Tim Ferriss “4-Hour Body” Book Review

Here’s my review of  The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Great Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss. I know several people have already reviewed this book, but none of the reviews I’ve read have actually tried the things in it. I wanted to give it a few days to let it sink in, gather my thoughts, fact-check some of the claims, and get some success using the methods Ferriss suggests.

Umm…who is Tim Ferriss and why should I listen to him?

In case you haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss, he’s a young 30-something who loves to travel the world living full time and on full tilt. From living in Buenos Aires for months on end to study tango (he’s now the first American to hold a Guinness World Record in it) to becoming a National Chinese Kick-boxing champion (without ever actually studying kick-boxing), Tim seems to do, well…whatever he wants. For those of you who are still in the The Matrix and need titles, credentials and other social signposts, Timothy Ferris is an entrepreneur, guest lecturer of High Tech Entrepreneurship at Princeton University, and an angel investor to companies like Twitter, Evernote, StumbleUpon, and others. He’s also the author of the  #1 New York Times and USA Today Best Selling book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 to 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (2007). There, are you satisfied?

At the core of  The 4-Hour Workweek is the concept of Lifestyle Design, a phrase that is credited to Ferriss. This book is basically a bible for designing your ideal life. Amazingly practical and specific, this book equips you with principles, tools, tips you can use to design your life and generate income using your own ideas, gifts and talents. “How does that work” you say? Basically, Lifestyle Design has 3 components: Time Freedom, Mobility Freedom, & Income Freedom. The acronym Ferriss uses to achieve total Lifestyle Design is to follow the process he’s labeled D.E.A.L. (Definition of your fears, Eliminating yourself from the office, Automation of as many work and personal processes as possibly, Liberation from the office) by using simple productivity tools, negotiating remote work agreements, experimenting with mini-retirements or leave your job entirely if you choose to. It has worked for equally well for singles, couples, families, or anyone with the courage and passion to live life on their own terms.

Great…now what about The 4-Hour Body?

The basic purpose of The 4-Hour Body is “rapid body redesign” by using an extreme variation of the classic ’80/20 Principle’ that is evident in nearly everything; 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, 10% of Americans control 80-90% of the wealth, 20% of health club membership owner’s actually use their membership, 80% of a church’s tithing is typically done by 20% of the members, you get the point.  Ferriss suggests that we can essentially ‘hack’ the human body and produce 95% of the results with 2.5% of the effort. In The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss applies this principle to losing weight, bulking up, better sleep, and great sex.

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I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for it’s practicality and it’s simplicity. As a fan of The 4-Hour Workweek, I eagerly awaited the release of the new book. Ferriss has a natural and conversational writing style that is very helpful since the self-proclaimed “data junkie” densely packs case studies, science, and some of the latest training methods of top performance athletes into these pages. He also writes from a ‘this is what has worked for me and other people who’ve tried it’ point of view rather than a ‘this is what you should do because I said it works’ point of view. He’s reportedly spent 10 years conducting research (he considers himself a human guinea pig), consulted over 100 scientists (including a guy from NASA who was also a case study in the book), and has numerous other case studies of  people from all walks of life. The end result is systems and methods that are amazingly and almost rediculously simple, and that have been field-tested to produce above average results for average people.

So…what’s in it?

Tim goes into very specific detail about the scientific basis, research and opposing points of view about his assertions, and draws from his considerable knowledge of exercise science, kinesiology, and nutrition (Tim was the founder/owner of company that made performance supplements, and sold the company in 2009). Not to worry, you don’t have to know the all the sciency stuff to get started, but its included for those who really feel the need to know. The layout of The 4-Hour Body makes it easy for you to know exactly what you can skip, and where to go to get started on your chosen project. The only con that I’ve found to the book is that several sections are taken directly from Tim’s blog and have been pieced together for inclusion in the book. I personally don’t mind it, because Ferriss combined and organized the information beautifully and added plenty of new content as well and gives links to great online resources that are centrally located for easy reference. Check out the full table of contents here.

Think it’s impossible to lose 20 pounds in 30 days? Tim’s solution is to use a slow carb diet. He also explains in detail what slow carbs are for guys like me. The basic rules of the slow carb diet are as follows:

1. Avoid “white” carbohydrates
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
3. Don’t drink calories
4. Don’t eat fruit (use vitamins and supplements)
5. Give yourself a cheat day once a week

Other topics in The 4-Hour Body include adding muscle, having the perfect posterior, “The 15-Minute Female Orgasm”, sleeping 2 hours per day and still feeling rested, how to pay for a beach vacation with medical tourism, and reversing ‘permanent’ injuries. There is a even a section on preventing fat gain while bingeing during the holidays.

Is The 4-Hour Body for YOU?

The book is practical, informative, and über simple. Real talk, The 4-Hour Body is a game-changer for anyone whose struggled to achieve their fitness goals.  Ferris tells you what to do and why; i.e. why white carbohydrates are bad, how even the USDA can’t come to a consensus on the food pyramid, why self-discipline is overrated and undependable, etc. The book is extremely behaviorally specific, and Ferriss packs it with pictures that illustrates the dramatic results of his seemingly extravagant claims.

So, is this book for you?

  • This book is for you if you want to radically change your physical appearance by losing fat and/or gaining muscle.
  • This book is for you if you’ve tried several diet and exercise regimens that don’t seem to work, or that you’ve never stuck to.
  • This book is for you if you’re looking for a better, more efficient way to train.
  • This book is for you if you don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours in the gym every week.
  • This book is for you if you’re about to make a New Year’s Resolution to be more healthy and fit.
  • This book is for you if you want to give 2.5% of the effort to achieve 95% of the results.
  • This book is for you if you want results FAST!

I’ve lost over 10 pounds and nearly 8 inches in the last 10 days (from December 14 to December 24) using this method. My meals have consisted of things like sausage, eggs and black beans for breakfast; beef/chicken/shrimp fajitas for lunch; and steak, edamame, steamed mixed veggies, salad and red wine for dinner. It hardly feels like dieting.

I hope my review was helpful. Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

One thought on “Tim Ferriss “4-Hour Body” Book Review

  1. I’ve been looking around the web to see what kind of reaction the book is getting from people who know about the different topics it covers. The sex stuff (15 minute orgasm) is what got me to buy The 4-Hour Body. There is some good stuff in those two chapters – useful illustrations and a fairly straightforward approach from his teachers and trainers – but its really just an introduction – I’m guessing this one of the topics in the book he has researched the least.

    If these chapters are an example of Tim’s 80/20 rule – what he thinks is the 20% that produces 80% of the result – then I’d say what is in the book is closer to 10%, not 20% – there is a lot more available for both parties than what he describes. I’m guessing that as Tim’s research continues he’ll eventually wind up looking at the original source of this information. For people who’ve never seen the information Tim is presenting, it’s a fast way to get started on a very very fun journey.

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