Tim Ferriss changed the way the world thought about work with his recent bestselling book The Four Hour Workweek. In this interview from the 2009 RailsConf, David Heinemeier Hansson interviews Ferriss about his book, lifestyle design, information dieting, physical training, and overcoming the "snake oil salesman" perception that comes with making radical claims.
After being rejected by dozens of publishers because of the original title "Drug Dealing For Fun and Profit," Ferriss settled on the Four Hour Work Week after testing reactions to various titles online. This is just one of the ways he has used data rather than intuition to maximize his success and enjoyment. Others include physical feats like gaining 30 pounds of muscle in one month and becoming a world tango champion in less than a year based on reviewing 20 years of detailed exercise and diet data.
Start by examining your goals and priorities, then focus on the activities most likely to help you achieve them. This includes defining what you’re not going to do as well as what you are. Success is much more likely to be achieved when you measure every step of your actions and question the accepted wisdom in any field. Exposing and avoiding limiting assumptions is worth more than extra time invested in ineffective activities.