The Failure Resume of Tim Ferriss

A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.

January 28, 2016

It’s common business advice to tell entrepreneurs to fail.

“Fail fast.”

“Fail all the time.”

“Fail forward.”

But why not take a step back and learn from your failures? Or other people’s failures?

The saying goes,

“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.”Roy H. Williams, Advertising Guru

This is where a failure resume comes in.

Stanford Professor Tina Seelig, author of What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, requires her students to write a failure resume that highlights their biggest screw-ups.

“Viewing their experiences through the lens of failure forces them to come to terms with the mistakes they have made along the way,” Tina writes in her book.

This inspired me to think about the failure resumes of some of my role models. I decided to write one for Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of three New York Times bestselling books. He is most famously known as a human guinea pig for experiments like the Four Hour Work Week. In short, he’s a badass. Many people look at his success and gloss over his hardships and failures. But he’s not superhuman.

Here’s my take on Tim Ferriss’ failure resume:

Tim Ferriss is not a superhuman. Nobody is.

A failure resume emphasizes how failure is part of any process and how the people we admire today got there, in part, because of the many mistakes they made.


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