Childhood & Early Life
Timothy “Tim” Ferriss was born on July 20, 1977, into a middle-class family in New York City, U.S. Though he was born prematurely and there was a danger of him falling gravely sick, he survived.
Ever since he was little, he had a keen interest in gadgets and technical innovations. He grew up in Long Island. His parents were not too rich, but they allowed their son to read as much as he wanted to and bought him books. Thus, Tim became a fast learner and kept himself busy reading for hours.
He was physically small for his age. Thus, he faced bullying, too. He was also physically weak. His mother thus enrolled him into wrestling classes when he was 8 years old. While learning wrestling, he became hugely interest in experimenting with workouts and different diets.
Following his secondary education, he joined the ‘St. Paul’s School,’ which was a boarding school in New Hampshire. The school, however, primarily consisted of elite kids from upper-class families. Tim was a gifted student, and his parents were helped financially by their parents, so he could join the school. He also won a few academic scholarships that helped him join the school.
At the age of 15, he was sent to Japan as an exchange student, an experience that changed his life. It also led him to develop an interest in East Asian studies. Back then, he also gained a solid perspective about technology.
Following his high-school graduation, he joined ‘Princeton University,’ eventually obtaining an AB degree in East Asian studies in 2000. Following this graduation, he began working immediately.
He claimed that during his final year of college, he had struggled with severe mental issues such as depression and bipolar disorder. Most of it was owing to the existential crisis that he faced back then. He even said that he had contemplated suicide many times during that period. However, his difficult experiences taught him a lot, and he now describes that phase as one of the turning points in his life.
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In 2000, he began working in the sales department of a data company. He initially wished to work in the software and technology business but had bigger plans and aspired to start his own company someday.
In 2001, he laid the foundation of his company, ‘BrainQUICKEN.’ It was a digitalized nutritional supplements company. One of the reasons that pushed him to start the business was his obsession with health and nutrition. He combined the supplements he had been consuming to other supplements, to create superior nutritional supplements. He also got in touch with professional athletes to determine what was working and what was not.
He ran the company mostly by himself. He had initially started it with a low capital investment. It was a unique and new experience for him. He once stated that running ‘BrainQUICKEN’ was like pursuing an MBA degree and that he had learned a lot about business in the process.
He managed to run the company successfully, and one of his professors from ‘Princeton University’ invited him to deliver a lecture on how he was managing a successful business.
However, his success did not last long. He once again found himself sinking into depression in 2004, when one of his close friends died. His business, too, was facing a lot of trouble back then, owing to the arrival of many competitors in the market. He thus decided to move to London to live with a friend for a while.
In London, he studied the philosophy of stoicism, which apparently helped him get back on track. He moved back to Silicon Valley and resumed working. He then traveled to Spain and analyzed his personal issues. He gained perspective and ended up writing a book about his experiences.
The book, titled ‘The 4-Hour Workweek,’ was published in 2007 and became an immediate success. The book had details about Tim’s life, his dark times, and what helped him get over those times. He also described his take on the traditional viewpoint of life, which involves working intensely until retirement so that one can relax later. The book was featured on ‘The New York Times Best Seller list for 4 years and has been translated into 40 languages. It has also sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.
In the late 2010s, Tim had gathered a small fortune. He somehow realized that investing in promising start-ups could mean a great success. He moved to Silicon Valley and befriended a venture capitalist named Mike Maples, who introduced him to the term “angel investor.” His guidance proved helpful to Tim, and he went on to invest in companies such as ‘Facebook,’ ‘Twitter,’ and ‘Uber.’
In 2010, he sold off ‘BrainQUICKEN’ to a U.K.-based equity firm, at a huge profit margin. He then focused more on his other endeavors, such as angel investing, writing books, and traveling around the world.
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He now serves as an angel investor and advisor to budding tech start-ups. He has a massively successful catalogue as an angel investor and advisor for tech companies such as ‘Evernote,’ ‘StumbleUpon,’ ‘Shopify,’ and ‘Reputation.com.’
He was praised by many for his efforts to help budding tech companies. He was also honored by many publications. ‘The New York Times’ praised Tim by naming him to their list of ‘Notable Angel Investors’ in the mid-2010s. He has also been featured on ‘CNN’ and was called one of the world’s leading investors in the tech industry.
In November 2014, he launched an audiobook publishing company named ‘Tim Ferriss Publishing.’ The first audiobook that was published under this company was titled ‘Vagabonding.’ The company published several other successful audiobooks, too.
By 2015, he had invested in more than a dozen companies, and that started affecting his mental health. He thus announced later that he was taking a break from investing in new companies. In 2017, he also moved away from Silicon Valley, as there were no new ventures he could invest in.
He has also written a few books, such as ‘The 4-Hour Body,’ ‘Tribe of Mentors,’ ‘Tools of Titans,’ and ‘The 4-Hour Chef.’
He has also appeared on TV quite a few times, with shows such as ‘Trial by Fire,’ ‘The Tim Ferriss Experiment,’ and ‘Fear with Tim Ferris.’ In ‘Fear with Tim Ferriss,’ he interviewed people from different walks of life.
He has also invested and raised funds for research on psychedelic drugs.