Psychograms of Famous Bloggers – Tim Ferriss

As a blogger, I read many blogs – big surprise, I know. And since blogging is such a personal endeavour, you can’t help but notice the very different thought processes, mindsets and quirks of the authors doing the writing. For some reason, this is something that has always fascinated me – to distil someone’s psychological core features from the seemingly objective ideas that they present to you. The thing is: As objective and well thought out as these ideas come across, if you look closer at the tone and mannerisms, the things said AND unsaid, the writer’s personality is always just lurking beneath the surface.

So what I’ll attempt to do in this and following articles is to outline some of the psychological core features of famous bloggers, as they manifest themselves in the little details they don’t pay attention to. I’ll also use impressions from videos and interviews where available. This is really just an experiment, not to be taken overly seriously. I’m just attempting to sketch some of the key features, like one of these street artists drawing your face in an exaggerated way for $20 in Central Park or at Times Square. But by no means can I provide a complete, well rounded picture.

I’ll start with Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “The 4 Hour Body.” He is the first blogger I started following many years ago, so I feel like I “know” him the best.

Disclaimer: I LIKE all of the guys I’m planning on sketching – just saying.

Tim Ferriss

Core Drive

At his core, a very self-analytical and therefore fundamentally torn personality. As a consequence, he has the strong urge to arrive at some kind of unifying meaning, some kind of philosophy or life design that is the answer to that feeling of being ripped apart. Every couple of years, he seems to arrive at the final answer anew, explains it to himself by writing a manifest style book or blog post about it, and then inevitably begins searching anew.

Core Beliefs

  • There is an unbelievable variety to life, a source of endless emotional stimulation (which appeals to Ferriss’ well-hidden but highly emotional disposition at heart). It’s imperative to experience as much of that emotional variety as possible. Not doing so is turning life into a grey, under stimulated preliminary stage to death.
  • Heightened sensitivity to death: Death, as the great nullifier to the aforementioned variety, is always to be taken into account. It’s the ultimate measuring stick to hold your current course and actions against.
  • Learning is the key to experiencing the stimulating variety of life. Definition of learning: There is a pattern, a system to everything, though not obvious. Once you see the pattern, you can and should manipulate the system, all in search of greater emotional gains than usual.

Outwards Persona

Calm. Reasonable. Analytical. Intelligent. A very conscious counterpoint to the American tendency of being too over-exaggerated, too loud and too superficial (which he then undermines again by his own very American way of marketing his books). However, beneath this very controlled, composed outward persona which you are supposed to accept as the real thing, you can still glimpse the emotional complexity (and turmoil) that really drives him.

Mannerisms

Makes a point to listen closely to his conversation partners, with non-wavering eye-contact and almost too much intent. Does weird things with his hands while talking: Generally prefers grand gestures; favorite: turning his hands into huge claws, all fingers spread apart and bent, oftentimes facing his palms while doing so; another favorite: the infamous single bent finger hand gesture, i.e. holding his hand up with just one finger bent, reminiscent of hand gestures in Hip Hop, but used to accentuate a tricky or unusual thought. Another favorite: Touching his own chin, either with the top of his fist or with the gap between thumb and index finger. Has a tendency to lecture, but makes a conscious effort of avoiding sounding too removed or too elevated (still thinking he knows better anyways).

Gosh, this takes a lot more thinking and observing than I thought… I’m done for today but will continue this series when I feel like it. Right now, I’m thinking Tynan from tynan.com, Leo Babauta from zenhabits.net and Mark Sisson from marksdailyapple.com. I realize this is a really outlandish project and only interesting to people who know the aforementioned bloggers, but hey, the things I do to keep me from working on my PhD…

Until next time.