Tools of Titans Foreword — Arnold Schwarzenegger!!! "I Am Not A Self-Made Man"

Speaking as a Long Island kid raised on Commando and Predator, this post is a dream come true.

Arnold Schwarzenegger–the freaking Terminator–was kind enough to write the Foreword for Tools of Titans. Whaaat?! Seriously, I have to pinch myself.

The more time I spend with Arnold and his team, the more impressed I am.  The more I study his life, the more I want to think bigger, stretch my limits, and smile at the naysayers of life. His habits, decisions, philosophies, and routines are endlessly fascinating, which I explore in ToT.

Arnold, thank you. Danke sehr!

Now, without further ado, here is the Foreword for Tools of Titans by Arnold, which could also be titled “I Am Not A Self-Made Man.”

Enter Arnold

I am not a self-made man.

Every time I give a speech at a business conference, or speak to college students, or do a Reddit AMA, someone says it.

“Governor/Governator/Arnold/Arnie/Schwarzie/Schnitzel (depending on where I am), as a self-made man, what’s your blueprint for success?”

They’re always shocked when I thank them for the compliment but say, “I am not a self-made man. I got a lot of help.”

It is true that I grew up in Austria without plumbing. It is true that I moved to America alone with just a gym bag. And it is true that I worked as a bricklayer and invested in real estate to become a millionaire before I ever swung the sword in Conan the Barbarian.

But it is not true that I am self-made. Like everyone, to get to where I am, I stood on the shoulders of giants. My life was built on a foundation of parents, coaches, and teachers; of kind souls who lent couches or gym back rooms where I could sleep; of mentors who shared wisdom and advice; of idols who motivated me from the pages of magazines (and, as my life grew, from personal interaction).

I had a big vision, and I had fire in my belly. But I would never have gotten anywhere without my mother helping me with my homework (and smacking me when I wasn’t ready to study), without my father telling me to “be useful,” without teachers who explained how to sell, or without coaches who taught me the fundamentals of weight lifting.

If I had never seen a magazine with Reg Park on the cover and read about his transition from Mr. Universe to playing Hercules on the big screen, I might still be yodeling in the Austrian Alps. I knew I wanted to leave Austria, and I knew that America was exactly where I belonged, but Reg put fuel on the fire and gave me my blueprint.

Joe Weider brought me to America and took me under his wing, promoting my bodybuilding career and teaching me about business. Lucille Ball took a huge chance and called me to guest star in a special that was my first big break in Hollywood. And in 2003, without the help of 4,206,284 Californians, I would never have been elected Governor of the great state of California.

So how can I ever claim to be self-made? To accept that mantle discounts every person and every piece of advice that got me here. And it gives the wrong impression — that you can do it alone.

I couldn’t. And odds are, you can’t either.

We all need fuel. Without the assistance, advice, and inspiration of others, the gears of our mind grind to a halt, and we’re stuck with nowhere to go. I have been blessed to find mentors and idols at every step of my life, and I’ve been lucky to meet many of them.

From Joe Weider to Nelson Mandela, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Muhammad Ali, from Andy Warhol to George H.W. Bush, I have never been shy about seeking wisdom from others to pour fuel on my fire.

You have probably listened to Tim’s podcasts. (I particularly recommend the one with the charming bodybuilder with the Austrian accent.) He has used his platform to bring you the wisdom of a diverse cast of characters in business, entertainment, and sports. I bet you’ve learned something from them — and oftentimes, I bet you picked up something you didn’t expect.

Whether it’s a morning routine, or a philosophy or training tip, or just motivation to get through your day, there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t benefit from a little outside help. I’ve always treated the world as my classroom, soaking up lessons and stories to fuel my path forward. I hope you do the same.

The worst thing you can ever do is think that you know enough.

Never stop learning. Ever.

That’s why you bought this book. You know that wherever you are in life, there will be moments when you need outside motivation and insight. There will be times when you don’t have the answer, or the drive, and you’re forced to look beyond yourself.

You can admit that you can’t do it alone. I certainly can’t. No one can.

Now, turn the page and learn something.

— Arnold Schwarzenegger


Tools of Titans is available at Barnes & Noble, AmazonBooks-A-MillioniBooksIndiebound, Indigo, and more.

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.)

65 Replies to “Tools of Titans Foreword — Arnold Schwarzenegger!!! "I Am Not A Self-Made Man"”

  1. Truth spoken here. He did forget to mention the great country of America, without which he would never have had the opportunity to rise to the pinnacles of success and popularity. All those blowhards who brag they made it all on their own need to read this and do a little self reflection

      1. I don’t know if those I-Did-It-Alone type people would read a book like Tools of Titans anyway because that in itself is a form of mentorship. Also I could be wrong but in Australia “self-made” simply means “not inherited”.

        I noticed when you see those Rich Lists, the magazine usually specifies whether the person’s net worth was self-made or inherited. Both types of wealth are generally respected I think.

        One type gives us hope that if we started with $0 we could still be successful and the other type shows us that it might be a good idea to leave a legacy. And I agree with Chase “Yoda” Braun. Audible you must.

        PS: I had a think about the Foreward and honestly, in my most humble opinion, if anyone arrives anywhere with a gym bag, particularly if said bag has gym stuff in it, this person is already on a path to success!

    1. I am glad you replied to this, because I would never know where to find you to thank you for sparking my interest in chemistry science, overall health and especially the power of ketones..

      this is a pleasant coinsidence..

      Thank you for all that you did for me without intending to.

  2. Great foreword, it is something (mentors, teachers etc) that in almost every podcast that Tim did. In my own life i could attribute most of the highest steps to the right person at the right time.

  3. Congratulations on this, Tim. A fantastic achievement to get to where you get to work alongside your childhood’s idols. Look forward to getting the book, as I’m confident it will help me on my way to working with my own idols 🙂

  4. That’s a powerful foreword! I cannot begin to imagine how you felt when he wrote this for you. I’m a big fan of your work Tim – you often ask what advice these Titans would give to their 30 year old selves or who they think is successful, but they often speak about who’s influenced thier life the most! It’s important for us to remember, thanks!

  5. A lot of wisdom in that foreword alone! Being a fairly introverted person who is always trying to be self-reliant, I can always be reminded of such profound advice. It’s a simple piece of advice, but very important. Can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

  6. Congratulations Tim! This is a great foreword to what I expect to be an even greater book! Looking forward to it.

  7. If I could take one thing you have that would be Arnie’s foword for your book! Fucking awsome man! Keep up the goog work!

  8. Well-said.

    “You are the average of the 5…” can’t be overemphasised. A whole book based on that philosophy. Can’t wait!

  9. Tim,

    That’s so cool 😀 subtle and inspiring. When Arnold dares you to turn the page it really gives great feel that I will be opening a very important book. I serisouly am so pumped for this book! I am usually an audio book guy but this is my first ever preorder of a book.

    At Penn States business school they taught us that when you ask a high level person for a recommendation letter you should create a draft. I gave this advice to my whole wrestling team and think I saved Coach Cael Sanderson a lot of time with this. Did you by any chance send Arnold a draft or do anything to help save him time on creating this foreword?

    Great work man, and congratulations on have Arnold write your forwad.

    Thank you!

    Clay Steadman

  10. Love it, both that he did it for you, and what it says. Looking forward to the book, Tim. Congratulations on the work.

  11. Inspiring foreword! Enjoyed the podcast with Arnold, and can’t wait to read the book now. Congratulations, and thanks for giving me the tools to save my own life. Glad you were born.

  12. Awesome! Congrats Tim, I love Arnold! Can’t imagine him writing a forward for my book. Scratch that. I will try to imagine him writing a forward to my book! 🙂

  13. Can’t wait to grab the book!

    Great foreword to a book that I have no doubt will be awesome nonetheless.

    Good luck with the launch 🙂

  14. Awesome foreward! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book:)

    Arnold is absolutely right, we are social creatures and we would be nothing without our relationships and the people in our lives. I dislike politicians as a general principle, but Arnold is a hundred kinds of amazing!

  15. Love is Arnold’s book and the interview on your show. He is great example of an American Dream Come True. It is nice to hear how humble he is and gives credit to the people who helped him in his path of success. Most celebrities or famous individuals won’t even bother to do that. Thank you so much Tim for sharing this and I really look forward to reading your book.

  16. Tim, Is there any benefit of buying the hardcover book over the kindle book? Or do you think it mainly comes down to personal preference?

    Also, thanks for all that you do.

  17. Adding to the xmas list !!! Read the other 3 and watched the TV shows. Love your work Tim, just wish I knew where to start to really make a difference (escape the 9-5 and live freely) for my own situation.

    But thanks for the insights and hopefully 1 day i’ll get there. Either way, you’ve proved a positive inspiration to me in many ways and I’m sure helped me more than I realise.



  18. Hi Tim

    Loved 4 hour work week. Looking forward to Tools of Titans. When do you think it will be out on Audible?

    Kind regards

  19. Wow, I don’t know much about Arnold Schwarzenegger (though I was completely fascinated with the terminator), but that forward reads as simply genuine, and genuinely simple, yet profound. Gee, it brought tears. I look forward to the book…and learning something.

  20. This man looks even bigger to me now. There’s a lot of good words here, lots of people forget who helped them in the past, even a bad experience is a good experience.

  21. Congratulations Tim! You’ve stepped out to live an authentic life, and people have taken notice. Thank you for this book. I know it will be a treasure!

  22. This is spoken from one with a genuine heart and deep moral fiber. It welled my eyes in the understanding of our grass roots beginnings.

    Arnold is a Titan, but he also has mastered the of power of being humble.

    Congratulations Tim, on a having such an empowering forward for what I shall know will be one of your best works to date.

  23. I really enjoyed this post and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

    This is something that I always believed. The truly successful people didn’t make it on their own. They were inspired, taught by others, supported by other, invested in by others, and the list goes on.

    The skill they had was curiosity, ability to work with other, and the desire to learn.


  24. This is one area of my life that needs the most work. I keep spinning my wheels on my own! Any recommendations on how to find mentors or peers to start the journey with?

  25. Great stuff here, Tim. Congrats.

    I have a practical question. Why did you choose Houghton Mifflin to publish your book while you could have easily self-published it?

  26. Tim, you’re a big inspiration to me too. The Four Hour Work Week has changed my life both times I’ve read it – last year it finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to quit my day job and go full time with my online business. So thanks for that!

    I’ve already pre-ordered ToT and it looks like Amazon here in Spain will be delivering it sometime in December.

    Keep it real!

  27. Good morning Tim,

    Awesome post! Over the last 6 months I have changed the way I think about life and what is possible in my mind. I’m attempting to do something that others think is impossible and unattainable by creating a book that will not only inspire generations to go after their dreams but also provide freedom. I’m going to be self publishing my book in one month and just ask that you read my manuscript. I ask for nothing else. Thank you and I’m grateful you have answered my request.

  28. Sorry Tim, you are great but Arnold is a king. Quite possibly the best foreword i have read from a book, written by a true, living legend. There’s so much truth to these words, both on the surface and beneath it, that this alone should be worth buying it. Guess i am saying, i’m in and can’t wait to read it. Thanks Tim and Arnold. These words foulen’t come at a better time.

  29. Wow – what a person to write your forward! Also a pretty amazing read, very humble, and insightful.

    Sadly no pre-order for me personally, and I don’t get to read it when it comes out. I do have it on good authority though that santa will be bringing me a copy… For once there is something I actually want around this time of year!

  30. Wow, that was powerful. I must admit, I’ve never seen Arnold in an intellectual way like this, cause of my own conceptions about the stereotypical alpha sports types.

    I’m 29 now, and could really need some mentor advice. Tools of Titans into the shopping cart! Thanks Tim, you’re awesome.

  31. Excellent forward! Inspires you as a human being, while simultaneously drawing you into the material. Already pre-ordered the book, and I’m curious about secondary material you might offer along with the book? Any chance you could get some nifty animated infographics made that would illustrate core-concepts outlined in the book (available via reference)? Also, while your at it, could you do a VR version of the book that would allow interacting with the tools, concepts and materials 😉 (only a joke) – Summary: Awesome forward, and seriously looking forward to reading the book 🙂

  32. Tim – congratulations on the book. A lot of my friends and family will be receiving the book for Christmas – you’ve helped make my shopping list a lot easier, “a dozen copies of Tools of Titans, please…”

    And what a hero Arnold is! Loved that post.

  33. Pre-ordered when you sent out the ask. Can’t wait for the book, just hoping for a audio book soon! Completely narrated by Mike Rowe? Would be epic!

  34. First book I ever pre-ordered!

    Great foreword. “Never stop learning. Ever.” – that is the way to go! It keeps amazing me how humble successful can be, when asked about how they got to where they are.

    Quick note: FYI, on Amazon for people outside the US we get redirected to our local website (e.g.: and as such the affiliate tag gets lost from the URL (tag=offsitoftimfe-20.) This means no commission for team on such sales. You may want to add local Amazon sites to the list of retailer links.

  35. Well said, Arnold. Really looking forward to this new book, Tim. Great idea to compile all these nuggets of wisdom in one handy reference manual. I’m wondering if you might want to chat with Gretchen Rubin on the podcast when it comes out. She just wrote a book about habit change (Better than Before), and concluded from her research that people fall into four different motivational categories that influence the habit change methods most likely to be effective for them. Might be a conversation that dovetails nicely with your book’s recommendations. I say this as someone with no connection to Rubin other than as someone who’s read her prior work.

  36. Hi Tim and team – will Tools of Titans be available in audio format and if so when? I just tried Audible and see it’s not there at the moment.



  37. I was a huge fan fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I really love the movie “The Terminator” . But one thing give me the strongest shock about him was he go to run the election for a Governor.

    Inside his word, we found that he is a modest man.

  38. Can’t wait to read the book! And I am curious to see how many of the notes I took while listening to the podcast were also selected by Tim to include in TOT (so far E. Norton “on being taken serious” was the best)!

  39. Brilliant. Tim- I think you would appreciate what goes on at the Acton Academy schools around the world. They are communities built upon the very idea of never knowing enough, and building a team around you while you focus on your strengths, so that you may change the world. Disclaimer- I’m opening an Acton in California in the Fall. Very much looking forward to the book.

  40. Thank you Tim, for bringing beauty, wisdom, and riches into my lives.

    I am a huge fan. So huge, that I have been beaten up by a few of my friends because I referenced to Tim Ferriss too often. They said “be yourself”.

    It’s true. I needed to learn to be myself and not take anything for granted. Not try to “like this Ferriss guy”. Now, I see YOU, Tim, as an inspiration, motivation and as someone who truly lives with a StartupGeist – a sense of true self that is creative, entrepreneurial, inspiring, motivating.

    Thanks for sharing the chapters on depression.

    Thanks for sharing your notes as a book. I am so thankful that you continue writing, and stopped investing. Your friend was right.

    I wish you and every of your readers beautiful xmas holidays and nothing more than fun, happiness, and health in 2017

  41. Man, that foreword is a book in itself! BTW your title Tools of Titans at first glance made me think it was written by Kurt Vonnegut. Which wouldn’t have been a bad read either 😉

  42. Just wanted to let you know that I had TofT ordered for me for me as a birthday present through amazon and it never came. When we checked with amazon they said there was an issue with the supplier. Not sure if I just had bad luck or others are having the same issue but just wanted you to know. Have an amazing day!

  43. Hi Tim,

    I just finished your book Tools of the Titans and got a ton of great habits from it! I also just finished a two month Vagabonding trip in Europe and Asia when someone suggested that I read Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. I was extremely interested to hear that you started a 2 year Vagabonding trip before writing the 4 Hour Work Week and that one of the two books you had was: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. This was the first self help book I’ve ever read, my favorite book of all time, and I have been addicted to self help books ever since. Keep putting out great material; it’s inspiring, informative, and I will definitely will continue being a fan!

    1. Hi, Gustavo –

      The 3,337 from the book represents the cost of the things you DREAM of having. The 2,600 represents your total CURRENT MONTHLY EXPENSES + A BUFFER OF 30%. When you add those two numbers together, you will get your Target Monthly Income that you need in order to fund your dreams while still funding your monthly ongoing expenses.


      Team Tim Ferriss