Last year there was a book by Timothy Ferriss titled Tribe of Mentors (and subtitled short life advice from the best in the world) in which he asked a bunch of people to answer some of the following eleven questions:
1] What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
2] What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.
3] How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a ‘favorite failure’ of yours?
4] If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)
5] What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
6] What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
7] In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
8] What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ‘real world’? What advice should they ignore?
9] What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
10] In the past five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?
11] When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)
I found out about those questions from a February 12th LinkedIn Pulse article by Timo Lorenzen titled “The tribe of mentors” by Timothy Ferris. He had posted about it on the The Official Toastmasters International Group at LinkedIn under the title Timothy Ferris’ questions also are great for Table Topics! (Table Topics is the question-answering impromptu speaking portion of a Toastmasters club meeting).
But Timo didn’t always post the entire questions that Mr. Ferriss had asked. For example, for No. 4 he just listed the first sentence but left off:
“It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)”
Mr. Ferriss also had later said:
“Self-explanatory, so I’ll skip the commentary. For would-be interviewers, though, the ‘if helpful…’ portion is often critical for getting good answers.”
And for No. 8 Timo listed just the first sentence:
“What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the ‘real world’?”
but left off the second:
“What advice should they ignore?”
Mr. Ferriss’s discussion of that question had said that:
“The second ‘ignore’ sub question is essential. We’re prone to asking ‘What should I do?’ but less prone to asking ‘What shouldn’t I do?’ Since what we don’t do determines what we can do, I like asking about not-to-do lists.”
Mr. Ferriss’s longer, clearer versions are better questions than Mr. Lorenzen’s truncated ones. This is another example of why when using quotations it is important to go back to the source.