What makes you different from Tim Ferriss?

Do not read this if you don’t know any­thing about this Tim Fer­riss person

I sus­pect any­one here is less differ­ent from Tim Fer­riss than they’d like to be able to jus­tifi­ably claim (see here, here, here, here).

I don’t mean Tim the Re­sult. Re­sults are clouded by what has been brought to at­ten­tion in one of the 2009/​2010 ra­tio­nal­ity quotes here

Were it pos­si­ble to trace the suc­ces­sion of ideas in the mind of Sir Isaac New­ton, dur­ing the time that he made his great­est dis­cov­er­ies, I make no doubt but our amaze­ment at the ex­tent of his ge­nius would a lit­tle sub­side. But if, when a man pub­lishes his dis­cov­er­ies, he ei­ther through a de­sign, or through habit, omit the in­ter­me­di­ary steps by which he him­self ar­rived at them, it is no won­der that his spec­u­la­tions con­found them, and that the gen­er­al­ity of mankind stand amazed at his reach of thought. If a man as­cend to the top of a build­ing by the help of a com­mon lad­der, but cut away most of the steps af­ter he has done with them, leav­ing only ev­ery ninth of tenth step, the view of the lad­der, in the con­di­tion which he has pleased to ex­hibit it, gives us a prodi­gious, but un­just view of the man who could have made use of it. But if he had in­tended that any body should fol­low him, he should have left the lad­der as he con­structed it, or per­haps as he found it, for it might have been a mere ac­ci­dent that threw it in his way… I think that the in­ter­ests of sci­ence have suffered by the ex­ces­sive ad­mira­tion and won­der with which sev­eral first rate philoso­phers are con­sid­ered, and that an opinion of the greater equal­ity of mankind, in point of ge­nius, and power of un­der­stand­ing, would be of real ser­vice in the pre­sent age.”—Joseph Priestly, The His­tory and pre­sent State of Electricity

I mean Tim the method.

The va­ri­eties of achieve­ments he’s done are be­havi­ourally dis­tinct from liv­ing nor­mal life. They are not so com­pli­cated to learn though.

I in­vite you to ask the fol­low­ing ques­tion: What is one thing he’s done I haven’t that prob­a­bly I could do, and what is the ex­pla­na­tion I in­vented to my­self for not hav­ing done it? Do I truly be­lieve this ex­pla­na­tion? Think for a minute be­fore read­ing more

When I ask this to friends who read some of his stuff, I see three kinds of an­swers:

This is im­pos­si­ble for any­one who doesn’t have prop­erty X (where X is always a fixed char­ac­ter­is­tic, like place of birth, blond­ness, im­pec­ca­ble ge­netic mo­ti­va­tion)

We have very differ­ent val­ues, and there is no point in try­ing that about which I don’t care—in­ter­est­ingly, with ev­ery new book, there are more in­ter­ests on the table to be con­sid­ered “not my val­ues”, but no one sud­denly came to me and said: Wow, fi­nally he cares about throw­ing knives! I have rea­son to try af­ter all. Are my friends val­ues nar­row­ing in pro­por­tion to Tim’s ex­pan­sions?

There are a lot of peo­ple who don’t want to have more money, learn lan­guages, work less, or travel a lot, but there are much fewer peo­ple who be­sides all of those don’t want to ex­er­cise effec­tively, learn quickly, im­prove their sex lives, throw knives, mem­o­rize card decks, pro­gram, dance tango, be­come an an­gel in­vestor, be fa­mous, write books, cook well, get thin­ner, read quicker, con­tact in­ter­est­ing peo­ple, out­source bor­ing stuff and so on...

The third kind is per­sonal at­tack. Peo­ple claim he has prop­erty E, which makes him Evil, and his evil ei­ther is proof of the falsity of his ac­com­plish­ments, or is proof that em­u­lat­ing Tim means you are a dark crea­ture who shall not pass through the gates of heaven. The most in­ter­est­ing E’s are “He’s a brilli­ant mar­ket­ing man, sel­l­ing prof­itable lies, but mar­ket­ing is Evil.” “He doesn’t un­der­stand sur­vivor bias, and how lucky he was, and has not read out­liers to know it takes min4000 hours to get good at stuff” “He’s a good look­ing ivy league blonde, this makes him evil” (this girl prob­a­bly had in mind Niet­zsche’s lamb moral­ity, from Ge­neal­ogy of Mo­rals).

What is one thing he’s done you haven’t that prob­a­bly you could do, and what is the ex­pla­na­tion you in­vented to your­self for not hav­ing done it? Do you truly be­lieve this ex­pla­na­tion? Would your best ra­tio­nal­ist friend truly be­lieve that ex­pla­na­tion?