“If I realize my focus is off, and certainly when I’m experiencing any negative emotions, I ask myself, ‘Where should my attention be right now?’ Almost always, the answer is ‘my mission,’ which is like a beacon that always beckons.” — Adam Robinson
Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where I share the habits, tools and patterns of world-class performers. This special short episode features insights from Adam Robinson (@IAmAdamRobinson). His answers to my questions were highlighted in my most recent book, Tribe of Mentors.
For those of you not familiar with Adam, he has made a lifelong study of outflanking and outsmarting the competition. He is a rated chess master who was awarded a Life Title by the United States Chess Federation. As a teenager, he was personally mentored by Bobby Fischer in the 18 months leading up to his winning the world championship.
Then, in his first career, he developed a revolutionary approach to taking standardized tests as one of the two original co-founders of The Princeton Review. His paradigm-breaking — or “category killing,” as they say in publishing — test-prep book, The SAT: Cracking the System, is the only test-prep book ever to have become a New York Times bestseller. After selling his interest in The Princeton Review, Adam turned his attention in the early ’90s to the then-emerging field of artificial intelligence, developing a program that could analyze text and provide human-like commentary. He was later invited to join a well-known quant fund to develop statistical trading models, and since, he has established himself as an independent global macro advisor to the chief investment officers of a select group of the world’s most successful hedge funds and family offices.
- Listen to it on Apple Podcasts.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another conversation with an investor who has his mind on more than money? — Check out my interview with Steve Jurvetson, an early VC investor in SpaceX, Tesla, Planet, Memphis Meats, and Hotmail. Stream below or right-click here to download.
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Adam:
- Adam’s past appearances on this show: Becoming the Best Version of You and Lessons from Warren Buffett, Bobby Fischer, and Other Outliers
- Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky
- Adam’s method of meditation is heart rate variability training (HRV).
- A book on HRV: The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre and Howard Martin
- Adam’s recommendation for tracking HRV.
- An Invitation to the Great Game: A Parable of Love, Magic, and Everyday Miracles by Adam Robinson
- Candid Camera
- What would Adam’s gigantic billboard say, and why? [04:18]
- How do you change what you’re doing if you’re not getting the results you want? [05:29]
- When self-confidence is almost as bad as self-doubt. [06:05]
- Bad recommendations Adam hears often in the field of global finance. [07:02]
- One of Adam’s most worthwhile investments — in spite of initial reluctance. [12:51]
- A recent purchase of less than $200 that has had the most positive impact on Adam’s life. [16:50]
- What new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved Adam’s life in the past five years? [17:21]
- What advice would Adam give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the real world? [20:54]
- What does Adam do when he feels overwhelmed or unfocused? [26:45]
- What has Adam become better at saying “no” to in the last five years? [29:45]
- An unusual habit or absurd thing Adam loves. [31:29]
- Bobby Fischer
- Rudyard Kipling
- Amelia Earhart
- Daniel Kahneman
- Paul Slovic
- Michael Jordan
- Josh Waitzkin
- Benjamin Disraeli
- Mark Twain
- Ashton Kutcher
Posted on: June 21, 2018.
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.