When 37signals began writing REWORK, author Tim Ferriss offered us helpful advice on the publishing world and book marketing. We’ve admired his lean writing style, focus on efficiency, and outsider-to-bestselling-author ascent for a while now. Recently, I sat down with him at The ACE Hotel in NYC to find out more about his views on the workplace and the advice he gives to startups.
Do you hate your job? Good. At least, you’re not bored with it. That’s how Tim Ferriss looks at it. According to Ferriss, feeling comfortable at your job can be a trap. "It’s worse to tolerate your job than to hate it because, if the pain is painful enough, you’ll make a change," he says. "But if it’s tolerable mediocrity, and you’re like, ‘Well, you know it could be worse. At least I’m getting paid.’ Then you wind up in a job that is slowly killing your soul and you’re allowing that to happen. Comfort can be a very, very dangerous thing."
So how do you break out of a comfort rut? Ferriss says, "It’s very valuable to amplify the pain. If your job is mediocre, sit down and do an exercise on paper to really run through what your life is going to look like in two, three, five years if you continue to do what you’re doing. What options are you going to have? If you don’t have kids now, but you’re going to have kids in five years, do you want to be in the same job at that point? What are your options going to be then? What is your risk tolerance going to be then?
"When people telescope out a few years to the natural conclusion of their current behavior, it can be really terrifying. And I think that’s what more people need. Its certainly what I needed. I was doing extremely well financially in mid-2004. And then I had a long term girlfriend break-up with me because of my 7am – 9pm schedule. It was a huge eye-opener for me. And I needed that pain, or I would not have changed my behavior."
The end goal is not idleness
That change of behavior led Ferriss to slash his time commitments, which became the basis of his breakthrough book. But is constantly searching for workplace hacks a worthy goal? If you’re doing something you love, do you really need to constantly search for shortcuts?
"I think one of the ways my message is misinterpreted is viewing the end goal as idleness," responds Ferriss. "That is a false idol. And it’s a very sad destination when you do arrive, because you recognize that it is not a worthwhile destination.
“Idleness is a false idol.”
"For me, the objective has always been: How do you improve per-hour output to the greatest extent possible? And how do you concurrently design the lifestyle that you want to have? Because I do believe that life is intended to be enjoyed. For many people, they love what they do, but they don’t want to do it 80 hours a week. For them, it would be dialing back from 80 to 40, let’s just say. Whether that’s a teacher, pastor, or writer — just being more efficient and effective with your time.
"In the second category, you have people who don’t love what they do. It comes back to that comfortable mediocrity. And for them, it’s about replacement. It’s not about reduction. For them, the goal is to get to the point where they’re doing what they love. And that is the objective of everything that I teach. It’s not to be idle, but it’s to get to the point where you control your time and allocate it to the things that will give you the most joy and also provide the greatest impact. For each person, that will be very individual."
Diversifying your identity
With his latest book (#1 bestseller The 4-Hour Body), Ferriss is evolving out of being the "The 4-Hour Workweek" guy. He says, "I don’t want to put out ‘The 3 1/2 Hour Workweek’ or ‘The 3-Hour Workweek.’ It would be boring for me to produce and it would be boring, I think, for many people to consume. So, ‘The 4-Hour Body’ for me, was the opportunity to focus on what I’ve been obsessed with for a much longer time than time management.
"A big part of it was diversifying my identity. I didn’t want to paint myself into a corner where I felt obligated to maintain a certain level of ‘success.’ Even if ‘The 4-Hour Body’ were to do far worse than ‘The 4-Hour Workweek,’ I felt this was a necessary step for my own personal preservation.
"I also wanted to diversify the public perception of my expertise. I want people, hopefully, to read my material because of the way I deconstruct problems, not because of the specific subject matter. I would rather be in the same vein as Malcolm Gladwell or George Plimpton than someone who’s known for just being an expert in one subject matter."
Ferriss has also spread out by becoming an angel investor (StumbleUpon, Digg, and Twitter among others) and advisor to startups. He gives don’t-put-all-your-ego-in-one-basket advice to the people he works with too. "One of the recommendations that I make to many of the startup founders I advise is to have at least three or four areas of interest outside the business," he explains. "Don’t become a Dow Joneser, someone whose mood and self-worth goes up or down dependent on the Dow Jones, which you have no control over.
"If your entire ego and identity is vested in your startup, where there are certainly factors outside of your control, you can get into a depressive funk that affects your ability to function. So, you should also, let’s say, join a rock climbing gym. Try to improve your time in the mile. Something like that. I recommend at least one physical activity. Then even if everything goes south — you have some horrible divorce agreement with your co-founder — if you had a good week and set a personal record in the gym or on the track or wherever, that can still be a good week."
According to Ferriss, embracing diversity can also be an important step for starters looking to enter a new arena. "For people who are considering becoming an entrepreneur and taking the plunge, if their identity is vested in being a lawyer, being a graphic designer, it can be very harrowing and terrifying. And I know it was for me, to make the jump into sacrificing some of that to pursue an entrepreneurial venture.
"But it doesnt have to be an all-or-nothing wager. You don’t have to sacrifice all of one to have the other. I think, for most people, it makes a lot of sense to moonlight and to test the waters for a period of time until you have income coming in, and you’re confident that you have what’s required — not only financially, but psychologically — to be an entrepreneur."
Plus, slowly segueing is much less intimidating than making a big jump. "’The 4-Hour Workweek’ is still out there. I still write on these topics. I haven’t gone cold turkey from one to the other. But I am slowly segueing into a broader selection of subject matter. And I think that’s very applicable to many people who are making a jump from a company or employment to self-employment, or from simply one startup to another, or from one industry to another. I think ensuring that you diversify your identity is very, very helpful — and it’s a big safety net."
How to measure data
Ferriss famously used Google AdWords and in-store A/B testing to come up with the title to his first book [Full title: "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich"].
He took 6 prospective titles that everyone could live with: including ‘Broadband and White Sand’, ‘Millionaire Chameleon’ and ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ and developed a Google Adwords campaign for each. He bid on keywords related to the book’s content including ‘401k’ and ‘language learning’: when those keywords formed part of someone’s search on Google the prospective title popped up as a headline and the advertisement text would be the subtitle. Ferriss was interested to see which of the sponsored links would be clicked on most, knowing that he needed his title to compete with over 200,000 books published in the US each year. At the end of the week, for less than $200 he knew that "The 4-Hour Workweek" had the best click-through rate by far and he went with that title.
His experimentation didn’t stop there, he decided to test various covers by printing them on high quality paper and placing them on existing similar sized books in the new non-fiction rack at Borders, Palo Alto. He sat with a coffee and observed, learning which cover really was most appealing.
What advice does he give to the businesses he advises when it comes to studying data? "Dont measure too many things," he says. "People often become overwhelmed with a deluge of data because they’re looking at 1,500 variables. And that can be paralyzing because you end up sitting there looking at your analytics program all day long as opposed to doing the more uncomfortable thing that you should be doing, like calling that big customer. And usually, the most uncomfortable thing to do is the one that people need to act on soonest.
“Usually, the most uncomfortable thing to do is the one that people need to act on soonest.”
"I’ll give you an example of how you might think about this. When I was testing the subtitle for the ‘Four-Hour Body,’ there were dozens of different subtitles. And I tested first with 50 people who knew how to market. They were very top-tier, world-class marketers. They came back with winner number one, number two, etc.
"Then I wanted to also test the response to those headlines by my readers, using Twitter and Facebook. But those didn’t match at all; What the marketers liked and the responders at Facebook and Twitter liked were not the same.
"I wanted to ensure some degree of statistical significance, so then I polled once again, asking about 5,000 people two different things. ‘What’s your first choice?’ had five different options. And then I said, ‘What’s your second choice?’ and I had another five options.
"What I found is that people over-analyzed their first response. They were too intellectual about it. It didn’t reflect the knee-jerk response. And then for the ‘What is your second choice?,’ the favorite second choice was more than 50 percent a single answer.
"And so, I ended up tweaking that second response and putting it back into the group for the first five. It ended up being the best performing. And that [‘An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman’] is the title we ended up using."
One killer feature
When working with startups, Ferriss sees one problem popping up over and over. "The biggest weakness I see is companies getting focused on implementing new features," he says. "That’s the biggest waste of time that I see. They have a viable product that people are paying for and instead of identifying their cheapest avenue for acquiring profitable customers or focusing on polishing the product they already have, they focus on adding ten new features.
"Mike Maples is one of the angel investors I most respect in Silicon Valley. He says the startup that perfects their one feature and is the best at that is usually the startup that wins. It’s not the startup that’s an 8 out of 10 on 10 features. It is the startup that is 10 out of 10 on one feature — that just kills it. And you see it over and over again. They might have other features, but they absolutely kill it on one feature.
"And I think that’s where many startups get derailed. They feel like they are not profitable enough, because they lack just one more feature. They have people asking for this one feature. And, in some cases, it makes sense if everyone is bitching about something to fix it. But if you are constantly chasing the vocal minority, you are never going to be done building your product. And you will constantly be a 5 out of 10 on all of your features and you will run out of money. Or you will just have a product that really isn’t that awesome. That’s a pretty shitty fate too. Focusing on just one or two features is really important."
“If you are constantly chasing the vocal minority, you are never going to be done building
Responding to critics
With success comes critics, and Ferriss has collected his fair share of them. Many find his outlandish claims troublesome. He laughs when I read him this comment from a Hacker News thread:
Tim’s Next Book: Go to heaven in just 4 hours a day.
He’ll show you how to guarantee entrance into heaven when you pass into the beyond, no matter what sins are committed in real life through a combination of Zen, Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism.
So how does he feel about people who view him as a snake oil salesman? "I think people should be skeptical," he says. "I’m sure I have a few things wrong in the book, without a doubt. But I would say: Look at the data. I’m not asking you to just trust me and take my opinion. I have data.
"The vast majority of people who agree with you, or benefit from your product or book, will not say anything. Then there’s a small minority who will praise you. And then there’s a much more vocal minority who will be the people who absolutely hate not so much the product, but whatever they believe you stand for. If there’s something factual that I feel I need to respond to, I’ll respond. But if it’s just ‘this guy’s a bullshit artist,’ then I don’t view that as worthy of a legitimate answer."
And what’s on the agenda for his next book? "I don’t know if I’ll ever do another book," he says. "I’m actually eager to try a different portion of my brain. So maybe a screenplay or fiction. I’m not convinced that I’ll be good at either of those things, but I’d like to try something new." Sounds like more diversifying is on the way.
Tim Ferriss explains how “The 4-Hour Body” came to life with Basecamp and Highrise [Product Blog]
The Four Hour Body: Lessons Learned From Tim Ferriss’ Book Launch [The Creative Penn]
Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss Discuss Angel Investing and Naming Companies [fourhourworkweek.com]
Alexon 13 Jan 11
Cool. One small comment: it should probably be “10 out of 10 on 1 feature”, not “10 out of 10 on 10 features”.
Anonymous Cowardon 13 Jan 11
Dude, get to the point!
MLon 13 Jan 11
You’re right, Alex. Changed it.
Matt Buckon 13 Jan 11
This quote is from Dr. Peggy Plato, the doctor Ferriss sites at the beginning of The 4 Hour Body as the physician that verified his results:
I don’t know anything about Tim Ferris’s exercise regime. He came through our Sport and Fitness Evaluation Program for some testing a number of years ago. He did not provide any information about his purpose. In fact, I only found out that he put my name on his website after receiving an inquiry from someone who had seen the website and asked if I could confirm his results. I cannot — he signed a consent form that states that individual results will not be disclosed. Although he contacted me about being retested, I am not willing to do that because he is apparently using my name and San Jose State University for his commercial purposes, without asking for permission or notifying me of this.
Benon 13 Jan 11
I guess I should start by reading 37svn less and working more :(
Tim Ferrisson 13 Jan 11
To be clear: - Dr. Plato took most of the measurements in one chapter titled “Geek to Freak” - As she noted, I’ve contacted her several times (phone and email) in the desire to confirm data and even repeat tests. My last email to her was in March of 2009 and read:
“Dear Dr. Plato,
It has been some time since we last spoke, and I hope this finds you well! We did a number of hydrostatic weighings and circumference measurements back in 2005/2006, when I was gaining a lot of muscular weight as an experiment.
Are you still working at the Human Performance Laboratory? I will be writing a new book about physical optimization and will need to track things well. Do you have any availability for a visit from me and one other person anytime soon?”
If I wanted to falsify data, I wouldn’t include a specific person’s name. Too much headache for everyone. I hoped to actually work with Dr. Plato to present things, but she didn’t respond to my email/phone.
That is. Nothing sinister about it.
All the best,
Matt Buckon 13 Jan 11
[Note to 37s: Including quotation marks in a comment seems to strip the rest of the comment body.]
I appreciate the response. To be clear, though: you aren’t refuting Dr. Plato’s claim that you used her name, and the name of San Jose State University, without her express permission, correct? To use the name of a physician to promote a commercial work, as well as to lend an air of safety and credibility to a potentially harmful workout regimen, seems irresponsible to me.
I’m not disputing the claim that you regained 34 pounds of muscle (that you had previously lost) in a span of four weeks. Leading people to believe that they will be able to achieve the same results if they are building new muscle mass is an extraordinary claim to make, though, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary (and independently verified) evidence. If Dr. Plato refused to provide such verification, I don’t think her name should have been used in the following context:
(another) Bobon 13 Jan 11
I have been following Tim Ferriss’ writings, musings, and blogging *since I first discovered The Four Hour Workweek on a bookshelf in 2007. Throughout, I’ve seen nothing but a high degree of integrity and gentlemanly conduct from Tim – as far as I’ve seen in the online world. I believe Tim understands that there are at least three ways to present a point-of-view: facts only, fact-based yet compelling, and less than the whole truth. He does a great job of presenting his facts in a most compelling way.
Tim has promoted a lot of people through his blog so I’ll forgive the occasional shameless self-promotion, without which there would be no 4-Hour brand.
note to self: *add: discovered Tim Ferriss to resume. Bob
Mark Gon 13 Jan 11
Unless Tim’s talking about Fancy Dress shops, this is probably another typo:
They have a viable product that people are paying for and instead of identifying their cheapest avenue for acquiring profitable costumers or focusing on polishing the product they already have, they focus on adding ten new features.
I’ve read some of the 4-Hour Body. It’s interesting, but I’m not 100% sold on Tim yet. I can’t help thinking he’s a bit over-sold like Gladwell.
Chrison 13 Jan 11
@Ben: You rather should evaluate if 37svn is one of the let’s say 5 blogs you read regularly, instead of stopping reading altogether. IMHO, of course.
Tyron Bacheon 13 Jan 11
Matt it looks like Tim is practising what he preached in The 4 Hour Work Week, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” I personally can’t wait to read T4HB, let’s just hope it gets to South Africa soon.
Michelle MacPhearsonon 13 Jan 11
Enjoyed the 4 Hour Body – my husband got it for Christmas but I ended up reading it and jumping on the diet. Also enjoy the 4 Hour Workweek, although I was already living the digitial marketing / outsourcing biz model. I appreciate Tim for bringing more legitimacy to that world despite his detractors.
This interview was a great tie between his 4 Hour Workweek and 4 Hour Body philosophes – thanks 37 Signals!
Donny Von 13 Jan 11
I would love for one of these life style, work guru, motivator type guys to go get married, have some kids and then write a book about accomplishing all this while holding down a family.
That book I would buy.
Zon 13 Jan 11
View Tim’s books as simply ideas to fuel your own ideas for experimentation and self-improvement. Don’t bother trying to reenact what you read as it simply isn’t possible without more effort than what is claimed. I’m sure that he stretches the truth throughout both of his books, which I have read and are still sitting on my bookshelf.
David GOldsteinon 13 Jan 11
Loved 4HB, but confused what routine I should use (mass or strength building). I want a Ryan Reynolds body (very toned, not big) – which to follow?
Anonymous Cowardon 13 Jan 11
@ Donny V Word
Drew Larsenon 13 Jan 11
@ David Goldstein
strength, not mass. Go to www.crossfit.com, follow it everyday.
David Goldsteinon 13 Jan 11
Byronon 13 Jan 11
Jack Lalanne is 96 years old and has the body of a 36 year year-old superman. He’s been living his life in a healthy manner, long before Tim Ferriss ever came around. His whole premise is exercise, vegetables, and fruits. Now Tim may bash fruit eating but it’s done fine by Mr. Lalanne (and I’m very happy with my fruit consumption).
I don’t understand why what’s good for Lalanne can’t be good for the majority of human beings on the planet.
Why must people integrate a “fast food” mentality when it comes to weight gain or weight loss? Is that really a healthy way of living? That’s what I see Tim Ferriss promoting. And I don’t think it’s healthy.
Matthew Murrayon 13 Jan 11
I am with Donny V here. I like Tim’s writings a lot – I just wish I could find a way to make them apply to the life of a father and bread winner for a family of five. I think Tim could do another experiment and write another book after he has married and fathered multiple children and lead a large business with 100+ employees, etc. He could maybe call it, “How to Get Four Hours to Yourself Just Once a Week…....” ;)
In all seriousness, I admire Tim. But my sense is that he just lives in a very different world than most of us. If I was still single at 37 I don’t know what I would do with all the freedom and time. But then again I don’t think my life would be nearly as rewarding as it is.
Boleon 13 Jan 11
After reading this blog post, I want my money back! Nowhere in there did it get explained how do I get laid without spending too much money (and also, I was hoping for some sort of instructions on how to achieve a 4-hour long uninterrupted intercourse).
As the saying goes, there is a sucker born every minute. I see now 37 signals have become purveyors of the infomercials. Oh, the humanity!
Frankon 13 Jan 11
You raise an excellent point, Donny V
“I would love for one of these life style, work guru, motivator type guys to go get married, have some kids and then write a book about accomplishing all this while holding down a family. That book I would buy.”
Tim Ferriss does not write for the family man. His target audience has always been the single tech geek between the ages of 18-36.
Tim does not write for the family man. And that’s why Tim lives in a world of his own creation. And he remains a master self-marketer. That, in my view, is his only legitimate claim to fame.
Michaelon 13 Jan 11
Donny, I have three children and I totally disagree with you. The sorts of approaches Tim advocates are most rewarding for families. Tim is not a family man and his travel schedule is more appropriate for a single person. So, you need to separate the lifestyle-neutral methods he advocates from his personal anecdotes about his goals.
David Q Hoganon 13 Jan 11
Donny V, Frank,
Since reading 4-Hour Body i’ve lost an average of 0.386kg (0.852lb) a day for the last 11 days. And i’ve done it easily without being hungry or having to fight the carb cravings that have plagued me my entire life. This ALONE is a ‘legitimate claim to fame’ – constant irrational carb cravings have always been my downfall. Yes, it’s early days, but i’ve never lost weight this easily, or fast. 4.25kg (9.37lb) of loss so far.
Raw data: https://spreadsheets5.google.com/ccc?key=tT8DVFs5xnG-a9p0jjGmTeA&hl=en#gid=0
I am not single, and I spend a huge amount of my time working on my startup company. I’m not a family man, but I am a busy man. His diet is simple and is completely compatible with a busy lifestyle. In fact, most of what i’ve read in the book seems to focus on doing the minimum amount required to achieve a goal (usually surprisingly less that what you’d think).
Have you actually read the book?
Bradon 13 Jan 11
Man I can’t stand Tim Ferris. He comes across like such a narcissist in his writing. Sad to see you guys advertising his worthless books. Rework > 4-Hour Workweek > 4-Hour Body
Evgenyon 13 Jan 11
“I don’t understand why what’s good for Lalanne can’t be good for the majority of human beings on the planet.”
Maybe it can, maybe it can not.
Certainly Jack LaLanne lifestyle is way better than eating at McDonalds every day, but can we expect everyone to have a 36 yo body at 97?
I’m sure there are thousands of people on the planet who understand that fruit, veggies and exercise is good for them, and follow Jack LaLanne’s advice. Still, there’s only one Jack LaLanne (okay, maybe more than one and we do not know because not everyone runs a TV show for several decades, but what I’m saying is that there may be different factors here – including some genetic advantage etc.)
Frankon 13 Jan 11
I’ve scanned through the book. But I have not read it, chapter by chapter. I’m familiar with the slow carb eating plan because I read his original post to his 4hr work blog several years ago. How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise – posted back on April 6, 2007
Congratulations David, on your weight loss. I’m happy for you. But you’ve been on Ferriss’s diet/eating plan for 11 days. What about the longer term prospects for yourself? Do you see yourself maintaining the slow carb diet for a year, two years, five years? 10 years? Are you going to gorge yourself one day out of 7 for the remainder of your life?
Maybe Tim’s approach to losing weight fast is healthy. I just don’t think there have been enough actual studies done. All we have is anecdotal evidence. It’s good and I’m all in support of people who claim to lose weight following Tim’s recommendations.
But we also need to think holistically. Tim is a hacker. He likes to find “shortcuts” to anything that challenges him.
Is that a healthy way to approach all of life? Shortcuts?
Timon 13 Jan 11
@Matt Buck. Hey Matt, that text you quote seems pretty straightforward to me? I.e., Dr Plato took the measurements at the lab? What is under dispute here? That Tim shouldn’t have used her name?
@ Donny V. Donny, I am a pretty busy person. Full time job as telco engineer, 3 side web businesses (hustling), constant reading, lots of cycling (I race), girlfriend, family (no kids), surf, run, weights, travel. I reckon Tim’s ideas can be applied to your life still. Hell, I took his 4HWW principles, and a lot of stuff from Rework and have automated my job 80%, work 1 day a week from home (pitching for 2 days a week soon, or part time 4 days a week, AND work from home 1 day a week) etc etc.
Sure, you should take a lot of it with a grain of salt, and just apply what you can, but, the overall principles all apply. They are: remove distractions (the things that don’t matter, that can be considered busywork), focus.
Gary Vaynerchuk has 3 principles for success. One of them is take care of your family. The other two are work superhard and live your passion. I reckon EVEN with kids you can do this.
Tim is who he is, he’s not for everyone, but he has some very interesting ideas for living. Some work for you, some won’t.
Adrianon 13 Jan 11
Why do you promote this scammer/con artist on the svn blog?
He made so many unproven claims. It’s not even funny. He is not the real deal, he claims to be the real deal.
Here’s a more sane and rational approach for his new book: http://bit.ly/heyEVa
Tim Ferris endorsed Super Blue at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPgZIdB7U5E
FTC fined the same company with a $3 million fine for deceptive promises. They basically lied about the product’s expected results along with Tim Ferriss.
Here’s the official governmental article: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/11/bluestuff.shtm
I understand that he has a high trafficked blog. Rework was promoted on his blog and you promote his book here.
But this collaboration also proves that you care more about the money than about the character of the person you associate with. The alternative is that you didn’t know about his hidden face. And you are innocent victims.
Tim Ferris is welcomed to prove all the claims he has made.
Until he does, I’ll show you how he inflated his sales for the 4 hour body so he can get on the bestseller list. He wrote a post on his blog at: http://bit.ly/eY5djo
He deleted the blog post in the mean time so the above is the Google cache result.
He basically bribed people to buy his book.
People who bought $500 worth of books received products of worth of $1500 or more. In other words, he paid people to buy his book so he can get on the bestseller list.
Didn’t he believe that his book was worth to be a bestseller for its awesome value alone?
Okay Tim Ferriss. Here a list of your claims. It’s up to you to prove them in a rational way:
The following is a quote from http://bit.ly/eH6MPF
“Tim’s Achievements as B.S.
To support his point and show his luxurious lifestyle, Tim gives us some facts about himself. I will simply quote Wiki page that already did a great debunking of that B.S.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_4-Hour_Workweek
1. That he is the “First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango” (substantiated).
2. That he is a Princeton University guest lecturer in High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Electrical Engineering (substantiated)[.
3. That he is “Advisor to more than 30 world record holders in professional and Olympic sports” (not substantiated).
4. That he has been a “Cage fighter in Japan, vanquisher of four world champions (MMA)” and a “National Chinese kickboxing champion” (not substantiated).
5. That he created a chain of gyms in China before being forced to close them down by local gangsters (not substantiated).
6. That he was an actor on a hit TV series in mainland China and Hong Kong (not substantiated).
In an article on his blog, Ferriss claims to have gained 34lbs of muscle in 4 weeks, with a total gym time of just 4 hours (not substantiated).
Basically the guy LIES all the way! May be he does not even make those $40K a month at all…”
I took the claims list from here: http://bit.ly/eH6MPF
Please note that the wikipedia entry that listed the claims now lists only a resume of his book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_4-Hour_Workweek
I didn’t include all the claims he has ever made. They were too many, too outrageous and most of them unproven.
David Q Hoganon 13 Jan 11
Actually, it’s 20 days, but the first nine days were Christmas celebrations etc and I eased into it (read: cheated a lot). Basically stayed the same size over that period (which is still great). But fair call, it’s early days yet. Anyway, to be honest, I don’t see why I wouldn’t continue to eat this way for the rest of my life. Protein + beans + non-starchy veg 6 days a week. Hardly sounds outrageous, and it’s perfect for someone who doesn’t have time to be creative in the kitchen (which is why I responded – I don’t see why a family man couldn’t do it, or many of the other things in the book).
The gorging thing has been a novelty – it’s very comforting knowing that you CAN get away with a pig out. I don’t actually plan on a binge tomorrow, i’m just going to eat whatever I feel like in the quantities I would have normally (whereas i’ve really pushed it on last two unrestricted days, just to test the claims) .. (ok well also because it was awesome :D ) The great thing about the unrestricted day is that I don’t feel trapped for the rest of the week. There’s always a fun meal on it’s way.
I don’t feel like it’s a ‘shortcut’ which implies that i’m not doing something properly. To me, this seems like how my body SHOULD have been fed all this time, and now that it is it can start to undo some of the damage i’ve done to it. If I was taking a shortcut I don’t think i’d feel as energetic as I do.
Timon 13 Jan 11
I don’t think this is the place for a Tim Ferriss-bashing exercise.
It’s hard to divine who has a personal dislike for him and thus hard to understand the motivations.
I didn’t take this as being out of place on the SVN blog. Just goes to show you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Matt Buckon 13 Jan 11
@Tim: Yes, that’s exactly what’s under dispute. He’s clearly using a physician’s name to lend credence to the outrageous claims he makes in that chapter. While Ferriss cleverly makes no assertion that Dr. Plato supports his results (thus probably avoiding a lawsuit), using her name is obviously intended to mislead his readers. If not to give authority to the content of the chapter, what’s the point of adding that line in the first place?
It’s also important to note that one person’s results are not the same as a clinical study. That’s the grand logical fallacy underlying the entirety of the book. Everything presented is anecdotal evidence.
Andrewon 13 Jan 11
Not that Tim really needs any of his fans to defend him, but you seem to have refuted your own point(s) with your second comment. It seems blatantly obvious, given what everyone has wrote regarding your comment, that Tim never even implied that Dr. Plato condoned his workout. She was just someone who had access to, and operated the required equipment for accurate, uniform testing/measuring.
That could have been you or me for all the data is concerned. Or the quote you referenced could have read:
“The entire experiment had been recorded by [doctors/people/circus nomads], who used hydrostatic weighing tanks, medical scales, and a tape measure to track everything from waist circumference to bodyfat percentage.”
Tim’s point, I’m speculating, seems to be that he tracked everything he did and recorded in 4HB. I never noticed any promises of repeat outcomes – only that, if you follow his protocols to the letter, readers can expect similar results. 34 lbs. of muscle on me seems huge, but I struggle to tip a scale at 165 with dripping wet clothes. Maybe his fat loss and muscle gains as a percentage of his bodyweight, transferred to my numbers, would be more accurate for me to expect…?
Anyway, I feel like that exerpt you quoted lend Dr. Plato more credibility than Tim. But if he didn’t mention as much detail as possible, I’m sure we’d see some haters (you or otherwise) demanding which doctor/scientist/facility was used.
Shitty. Double edged sword.
Anyway, I’d caution you, in this and all things, not to let your cynisism excuse you from trying/testing your current assumptions.
Frankon 14 Jan 11
Not trying to “bash” Tim Ferriss. But there are legitimate questions and concerns that anyone could and should raise about his methods!
I’m glad you got something out of Ferriss’s book, David. I hope you continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the remainder of your days. Maybe you will become a case study for Tim when he comes out with his 4 hour body, part 2.
I’m glad Adrian posted what he did because I also had seen that post by Tim which must have certainly played a role in helping him sell as many books as he did. Imagine if all authors promoted their books by offering trips to foreign lands to prospective buyers!
But like I said, Tim is a great self-marketer.
Matt Buckon 14 Jan 11
@Andrew: Yes, if he had not listed the name of a doctor I would have wanted to know who had performed the experiments. The fact that he did not receive that doctor’s permission to lend weight to his results and chose to attribute her anyway makes me trust his results even less.
We now know that:
1.) we will never have access to the data Ferriss seemed to be implying we could check with Dr. Plato to receive, and
2.) he mislead both the physician in question and his readers by listing her name and the name of her facility.
Any time a person makes an extraordinary claim, it is natural for skeptics to ask for that claim to be verified independently. In this case, it cannot. I don’t know why I should afford Mr. Ferriss an exception to this standard, especially in light of his attempt to mislead me and every other reader of his work.
Tim Marshon 14 Jan 11
@Matt B (Matt, I’m not trying to be a smart @rse here, really I’m not).
Reading the text you posted, it didn’t even cross my mind that there was an attempt to lend credence to his claims by use of the doctors name. It reads the same as if Lance Armstrong had said “With Dr No, I was in the wind tunnel on Evil Hideaway Island and managed to push 700W for 450000 seconds and I pedalled so hard I shifted the island 10 m.”
Notwithstanding your valid points about independent verification.
However, I’d look at it this way. You could try and independently verify every fact he makes, and spend hours arguing the points you’re making (spending energy on something you can’t change) or, you could step back and try and get the bigger picture and message he is pushing. Or, ignore him?
His methods won’t be for everyone, but his insights at least are provoking.
I also didn’t have any problem with his “bribing” of people to get to the NYT position 1. I bought the book and got some bonuses. Didn’t pay attention to their attributed “worth”, which, if I did, I’d take a massive grain of salt with those values anyway. Case in point: I sell some ebooks that I could easily “value” at $1000 (but sell for $29). It’s utterly meaningless and so I ignore them. I think he was pretty transparent in how he handled it. It was pretty smart marketing, so good on him.
PS I take most things with a grain of salt these days and like you seem to want to do, like to turn things over in my head, chew on them, check for veracity etc. Nothing wrong with that!
David Freitason 14 Jan 11
I’m one of the first to sniff out a scam. I remember when I first mentioned The Four Hour Work Week to some coworkers. Here was the results of that conversation.
1) One listened to what I shared, went out bought the book and read it, but did nothing with it. He is still afraid to let his baby out into the cold cruel world unprotected. Scared
2) another just listened quietly without any opinion what so ever.
3) the third mocked the book and the title. A complete nay sayer.
I on the other hand got into a car accident, decided that my carpet was thrashed and made my 3 year old car look and feel old. No body made one that was better than the factory stuff.
So I followed the principle in Tim’s book and created a small, but growing business manufacturing the finest carpets for Mazda vehicles on the planet.
Thanks Tim, your book gave me the courage to build my business and find all the resources I needed to create it.
Sherwoodon 14 Jan 11
@Adrian didn’t quote the end of the review that he pulled his facts from:
“You may consider reading this book, as there are quite a few interesting ideas and quotes there. Some valid points may indeed help you improve your work and life balance, but do not expect miracles, be yourself. You do not need to live another person’s life to be happy, you are the only person who decides whether you will or will not be happy – make your choice and be happy. You do not even need $40K a month for that, just love life. I’ve been all over the world and make 60 flights last year making barely over $50K a year and I am still very happy”
Danon 14 Jan 11
4 hour body equals pure awesome. Being doing the slow carb diet for 3 weeks, haven’t felt this healthy since I was 17 years old playing sport all week long.
Interesting to know that he advised on rework also. If more books were written like this instead of full of fluff the world would be a much better place.
James Mon 14 Jan 11
I don’t think I’ve come across a figure that has galvanized people to love/hate so much like I have with Tim Ferriss. Where ever his name pops up in a blog post, there are always going to be comments defending his books, and people calling him a scam artist. I’m sure there a lot of other authors out there would love this kind of publicity.
I wrote an extensive review of his latest book on my blog, and I was disappointed with parts, but overall satisfied with it. The Slow Carb Diet is based off of the paleo/Primal/low-carb diets that have been around for a while. I’ve been following The Primal Blueprint (primalblueprint.com) since June and have lost nearly 50 pounds while following it. It can be difficult around the holidays, but I try not to beat myself up if I happen to cheat. I think it is sustainable since it’s rules are not outrageous. Easier to follow the diet compared to doing a seven day cleanse, in my opinion.
In regards to this post, I find the ideas he mentions interesting. I’ve always believed that people should be developing several different interests and always be curious about the world. People who are stuck liking only one or two activities, don’t want to explore new foods or entertainment, may be happy and content with their lives, but are fairly difficult to get along with and be active with. I always enjoy a good story from someone but it gets tiring listening to someone who shares the same story repeatedly.
Peter Nguyenon 14 Jan 11
It tends to be the same story whenever there’s something about/related to Tim Ferriss. His new book, like his previous book and blog, isn’t anything terribly new. As you mentioned, the diet is based off paleo (he in fact posted about Robb Wolfs paleo book and has discussed slight differences). His routine and stacks I’ve seen around before on bodybuilding. Even his four hour work week, the principles aren’t terribly new.
What Tim does well is test these and find what was the most effective for him, which is obviously what he would promote. “Minimal Effective Dose” as he would call it.
His books are meant to be a reference, not a step by step guide to becoming Tim Ferriss. His Four Hour Work Week helped me start my business, but I have no use for a virtual assistant (I love my work too much and don’t need one). I implement his system of batching emails. I don’t follow his diet (I already do paleo) but have added his kettlebell and ab routine to great results so far.
As for calling him a great promoter. Of course he is. One would only assume that a person who gives advice to businesses and people who want to create and sell their work is good at it themselves. But this in no way diminishes the quality of his content.
Charleson 14 Jan 11
I’ll tell you what: Try it or get out of the way while I do it. If you haven’t tried what he’s promoted your opinion means zilch. Thus far 10lbs down, 225 – 215, easy to maintain way of eating, bench has gone from 365 to 375, all in 20 days. I’ve competed in power lifting BEFORE ever reading 4 hb (raw cprs of 500, 335, 495 via sheiko training) and you folks are missing the distillation of what you’ll find reading elsewhere. I was pleased to hear Coan referenced, and Jones (shocked actually because the “fitness” establishment is full of morons – crossfit being a major group), Metzner, Munger, Taleb…all mentors of mine from afar. I’ve cut weight as a wrestler, carb cycled, gone keto…this has been the easiest method to implement and maintain. He hasn’t covered it all but he’s covered the key gateways to success. That’s kind of the point. Don’t like it? Fine, shut up and get the out of the way while I work.
The only beef I found was that some of the bench numbers were geared where Coan’s 900 deadlift was basically raw. Top raw bench is just over 700.
Now the same goes for 4hww..get off your tail and do something. That separates out the top 10%. Do anything, and then re-read the book to help tweak your process…it’s been an excellent tool for me. I’m in corporate land but, lest ye label me meathead, I’m a low level exec (non c clan) for a fortune 500 company doing just fine. I have a great marriage, two kids and am out of the target demographic. And it works. As I’ve learned in my professional life, every knob can sit and postulate, but most suck at implementation because they don’t know how to simply do. If you have a $15/hr job, weigh 120 lbs bench less than that, never squat, and dress like metro-sexual, then you have a lot to work on and shouldn’t be complaining about anything. Read everything, try everything, throw out what doesn’t work. Repeat. Repeat.
I can’t even believe what I read at the top from Buck. Way too much time with the queen’s english and not enough in reality.
Andrewon 14 Jan 11
@adrian Obviously you’re not going to read the the 4HB. But if you did you’d realise that it is fundamentally a book about self-experimentation. There’s even a chapter on just that.
So you want verifiable data? Spend four weeks of your life and try something and see if it works. Personally, I’m half way through the slow-carb diet and well on my way to losing 10kgs.
Read the comments on Tim’s blog and Amazon you’ll find for every 9 people like me there’s 1 person like you that can only criticise. So sad for you.
Thinkeron 14 Jan 11
Guys, If you you’d actually try out his ideas and methods you’d be living your dreams instead of squandering your opportunity cost bashing Tim online.
Some may feel the unconscious need to bash Tim and his ideas to avoid the changes they should make in their own life: refute his claims (however illogically) and you have no motive to get off your ass and try something new.
The Gmat Coachon 14 Jan 11
I am one of Tim’s “Top-20” finalists for taking action with his 4hww model. I’m proud of that :) I think what makes Tim’s advice different than most is that you can measure how effective it is – quickly. His advice/teaching is not some pie-in-the-sky idea (though some think it is) but a base from which many branches can grow.
The key for me is that 2 people might never use his advice in the same way, but they both still benefit; it’s not a one size fits all plan. The 4hww and 4hb give people like myself insight into Tim’s way of seeing the world, which helped me see the world in a new light too.
I think that’s why he’s so successful.
Lee – The GMAT Coach
Matt J.on 14 Jan 11
Been reading and loving SVN for years. Please, no more of this infomercial garbage. I’m sure his body-building routine is just splendid, but his blog and motivational material… you can smell the snake oil a mile away.
Adrianon 14 Jan 11
“self promoter”, “self marketer” are fancy words to hide the word liar in this context.
There’s nothing wrong with people self promoting themselves. There’s always something wrong with people who blatantly lie about their past achievements in order to promote themselves.He should write fiction books not non-fiction how to books.
It’s not about who hates or loves Tim Ferriss. That’s a meaningless and subjective debate. The debate should be “Is he telling the truth or making stuff up along the way?”
There’s another idea floating around: “Try what he says. Otherwise your opinion doesn’t count.” This argument is nonsense.
People would say anything to get ahead in this world. It doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what they do. Deeds don’t lie.
Being successful with his advice doesn’t prove that he is not a liar. And it doesn’t prove that he didn’t plagiarized his advice from those who know what they are talking about.
His latest book is 600 pages long. Of course, something will work and something won’t work. Most books out there are like that. That doesn’t make his book special in any way.
Nick Hawtinon 14 Jan 11
I liked Tim’s emphasis on focus and his message that the ought to be higher efficiency – no matter what you’re doing. You’ve only got right here, right now. What are you doing to make it the best it can be? It’s a tough question, but I think I’ll spend right now on something other than a silly arguement about what fitness regimen works best. Get off your butt and get going! :-)
Ronsleyon 14 Jan 11
Well, I’m not gonna slam anyone in this conversation or contradict anyone’s opinions…. Like Tim says, everyone has an opinion and its a good thing.
Me personally, I can’t relate to scamming accusations. Tim, I know you have changed a lot of lives and they are very thankful that they implemented all or parts of your books. I am one of them.
All the very best to everyone here… I hope something inspires you everyday.
Anonymous Cowardon 14 Jan 11
I’m a little disappointed to see Mr. Farris appearing here on 37 Signals blog. I friend gave me his book, it has some interesting ideas but I don’t believe Mr Farris has actually had a real company. I (think) when he wrote his book he has hawking nutritional supplements on the web, a type of business that lends itself to a virtual company and in my opinion usually a scam. I enjoyed reading/watching Jason F and DHH, they’ve built a real company, share some of there ideas and must be doing very well financially. I think the basic tenet of the 4 hour work week is to figure out how to ride of the foam of everyone’s else economic activity – which is my view of all the self-help and entrepreneurial coaching out there. I agree with JF and DHH that you don’t need to work 80 hours a week to start and run a company, but 4? I’m glad police, fire departments and teachers don’t/can’t aspire to Tim vision. So please keep up the great design tips and random thoughts/ideas – and no more “Idleness is a false idol” What??? I don’t many people desire idleness, they want to make enough to take care of their family and have some more time to do something fun, like race cars etc
Rowlandon 14 Jan 11
To Adrian: Hm, let’s think here for a moment: since I read the 4 hour workweek, I quit my job, more then doubled my income, and have more free time than when I was an employee. I now can spend more time with my girlfriend and daughter, and even travel from time to time.
Now he’s written a new book, that has inspired me to change the way I eat (lost 16 pounds in the last 4 weeks), and take up excercise egain. I feel better now than I felt the last 8 years of my life.
Now you come along, write that Tim Ferriss is a liar, and that his methods aren’t any good, because he didn’t get any permission to use the name of a doctor he mentions in his book.
Dude, get a life and get out of my way, these kettleballs are heavy ya know.
Adion 14 Jan 11
@Rowland I didn’t say anything about the doctor. But if you need external motivation just to achieve your goals, there’s a problem.
So far Tim lied about most of the things he claimed. If he keeps lying he will certainly be prosecuted by FTC.
Frankon 14 Jan 11
I’m tired of hearing about Tim Ferriss. I’m not going to follow interviews about him anymore and I’m not going to visit his blog anymore. And I’m not going to participate in discussions about Tim Ferriss anymore. I find him to be obnoxious and I find there to be insufficient independent critical analysis about his means and methods from his champions.
GregTon 14 Jan 11
TIL that a lot of people hate Tim Ferriss, but I guess that is normal for anyone who has achieved success.
I have not read 4HWW, but I read 4HB. It’s well written, IMO, and includes tons of interesting ideas. Of course, the 15 minute orgasms claim is BS, and I’m not about to go try everything he suggests. But it’s well worth reading.
Markuson 14 Jan 11
Look, Ferriss obviously is wrong regarding many of his specific claims (it is physiologically impossible for a human body to gain 34 pounds of actual muscle tissue in 28 days, for example), but that’s not the point. He is refreshingly open about his blatant self-promotion, because that is what gives him his lifestyle.
He knows that the US is divided into two main camps when it comes to self-help books: people who are looking for some kind of external motivation, and people who aren’t. The former group will be attracted to Ferriss’ positive thinking and successful example; the latter will immediately recognize the trite nature of some of his advice and the glaring holes in some of his purported results.
If certain people need an engagingly written stimulus from someone else in order to lose weight, work out, or try a new job, then they will be eager to support and defend Ferriss, and that is the win-win situation that he focuses on. He briefly responds to selected naysayers in certain venues (such as this one) only to display his positive attitude and keep in touch with his fans. Arguing the messy details of his claims would tarnish the Ferriss ‘brand’, so he outsources that function to others. This is his entire modus operandi: he lets the readers of his books sort out if any of his suggestions actually work. (Most of them have such a simplistic basis, how could they not work to some degree?) People who seem negative about Ferriss are largely ignored by him, because they are not going to buy his books, anyway.
As Ferriss said about potential readers, in his latest interview in Wired, “Whether they say, ‘Wow, that sounds really interesting,’ or ‘That guy’s full of shit’—as long as they pick up the book or click on the link, I don’t care.”
FredSon 14 Jan 11
This dude is basically Kevin Trudeau.
Neal Stennetton 14 Jan 11
Tim Ferris… You are two things in one: both a great, inspiring guy and a total blowhard tool that talks to much.
My guts yells at me: you need to stop talking so much and be happy with yourself and stop being so much into “how you look.”
Get real. Get happy. Stop thinking so much.
Yours, - Some dude who is happy with himself
Johnon 14 Jan 11
You’re missing the point.
Tim basically says “here’s what I did… and here are the results”
I never got the impression that if I did exactly the same I would get the same results. Only an idiot would.
What did I get out of his writings?
- Just because you are doing something, that doesn’t mean it’s effective/important.
- If you want to progress, track the data, analyze, and then proceed.
I enjoy reading Tim’s work. It leads me to be more active. That’s what matters to me.
Stuon 15 Jan 11
Here’s the truth. Those that hate Tim Ferris are either very successful and have done well on their own accord or through the help of their own “guru’s”, like the Tony Robbins of the world, or they have done nothing and won’t even try any of Tim’s ideas. They are simply angered by others success so they become critics.
Remember: “They don’t build monuments to critics”.
Good on you Tim Ferris! I hope your book inspires people to change or at least question their lifestyle.
One last thing… for the guy who wrote people who need motivational books should get a life… I bet you are an angry fat man who hasn’t heard of the bible (not my kinda of book, but a big motivational book at its core).
Casey Allenon 16 Jan 11
In the true spirit of both TF and 37Signals I shall measure some results here. The econ major in me can’t resist and this post proved an impressive laboratory.of clearly negative comments about TF or his book: 16 of clearly positive comments about TF or his book: 17
Ave misspellings* per negative comment: 1.18 Ave misspellings per positive comment: .88
Negative commenters have, as an aggregate, 34% more misspellings.
*Just misspellings and mis-capitalizations. Grammar is more subjective and was ignored.
Likelihood that a negative comment’s author included a URL linked to his name: 0% Likelihood that a positive comment’s author included a URL linked to his name: 82%
As a side note, Matt, were there any tough calls regarding this post? Critiquing ideas and posing challenging questions has always made this blog great. But character was attacked here at an unprecedented level. Value was arguably subtracted, not “added”. Do you feel you might have been too tolerant?
Casey Allenon 16 Jan 11
Apparently the number (or pound) symbol doesn’t jive in this comment system. Bummer. My second sentence in the above comment should have two.
Walton 16 Jan 11
I read the 37signals blog regularly, and that these guys have somehow hooked up with Tim Ferriss gives me some pause for concern.
There is not a single educated person on this planet that believes you can start and run a viable business working four hours a week. I wonder how many of the sample businesses on the Ferriss web site paid for the plug? That kind of thing is quite common in the self-promotion business, you simply wouldn’t believe it if you knew.
So he made #1 on the NYT best seller list – big fucking deal, that was his admitted objective, congratulations. Anyone in the publishing business knows these “best seller” lists have been manipulated for years.
Bottom line – Tim Ferriss doesn’t bother me, it is the people that follow him that do. I guess that includes 37signals now, and I think that is too bad.
Nick Loon 17 Jan 11
Just imagine how much more fun the reactions to this article would have been if Tim had ended saying he wrote 4 Hour Body on a Mac using Vim!
I bought and read the 4 Hour Work Week and even though I am not working a 4 hour work week, I don’t feel cheated. Perhaps because I took what I wanted from the book: I was encouraged not to wait for a seemingly ideal time to do an overseas trip. Instead we found a way to work while overseas which resulted in a longer and significantly more meaningful trip for our young family.
Note on the above to @Donny V and others mentioning family: I’m in my 40’s with 2 young daughters. Also as far as I know the expanded version of 4HWW does have additional info on families.
I’ve not yet read the 4 Hour Body, but from the excerpts I have read it seems Tim has pooled his own experiments with those of others who are well known in their field. From that perspective it’s hard to see what relevance the anti Tim Ferriss sentiment has. One example: He refers to Total Immersion swimming as an effective way to improve swimming technique, does this mean we should, by extension, feel that it’s originator, Terry Laughlin, is also a fraud? Of course not!
Bruce Lee’s comment in Enter the Dragon probably says best what I think about a lot of the negative comments: “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory” (not that I’m suggesting Tim’s work is heavenly ;) ):
@Charles – I’m with you: “Try it or get out of the way while I do it”. Best comment so far!
Jay Stockwellon 17 Jan 11
I love the SVN blog, but I hate half the commentators.
I feel like I’m sitting around waiting for a 101 lecture to start listening to a whole bunch of undergraduate cynics who haven’t done shit, yet like to make them sound smart by being the one to negatively deconstruct everything based on shit they’ve read.
I’ve read Tim’s stuff, and while I don’t agree with everything he writes I’ve achieved enough in my time to know how to sort the wheat from the chaff. I take that wheat and go and increase the size of my business and improve my life when I can.
I don’t sit around posting comments on blogs nitpicking about details all the while missing the big takeaway points that are valuable.
Alexon 17 Jan 11
It cheapens 37signals’ brand to publish this charlatan in this forum.
He sloppily repackages others’ ideas in a couple books that rely on aggressive marketing schemes with a lot of ‘buzz’ from paid contractors). This is exactly what – in my view – 37s is not about. Let’s hear from more real thinkers who are solving real problems and gaining customers through quality products and services.
Benjamin Kohlon 17 Jan 11
I’m surrounded by a lot of people that tolerate mediocrity. I hear a lot of phrases like “It’s not that bad”, “It could be worse”, “Just be thankful you have a job”. I hate to think of myself as a complainer, but what is wrong with wanting to be able to say “This is a great place to work”? I’ve never heard anyone say that at my job and I think it would be worth investigating if I were the CEO. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last year and I think the only way to fix my situation is to start my own company. I want to create a great place to work and have much more influence in the decision making.
Benjamin Kohlon 17 Jan 11
@Walt, you clearly haven’t read the 4HWW. But if you have, I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that Tim Ferriss somehow claims you can build a company in 4 hours in a week. I’m guessing you just read the title of his book and made an assumption based on that. The 4HWW is more about doing what you need to do to get to the point where you have a 4HWW. It isn’t an instructional book telling you to only spend 4 hours each week on work.
Too many people in these comments make criticisms about things they clearly don’t know much about. I guess that is the downside of the Internet. Every ignoramus gets a voice.
Nick Loon 18 Jan 11
@Alex: A “Charlatan” who “sloppily repackages others’ ideas”: I can hear Charles’ comment echoing on that: “Way too much time with the queen’s english and not enough in reality”.
Let’s find an example of how one of the originators of an idea “repackaged” by Tim Ferriss feels about it: In the words of Terry Laughlin, originator of the Total Immersion Swimming method:
From: How Tim Ferriss Learned to Swim in 10 Days
From: Could Tim Ferriss turn The Situation on to Swimming?
Terry doesn’t sound too upset, in fact, he sounds extremely positive. If you linger awhile on Terry’s site you’ll quickly realise he’s very genuine about his ideas and wants more people to experience what he teaches. If you were standing in the actual company of Tim and Terry would you feel convinced enough to voice your accusations of repackaging? I doubt it.
Kenneth Vogton 18 Jan 11
It is not for me to judge if Tim crossed all his T’s and dotted all his I’s. Sinner or saint, he is getting results. I am intrigued by two market research methods he discussed. If you have a list of twitter followers that exceeds 5,000 like Tim, you can do some great research. Even if you don’t, anyone with a couple hundred bucks can use Google Adwords to do some interesting research. Apply some saintliness to that and you could get some stunning results.
Mike Rieggeron 18 Jan 11
I only know of 37 Signals because of Tim Ferriss’s excellent blog.
While I disagree with many of the things that Tim writes about, if it wasn’t for him, I never would have bought the fantastic book called “Rework.”
Cross-promotion works. I bought 4HB partially as a thank-you to Tim for leading me here.
This discussion is closed.