What do roughly 1.5 million subscribers to my newsletter care about most? Or put another way, if they voted with clicks, what most caught their attention in 2018?
The 25 items below are good candidates.
They are the most-clicked links from my weekly “5-Bullet Friday” newsletter from January to December 2018. The most popular item received 75,000+ clicks and the 25th most popular still had more than 42,000 clicks.
5-Bullet Friday is a short email of five bullet points, sent out each Friday, and it has become somewhat famous for crashing websites (AKA “the hug of death,” as one reader put it). Each newsletter describes the five coolest things I’ve found or explored that week, often including books, gadgets, experimental supplements, tricks from experts, and weird stuff from all over the world.
[And if the spirit moves you, you can subscribe to 5-Bullet Friday here to see why it has one of the highest open rates in the newsletter world.]
Here is the top-25 list, from most to least clicked:
Most popular post on Instagram —
“I just bought a 40×30 print of this…”
[75,637 clicks, published in January 26, 2018 newsletter]
What I’m reading —
“On Needing to Find Something to Worry About.” I expected a fluff piece based on the headline. Instead, I got an incredible (and incredibly short) essay that I saved to Evernote and now read several times per month. It won’t apply to everyone, but for some of you, like me, it will have a pronounced “Oh… fuck” realization that could change things. Once you read it, I bet you’ll be able to guess which specific line carried the most weight for me.
[67,704 clicks, published in November 23, 2018 newsletter]
Article I’m rereading —
Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think. This remains one of the most empowering articles I’ve read in recent years. It’s hilarious and amazing. For double trouble, pair it with my interview with the author, Tim Urban.
[62,618 clicks, published in September 28, 2018 newsletter]
Tote bag I decided to purchase, and I never buy tote bags —
School of Life bag, which reads “No one…”
[61,941 clicks, published in October 26, 2018 newsletter]
Resource I’m excited to explore —
How to Configure Your iPhone to Work for You, Not Against You by Tony Stubblebine (@tonystubblebine). My team has already found this article extremely helpful.
[59,474 clicks, published in December 7, 2018 newsletter]
Device that’s saving my back and neck —
The Body Back Buddy, recommended by Dustin Moskovitz (@moskov), co-founder of Facebook, in Tribe of Mentors. I woke up one day this week barely able to turn my head to the right, causes unknown. 10 minutes with this gadget did the trick and released everything. Here’s what Dustin had to say in the book, in response to the “best purchase for <$100?” question: “The Back Buddy by the Body Back Company is my favorite purchase from the past five years, bar none. Most basically, it allows you to administer self-massage anywhere on your back with the full leverage of two hands, but I’ve also really gotten to know and appreciate all the little knobs and other features over the years. I’ve even learned how to manipulate parts of my skeletal structure (i.e., self-chiropracty) and incorporate it into my yoga practice.”
[57,125 clicks, published in June 29, 2018 newsletter]
Backpack I’m loving —
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L. This was given to me as a gift, and, truth be told, I let it sit for months. This is because I stupidly tossed the literature aside and tried to use it like a normal backpack, which it isn’t. One day, when I sat down and actually read the instructions (yes, read them), I was blown away and embarrassed that I’d waited so long. Most of the features are non-obvious and incredibly helpful. Note: I load everything from the sides and only use the top latch (as cool as it may be) for stuffing in a sweatshirt or workout clothing. This was the key decision after reading everything.
[56,971 clicks, published in November 23, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular post on Instagram —
My standard low-on-time breakfast for early morning flights. Don’t let travel be an excuse to eat garbage…
[56,765 clicks, published in March 30, 2018 newsletter]
Purchase I’m enjoying —
Sundale indoor/outdoor floor chair. I use this for morning meditation, and its ultra-lightweight design makes it a breeze to move and store. I face it out a bay window towards grass and trees, as I’ve started meditating with open eyes occasionally per instructions from Sam Harris.
[56,229 clicks, published in August 17, 2018 newsletter]
Sleep aid that I’m greatly enjoying —
Gunnar Optiks VER-06701 Vertex Computer glasses, smoke/amber. These glasses were recommended to me by one of my favorite doctors and thinkers, Peter Attia, MD, after I noticed him wearing them at a group dinner. Among other things, these glasses block blue light from screens and elsewhere, and I (like Peter) have found them to substantially speed up falling asleep and reduce tossing and turning. What makes this new? Unlike most options, these glasses don’t make you look like a complete idiot, and you’re more likely to get compliments instead of laughs.
[56,211 clicks, published in February 9, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular post on Instagram in the last few weeks, which I also use as a reminder for myself —
“My favorite coffee mug I’ve found in a while. Also my first non-beverage purchase from Starbucks.” [54,513 clicks, published in February 9, 2018 newsletter]
What I’m watching —
Dealt documentary (Amazon, other options) directed by Luke Korem. This absolutely blew my mind, and I don’t want to spoil it with description. Trust me and watch the short trailer here. Truly amazing. I can’t remember the last time I finished a documentary, only to want to immediately watch it again. I also can’t remember a doc that made me as emotional as this did, pushing me from laughter to tears. It’s a masterful visual biography.
[53,993 clicks, published in April 20, 2018 newsletter]
What I’m reading (and going to listen to) —
The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2018. This is a spectacular list of great podcast episodes. The topics are varied, often unexpected, and hit the nail on the head for me in a bunch of cases. I’ll be listening to many podcasts I never would have found on my own.
[52,553 clicks, published in December 28, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular on social this week —
“I’ve been telling my mom to spend more time barefoot on the grass… so she got me these.”
[51,079 clicks, published in August 3, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular post on Instagram —
25 Principles of Adult Behavior.
[47,627 clicks, published in February 16, 2018 newsletter]
The coolest upside-down truth I’ve found, which I’m putting here to revisit often —
[46,842 clicks, published in February 2, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular post on Instagram —
Sometimes the graffiti says it all…
[45,964 clicks, published in March 23, 2018 newsletter]
New person I’m following on social —
National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting on Instagram. Here is the pic and description that caught my attention.
[45,646 clicks, published in March 23, 2018 newsletter]
Most popular post on Instagram —
This is me for most of this week…
[45,349 clicks, published in March 2, 2018 newsletter]
App I’m using daily —
The new Sam Harris Waking Up meditation app. I absolutely love this app and have recommended it to nearly all of my closest friends. I was a beta tester for months and provided feedback, but I have no stake in it whatsoever. What makes it different? This app offers a guided meditation progression that builds multiple skills as you move from one class to the next. It’s a logical sequence, instead of a collection of ad-hoc readings. Sam has succeeded at producing a world-class program for mind training, IMHO.
[43,592 clicks, published in October 5, 2018 newsletter]
Genius video I’m once again sending to friends (I never get tired of this one) —
Apple Engineer Talks About New Macbook Pro.
[43,578 clicks, published in September 7, 2018 newsletter]
Gadget I’m experimenting with —
DCT ProFlex for strengthening, prehabbing, and rehabbing my lower legs and ankles, especially the right ankle, in which I recently tore two ligaments (disgusting pics here). I learned about this device from the amazing Ryan Flaherty, nicknamed the “savant of speed.”
[42,534 clicks, published in March 23, 2018 newsletter]
P.S. — If you’re looking for an OUTSTANDING book to read, here is one to order. I got an advanced copy, and my quote on Twitter says it all: “Not to sound like a mullet-wearing Long Island boy (which I’ve been), but Michael Pollan’s new book is going to make a HUGE fucking impact. Mark my words: tide shift.”
[42,506 clicks, published in February 23, 2018 newsletter]
Article I’m reading —
“How to win the Tour de France, in one image” (Fast Company). I was led to this piece by Dr. Peter Attia (@PeterAttiaMD), and here’s a short preview: “Practically speaking, the energy savings is the equivalent of pedaling 9.3 miles per hour while actually flying down the road at 33.5 miles per hour.”
[42,431 clicks, published in July 27, 2018 newsletter]
What I’m reading —
“The Risk of Discovery” essay by Paul Graham (@paulg), which is only a few paragraphs long. It’s worth rereading a few times.
[42,068 clicks, published in June 1, 2018 newsletter]
Want to see more? Take 10 seconds and sign up for 5-Bullet Friday here. Each Friday, you’ll get a short email of five bullets, sending you off to your weekend with fun and useful things to ponder and try. If you dislike it, it’s easy to unsub. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
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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22 Replies to “The 25 Most-Clicked Links from My Newsletter in 2018”
Thanks for your list of 25 in the last email. Very helpful. Please do more lists of 25.
So #1 goes to basic curiosity and the following 2 go to personal development (of the troubled mind).
Although this is a nice list, I still have to say that it might be difficult to draw any key findings from it, since there doesn’t seem to be any clear pattern. I’m looking forward to seeing what other people are thinking about this post.
I wonder why would one expect or look for a pattern when reading such a list.. The title is kinda hints to what this list is, I think.
It is a mash-up of what’s actually a (weekly) mash-up to begin with, don’t you think? Like Tim sais, it’s the ” 5 coolest things he found or pondered upon in the previous week “.
But maybe one pattern could be that I haven’t found one link that wasn’t at least interesting.
Thank you Tim. Number 2 is one I missed. What a gem (as are the others) But I’m not going to worry about it : )
Great list. It was good to revisit these. Love the data and how crowds pick valuable items.
I really like the life hacking Tim. Thanks
Tim, I’m wondering. Your life is basically about doing things in the most efficient way. And you tried all those things, that are there in the world. And you know so many alternatives to life of getting rich.
So at the end of the that, you are still focused on making money and being famous. What’s up with that? Or maybe I’m mistaken and you are focused or something other than that. Please explain Tim, if you can.
Thanks for compiling the list. I have to say the Apple Engineer video was my favorite, hard to top that. Enjoyed the Wait But Why article too.
If you also hit against the “Sorry, this content is not available in your region” wall when trying to get to that upside-down truth – here is an alternate link: https://i.imgur.com/k85fsFc.jpg
This comment is in response to one of the 5-bullet Friday items from a few weeks ago. Definitely don’t want spam comments, but I understand this is one of the better places to engage in the conversation so I thought it would be worth a shot!
The post was “Cause I’m supporting — TOMS’ attempt to help end gun violence.”
I felt it was worth addressing this idea of “low hanging fruit” you mentioned in the description. I find that this language can typically be misleading as it is typically employed as a rhetorical turn-of-phrase that you see a lot in political commentary, and, I think, especially so in the discussion around gun violence. What it is obscuring in this case is an idea of effectiveness in exchange for marketability. This is the idea of “common sense reform”.
If we’re going to talk about low hanging fruit we should instead focus on solutions that we know could have prevented past instances of attacks, solutions that have been endorsed by gun-rights activists (including the NRA), are specific and targeted so can be predictably applied, and that would have little to no legal standing to be rejected as unconstitutional. Unfortunately, ideas such as “universal background checks” don’t pass most if any of these criteria. It is useful for marketing purposes though because if you’re against an idea that is labeled as “low hanging fruit” or “common sense”, proponents can use any objection to the proposal against their political opponents, attacking their lack of “common sense” rather than engaging the objection itself.
With that in mind and in the interest of moving the issue forward, if this is an issue you care about, you might be interested in this- the Gun Violence Restraining Order. An overview of what this would entail and how it compares to other approaches was laid out by David French at National Review not long after the Parkland shooting: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/gun-control-republicans-consider-grvo/
As described in the article, it would have/has broader bi-partisan appeal, has much sounder legal and constitutional grounding, and actually, in contrast to the universal background checks, would have likely prevented at least a couple of the worst shootings from the past few years (most notably the Parkland shooting). It also has public backing from representatives from both parties in congress. In contrast, there is little evidence background checks would have helped in the most high profile instances. Unfortunately however, despite checking all of these boxes, for some reason, and I can only assume it is because it is less politically viable as a marketing tool, the GUn Violence Restraining Order has received much less attention. Given the incentives in a democratic society, the ideas that end up rising to the top are, sadly, those that yield the most _political_ fruit.
I realize the chance you read this is probably slim to none. One of the most frustrating things about politics is it seems to reward the best marketers rather than the best message or effective policy. So, for an issue as important as this, it seemed worth a shot to try and share the less appealing but what seems like could be the more effective approach in the hope of bringing those solutions to the forefront.
That said, thank you for all you do and the sincerity with which you do it!
HI Tim, your recent Bullet speaks about Global Mental Health Awareness, when did this start? Usually it is the month of October. Wondering if this is new?
Hello Tim. This is TheGlitch, my name is Chris McDaniel and I wanted to say thank you for giving me a mention in your newsletter last week. Really appreciate it. Let me know if there is ever anything I could do for you.
Thanks for pointing out Paul Graham at item #25. I know now to ignore him entirely. Newton learnt about physics because of Alchemy. Present day chemistry only exists because of the study and practice of Alchemy and the discoveries made in its name. Alchemy is thousands of years old and was also studied and practiced by the Arabic scholars of the Middle Ages whom are singularly responsible for, amongst other things we rely on, the scientific system we know now. Mr Graham clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about.
You are so generous in sharing these links! Needing Something to Worry About was more than eye-opening. It paired well with the hilarious, Taming the Mammoth article. Worrying and trying to fit in can be a huge waste of time, especially when trying to keep to a “4-hour workweek!”
May you have a long long life Mr Ferriss. After years of perusing your works, I have worked out the perfect epitaph for you. It sums you up and distills your essence perfectly and concise! It has two components, making for the perfect whole: ‘Tim Ferriss. Amazon Shopping – Discount Voucher Code’
Tim, your newsletters are the only ones I prioritize reading. THANK YOU for doing what you do.
Hi all, for me the Paul Graham link didn’t work until I’ve removed the “www.” part of the url – hope it helps. And of course, thanks for the links and the stats 🙂
Regarding 5BF dated 2.15.2019, is there a blog about your trip to Negev? I’d like to know about that trip as far how it was structured, if you journaled while there, and if you considered the history. Best, Linda
Who’s your go-to keto source?
The links will not work on my phone. I’m especially interested in #5 and #15. Thanks!
#5 — https://medium.com/better-humans/how-to-set-up-your-iphone-for-productivity-focus-and-your-own-longevity-bb27a68cc3d8
#15 — https://www.instagram.com/p/Be9x2JnltTa/?taken-by=timferriss
Hi Tim, about 2 years ago you I sent a lot of people over to listen to my music (I think it was in one of your “5-Bullet Friday” mails) – and I never really got to thank you for this.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!
All the best for you,