This post contains a few things that didn’t make it into Tools of Titans (#1 NYT), pulled from more than 300 cuts.
Please excuse casual grammar. This is how all people sound in-person, even uber-smart ones. The below quotes weren’t copyedited for the book, as they didn’t make it in (though every person did), so any typos are mine. Bolding is also mine.
Hope you enjoy!
*What are the things that you look for in founders, or the red flags that disqualify an investment or a founder.
“Number one, intelligence; you’ve got to be smart, which means you have to know what you’re doing, to some level. That’s a fuzzy thing but you talk to people and you kind of get a sense of do they know what they’re doing or not. Do they have insight, do they have specific knowledge? Have they thought about the problem deeply? It’s not about the age. It’s not how many years they’ve spent but just how deep is their understanding of what they’re about to do.”
“So intelligence is key. Energy, because being a founder is brutally difficult. It takes a long time and in the long run, the people who succeed are just the ones who persevere. So if someone runs out of energy or if they’re doing this in some hesitating, preliminary way where they’re looking for constant positive feedback, or if they’re easily thrown off course, then they’re not going to make it to the end, especially in the highly competitive startup context.”
“And finally is integrity. Because if you have someone who is high intelligence and high energy but they’re low integrity, what you’ve got is a hard working, smart crook. Especially in the startup world, things are very dynamic, they’re very fast moving. People are very independent. So if somebody wants to screw you over, they will find a way to do it. Fundamentally, ethics and integrity are what you do despite the money. If being ethical were profitable, everybody would do it. So what you’re looking for is a core sense of values that rises above and beyond the pure financial incentives.”
Here are the full episodes with Naval:
*Who are some of the most underrated comedians?
“Jerrod Carmichael is great.”
“Natasha Leggero is very funny. Tig Notaro, I’m sure you guys all know her by now. Chris D’Elia, I’m a fan. You probably already know him.”
“Neil Brennan, co-creator of the Chappelle Show with Dave Chappelle, has now started doing standup and is super incisive and funny.”
Here are the full episodes with Whitney:
*Edit down & simplify
“And the true beauty of making a good TED talk or a good book is that you edit down, and you distill…”
“And then the goal was: how do we take this story that took a minute and a half to tell, which I thought I had got it as far down as possible, and condense it into 20 seconds? Literally, what words, what single words could we use to convey that whole sentence?”
“With a single anecdote or a single detail, they emotionally take you right there, and they don’t need to say anymore, and they can get on to the next thing.”
“The best art is about economy. [..] the artist who’s just trying to do everything winds up unable to express whatever it is that’s of importance.”
“It was the ability to pare down to the impactful detail. And that’s just true in art, as in life, for sure.”
Here is the full episode with Amanda:
*Don’t B.S. — tell the truth
“I find the smartest guys in the world, and when you get to the very top echelon, they have perfect B.S. detectors. It’s much better to say ‘I don’t know’ than to try to make up an answer to something you don’t actually know. It’s kind of refreshing, actually, that just honesty and transparency are – even when you’re raising north of a billion dollars – the best policy.”
Here are the full episodes with Matt:
*Keystone habits recommended by Josh
“First of all, meditation, when we’re speaking about this theme of cognitive biases or basically observing your mental directions the moment that they set in. Meditation is as deep and as powerful a tool as I could possibly describe. Maybe six or seven years ago, when I was first talking about meditation with guys in the finance world [Editor: he coaches some of the best-performing hedge hedge fund managers of all time], it seemed like some woo-woo strange thing for them to take on. But as more and more people are integrating it into their process, you wouldn’t believe how many of the most powerful players in the world are meditating very deeply.”
“It’s one thing to learn skills, but the higher artist has to learn themes or meta-themes that will ultimately, spontaneously tap into the internalization of hundreds of what I would call ‘local habits.’ If you’re practicing quality, you’re deepening the muscle of quality and you’re also focusing the unconscious on that complexity, which we then tap first thing in the mornings [by journaling upon waking].”
[Editor’s note — But to make journaling work, you need to let problems go earlier in the day.] From later in that conversation:
“The very core idea is: when you go home, as best you can, unless you’re red-hot inspired, release your mind from the work. It’s very important to give your stress a recovery. [As a] core habit, you want to be turning it on and turning it off.”
“And you can teach people that turning it off is a huge part of teaching them to turn it on much more intensely. [Editor: Josh works with some of the top athletes in the world, like Marcelo Garcia in jiu-jitsu] Stress and recovery workouts, interval training, and meditation together are beautiful habits to develop to cultivate the art of turning it on and turning it off.”
“And then, thematically, this ties back into this internal proactive orientation, building a daily architecture which is around understanding your creative process as opposed to reacting to things, feeling guilty that you’re not working, really teaching people to tap into their internal compass.”
Here are the full episodes with Josh:
“Well, one of my general life philosophies is do not try to be 40 before you are 40. It is funny how many of us we want to jump ahead and do all of these really sophisticated things, and I am no exception. Every time I start something new, I want to jump to what all the best people in the world are doing and try to copy them. But, of course, you have to go through the pain and the fire to be able to get there…”
Here are the full episodes with Ramit:
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