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The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  9,926 ratings  ·  463 reviews

The 4-Hour Chef isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure guide to the world of rapid learning.

#1 New York Times bestselling author (and lifelong non-cook) Tim Ferriss takes you from Manhattan to Okinawa, and from Silicon Valley to Calcutta, unearthing the secrets of the world’s fastest lear
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published 2012 by New Harvest
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Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
What's up with this guy? I'm the type of person who loves information, loves an arcane tip or shortcut to "success", but this guy is hard to take. Within one volume he purports to teach mastery in cooking, language acquisition, fire building, wilderness survival, shooting, knife skills, and more.
I teach 4 year olds. Occasionally there's a child in the class who does not play well with the other children, preferring to interact briefly, sometimes destructively, with objects. He cannot listen bec
Apr 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Timothy Ferriss is a web entrepreneur and motivational speaker. His previous book is the Four Hour Work Week. I can't speak to the first book, but in the case of this one, "four hours" appears to be a metaphor for a much longer unit of time.

Nearly every recipe in this book is bewildering. I feel like this would be a good cookbook if you wanted to copy someone else's eccentricities -- one of which is needlessly complicating otherwise simple procedures. Each recipe is laid out over 2-3 pages, wit
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Note: don't let my rating discourage you, this is a great book. I just couldn't get full value out of it because I'm a vegetarian (thus eliminating the hunting/butchering/meat curating bits and most of the recipes) and already know my way around the kitchen.

Hours and dozens of copied notes later, it is certain - Tim Ferriss has done it again.

This book is informative and visually stunning. It's a result of relentless research, experimentation (as always), and countless hours spent with world-cla
Timothy Kenny
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been waiting a long time for this book. I wanted to know, most of all, how much was about cooking, and how much was about learning. Interestingly, it breaks down to about 20% learning, 80% how to cook. 80-120 pages are dedicated to learning, and the rest is about how to learn to cook, with anecdotes, quotes, and stories about learning sprinkled in. That being said, the 20% on learning is very good and Tim has some great learning strategies to add add to your repertoire.

This review is focu
Dec 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Far and away the worst cookery book I have ever seen, wrapped up in endless reams of irrelevant, self-aggrandising name-dropping, and rehashed anecdotes from his website and previous books.

Despite his insistence to the contrary, I can't say as I've ever had any trouble following a recipe or finding a basic cookery book assuming I have obscure kitchen gadgets to hand. Never, that is, until his bewildering list of "must have" items nobody in their right mind would expect to find in a domestic kitc
Jason Reed
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Apparently I'm not smart enough to understand this book. I'm a college educated guy, fairly decent cook, reader of all things chef/food.

People give this book 5 stars, but for what? It's a whole lot of nonsense about a whole lot of other things besides cooking. He does a lot of plugging for his other books he's written while telling us how to reinvent the wheel with lots of menial everyday tasks. And every once in awhile, he talks about cooking.

I don't get it. And with the way he writes the boo
In a lot of ways, this book is a gold mine. In other ways, it's cocky as hell. Part pep talk, part treatise on meta-learning, part cook book, part bragging. I keep coming back to bits and thinking they're great, and next year I fully intend to test the "how fast can you learn a language enough to hold a decent conversation?" bit - or maybe I'll have a go at learning to play chess in a way that isn't completely slapdash.

The book is massive - 600 big, colourful pages - and split into five sections
Dec 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ferriss is more of a curator than an author. His last exhibition/book: The 4 Hour Body, was a more successful collection of ideas and theories. The 4 Hour Chef feels more scattered and thrown together. His claim that you can become "world class" (which he arbitrarily defines as top 5 % in the world) at any skill in 6 to 12 months is ridiculous. Ferriss has stated in interviews that he thinks the 10,000 hour rule is totally bogus. The only problem is, it's been backed up time and again in study a ...more
J.F. Penn
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm a long-time Tim Ferriss fan and my life has been changed by all the books, so buying this in print and Kindle format was a no-brainer for me. I'm not disappointed! The meta-learning information is an entire book in itself, and for anyone interested in self-improvement it is a must-read. Breaking skills down into component parts, understanding the aspects that are under-appreciated, understanding stakes. These skills can transform something you want to learn into something achievable in a muc ...more
Mike Vardy
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Timothy Ferriss’s latest book isn’t so much a guidebook on how to become a chef in 4 hours. It’s more about getting to an expert level at a variety of things in a short period of time using a variety of techniques. From learning to build a fire by thinking in reverse to learning how to cook a gourmet meal in less time than ever before, The 4-Hour Chef has a lot packed into it.

Ferriss is definitely a larger than life figure. I had the opportunity to watch him facilitate his 4-Hour Life creativeLI
Bianca A.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2021, speed-read
Crazy promises and wishful thinking in a book written by a dude trying to prey on the money of the naïve. So are the rest of his books where similar ideas are propagated. Do not fall for traps, remain skeptical, do your research.
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Tim. I've now read the entire book and tried 5 recipes so far which were all lovely. I feel that a dinner party is a realistic prospect, this coming from someone who with the exception of breakfast only ever cooked for himself, unless it was a frozen pizza or some equally easy oven/microwave dish.

The sections on language learning are very interesting to me as someone who wants to learn Hindi. I would recommend the book to anyone and if you like Tims other books you will not
Pete Williams
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
How I Heard About The Book...

Like most people, I knew about this books pending release via Tim (and his blog) ... but it was Ryan Holiday that hooked me up with a pre-release advance copy of the book to check out prior to publication ... so I had something to chat about with TIm when he came on the PreneurCast show.

The Lesson/Argument in Three Sentences...

Essentially the book is about deconstruction and learning, wrapped up in a chef's apron. Tim has done an exceptional job via his blog and fi
Vago Damitio
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Some fun info and techniques and a lot of expensive gear and bragging,
December 1, 2012
By Vago Damitio

First of all. I liked the book and I recommend it. It's fun and Tim Ferris shares some really great techniques and information. It took me about a week to read it and during that time I've made about ten of the recipes and they were good. Plus, I learned some great cooking 'tricks' which was what I was hoping to get from the book.

Personally, I would have preferred that the book stuck to that. H
Feb 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I just skimmed this book and read the sections that interested me - mostly recipes. This is the 3rd book by Ferriss - following the 4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body. I loved his first book (about finding ways to hack your worklife to be more efficient using the 80/20 rule, etc.). The 4-Hour Body was different - all about Ferriss trying various things to improve his health following sometimes yet unproven theories. That book talked a lot about adopting a slow-carb diet. In the 4-Hour Chef he conti ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bizarre, disjointed, full of the strangest mix of good ideas and complete nonsense, well thought out plans and odd misinformation. It was like he just connected his word processing program to his brain and let it spew and didn't worry about whether it made sense, was in any particular order, or had anything to do with the ostensible topic of the book. As to becoming a "four hour chef" he admits upfront that that's not going to happen, figures on a longer stretch, claims he's going to show you ho ...more
Seth Martin
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-hold, nonfiction, food
i have bounced around this book a lot. the "META" and "DOM" sections of this book are worth the 5 star rating alone.

the book is more than a simple cook book it is a skill training system with cooking as the medium to show the reader how it is done. i am way more excited about learning language and speed reading now that i feel there is a way to stop the constant memorization.

that said: if you are looking for a cookbook this does a fantastic job describing every detail you need to find your way
Kris Irvin
Apr 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I was not interested in a huge chunk of this book. I don't particularly care to know how to shoot a deer, and I don't really wanna forage in the wild or make dinner in a hotel sink. And chemistry gives me indigestion. So I skimmed at least 50% of the book.

The other half was pretty interesting. I liked the beginning, but I thought it was a little info-dense. Someone with ADHD (like me) might get confused and well, I really want to recreate Ferriss's "learn a language in 8 hours" thing but I don'
Javier Lorenzana
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-grow
Only read the meta-learning part, but I think it was well worth it.

"The tools of learning are not fixed, nor is the amount of time needed to become world class."

Love how Tim explores different techniques and methods for skill-building. I think I need to try them for myself in-depth to give an accurate rating for this one.

Otherwise, its a fun read. Tim's writing style has never been so... Tim.
DeAnna Knippling
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A fun, light read for a, I don't know, ten-pound book.

This book isn't going to make you a zen master or anything. But it's thought-provoking, and makes use of the best information on any given subject. You're not reading about "how to cook" as much as you're reading "the story of how I cut through a bunch of b.s. and learned that this is a pretty reliable way for most people to learn how to cook."

How do you do that? Ask the experts, basically, the right experts, not the "naturals" but the ones w
Nov 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I think you have to have ADHD in order to follow this book. I wouldn't recommend it to a novice cook or an experienced chef. None of the recipes looked appetizing. Some of the hints, like how to remove the skin from garlic and how to cut and onion were well done with pictures for each step.

I received this as a goodreads first-reads giveaway. If I had seen this in a bookstore, I wouldn't have bought it.
Jan 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
I skimmed, not read. Over 600 pages of WAY too much information that has absolutely nothing to do with cooking. The author definitely seems full of himself.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
tim ferriss. what else to say. like his style because it's pretty similar to mine view of things

+ loved first part about learning and left most of the cooking part for the future :)
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“It is possible to become world-class, enter the top 5% of performers in the world, in almost any subject within 6-12 months, or even 6-12 weeks.”

I finished (the narrative portion) of The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss. Book #32 of 182. 671 pages (narrative portion: 101 pages). Finished 3/6/2017.

The 4-Hour Chef tells two stories - one at the surface, and one down in the depths. The surface story is Ferriss's jou
Guilherme Zeitounlian
This book gives me mixed feelings. It starts out with big promises about learning and cooking, and I got really excited in the first chapters.

I learned how to fold my t-shirts differently, and how to hold a knife correctly.

As the first topics about cooking came around, I was enjoying the 4-Hour Chef a lot: how to cool your wine faster, and give new flavours to your omelettes. Cooking Osso-Buko and Cauliflower soup was cool.

But then the book takes a turn.

After that, Tim starts talking pricey kn
Maya Gopalakrishnan
Once you don't take the title seriously and get used to the quirks of Tim Ferris, you'll start to make sense of the book. The book has a polymath personality and has vast amount of information for applying in wide ranging areas: card memorization, basketball, surviving in the wilderness, cooking (obviously), hunting, buying firearms even binge eating. I DNFed the book in 2016 mainly because it was more about cooking than I expected it to be. I picked it up again with a different startegy this ti ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
While I'm looking forward to trying making scrambled eggs with different spices of each countries cuisine, what I will not be trying is tims advice in how to hunt, skin, chop up, prepare and cook a squirrel dish. What kind of a cooking book is this?
It had grotesque pictures of people slicing open deer and bears and other wild life. Shame on me for not realizing this was also a hunting handbook??? I know somebody has to do it but it ain't gonna be me. And I sure as hell ain't gonna eat a damn po
Brad Mills
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book for learning how to cook really good meals.

Be prepared to buy a lot of kitchen supplies!
Cody Shorter
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
8 Things I learnt from:

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Timothy Ferriss)

1 - Failure points - Why people quit.

I don’t care why people pick up cookbooks. I’m much more interested in why they put them down. The hypothesis: if I can address the primary, but often ignored, tripping points, I should be able to increase the number of people who eventually become master chefs.

2 - The Margin of Safety.

In the world of cooking, I’ll appl
Alex Orr
Mar 24, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cookbooks
This thing is sort've a ten-dimensional trainwreck and one of the best visual representations I've seen of complete ADHD. I should say, in general, I love Tim's podcast. Yes, every now and then he gets guests who are whackjobs, but in general he does an exceptional job interviewing highly successful and thoughtful people. However, in this case, all his worst tendencies tend to be amplified in book form while some of his strong suits often come across as ridiculous and frequently are just wrong. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine books 2 16 Mar 05, 2015 05:41AM  
Live Video Chat with Timothy Ferriss 70 71 Mar 04, 2013 12:35PM  
Learning process vs today's education 1 10 Nov 20, 2012 03:48PM  

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Tim Ferriss is author of three #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef. He is also a start-up advisor specializing in positioning, PR, and marketing (Uber, Evernote, etc.). When not damaging his body with abusive sports, he enjoys chocolate, bear claws, and Japanese animation.

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