Hacking Tim Ferriss: A better way to learn his best-seller secrets

Tim Ferriss is hosting an event where he’ll share his secrets for getting a book to #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Considering he’s written two books, and both were #1 New York Times best-sellers, if anyone can put on this event, it’s him.

Right now, Tim’s limiting it to 200 people, and all the content is top secret, supposedly. So of course, tickets are pricey: $7,000 if you sign up this week, $8,500 if you sign up next week, and $10,000 if you sign up the week after that.

I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic event, but in typical Ferriss fashion, here’s an idea for getting around it but still get all the info, maybe more.

Tim has often said that the way to get to influential people is to target their influences. So instead of trying to directly contact Steve Jobs, Tim would suggest getting to know the people that Steve Jobs respects, the people he trusts.

So here’s the hack. Instead of spending $7,000+ only to compete with 200 other people for Tim’s attention over a weekend, target Tim’s influences. And the biggest one that comes to mind for me is Charlie Hoehn.

Charlie has his own blog, and his own following. He’s a pretty awesome guy in his own right. But he also works full-time for Ferriss as “Director of Other,” basically taking care of random research and projects and legwork and… marketing.

So in eight steps…

  1. Friend Charlie on Facebook.
  2. Find people in his pictures, people who seem like his close friends. Figure out who those friends are through the Facebook picture tags.
  3. Friend a few of Charlie’s close friends. Get to know his friends, and – indirectly – Charlie through his friends. This sounds super creepy, but it doesn’t have to be. Just be genuinely interested, and be cool. Everyone likes interested people who are cool.
  4. Email Charlie once you’ve gotten to know more about him. Don’t ask for anything. In fact, try to give him something for free, like a link to a resource he might be able to use or whatever (make sure he knows you’re not getting anything from it – no spam here). Include a little info about yourself, though, enough to seem interesting.
  5. If you get a response, thank him.
  6. Repeat step #4 again, but this time after you give him something, ask if you can ask him just one super specific question on the phone. Tell him it’ll take less than six minutes of his time (five minutes sounds made up – six sounds more like you actually know how long it’ll take). And then leave your number.
  7. If he says yes or just calls, tell him you’d like to fly out to buy him a beverage of his choice. Tell him some of what you know about him, and then say that in return you’d just like to chat about some of his projects and what he’s learned working with Tim Ferriss. Finish by saying that if he’ll do it, you’ll give him eight hours of free work or donate the hours to one of his favorite charities in his name, his choice.
  8. If he says yes, keep all your promises, chat with him in person about the things he cares about, ask him about Ferriss, and at the very end ask specifics about the marketing behind a #1 New York Times best-seller.

If this worked (you might have to modify it along the way), you’d save money, save some time even, and – I think – you’d get much better info, not to mention an outstanding connection, one you could continue to develop down the road.

One other thing to add: when it comes to asking about book marketing, make sure you have specific questions that go deeper than what’s already on Tim’s blog. I think most of the high-level content is already available for free, so you’d just be looking for the missing 5-20% that makes all the difference.

Would this whole scheme work? I don’t know. Will I try it? Not right now. If I try it at all, I’ll let the event hype die down first. This is one of those crazy plans, though, that would be fun even if it ended up failing.

Who knows, maybe I left out a step:

0. Write a blog post about this idea first and at the bottom include a link to your contact page in case Charlie or Tim want to call. :>)