Saturday, December 11, 2010

The 4-Hour Body - Tim Ferriss

I've been looking forward to receiving the autographed copy of Tim Ferriss' book "The 4-Hour Body" that I pre-ordered a few weeks back. I'm keen to "compare notes" - so to speak - with Tim. Many of the topics addressed are near and dear to me. I have a lot of my own research, as well - and my MO is very similar to Tim's.

Anyway, yesterday, I received an emailed PDF copy of the book. I can't really tell who it's from and it was addressed to my public email. I haven't been able to contact Tim to find out whether his crew sent it, but I will assume it is. So, I want to get a review out before the release date. Who knows.... this may be the the straw that breaks the Guiness camel's back.

Before I get down to the book, I want to explain Tim's work for those who haven't seen it and to explain why his modus operandi is so appealing to me. I had heard that BJJ champ Dave Camarillo was to be discussed in "The 4-Hour Work Week", so I picked it up. I liked what I read. Aside from Dave's story on how he reduced his in-office hours, there were plenty of hints and tips about improving your revenue streams and reducing the time you spend working, as well as making the most of the dollars you have. Even if four hours a week might seem a stretch, the spirit is there.

There was more information packed into this book than a dozen others on the topic put together - and it was all pretty unique. This is relevant to the review of this book because it's the same. There is no filler. No long-winded paragraphs, no extraneous discussions. Just a discussion on what works, why it works and a few examples.

In the 90's I read tirelessly the work of Dan Duchaine. Diet-wise, I did what he recommended and did well. I also used his methods of self-experimentation and found little bits and pieces that worked especially well for me and for my clients. Tim seems to be from the same school. He's tried just about everything that has some basis and gives an assessment on whether it works or not.

Ferriss establishes the tone of the book early. Right from the chapter "Fundamentals" he begins quashing myths and generalisations about caloric expenditure, yo-yo dieting, genes and effective exercise. In my personal favourite part, he addresses the causation vs correlation issue I frequently encounter around the traps.

The next few chapters cover what most of the people who read this blog will want to know. The "Getting Started..." chapter will talk some philosphy before giving some home-truths about body fat before getting into motivation and setting yourself up for success.

The next chapter on "Subtracting Fat" will take you through Tim's "Slow-carb" diet and a few bits and pieces around why it works. It's kind of like a conventional diet book, except for two things. Firstly, it's just over 40 pages - not 400. Secondly, it's full of useable tips and tricks - not lectures on unreasonable long-term restriction and planning. I think the tips on binge preparation and recovery are gold.

The next chapter is the advanced fat loss chapter and delves deeper into fat loss and covers temperature and glucose manipulation and the tricks pro bodybuilders use to get super-lean - including a little on drugs.

The muscle building chapter also starts fairly conventionally and discusses Ferriss' approach to muscle gain. Tim has leaned heavily on his 34lb of muscle in 28 days transformation and Arthur Jones' work with Casey Viator in the past and continues to do so here. However, he doesn't restrict himself to Jones' protocols. He maintains his belief in simple, easy to follw routines, though. There is no doubt this method works.

This really isn't the place for discussion about different methods of training. What I can say is, for the target market, Tim's methods are spot on.

The next chapter is on sex and contains the much heralded section on the 15 minute female orgasm. This part of the book is kind of beyond my scope here, and I haven't read it fully. I will say this, though. There are some details in there you've never heard of before. I don't care who you are. Ferriss has really done his reasearch. Lucky bugger.....

The book is huge. I'm not going to continue through it. It's over 570 pages. And each of the 11 sections would make for a 300 page book themselves if Ferriss' writing wasn't so succinct and to the point. There's a whole section on sleep that is a must-read. There's a section on reversing injuries that will give you as many "Holy Crap!" moments as it does fantastic ideas for your own rehab (and prehab).

The sections on getting stronger and running faster bring together some of the best hacks you can find on the web, in text books and out of the brains of experts. And, a tried and tested viewpoint as to whether they work.

Swimming effortlessly, vaccines and medications, vegetarianism.... You name it. If it has to do with changing the human body, Tim Ferriss covers it in this book. If I was to go through the book in detail, the review would be 100 pages. There is just no fluff.

Does it all work? Who knows? Some of it surely does. Some of it probably doesn't. Here's what I can tell you. Never has there been a book with so much info about the human body been available at this price. You may never gain 34lb in 28 days or produce a 15 minute orgasm. However, for the little effort that most of the "hacks" take, there's no value lost in trying.

I've never met Ferriss. Nor have I met any of his associates (except maybe in BJJ circles). I have paid for a signed copy of the book and I bought his last one. I have no ties or allegiances her but I can say this.....

For twenty-something dollars, this book is honestly a steal.

Post Script: I've already copped some criticism over posting this review. And it's been up about an hour. The fact is, I don't do he said she said. I read a book and tell you whether it's worth it. This one is worth the purchase price.

I don't really care where Tim came by his information. That's for people with more time on their hands than me to sort out. Please don't email me or fill the comments with discussions irrelevant to the content of the book.

This site is popular because it leaves that out of the equation.


James M said...

So far, so good with this book. I really enjoyed 4 Hour Work Week, and this book has some incredible advice within its pages. I've been doing reviews on my blog of the sections I am reading, and hope to keep it up throughout the entire book.

I've been following a paleo/primal diet for the past six months and have lost 40 pounds. I'm anxious to see if I can get better results with his Slow-Carb diet.

Max said...

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Keep it Up

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