Review of “The 4-Hour Body”: Four hours to save your life or waste your time?

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What if I told you that you cold lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercise on a super simple “Slow-carb” diet? Or prevent gaining weight during the holiday gorging seasons? Even better, how about sleeping two hours a day and waking up feeling completely rested? That sounds great, but what about if I told you that you could accomplish each of those in less than 30 minutes each? This is the claim that the back of Timoty Ferriss’ new book, “The 4-Hour Body”, makes to the reader.

Ferriss, who wrote the #1 New York Times Bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek” has returned with his book that can let you either lose fat or gain muscle with the most minimal amount of effort possible. You can shed pounds like butter melting in a hot pan, add notable mass to your biceps, and make your woman orgasm in 15 minutes or less (yeah, he covers “the big O” too). The author, who has been featured by more than 100 media outlets—including The New York Times, The Economist, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, CNN, and CBS, has led an eclectic life to say the least. Ferriss has spent the last decade researching this book and putting it all together to help bums like me and you turn our lives around and accomplish the goals we desire.

The big question is here is, can the book accomplish the goals that it sets for itself in roughly 570 pages? And can it even keep my attention for that long before I decided to test how well the paper works for kindling fires? It all seems too good to be true, and if something sounds too good to be true, logically it must be. Then again, you don’t rise to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list for writing garbage, unless your name is Stephanie Meyer. I wouldn’t use her books to line my birdcage, but I digress. Hit the jump for the review, where I will do my best to refrain from making Ferris Bueller jokes. I make no promises.

The golden standard for self-help books, at least for me, is Dale Carnegie’s most successful book with over 15 million copies sold, “How to Win Friends & Influence People”. The format is simple enough, make a point, and drill it in with anecdotal stories about success and failure, and how you can progress in the way you want is you follow that point. Lather, rinse, repeat. But in order to be effective, the author has to engage the reader, keep them interested and make them really believe that they can do what the book claims they can. Ferriss has absolutely accomplished that and given me as much useful advice as Carnegie’s paper backs have, and then multiplied it by 20.

You can’t spell “authority” without “author”, and Ferriss breaks the wall down between the reader and the authority figure of himself as the writer. He speaks directly to you and does not just give advice, but explains what you need to read and what you don’t. Throughout the book are blocks of text inside a grey box, which he refers to as the “Geek’s Advantage”, which is the scientific breakdown of the info he explained a page or so ago. Ferriss warns the readers in advance about these and reassures that, while it’s good info, it’s not 100% needed to get the most out of the book and you are more than welcome to skip that. The author goes so far as to say that the average reader won’t get past page 150, so why not just cut to the chase and go to the chapters that you want to read. Most self-help books are broken down with chapters, but are not nearly as broad as “4HB”, so if there is a section that does not pertain to what you want just move on and go to what you need.

There are plenty of topics to choose from as I mentioned in the intro. You can lose weight, gain muscle, have better sex, become stronger and overall healthier, and even makes the claim that you can “reverse” permanent injuries. Does he deliver with the promises that he makes? Well, that’s more up to you to follow through, and parts of the book are purely on ways to reinforce you to follow through. I particularly liked a few of his weight loss tips, such as taking a photo of whatever you are about to eat. This is a visual warning to the eater, making them aware what they are about to shove into their body. This book is peppered with tips like that to help you find ways that are easy to keep you motivated and ensure that you do the best you can. Calorie counting? Nope. Ferriss trims the fat out of diet plans and makes it incredibly simple for you to dive right in with as little effort as possible.

What is the smallest meaningful change I can make? That question summarizes the theory behind a majority of the concepts in “4HB”, and it’s a very valid and useful one. Each section is very straight-forward, with a summary at the end and a bevy of online resources that can help you stay on track. To sum up the chapter on how to lose weight fast, the explanation of the diet is a mere six pages long. Following that is an FAQ section that answers any of your doubts and skepticism, and offers you more ways to stay motivated, different from the ones in previous chapters. Ferriss knows how to keep you excited about reaching your goal, and doesn’t take no for an answer.

The book does not make promises it can not keep, and is pretty in-depth on all of the topics it covers. Really, you could buy 10 other books to get similar information, but why do that when you can have it all in one compendium? Not all of the changes are as easy as those “small meaningful changes” I mentioned, and some of them involve spending some money to get realistic answers, such as seeking out a very specific doctor to get a very specific test done, but once I got past the realization that I would be potentially thinning my wallet more thanks to this book, I could also get information that I never knew was available in the first place to me. Information comes at a cost, and it’s a matter of how much of a commitment you want to make on your own well-being. Ferriss implores the readers to take things into their own hands and learn as much as they can about themselves to make things work the best for them as they undertake their life changes.

I highly recommend this book, not as a “self-help” book, but as a gameplan and motivation tool since that is ultimately what this is. Ferriss speaks to the reader on a person-to-person level but with a commanding voice that does not scare you away but pushes you to seek the answers to your problems and gives you the tools to make that happen. If you’re lucky, you just might learn a few other things like how to hold your breath longer than Houdini, how to hit a baseball like Babe Ruth, and how to pay for a vacation with one medical visit (amazingly enough, it is as good as it sounds).

You can order “The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman” on Amazon.com at a discounted price, or head to your favorite book store and pick it up there. This book sells at a retail price of $27.00 for the 570 page hardcover book, but the Amazon link below is always cheaper!

3 Comments on Review of “The 4-Hour Body”: Four hours to save your life or waste your time?

  1. I saw this guy on Dr. Oz or something last week…it looked like some higher-level kind of weight loss talk. I’ve even Googled it a few times since trying to get some more information on it. Thanks for the write-up. My wife actually got pissed off at me the other day because I kept bringing up points that the author had made on the show…ha.

  2. I enjoyed you admonishing Twilight author Stephanie Meyer, while admitting to being a grown man who owns birds.

    I really was expecting you to hate this book for some reason. Now I feel like I have to read it so I can hate it myself, thanks a lot.

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