My Unusual $100,000 Birthday Present (Plus: Free Round-Trip Anywhere in the World)


burning man 08
Soon 33 years young. I’ll be back on the playa in August for Burning Man.

33. I’ll turn a glorious 33 this weekend.

It’s going to be a great natal year–I can already feel it. Repeating numbers (born in ’77) are good luck. Perhaps it will be good luck for you, too: in this post, I’m giving away a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world and more.

But back to that strange birthday gift…

Much to the chagrin of my momma-san, I’ve become quite difficult to buy presents for. Some friends even think I’m impossible to find presents for.

It’s not entirely true. I love handwritten letters, home-made brownies (like Fred Wilson), girlfriends dressed in next to nothing, and–most of all–when people do something nice.

Before we move on (wait for it, wait for it), please watch this super-short movie trailer:

In lieu of gifts this year, my birthday wish is to help high-need kids in public schools take field trips.

Can you imagine never having the chance to go to the aquarium or natural history museum? “Never” as in, literally, never in your life?

That’s unacceptable.

Since I am turning 33 this year, please help choose a field trip to support here with a tax-deductible $33 donation (or any other amount). Feel free to give from $10-$10,000 in the “Give to the most urgent project” field, whatever you can afford.

If we run out of field trips (which would be awesome), we’ll focus on reading projects. Literacy = the most fundamental path out of poverty.

Beyond the good karma and thank-you letters you’ll receive from the kids:

Incentive #1 – The trip: Donate before this Sunday at 12 midnight PST, and I’ll pick one of y’all randomly. You’ll get a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world that Continental or Star Alliance fly, whether Rome, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, or hundreds of other awesome locations. There is no expiration date on the trip, so you can take your time.

Incentive #2 – How it becomes $100,000: I will match every dollar donated, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 total. That means that if the field trip gifts (donations) total $50,000, I will write a check for $50,000, all of which will go to public school kids in need. Remember, it’s tax-deductible.

Please go to this page and look around. Seriously, take a peek.

The goal is to get approximately 1,500 donors at an average of $33 each, which will add up to $50,000 and, matched, add up to $100,000.

Incentive #3 – If you want to get some goodies, please help spread the word. Tell people I’m matching donations and get them to this post or this link (same as above). Leave a comment below telling me what you did to spread the word (Facebook, Twitter, e-mail blast, add to your e-mail signature, encourage employees/friends to do the same, etc.).

The three most die-hard promoters will get pairs of my favorite sunglasses on the planet: Maui Jim’s. Grand winner will get a VIP gift card (good for any pair, including $300+ models) and two runners-up will get a pair of $200+ sunglasses of my choosing.


Beyond the bribes, you’ll feel awesome about yourself for doing some real good for little ‘uns who have so little. Trust me.

Superman is not coming to help these kids, nor is the government — will you step up for even two minutes?

I hope to help with the bigger policy changes, but, as one politician said, “Show me a movement first and then I can respond.”

I think that’s doable, and this little experiment could be exhibit A.


Note for Non-US readers from Baahar:

“For people from outside the US: during the checkout process on, it asks for your address. I couldn’t proceed at first because my postal code was too short, and there was no message to indicate what the problem was. Type a 5 digit number to pass that stage.

Posted on: July 22, 2010.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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385 comments on “My Unusual $100,000 Birthday Present (Plus: Free Round-Trip Anywhere in the World)

  1. Hey Tim… Happy 33rd! I’ve got you by 10 years. Yes ~ of course I’ve read your book. May I give you a gift? It’s the best strategies I have from my time as a National Trainer for Tony (peak performance) Robbins, and as a protege of Jay (The marketer) Abraham. Enjoy it, and hope to meet you somewhere while traveling the world. ~Bill


  2. Happy Birthday Tim,

    Thanks for all that you do man; you’ve inspired so many and given back to so many. Keep kicking ass.

    Going to make my donation right now!



  3. Hey Tim!

    I want to say that I think this is a totally awesome thing that you’re doing, I myself have just graduated from Summit Preparatory Charter High School– Emily, (the first girl)in the movie is a good friend of mine!

    I have had the best high school experience I could have possibly imagined at Summit, and I feel that Charter schools are one of the best alternatives for students seeking higher education and supportive teachers.

    –IN FACT, if it weren’t for my Junior year AP English Language and Composition class, I wouldn’t have read The 4-Hour Work Week, which really changed how I see the world. It’s because our teacher had us form groups of 4-6 students to read a non-fiction book together and have discussions about it. It was the best read I’ve ever had.

    Thank you so much for everything, Tim!
    I will certainly donate soon :)

    -Sean Garnsey


  4. I posted on my Facebook page, sent it to a columnist I know (Amy Alkon) who will hopefully feature it on her blog, posted it on my LinkedIn page and am putting it on my blog (



  5. That is at really good idea. I have mainly focused on the poor food being poured into school children. Most times you can not call it food at all.

    I’m glad that their possibilities to be taught are also in focus.

    Heres hoping you will have to write a big check! :-)

    Here in DK you don’t have to pay for education, and you even get money from the state while studying. Not a lot, but enough to get by without the need to have a job while studying.


  6. Tim, I just donated 33 bones so the kiddies could walk with the dinosaurs. I don’t see it has being register under your name. I hope you’ll be able to match.