelous, so are his labelmates at PLM. Breakscience is also really nice if you’re into the “gets you excited” nature of Gramatiks music. I’d also recommend Caravan Palace in case you didn’t stumble upon them yet, they do some absolutely invigorating electro swing tracks.

    [] Break Scince – Brain Reaction

    [] Caravan Palace – Dramophone.

    Sorry for being overly enthusiastic about this tidbit, but Gramatik is one of those artists that trigger the “This mah jam” reaction in me.

  30. i think that the MOVIES the TWEETS and the SONGS are no’t as good as the BOOKS… i think you should put instead of the MOVIES,TWEETS,SONGS other things…

  31. Dear Tim,

    I really enjoy your blog often because you tackle a lot of things people are talking about but you make it simpler.

    I am at work drinking coffee now when seeing your mail. And not thinking much I put my name on the list for the box. I think I was thinking of it as some sort of a sweepstakes. I don’t want to waste your time because I have prioritized differently I am not up for buying the box. SO I wanted to let you know straight a way when I realized.

    Hope you are having a most wonderful day and thanks again for being fresh,

    Finnur Þ. Gunnþórsson

  32. Tim,

    Your quarterly packages are fantastic. The themes of health, innovative tech, and rapid learning tools continue to inspire my everyday living. I look forward to the future quarterlies with great anticipation.

    The “Bite-Sized Recommendations” are also something I would thoroughly enjoy seeing more of.

  33. Tim,

    After you gauge that there’s interest in your mega box (which, of course, there will be), you’ve got to give a little more information about it. You could definitely do this without spoiling the surprise and could even pique further interest. For example, you could give a list of “if you [blank], this box is probably not for you,” with [blank] being: are a student living in a dorm, find ghost peppers agonizing, are venturing into tribal Amazonia for the next near, are planning to incur debt to get this box, etc. Note that this last example doesn’t necessarily go without saying and so is useful info. For example, if an invitation were on offer to a unique, once-in-lifetime *experience* or meeting worth, in some sense, substantially more than $5k, it might be worth it for someone young to pull the trigger; if, on the other hand, it were just a really, *really* cool toy, it may not be a good idea at all unless the money is truly disposable.

    Making the list could be fun for you, and the rampant speculation would be fun for all. More importantly, it would be useful. $5000 isn’t cheap for anyone, but for many it’s right on the edge of a bold move and wtf-what-were-you-thinking?! 🙂

  34. Tim,honey. Shut up you guys I can call him honey because I’m old enouh to be his grandma. So anyway. Look at EMT for the limes. Ok and please? Maybe start with Nick Ortners page.

    Oh and take the-Apology banner off the top of your blog. Just a suggestion.

  35. Rampant speculation of the contents…ooh, what would be in MY $5000 SS box? Hmmm…Martial arts equipment, tango shoes, new tech wearables (measuring metrics as always), a cryotherapy session (a la Tony Robbins) gift certificate, tickets to Argentina, and a Go Pro to capture it all. What’s in your #SSbox? Live wild. xxx lulu

  36. Love the film recommendations Tim – please keep them coming. Particularly enjoyed the Laura Dekker film you recently reccommended on fb.

  37. Love love love each and every recommendation. From literature to music to movies, you really have a rare insight. Thanks so much for cooperating with the universe. I we all did for one another just a fraction of what you do for others, this world would be close to perfect.

  38. I love your blog posts! I have trouble digesting obsessively pretty blogs with over marketed content. I enjoy the fact that you skip around. Please keep doing what you do. For the thinkers. For the tastemakers.

  39. Hey Tim,

    If you liked Wilderness Essays, check out Extreme Landscape by Bernadette McDonald!

    Alsom keep the Bite Size Rec’s comming!!

    – Alex

  40. Really Hoping I get an invite to the Quarterly deal! Loved the e-mail with multiple links to the same Quarterly page. Methinks some testing is being done and I might be the guinea pig, am I correct Tim?

  41. I’m a big fan of the bite-sized recs. I think you should keep them up in this format seeing as it’s easy enough to click on the links in an email. I’m checking out the songs right now!

    Keep up the great work.

  42. I will need to work on some of the Tony Robbins things from the recent Podcast to get on the 5k box level! I am thinking about getting together a group on for “Tim Ferriss podcast listeners”; while it would obviously not have an affiliation I think it could draw a really fun, eclectic group of people together – Would something like that get your blessing?

  43. If you enjoyed ‘Pa’ Bailar’ you will enjoy Julieta’s MTV unplugged album and Limon y Sal as well. Her voice is incredibly soothing.

    Love the bite-sized recommendations. Keep them coming!

  44. I’ve been a Quarterly subscriber for 3 boxes now — they’ve all had something in them that has changed my life for the better. I can’t imagine what this box will contain but, if I had the 5K, I bet it’s pretty incredible.

  45. Hey Tim, loving everything you’re putting out (actually even had a salad from the 4HC for dinner tonight . . . yum!) and am especially appreciative of how often you’re putting out new podcasts! About to listen to one now as I do some late night drawing.

    Keep up the good work!

    I intend to buy that $5,000 as soon as I’ve got my muse in place and making me millions (or at least several thousands, lol!)


  46. Tim, Great stuff here as always. The Pod Cast is awesome. I’m really enjoying the in-between-episodes, as a nice compliment to the full conversations.

    Recommendation. Make your emails Mobile friendly. I read 90% of my articles and emails on my phone, and some of your messages are a pain!


    1. Hi Steven,

      Thanks for the feedback. We’re trying to make the emails good for mobile. Could you please link to a screenshot or provide more feedback? Would love to improve them.



  47. I love these bite-sized rec’s.

    For us insomniac non-fiction addicts who have already burned through your fiction list I’d like to see more film and literature recommendations.

    I just made a new “Gramatik Radio” Pandora station before reading this. Great minds think alike.


  48. Love the Bite-sized recommendations! Keep em coming. Categories are good. Consider including (when you come across them) interesting blogs, products, foods…

  49. Just want to say your bit-size recommendations are awesome. Would love to see them in more posts (and especially in the newsletter).

  50. I have an offer for you – please send me just $250000 and I will send you a Eddie Megabox! Due to extraordinary circumstances and incredible value, we will not be able to refund or offer returns in the event you do not like the items in the box. All sales are final and non-refundable.

    Like your books, blog and podcast but I am not one for buying things I have no information on. Good luck to those who go for it!

  51. The fact that I am even considering this $5k investment is a testament to your character, Tim. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to make such an exciting decision.



  52. Hey Tim!

    I just want to say that I personally love these bite-sized recommendations. It’s always interesting to see what people are into, especially someone such as yourself with such a broad range of interests. I would also like to say that I would totally sign up for this box if I had the cash. However, I am just a student in school atm and can’t afford to by 5000 dollar mystery boxes on whim. Anyways, keep up the great work Tim!

  53. Tim, what will you do with 5 million dollars… I’m thinking that the goodie is good, but you’re also experimenting with your ability to generate 5 million dollars from your followers. Or maybe see how many “true followers” you have who are financially able.

    This isn’t an investment, but a trust deal. I don’t even give family members $5,000 without knowing how it’ll be used. Tempting, but I’ll pass because this encroaches my values. It’ll be fun to hear what it is eventually. I’m sure it’ll be good.

  54. Would be great to see the $5,000 box available outside of the US too next time Tim, would have been interested over here in lil ‘ol Sydney. Great idea, can’t wait to hear what was in it!

  55. The 5K box sounds awesome, too bad I’m a broke college student. I’m excited to see what Tim puts in it thought. Maybe this develops into a yearly tradition and I can afford one in a few years.

  56. Received the holiday megabox and it is pretty, darn cool. 🙂 Thanks Tim. I appreciate all the obvious thought and time you put into this project. Merry Christmas.

    I can’t say more as I’m not going to spoil it for anyone that decided to wait and open theirs on Christmas other than, you will enjoy it.

    1. Since we are past Christmas, would you be willing to tell those of us who could not afford the box what was in it? Or post a picture on instagram? I’m dying to know!

  57. Tim – thanks so much for the time and effort you put into the box. Having two HUGE crates delivered to my office certainly caused something of a stir. Is there an email address that I could use to send you some feedback?

    I have been accused in the past of being someone who “buys everything Tim offers – recommends” and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.


  58. I’ll read what everyone else is saying after I give my thoughts. But let me start here. The mega box is amazing. First of all the Steadman art to me is priceless. Done. already paid for itself.

    But allow me to go on.

    I am a 47 year old 4 time Paralympian. I am an amputee from a very traumatic accident. Lost one leg and badly injured the other. As the years tick by things are getting tougher. I train in Krav Maga now and that Marc Pro plus is helping me tremendously. Wish I had one back in my Paralympic training days. Another huge win.

    I love to cook so obviously those items will be used.

    With my renewed vigor in training with the Marc pro. I am now training in order to be able to use that amazing skateboard. This is a huge and scary goal but I will do it!

    I am a world traveler so the underwear and coat will be used and of course the back pack.

    I could go on and on but will stop here.

    Love all the items and I was sort of feeling guilt that I purchased this, but guilt be gone!

    Thank you for teaching me so much and for this amazing mega box!

    Please excuse my many !!!!! But I am excited.