Published on Jan 29, 2017
In a world afraid of embarrassment, asking dumb questions is a super power, says Tim Ferriss. It takes a secure intellect to risk looking silly, but the rewards are there for the taking. Ferriss’s latest book is “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers”
Transcript – I think as humans we all have a preoccupation with looking dumb. We are social creatures, hierarchical creatures and we don’t want to shame ourselves, humiliate ourselves. But recognizing that by zigging when everyone else is zagging with that particular context you can actually develop a super power. And that is asking dumb questions. And this came up repeatedly when I was interviewing incredible performers, world class of performers, meaning investors, entrepreneurs, writers, you name it for Tools of Titans the new book. And asking dumb questions can take many forms. I’ll give you a few examples.
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Malcolm Gladwell is very good at asking so called dumb questions. And he learned that from his father who was a mathematician had no intellectual insecurities whatsoever, just did not care about looking stupid. And he would constantly ask or he would first say I don’t understand. Please explain that. I don’t understand. Can you explain that? I don’t understand. Can you explain that? And he literally might ask that ten times in a row and Malcolm mentioned that he imagined sometimes what the conversation would it look like between his dad and Bernie Madoff because his dad never would have invested, he just would’ve said I don’t understand that at all. Explain that to me over and over again until Madoff left or his dad got so frustrated he had to leave. But if we look at another sphere, say investing, Chris Sacca, a close friend of mine, billionaire, incredible tech investor, just immaculate track record, is very good at asking dumb questions. And this applies to in the very early days where he did something very clever, which was at Google when he was just an entry level guy really compared certainly to say the Wonder Twins, the founders and others, he would go to as many high level meetings as possible, most of which he was not invited to. And so he would show up at a meeting with say Surgie [ph] or whatever and he would walk in and he’d sit down and they’d kind of look at each other and ask him what he was doing there and he go, Oh I’ll just take notes.” And they’re like oh okay. So he got to sit in on all these high level meetings. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/1lCnsv.