fighting the lack of good ideas

the 4-hour body by tim ferriss

Upon the recommendation of my friend Steven, I picked-up a cheap copy of Tim FerrissThe 4-Hour Body.

My first observation is that Tim Ferriss is not one to necessarily edit his speech patterns for writing. While not rife with them, there are a fair number of vulgarities throughout the book – all of which seem to have not been removed/altered just because he could.

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, this is NOT a book for kids or teens: it is for adults who are not uncomfortable with “taboo” subjects – the subtitle is, “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman”. Some of this material is presented in an “uncut” form, and potential readers would benefit from knowing this.

Thirdly, most of the material was developed from self-proclaimed “experiments” he ran on himself trying to improve certain aspects of his body, and many are either not cheap, sketchy, or outright pointless for the “normal” person.

He does go into pretty extravagant scientific/engineering detail on several aspects of what he did and why – some of which is downright entertaining to read about. Data appeals to geeks and nerds, so it’s definitely one of the reasons I like the book.

There is a lot of name dropping, product promotion, and apparently pointless/unrelated anecdotes shown throughout. There are also some interesting testimonials and observed data.

Nothing in the book is really earth-shattering or “new” (at least to me), but it was certainly combined in different ways than I had seen previously. The “slow-carb” diet he promotes is nothing new, just renamed and slightly more focused than other editions that have surfaced before: cut carbs (including fruit and especially fruit juice), add lean protein and veggies.

The chapters on improving strength and coordination all make sense: though his focus on the “MED” (minimum effective dose) goes counter to popular thinking, but after some review and thinking, it makes sense to not overwork yourself when trying to improve strength/balance/etc – no point in hurting yourself and making the process last longer than it needs to. Likewise, eating higher quality foods (less sugar/starch especially) goes along with semi-conventional wisdom surrounding general health.

Mr Ferriss also has the benefit of being pretty well-off financially (and has been for quite some time), so many of the things he discusses just “doing” are going to be beyond the vale for the “common man”. It’d be great to just go to Nicaragua for a couple weeks of tourism and then get bloodwork and MRIs taken cheaper than the US – but, quite frankly, I don’t have $7500 to do that: and especially not just for myself.

Overall I think this is a decent book – but by no means worth the cover price. Much/most of what is contained (excluding the anecdotes) is available from other sources, but not in a compilation like this one. Personally, I think Mr Ferriss’ prior book (The 4-Hour Work Week) was better as a book. If you can pick it up for at least half off the cover price (should be simple from Amazon or eBay), go for it. If not, go to the library 🙂

Oh – if nothing else comes of having read the book, adding cinnamon to my coffee is pretty good 🙂

  • Quality of writing: 3/5
  • Quality of content: varies chapter to chapter, and your interest level 2/5
  • Entertainment value: 4/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5