Thinner, Bigger, Faster, Stronger? How to Use This Book

How to Use This Book

The introductory part of The 4-Hour Body, “How to Use This Book “, starts at Nine Inch Nails concert. Timothy Ferriss is in the men’s room, doing 40 Air Squats and then eating his fourth meal of the day at a full 4.400 calories. 72 hours later he measures his bodyfat – it has dropped from 11.9% to 10,2% in 14 days. Pretty impressive given the amount of food consumed.

The first part of the introduction then goes on to giving a few statements of how to trick your body into a specific reaction without giving any further explanation. Its a teaser to the topics ahead, with the main statement being: Changing your body is easy and requires little effort, if you do the right things.

Diary of a Madman

The next couple of paragraphs “Diary of a Madman“ talk about how Tim came to write the book, identifying the greatest fear of modern man as “too much e-mail and getting fat”. He had been obsessed about sports from the age of 18 and had recorded every exercise he had done since then, tracking weight, bodyfat and including continuous blood tests. Further tests, tracking and medical exams have totaled to more than $250.000 and a database that can serve as a basis for a book, with a new approach to body engineering. Tim states very clearly that the common knowledge dietary principles,

  • Eat more greens.
  • Eat less saturated fat.
  • Exercise more and burn more calories.
  • Eat more omega-3 fatty acids.

will not be covered in his new book. Instead all common knowledge will be challenged and new methods will be presented.

The Unintentional Dark Horse

The next part “The Unintentional Dark Horse“ clearly labels the book not to be a medical manual, but rather a repository of hypothesis and data, that lead to certain, tested assumptions about how the human body reacts to certain treatment of substances.

All the test in this book have been supervised by “more than 100 PhDs, NASA scientists, medical doctors, Olympic athletes, professional sports trainers (from the NFL to MLB), world-record holders, Super Bowl rehabilitation specialists, and even former Eastern Bloc coaches“.

Having a background in running a sports nutrition company, Tim claims one the biggest advantages he has over a regular scientific approach is, that he has no scientific career to protect. He can therefore do outrageous experiments without having to fear peer pressure or failure and in doing so, have more success outside the system.

A Laboratory of One

The sections “A Laboratory of One” and “The Future’s Already Here“ describe the general workings of the health and beauty industry. With tomorrows technology already being available today, most of that knowledge is only accessible to pro athletes and rich individuals. The time it takes for a new product or method to become known to the public takes usually 10-20 years and often fails to do even that.

Another reason why proven methods never make their way on to the market is, that more often than not, those proceedings aren’t developed by trial and error among a group of peers and athletes, but in lab conditions with people that have little or no knowledge in the given field. Tim states that “for uncommon solutions, you have to look in uncommon places”.

For everybody who has read The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated, the 80/20 principle is nothing new when it comes to Timothy Ferriss. Of course Pareto’s Law will also be applied in this book “The 80/20 Principle: From Wall Street to the Human Machine”. This basically means, Tim will look at what 20% of the effort produce 80% of the result, focus on this portion and drop the rest. With the new book, he takes that rule even further claiming to have found the “2.5% that deliver 95% of the results in rapid body redesign and performance enhancement”.

How to Use This Book—Five Rules

The next part “How to Use This Book—Five Rules” is the actual manual for the use of this book:

  1. This of this book as a buffet
  2. Skip the science if it’s too dense
  3. Please be sceptical
  4. Don’t use scepticism as an excuse for inaction
  5. Enjoy it

This basically means, you’re not supposed to read it back to back, but to choose your goals and read the parts applicable. That means, if your goal is rapid fat-loss, The chapters you’re supposed to read are all chapters in “Fundamentals”, all chapters in “Ground Zero”, “The Slow-Carb Diet I and II” and “Building the Perfect Posterior”.


If you are, on the other hand after rapid strength gain, you should read all chapters in “Fundamentals”, all chapters in “Ground Zero”, “From Geek to Freak” and “Occam’s Protocol I and II” and incorporate those tips and tricks into your daily routine. There’s no need to read up on the underlying science for those who don’t like to and Tim even admits that, while the mechanics in his book work, he might have gotten the science wrong. He encourages the reader to be skeptical about every part of the book but not use it as an excuse for inactivity. The reader is supposed to read and digest the contents at their own pace and enjoy reading it.

The Billionaire Productivity Secret and the Experimental Lifestyle

The last part of the first chapter “The Billionaire Productivity Secret and the Experimental Lifestyle” answers a question Sir Richard Branson was once asked: “How do you become more productive?”. The answer is quite simple and short “work out”. The increased fitness will lead to more energy, that can then be turned into more productivity.

The 4-Hour Body tries to be a manifesto of an experimental lifestyle, ignoring common rules and just paying attention to cause and effect, to change everything you are dissatisfied about with your body.

Alles mit Maß und Ziel

The first chapter closes with a German quote “Alles mit Maß und Ziel”, which roughly translates to “have a goal, but don’t overdo it”.

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