Tim Ferriss, a prominent angel investor and adviser to juggernauts like Facebook and Uber, isn't afraid to speak his mind.
He's best known for having written the best-seller The 4-Hour Workweek, as well as sequels The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef, and he recently proclaimed himself to be a "human guinea pig," writing in a Reddit AMA thread on Wednesday. Ferriss took to the website to announce the release of his new online TV series, The Tim Ferriss Experiment, in which he will attempt to "deconstruct" or teach skills like surfing, tactical shooting, and parkour.
Here are five key takeaways from the discussion that followed, which you can peruse in its entirety over at Reddit:
The secret to building a career: Volunteering.
When it comes to building a successful career--and especially in the world of startups--Ferriss hammers home the importance of networking with the best of them: "Volunteer at business events, like those put on by the Entrepreneurs Organization," he advised one user. "That gives you the opportunity to interact with speakers, icons, successful people, etc., above your pay grade. Volunteering is an amazing secret weapon."
He also suggests that you pick up the books The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, and Losing My Virginity, by Richard Branson.
The future of education is online.
When asked for his thoughts on the online education industry, Ferris was adamantly pro: "I'm hugely bullish. I love what these companies are doing," he writes. "Education currently has too many political interests that are screwing over kids, and the playing field is extremely uneven globally."
Ferriss added that he's "heavily involved" with the online language startup Duolingo, which now serves more than 70 million users for free by getting businesses to pay for crowdsourced translations.
Entrepreneurs (and everyone else) must prioritize mental health.
Many startup founders have discussed their failures, but perhaps none so openly and honestly as Ferriss. After touting the value of meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm--and writing that he wants to see a startup create a "monitoring" device to alert users when they need to "chill the fuck out"--Ferriss admitted that he very nearly committed suicide in his 20s: "A number of friends committed suicide around college and just after, and I nearly did the same. The mistake was thinking that depression lasts forever (it rarely does) and being selfish. I wasn't thinking about how my family would blame themselves forever," he writes.
Ferriss adds that the rate of suicide among young adults is "tragic," and hinted that he'd be writing more about the issue soon. Stay tuned.
For maximum productivity, remember to take breaks.
Ferriss drew on his experience as a tango dancer to advise one user to exercise in more frequent, shorter sessions as opposed to longer ones. "Testosterone drops quite a bit after more than an hour of intense exercise, which dancing can certainly be," he writes.
Although Ferriss's comments pertain to dance in particular, they're applicable to strenuous projects at work as well. Studies have shown that it's better to take frequent breaks than to power through your workday without stopping for air.
There is "one truth" that very few people agree with him on.
Ferriss was also open about his views on hallucinogenic drugs: "I believe that (sometimes) elements of what people witness in psychedelic states induced by certain plants is external. In other words, it's not that their brains are creating internal hallucinogens, but rather tuning the 'radio' to a frequency that accesses other planes or entities," he writes.
Ferriss even chimed in on a "4-hour solution" to hair loss, though he readily admits that he doesn't exactly have one. He writes: "I tried products like finasteride/propecia but it lowered my strength and sex drive. I decided I preferred more sex and more strength to my silly faux-hawk I had at the time."