The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek was published in 2007 and has been translated into 35 languages and has sold over 1.35 million copies. Ferriss promises a great deal in the book’s subtitle: “Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.” Does the book deliver on these lofty promises?
There are a few key concepts that Ferriss covers in this book. These include:
- The Power of Outsourcing -Ferriss explains how it’s possible to hire other people to do many time-consuming tasks. Since the book was published, we have seen the rise of the “gig economy” and sites such as Fiverr, Elance and so forth. Hiring freelancers to perform business-related tasks allows an entrepreneur to grow a business quickly.
- Low-Cost Travel -While the idea of traveling the world sounds glamorous and costly, Ferriss points out that it’s actually cheaper to live in many exotic parts of the world. If you can run your business from your laptop and live frugally, you can actually live more economically in many parts of, for example, Asia and South America than you could in the United States.
- Time Management -This is another area that Ferriss focuses on, though he doesn’t personally like that term. He recommends tactics like only checking your email once a day and minimizing unnecessary meetings and communications.
- Freeing Yourself From a 9-5 Job -If you work at a day job, Ferriss recommends convincing your boss to let you work independently. When it becomes clear that you can be at least as productive working from home, you will have more freedom to telecommute.
These are just some of the main principles covered in The 4-Hour Workweek. They are all presented in a clear and easy to understand manner. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as Ferriss makes it sound. For example, not every boss is going to be open to letting you work at home. There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to outsourcing important business tasks. Yet, anyone can take the principles outlined in this book and make significant improvements in areas such as personal freedom, having more free time and increasing income.
The 4-Hour Body
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman is Tim Ferriss’s followup to his very successful 4-Hour Workweek. As the subtitle of this book makes obvious, Ferriss is not afraid to make extreme claims about what is possible.
In this book, Ferriss makes recommendations regarding diet, exercise, sleep and other areas of lifestyle. Some of his recommendations, like avoiding carbohydrates such as white bread and sugar, are fairly familiar. Others, such as taking six naps per day rather than trying to sleep for seven or eight hours straight, are less conventional. When it comes to diet, Ferriss suggests something more extreme than a simple low carb diet. He calls it a “slow-carb” diet. He tells you, for example, to cut out even whole grains, fruits and even most dairy products.
He also suggests eating lots of small meals, which is a familiar principle to anyone who has read many diet books. When it comes to exercise Ferriss is, not surprisingly, an advocate of short but very intense workouts. Some of the exercises that he recommends include squats, lunges, pushups and kettlebell swings. He also recommends some rather ascetic practices such as very cold showers or ice baths.
Overall, the book is well worth reading if you are trying to lose weight, eat a healthier diet or make faster progress with your health and fitness goals.
The 4-Hour Chef
The 4-Hour Chef, despite the title, is more than a book on cooking or on how to become a great chef. It is really designed to help you learn any valuable skill in a short amount of time. Like his previous books, this one comes with a provocative subtitle: “The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life.”
Ferriss recommends what he calls “meta-learning,” which he claims can at least double your learning speed in any endeavor. That said, The 4-Hour Chef does contain quite a few helpful pointers that are related to cooking, as well as foraging and wilderness survival. He also provides some good tips on what appliances and tools to stock in your kitchen.
The 4-Hour Chef is a bit more specific than Ferriss’s other books. While he does teach universal principles of learning that can be applied to any field, there is plenty of useful and creative information about perfecting your culinary skills.
What Can You Gain From a Tim Ferriss Book?
Tim Ferriss has done a great job of branding himself over the last eight or so years. He could be accused of hype by making outlandish promises, even in the very titles of his books. Yet it’s also true that he does deliver plenty of solid information on a surprising variety of topics. Ferriss clearly spends a lot of time doing research and, more importantly, actually testing what works.
Readers should keep in mind, though, that Ferriss is a kind of modern-day Renaissance man. That’s a good thing, but it also means that he’s not a professional doctor, scientist or nutritionist. Many of his conclusions are based on self-experimentation. That doesn’t mean they won’t work for other people as well, but you have to use common sense and consider your own needs and situation before taking his advice.
Because Ferriss is such a creative thinker, almost anybody can learn a great deal from him. Even if you only apply a few ideas from each book, you can become healthier, more efficient and possibly better off financially by testing his methods yourself. As with any other self-help advice, though, what really counts is how you apply what you learn.