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8 ways to achieve peer-crushing success

Simple life hacks for getting ahead

8 ways to achieve peer-crushing success

1. Adopt a world-beating routine breaking down the daily schedules of three proactive giants

The Rock

4am: Rises for early-morning workout.

6.30am: Typically on his second meal of the day: chicken, rice and broccoli.

7am: Begins his day as a Hollywood superstar. He’s currently in Hawaii, filming the remake of Jumanji.

8am: Shooting starts. Often marked by an Instagram post.

10am: A third meal – halibut, rice and asparagus.

2pm: A fourth meal of chicken, baked potato and broccoli.

4pm: A fifth meal of halibut, rice and asparagus.

7pm: Dinner is steak, baked potato and salad.

9pm: Filming wraps. There’s usually a further Instagram post, which typically involves Kevin Hart in some way.

10pm: Before bed, time for his seventh meal of the day: 30g of casein protein with 10 egg whites.

Mark Zuckerberg

8am: Gets up.

8.15am: Checks his Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp.

8.30am: Goes running with his dog Beast around his Palo Alto neighbourhood, a mile every day.

9.30am: Picks from a wardrobe full of identical grey T-Shirts.

10am: Drives to Facebook HQ in Menlo Park.

1pm: Takes time out to read – he typically finishes a book every couple of weeks.

2pm: Lots of greens for lunch, as he’s a vegetarian.

4pm: Spends an hour brushing up on his Chinese. His wife is Chinese-American.

7pm: Has dinner in the Facebook offices.

10pm: Usually finishes work – but sometimes stays on to chat to programmers through to the early hours or reads until 2am. 

Warren Buffett

6.45am: Rises.

7am: Breakfast. No coffee, though – preferring a can of Cherry Coke with potato sticks or a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

9am: Reads his financial statements and reports in his Berkshire Hathaway office, a short trip from his Omaha home.

1pm: Lunch of cheeseburger and fries. And a Coke. He’s claimed that he’s “one-quarter Coca-Cola”.

4pm: Reads. In fact, 80 per cent of his day is spent reading. After work, he reads books and newspapers – he doesn’t take work stuff home.

8pm: Plays bridge online – he’s a self-confessed addict: “If I’m playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don’t see her.”

10pm: He sometimes likes to play the ukulele in the evenings, too. That’s because he’s a billionaire. And he can do whatever the f*ck he wants.

2. Run on smart fuel

Nutritionist Rachel Webb on the best brain foods


"The No1 breakfast food for brain health is eggs, in particular egg yolks. Yolks contain large amounts of choline, which has been proven as key for fetal brain development. Couple this with the fact eggs are one of the most inexpensive sources of protein, and you are on to a winner."


"Avocados are great for the brain. With high amounts of vitamin K and folate – which helps reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks – as well as improving memory and concentration, avocados are high in water-soluble vitamins C and B, which you need daily. Smash them on toast, add them to salad or bake in the oven."


"Salmon is one of the most nutritious, brain-friendly foods there is – it’s an Omega-3 powerhouse. But make sure your fish is wild, or sourced from a quality supplier."

For more information contact Rachel on

3. Get a real hero

Alex Wolpert – founder of East London Liquor Company – on how gravel-tongued musician Tom Waits can school you in business

“I love the fact Tom Waits just does exactly what he wants. He’s disruptive, his music is incredibly innovative, he follows his own path and doesn’t really care what anyone thinks.

“I’m not sure there’s any direct evidence that he’s a savvy businessman in the traditional sense – you wouldn’t compare him to Richard Branson – but he’s been incredibly successful and pursued his own line. He’s had some great acting roles and continues to make wonderful music, yet there’s a great balance of managing to succeed on a commercial level while being really creative and following what you want to do.

“As a company, we’re open about the fact we don’t have decades of experience, we’ve just got lots of enthusiasm. And that’s the other thing about Waits – he’s bubbling with energy. There’s something lovely in that tenacity and moral fibre.

“There’s a story from the Seventies where Waits tried to stop some guys from bullying someone, but it turned out the men were plainclothes police officers. Waits and his mates were arrested and charged. Waits ended up suing the police department, and they gave him $7,500 compensation. There’s a lovely idea that Waits managed to get one back on them.

“It’s a complete irreverence, I guess that’s the word. To be disruptive and irreverent. These are the little gems I take from the way Tom Waits lives his life.”

4. Learn from the greats

Three books that will leave you the most grounded and well-informed wannabe entrepreneur in the world

Frogs Into Princes by Richard Bandler & John Grinder

Not a business bible as such – instead the transcript of a chat between two psychiatrists – and yet Frogs… is a heralded resource about precisely what makes man tick. Though a head-scratching read for many of its 193 pages, this neuro-linguistic programming starter-kit can train budding tycoons in the art of salesmanship.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

When penning his acclaimed war manual some 2,500 years ago in ancient China, military general Sun Tzu probably didn’t expect it to be the toast of Silicon Valley. Yet CEOs exchange lines from the bloodlusting strategy guide, with lessons on when to behead insubordinate officers and how to set the enemy on fire apparently transferable to the 21st-century workplace.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

This compendium of personal essays by the legendary Roman emperor is a leftfield cheat sheet for business magnates. Aurelius’s interpretation of stoic philosophy is full of proverbs for both life and business, from mastering your emotions and accepting that death is coming, right through to the inimitable torment of an early morning.

5. Master the pitch

A 60-second guide to the elevator pitch, by screenwriter Charles Harris

“Fundamentally, the elevator pitch has its function because you only have a short time to hold someone’s attention. The golden first words are: ‘It’s a…’ – a nice, conversational in. It’s a thriller. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s a new kind of car battery. Whatever it is you’re pitching, you’re immediately letting them know. It’s amazing how many people waffle on, while everyone wonders what they’re actually talking about. Don’t embellish. You need to be straight with people, because hopefully you’re going to be working with them – you’re not a snake-oil salesman who’s going to sell and run. In film terms, you don’t say, ‘This is the most hilarious comedy ever made’ – that’s for them to work out. There’s a wonderful quote from the golfer Gary Player. He said, ‘The harder I practise, the luckier I get’, and it’s the same with pitching. It takes a lot of work, technicality and boiling it down to the essence, and you have to keep trying it on people until something sparks. Then you’ve got something.”

Jaws In Space: Powerful Pitching For Screenwriting is out now

6. Wear loud pants

Because there’s a particular kind of confidence in wearing the jazziest ones in the room

(From top to bottom)

Woven micro-print boxer shorts £43 (for a pack of 2) by HANRO;

Oval shadow cotton boxer shorts £36 by SUNSPEL AT SELFRIDGES;

Kaleidoscope boxers £129 by DEREK ROSE AT HARRODS;

Check cotton boxer shorts £32 by POLO RALPH LAUREN AT SELFRIDGES;

7. Bounce back

Danny Toffel on how losing it all helped him in business

“I was a millionaire at 29, and I was bankrupt at 29. I’d sit in my room from eight in the morning when the stock market opened until midnight when the Australian stock market closed. Within four months I’d lost the whole lot.

“The day I went bankrupt I got out £3,000 and went to Malta and within 10 minutes I’d done the last money I had in the world on roulette – I took every penny I had and blew the whole lot.

“We set this business up with £40. I traded out of a shed for a year and a half. I was packing every box – doing everything. When you’re making £5 for every thing you pack, that profit means earning more than £800k in a day. By then I had a family, whereas before I was numb to it.

“The best thing that happened to me was going bankrupt. You lose everything, but if you’re positive and have ambition, it refocuses you. All the distractions get taken away.”

Danny Toffel is owner of Chriselli, and, the UK’s largest independent online watch shop

8. Discover your ‘special place’

Four successful individuals describe the idyllic locations they bugger off to in order to chill their massive brains

Tulum (Rune Sovndahl, founder and CEO of Fantastic Services,

“Whenever I can, I fly out to Tulum in Mexico to go cave diving. You have to navigate through very tight spaces, so there is no time to think about business. It is totally silent and, don’t forget, there is no internet.” 

Santorini (Julie Montagu, yoga teacher and nutritionist;

“I’ve been going once a year for the past five, because the energy surrounding the island is insane. The clear water, whitewashed houses, deep blue sky and a volcano make it a one-of-a-kind place to detox – digitally and mentally.”

The Great Barrier Reef (Shan Liew, founder of 88 Estate Agency;

“The thrill of swimming on the Great Barrier Reef forces you to totally live in the moment. You completely switch off from London life when a shark or barracuda is gliding along beside you.”

Kamma (Nick Phillis, founding partner at Longbow Future;

“Sitting on the bonnet of a 4x4 in Kamma – a private game reserve in South Africa – it all disappears. The huge African skies replace the computer screen that has been in my face, and my mind is freed.”

(Images: PA, Rex, Little Red Panda, Getty, iStock, Alamy)