Book Review: Tribe of Mentors

I was wandering through the business section of the Amazon Books store in our old neighborhood and stumbled upon Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss, as you may know, is the author of several books including The 4-Hour Workweek and hosts a popular podcast called The Tim Ferriss Show.

In this book, Ferriss interviews experts, celebrities, thought leaders, and other successful figures to collect their advice and wisdom into one reference book. Each interview is a few pages long and I have left the book on our coffee table for a quick read every time I have an extra minute.

Among the questions Ferriss asks his interviewees are:

  • What’s 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?
  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
  • If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere, what would it say, and why?
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

tribe of mentors

The book is eye opening for many reasons and Ferriss sources are diverse, deep, and impressive. One lesson is the value of asking good questions. As you can tell by the sampling of Ferriss’ questions above, these are not the typical questions people ask in most interviews. As a result, Ferriss gets thoughtful and deep responses. It has challenged me to ask better questions, especially it situations when I am the most curious.

The stories of how some of the figures handled failure are inspiring. Those answers are some of my favorite in addition to the very practical advice around how to focus. Sometimes I feel like I am walking through quicksand or thick molasses in making progress. It’s reassuring to know that I am not along in this feeling. The most successful people all have stories of risk and setbacks before finally realizing a reward.

Additionally, good advice is only as good as making it fit for the person receiving it. There is a lot of advice in the book, I’ve found that some of it could work for me with simple changes (low barriers to entry), some with more complex changes, and some that just don’t fit my personality. While all the advice in the book is valuable, not all of it is good for every reader. My advice in reviewing the book is to pick one or two simple behavior changes that makes sense first and to not try to change everything at once.

Overall Tribe of Mentors is a good read and a good reference. It should be on every leader’s bookshelf.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss contains a lot of excellent wisdom for leaders. Through reading it, I’ve learned to ask better questions, embrace failures, and be discerning about taking advice.


Tribe of Mentors is available for purchase on Amazon for $30.00 (does not include Prime discount)