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

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If you crossed Jason Bourne with Julia Child, you’d end up with Tim Ferriss.” – Marco Canora, Chef-Partner of Hearth & Terroir

Wildly inventive.. [a] rangy, obsessive immersion in food and its many wonders. [T]he tools needed to learn to cook well can be deployed in every manner of endeavor, from skinning a deer to memorizing a deck of cards. The author distills them into minimal, learnable units and examines how to order the units so as to keep readers engaged in their endeavors. Ferriss is a beguiling guide to this process, at once charmingly smart aleck-y and deadly serious, and he aims to make readers knowledgeable and freethinking.” - Kirkus Reviews

"Tim Ferriss distills kitchen wisdom like a rotary evaporator on power surge. The results are potent, lucid, and delicious." - Nick Kokonas, Co-Owner, Alinea, Next, The Aviary


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 learners and greatest chefs. Ferriss uses cooking to explain “meta-learning,” a step-by-step process that can be used to master anything, whether searing steak or shooting 3-pointers in basketball. That is the real “recipe” of The 4-Hour Chef.

You'll train inside the kitchen for everything outside the kitchen. Featuring tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, pro athletes, master sommeliers, super models, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.

The 4-Hour Chef is a five-stop journey through the art and science of learning:

1. META-LEARNING. Before you learn to cook, you must learn to learn. META charts the path to doubling your learning potential.

2. THE DOMESTIC. DOM is where you learn the building blocks of cooking. These are the ABCs (techniques) that can take you from Dr, Seuss to Shakespeare.

3. THE WILD. Becoming a master student requires self-sufficiency in all things. WILD teaches you to hunt, forage, and survive.

4. THE SCIENTIST. SCI is the mad scientist and modernist painter wrapped into one. This is where you rediscover whimsy and wonder.

5. THE PROFESSIONAL. Swaraj, a term usually associated with Mahatma Gandhi, can be translated as “self-rule.” In PRO, we’ll look at how the best in the world become the best in the world, and how you can chart your own path far beyond this book.

672 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Timothy Ferriss

65 books9,651 followers
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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5 stars
3,512 (33%)
4 stars
3,857 (36%)
3 stars
2,273 (21%)
2 stars
583 (5%)
1 star
219 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 490 reviews
46 reviews
January 2, 2013
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 because he is always sure that he knows the answers. Consequently, he rarely learns deeper lessons. Tim Ferris is that child. The cauliflower recipe was okay.
Profile Image for Andrea.
36 reviews3 followers
April 14, 2013
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, with an abstract, a chart (and sometimes a sub-chart) for ingredients, a section on "gear," diagrams, footnotes, and, inexplicably, a point system representing ... something.

Take, for example, his recipe "Coffee for Lazy People." It involves the following "gear": Kettle, AeroPress, digital scale, handheld burr grinder, probe thermometer. His method is, he claims, "bootlegged" from "baristas." For some reason, the steps of the recipe are labeled "Pick Up." You must use "exactly 12g of medium-fine ground coffee" (that part is in bold). When, by the end of the recipe, he says that rinsing should take "a millisecond," I wouldn't be surprised if he means an actual, timed millisecond.

I think it should go without saying that what he describes as lazy coffee is a perversion of the meaning of lazy. My particular version of lazy coffee involves waiting for Jason to make the coffee, while passive-aggressively claiming that I'm indifferent to whether or not the coffee gets made: "Eh, I don't really know if I feel like coffee, but you should definitely make coffee if you want some, honey" etc. Failing that I sometimes buy it from a coffee shop.

There is a lot in this book that is completely lost on me. The recipes are consistent with the author's dietary philosophy, which he calls "Slow-Carb." I suspect that basically means no processed carbs, but I confess that I don't know for sure because this book had the strange property of resisting my efforts to read it. Starting with the Table of Contents, there are bizarre acronyms and jargon everywhere: 80/20 and MED, StickK, MetaMetaLearning, CaFE. You'll have to decide for yourself whether you want to unpack what's in here. Like I said, I was often bewildered. A section called DiSSS contains a list of the 100 most common words in English. Why? I don't know. There is also some information about how to learn a language in "4 Hours" (remember: this is a metaphor). There's a survivalist chapter about hunting venison. There's an entire chapter about cooking with ground up vitamins -- Ferriss made his fortune selling vitamins on the Internet. I could go on.

Profile Image for Rachel.
22 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2013
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 kitchen. Would-be chef or no!

The first recipe can barely be termed cooking, consisting as it does of sticking a piece of meat in a dish (to save other EU readers having to Google, it transpires his much vaunted "Dutch oven" is the US term for a casserole dish) and emptying a couple of cans of ready made food over it. At which point he may as well have taught you how to slice salami onto a pizza for all the relevance it has to actual cooking...

Having helped you gain confidence by assuming you have the IQ and culinary capability of a particularly inept brick, he goes into another bout of rather cringe-worthy ego stroking in the guise of a "rich white boys playing at being rugged men" hunting trip, before progressing onto the pinnacle of pointlessness by teaching you how to catch and kill park pigeons.

Don't even get me started on the pretentious wastes of culinary space he cites as favourite restaurants!

After an initial glimmer of promise in the form of a shorthand guide to learning that never quite leads anywhere relevant, the rest of the book is just one big Tim Ferriss ego trip. Utter waste of money.
1 review
November 20, 2012
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 focused mostly on the learning anything aspect of the book. I have gone though the cooking sections and for learning how to cook this book is without a doubt the best out there. I am big into cooking so I would have gotten the book just for learning how to cook great food, but the meta skill of how to learn anything is more interesting to me.

Tim's learning strategy is broken down into 2 acronyms: DiSSS and CaFE. Each capital letter has a meaning, but they are not important; I reworded each one below.

These break down to a learning process that goes like this:

1. break down the subject into manageable chunks

2. Find the 20% of those chunks that give 80% of the results

3. Find the best way/order to learn these chunks

4. Plan ahead so that you stay motivated by using carrots and sticks

5. Compress the information into a 1 sheet piece of paper

6. Figure out how often you should practice the skill or review the information

7. Use memory techniques to lock the skill/info into your brain (He teaches Loci method, celebrity card method and the Major System)

Of these 7 sections, the first step of deconstruction and the fourth step on motivation were the most eye opening for me and the most useful to EVERY area of learning, not just the mostly non-traditional skills Tim teaches in this book.

The deconstruction section talks about how to organize an amorphous concept of which you have no understanding into manageable pieces, or lego blocks. He goes into a great process of how to find experts, interview them, reverse engineer their skillset or knowledge base and then figure out how to match that with your own unique skills to become world class quickly. This was one of the most valuable sections for me.

3 Questions he likes to ask experts are:

1. Who are your favorite teacher/favorite books?

2. What are the biggest mistakes people make/biggest myths?

3. What are the most important principles?

The motivation section is also great. He talks about this graph of how the learning process works, where you start with this sugar rush of excitement of energy, which inevitably falls, and then you slowly build your way back up towards mastery after a plateau. Learning anything follows this kind of predictable pattern of excitement, despair, feeling like you are going nowhere, and then slow steady improvement. You can plan for this ahead of time to make learning easier and less stressful.

His best tips for motivation are:

1. use pain avoidance like having to publicly donate 1% of your income to the Nazi party if you don't follow thru

2. Use crutches when you are first learning something so you get early wins

3. Game-ify it with measurement, taking pictures, and getting friends involved in competition

Tim also includes a grab bag section on things he has already taught or are web links that go to the fourhourchef.com. These include his speed reading article, how to hack you sleep, and how to learn the first 100 words of sign language. For entrepreneurs, he includes how to prepare for public speaking, how to come up with an elevator pitch, and how to design a million dollar business in a weekend.

One of Tim's strong suits is learning languages. He teaches his system on learning languages well in the book. One of his best hacks is using a few verbs like to go, to be, and want, and to need so that you don't have to learn the conjugations of any of the other verbs, so you can just remember the infinitive of all other verbs. This way you only have to learn to say I need TO EAT and HE needs TO EAT and YOU need TO EAT, and the TO EAT part stays the same, you just change the verb "to need."

There was not much new about learning languages specifically that he hasn't already talked about on the blog or in a video, so if you are mostly interested in the language learning you might not find much new here, though the more general learning strategies I mentioned above still apply to language learning and you can get a lot out of them.

What I wish was in this book:

1. More on the Smart Drugs

I wanted to know what all his research had concluded on these. Tim hinted at these in the 4 hour body, but we don't get any more info this time around.

2. Liberal Arts Subject Learning

He doesn't address learning things that you would learn in school, such as science, math, history, writing well, or learning business. Tim knows a lot about entrepreneurship and business and advises many companies, so it would have been awesome to know how he learned about business.

3. Mental Math Missing

We never learn the mental abacus technique. This is a small one but why include it if you aren't going to teach it?

4. Living the Good Life

The "Living the Good Life" section is pretty thin, only a few pages. I think the story is great, but Tim could have gone into a lot more depth here. Maybe he is saving this for his next book!

4.5 Stars

review from TimothyKenny.com

Profile Image for Jason Reed.
1 review
March 12, 2013
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 book, I didn't even care to try. A waste.
Profile Image for Filip.
75 reviews18 followers
December 2, 2012
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-class chefs in world-class restaurants to answer the sole question of this book:

What's the best way to get good at cooking?

I got a nice push to ponder about how I cook, and while I think that there is nothing wrong with my approach (from the day 1 that I started to cook for myself, I never used recipes unless I needed a clue about a specific dish), this motivated my to step up my game, try new stuff and think more consciously.

Of course, this book isn't just about cooking, it's about skill acquisition (hands down, my favorite part is the DISSS/CAFE bit everyone's talking about). There are lots of stories and mini guides that are random, but cool. You'll find out how to memorize a deck of cards in 43 seconds, learn Japanese characters in shortest amount of time (another guide that was very useful to me), and all sorts of things.

Other than "half of it not being my cup of tea", I also kinda objected the gear parts. Want to do x? Machine y does just the thing for it!

Like with any Tim Ferriss book, sorting the notes I made while reading is quite a task and I'm sure that you'll learn something new and get your money's worth. I can't wait to see what's the next thing Tim has in store.
Profile Image for Reynolds.
38 reviews2 followers
December 14, 2012
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 after study. After plowing through this mess, I think a better title would have been "Short-cuts for Dilettantes". Better alternatives for learning and mastery: The Art of Learning, by Josh Waitzkin; Mastery, by Robert Greene; The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle; Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov; and Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews343 followers
February 26, 2016
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. The first one, on meta-learning, is a really good pep-talk on learning to do things that scare you: it breaks things into manageable chunks, pushes you to aim high and ask for help, shows you which corners you can cut. I am extremely leery of his definition of "world-class", but if you just want to get good at things, Timothy Ferriss is as good a cheerleader as any, and an enthusiastic one at that.

After that, there's a section on how to learn to cook to a half decent standard - now, I'm a fairly enthusiastic cook, and I notice from the reviews that there's a lot of disdain loitering about for this section, but I thought it was quite good. Mostly I am annoyed that I seem to have found myself in a community of vegetarians, which limits my opportunities to practise, because this section really fired me up for trying new things (sous vide in my kitchen? It's possible, without creative use of a vacuum cleaner? Well alright then).

I skipped section three, because it's mostly Ferriss talking about how to gut rabbits, and which knives are the best sort to take with you into the North American wilderness in the event of the apocalypse. I don't need to feel like a survivalist to feel confident in my cookery, thanks. But I'm glad you had fun, and I appreciate the point that feeling self-sufficient is a really good way to propel yourself to better things. Incidentally, my own more pedestrian version of this is knitting: I taught myself lace, wrote my own patterns, and nothing ever scared me again. I don't write patterns very often these days, but I don't even remember the last time I followed someone else's pattern properly. For I am a fearless knitter, and no maths of yours can scare me now.

Section four is the bells and whistles section, where Ferriss talks about weird techniques like dehydration and emulsifying and how the more syllables a thing has, the more scary they absolutely don't become. As a cook, practically speaking I've lost interest by this point, although if I ever want to impress someone, I might come back. (My current method of impressing people via culinary expertise can be summed up as "do exactly what you were doing before, only this time, wrap it in pastry.") It was interesting, though, and I feel a bit less scared of experimenting. Is the point of this section the curation of a can-do attitude? Is that the point of the book? I guess so. Also in this section, Ferriss plugs his other books and eats an awful lot of ice cream. This, I imagine, is for the people who are scared off by fine dining and need reassurance that their testosterone levels will not be affected by making their own Nutella. I sound disdainful, I'm sure, but I caught the end of the Radio 4 Food Programme a week or two back, and frankly I think I like this better.

And the last section is the COOKING LIKE A PROOOOOO bit, where Ferriss name-drops as many chefs as he can fit in sixty pages or however long it is, and I give up entirely and go and watch Masterchef.

Varying usefulness, from the File This Away I Shall Come Back To It Often to the Not Really, an attitude that veers dangerously between upbeat and that kind of bloke you get stuck sat next to at a sit-down dinner who proceeds to tell you about some project of his where he does something you're doing as well, only he does it awesomer. I'll certainly refer to the meta-learning section again, but I think I like my learning guides with fewer acronyms and super-cool anecdotes about this time you'll never believe this craaaazy thing my mate and I did.
Profile Image for J.F. Penn.
Author 45 books2,140 followers
November 30, 2012
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 much shorter time than would have been possible.

I particularly found the 'DiSS' and 'Cafe' principles helpful, as well as the questions for breaking down any language to make learning accessible.
Other gems - the swimming info as I have never been able to crawl, now I have somewhere to start, plus I'm actually going to try cooking some of the dishes, and shopping based on the easy gear sections.

Awesome book. One to dip in and out of, but certainly buy for the meta-learning chapters.
Profile Image for Mike Vardy.
Author 15 books104 followers
December 28, 2012
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 creativeLIVE workshop and he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. The 4-Hour Chef demonstrates this in spades.

After reading both The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body, I can safely say that The 4-Hour Chef resonated the most with me. The book has a lot in it to digest (pardon the pun), but it’s well worth devouring every word.
Profile Image for Dan.
Author 3 books19 followers
April 27, 2013
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 how, and then basically delivers on, assuming one follows his ideas, to become a reasonably okay home cook with a few tricks. And his lack of self-perception is astounding as he sounds off about the sorts of things the pulls when he goes to restaurants - that he's totally convinced has the staff loving him - based on experience it's far more likely they think he's a complete douche-bag and can't wait for him to leave.
Profile Image for Петър Стойков.
Author 2 books268 followers
June 6, 2022
Винаги съм смятал, че хората, които казват "Аз не мога да готвя", всъщност казват "Аз не искам да готвя". Който може да чете, може да готви... ако иска. Следването на проста рецепта, даже от доста тъп човек е изненадващо лесно и повечето рецепти изискват доста минимален набор от уреди за готвене.

4 часовият готвач има претенцията да ви научи "лесно и бързо" как да готвите - но не само е 700 странична тухла, а и е пълна с най-големите глупости относно лесното и бързо готвене, които някога съм срещал.

От жалкия хитрец, цар на схемички и далаверки Тимъти Ферис не очаквам друго, освен тотален и абсолютен боклук - и разбира се не само не останах разочарован, ами той даже надхвърли очакванията ми с последната си книга.

4 часовата седмица и 4 часовото тяло, въпреки като цяло абсурдната си теза и абсурдно количество лъжи, съдържаха поне по едно-две неща, които можеха да минат за полезни. При това бяха благословено кратки.

Не и настоящата книга - по-голямата част от нея, разбира се, няма нищо общо с готвенето, а представлява просто най-жалки хвалби на автора какви известни хора познава (нямаше по какъв друг начин да преведа name dropping :Р ) и разказване на разни негови преживелици с тях, които може да имат, може и да нямат връзка с готвенето, но доколкото познавам Ферис, сигурно повечето са ако не измислени, то поне силно преувеличават отношенията му със споменатите личности.

Всичко това можеше и да може да се преглътне, ако книгата "бързо и лесно" учеше човек да готви. Но разбира се, тя не го прави. За да се научим "бързо и лесно" да готвим като Ферис, първо трябва да се запознаем с измислената от него система за записване на рецепти, която може да не е по-кратка от обикновеното записване на рецепти (всъщност е по-дълга), но за сметка на това е 700% по-неразбираема.

После, трябва да си закупим споменатите от него уреди за готвене, като те са споменати не само като вид, но и като конкретна марка и модел. Едната ми баба беше чудесна готвачка с помощта на няколко емайлирани тенджери и тави и един стар очукан тиган - но Ферис има нужда от специални маркови белачки за моркови, силиконови шпатули и всякакви други джунджурии които даже не знам какви са.

Честно казано, чета книгите на тоя измекяр само заради rage фактора - праведният гняв е приятна емоция, ако не прекаляваш с нея и я насочваш в безопасна посока ;)
Profile Image for Rebekah Thomas.
60 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2017
I am a decent cook. Not world shattering but a decent-I've-been-in-a-kitchen-since-I-was-8 cook and my chocolate chip cookies are pretty stellar, if I do say so myself. This book was a bewildering barrage of information on how to reinvent the wheel, basically. I picked up a few pieces of information that were good? interesting? I'm not quite sure? on herbs and spices. But basically, this ws 400 pages of what felt like Tim Ferriss YELLING AT HIGH VOLUME AT MY FACE about how LIFE IS MEANT TO BE LIVED LIKE SUPER INTENSE BRO and that CHOOSING THE RIGHT $500 JAPANESE KNIFE TO SLICE YOUR MEAT IS LIKE HIGH OCTANE EXCITEMENT LIVING ANY OTHER WAY IS FOR PUSSIES etc. See how exhausting that is? 400 pages, dude. 400. I cannot.
Profile Image for Joe.
473 reviews
December 14, 2012
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 be disappointed.
Profile Image for Bianca A..
225 reviews147 followers
January 8, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Pete Williams.
Author 5 books11 followers
November 26, 2012
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 first two books, to be a 'experiential journalist for the technorati'

The book's first section on 'Meta Learning' was well worth the price of admission and focuses on a framework DSSS [Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencings and Stakes] which is essentially how Tim approaches any new "task"

The book then don's the Chef Hat; and walks people through the application of this these 'Meta Learning' processes in the context of cooking. I really enjoyed the layout/process here; as it's sets the frame first, then takes you through full immersion and internalisation. (especially for someone like me who eats for survival, not pleasure)

If you're looking for a cook book, yeah it's there ... but this is more of a "how to learn, master and become world class" as the sub-title says.

Why Read It ...

I think everyone needs to be get better at learning, in every sense of the word .... and there are very few better to learn from then Tim. I really do think the term experiential journalist' sums Tim up, much much better then 'life-hacking guru' or something similar; as his first two books, when you break them down is exactly that reports, lessons and finding some experiment and experiences he has actually had' ... This book then takes the approach Tim used to "have" those experiences and gives you the tools to experiment, learn and become world-class yourself.

Key Chapters ...

Yes the book has me behind the stove cooking a few dishes, which is making the wifey very happy... but it's the 1st and 5th chapters that are key to this book for most of our community.

Pg 40. Deconstruction
Pg 26. Selection
Pg. 60 Sequencing
Pg 104. Rethinking Recipes
Pg 134. Osso "Buko"
Pg 260. The Rule of Threes
Pg 370. The GNC Gourmet
Pg 626. How To Become VIP

Consumption Method [Audio,eBook,Paperback etc] ...

I originally got an advance copy of the eBook from Tim's team .. but have the hardcover on it's way from Amazon, given how beautiful the layout and colours are in this book. [GET the hardcover; Tim told me that he and the team designed the book with the 'hardcover reader' in mind, so the amazing layout doesn't translate as well to ePub format.]

Other Similar Books Worth Checking Out ...

Mastery - Robert Green [This book released a week or so prior to Tim's, also talks about the process of mastery and becoming world class; but in Robert's true fashion, Mastery is one of the most well researched books I've ever read]

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman - Tim Ferriss [This is the perfect complement to the 4hr Chef, in that it sets the foundation for the SlowCarb Diet all the recipes ahear too]

What Was Missing ...

Tim does have some chapters in the appendix talking about how to 'DSSS' other things apart from cooking, but not being a foodie, I would have preferred a lot more of THAT content, than the recipes... but I am really nit picking here; as I completely understand the 'business model' and 'brand progression' Tim took using 'cooking as the medium'
Profile Image for Seth Martin.
58 reviews
November 13, 2013
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 around the kitchen. many of the early recipes are almost impossible to screw up (osso buco) and there are many "challenges" he presents the readers with.
Profile Image for Vago Damitio.
Author 22 books14 followers
December 1, 2012
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. Here are some great cooking 'hacks' and a bunch of recipes that will impress your friends. It was all there, but it was surrounded by a bunch of stuff that I simply don't care about.

Tea pairings? How to build a survival hut? Guns? A bunch of expensive kitchen gear and your hunting knife collection? Honestly, I could care less about that stuff in the context of this book. Still, I've got to give him credit.

Back in 2003 when I wrote Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond - this was sort of the book I was shooting for, but I wasn't writing it for people who are friends with Mark Zuckerberg or go to billionaire dinner parties in Silicon valley. That's why every publisher I went to said "We love it but you've written it for people without money and they don't buy books." They were right. Later, after Katrina, I revised it to a free version with a bunch of hobo recipes in it and gave the book away as Rough Living: An Urban Survival ManualIn both cases, publishers told me I was writing for the wrong audience: people without money. Ferris figured out how to do it - he wrote a foodie recipe book with survival skills and some cool tricks and techniques.

But the bragging and the expensive gear? That stuff kind of ruined the book for me. I've bought but haven't read the 4-Hour Body yet, but if it's filled with the same rich kid ingredients instead of simple, practical advice - I'm going to be disappointed by it.

The thing is - and to his credit, Ferris touches on this in the conclusion of the book - you don't need to spend a dime on gear or equipment to be a good cook or have a nice day. My hat's off to Tim Ferris for getting this book written and finding an angle to sell it to publishers by aiming it straight at people with money - I just wish he'd focused more on the hobo stove and less on the micro-planer.

Get the book. You'll enjoy it. Feel free to skip around - it's better that way. I'll be writing a bit more of an in depth review on http://www.VagoDamitio.com in a few days
Profile Image for Dil Nawaz.
234 reviews8 followers
November 29, 2022
"To be honest 80% of this book is useless for non-USA residents but the remaining 20% is worth to be read"

Tim is really a Pro-Nerd. He is thirsty for information—anything he can grab on. First I read his famous book 4 Hour Work-Week which is mainly for businesses. Then I read his latest book Tribe of Mentors which is about tips and tricks from the top performers worldwide.

All of Tim's books are over 500 pages. This book was not available in my country so I bought this book on eBay. I want to collect all his books because he read and collected anything he can for high performance. I am also listening to his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show while walking for an hour.

This book is heavy and beautifully designed. As a graphic designer, I love the layout and overall design of this book. This book is not all about chefs but the science of cooking. 90% ingredients in this book are not available in my country so checking recipes are worthless and time-wasting.

Why I gave 5 stars to this book even though 80% of this book is worthless to read? because of his meta-learning techniques. The First 100 pages of this book are worth reading if you want to learn any skill.

He divided this jumbo book which is over 665+ pages into 6 sections:

1- Meta
2- Dom
4- SCI
5- PRO
6- APX


Disss Technique

1- Deconstruction
2- Sequencing
3- Stakes

CaFe Technique

1- Compression
2- Frequency
3- Encoding

All other sections are for cooking with different techniques. DOM is for indoor cooking, Wild is for Outdoor cooking and hunting, and SCI is for making different forms of food like Gel, foams, Fermentation, etc.

Pro is next-level cooking and APX is Appendix. I have learned so many things from his books. I have all his books 4 Hour Work-Week, Tools of Titans, Tribe of Mentors, 4 Hour Body, and 4 Hour, Chef. His books are not in one direction but you will learn many things.

He learns from top performers and their techniques. He is a Businessman, Investor, Athlete, Blogger, Writer, and World champion. You will not get bored while reading his books.

Dil Nawaz
Karachi, Pakistan
403 reviews3 followers
February 22, 2013
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 continues his interest in the slow carb diet providing many recipes in that vein. He also talks about learning to cook and provides lots of tips for using effective equipment, and streamlined processes. He consults with many experts. Sort of going along with the food theme he has a section on hunting and camping (and even talks about eating bugs!). He also has sections on learning things quickly - he is very interested in languages and has a section on that. He has been described as a human guinea pig, and this is certainly true. The book is huge - mostly compiled of articles from his blog. The recipes were interesting. He even includes suggestions of various teas to drink with different foods, and albums to listen to while preparing/eating the recipes. Tim Ferriss is definitely an original.
105 reviews
March 11, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Diego ST.
11 reviews
April 22, 2020
ADHD the book.
It really is all over the place and not worth the content it provides. My main issues is Tim’s theory on meta-learning. It’s something that might work for you, but it’s a big might. It’s not grounded on any evidence, is rather anecdotal, and leaves you with more questions than answers. Other than that, it’s not a cookbook, it’s not useful, it’s a waste of time.
Profile Image for Jenalyn.
338 reviews1 follower
January 20, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Michal.
Author 1 book448 followers
January 5, 2015
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 :)
Profile Image for Kris Irvin.
1,358 reviews51 followers
April 29, 2013
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't think I can just based on the info from the book.

I definitely want to try some of his recipes, including Osso "Buko" and the Twitter recipes in the back of the book. But I did take issue with a few things - like he says all his recipes are slow-carb friendly, but quite a few of them had sugar. (I'm okay with that, but I was excited to find some slow-carb recipes and I think not all of them are.) Also, I would have liked more "real people" food. Is it just me, or are cookbooks written with only fancy people in mind? I have no desire to ever eat or make noodles out of arugula. I don't care how you cook them, I don't want to know. I also don't really want to know how to make pate, because there's just no way I am ever going to eat that. Kudos for people who do eat it and enjoy it. It's just not practical for my palate or for my situation in life right now (that is, a full time student, a wife and a parent of a 5 year old with autism. I can barely get him to eat a peanut butter sandwich, let alone bright green noodles.)

So, take the info you want to take, and leave what you don't care about. It's worth a read, but after finishing it, I'm glad I didn't buy the thing. I only enjoyed about half of what I read and I'll probably only use 25% of that.

Profile Image for Javier Lorenzana.
101 reviews28 followers
May 13, 2020
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.
Profile Image for DeAnna Knippling.
Author 162 books259 followers
May 22, 2016
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 who had to figure out how to do things consciously. Thus - you're going to see a lot of name-dropping, a lot of ideas that come straight from other people. Tim Ferriss isn't an innovator, except in the science of asking the right people the right questions.

Whether or not that has value is up to you :) I found it pretty entertaining. "He did WHAT?" was a common reaction I had. And then "Well, why not?"
Profile Image for Jason.
4 reviews
April 14, 2013
I was able to get through the first 50 pages of this garbage and deleted it from my read list. Plain and simple the author is a dick who likes to name drop and talk about himself and how wonderful he is nonstop. I didn't even get into any aspect of cooking or learning to cook from this blowhard. I am sure Mr. Ferriss changed the world with his series of books but it is just one giant ego trip by the author. I learned nothing from this book except not to buy anything else from this guy.
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