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The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

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Thinner, bigger, faster, stronger... which 150 pages will you read?

Is it possible to:
Reach your genetic potential in 6 months?
Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours?
Lose more fat than a marathoner by bingeing?
Indeed, and much more. This is not just another diet and fitness book.

The 4-Hour Body is the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of jaw-dropping personal experimentation. From Olympic training centers to black-market laboratories, from Silicon Valley to South Africa, Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, fixated on one life-changing question:

For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?

Thousands of tests later, this book contains the answers for both men and women.

From the gym to the bedroom, it’s all here, and it all works.

YOU WILL LEARN (in less than 30 minutes each):
How to lose those last 5-10 pounds (or 100+ pounds) with odd combinations of food and safe chemical cocktails.

* How to prevent fat gain while bingeing (X-mas, holidays, weekends)
* How to increase fat-loss 300% with a few bags of ice
* How Tim gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time
* How to sleep 2 hours per day and feel fully rested
* How to produce 15-minute female orgasms
* How to triple testosterone and double sperm count
* How to go from running 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers in 12 weeks
* How to reverse “permanent” injuries
* How to add 150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months
* How to pay for a beach vacation with one hospital visit
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There are more than 50 topics covered, all with real-world experiments, many including more than 200 test subjects.

You don't need better genetics or more discipline. You need immediate results that compel you to continue.

That’s exactly what The 4-Hour Body delivers.

571 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Timothy Ferriss

48 books9,573 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
8,934 (26%)
4 stars
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3 stars
8,723 (25%)
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2,901 (8%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,928 reviews
Profile Image for trivialchemy.
77 reviews455 followers
May 9, 2011
I know no one reads my math or exercise book reviews, but f*ck you guys because books that I can leave on the back of my toilet and read from a few pages at a time are the only books that I have been able to get through for the past six months. Do not judge me.

I mean, I do know it's kind of embarrassing. No one wants to like a self-help book. Not on here anyway. Because we're all educated, self-aware goodreaders, and when we hear that cloying, mutually congratulatory snake-oil rhetoric, we see right through it. And least of all do we want to like a guy like Timothy Ferriss. Because not only is he disarmingly comfortable with wielding the ingratiating confidence of the self-help franchise, but he's also completely fucking insane.

But that's cool with me. Do you know why? Because when I walk into a gym, I want to punch people. I want to punch almost everyone. No, not because I'm on a roid rage. And not because anyone in a gym does anything to offend me, but because exercise is so achingly simple, and almost everyone does it wrong. And so when I see girls sitting for 90 minutes on an exercise bike (at 60% max HR! Fat-burning zone!! LoL!) and then complaining that they work out 2 hours a day and can't lose weight, or when I see meatheads doing bicep curls and shrugs when they have quadriceps that look like they should be in a weelchair, I am filled with righteous indignation at whatever exercise and beauty industry brainwashed these people into thinking that these were the pathways to strength and health.

On the other hand, the principles that Ferriss uses to develop his crazy ideas are all perfectly sound. If you disagree, I will fight you.

I found myself writing down the following, aphoristically, a few days ago. The tag line was "Be one of the top 5% of healthiest Americans, in 75 words and 3 hours a week:"

Sit up straight. Whether male or female, do deadlifts, bench press, muscle-ups, and 400m sprints 3-4 times a week for about 45 minutes. Progressively increase loads. If you feel injured, stop doing that for a while. Eat lean meats, healthy oils, nuts, legumes, and a ton of vegetables. Avoid white starches, sugar in any form, and sodas like the plague. Drink lots of water. Get some sleep. Take cold showers. Stop being afraid of things.

And in a lot of ways what Ferriss has done is elaborate on this formula for 545 pages in order to make a lot of money. Which is fine by me, frankly. There's so much garbage and so many confused messages out there that anyone writing on these incredibly simple principles is on my good side.

But what Ferriss has done to make this a 4-star book instead of a 3-star book is experiment on his own body to push the envelope of what this formula circumscribes. Where he can't cite his own experience, he recounts anecdotes of prominent athletes or the highly suspect, uncontrolled experimentation of partially mad physiologists. I think this is awesome. Without modifying the essential formula, he wonders, "just how far can we take or tweak the principle?"

In some cases this results in some really weird experiments. Like torturous ice baths to exploit the thermic metabolic effect; or overdosing on cinnamon, cod liver oil, and cissus quadrangularis (I don't recommend any of these, by the way) to rapidly reconstitute the body's insulinic or testosterone response.

But in other cases, the experiments are more useful to the non-insane. For example, he cites a lot of evidence that in traditional progressive strength training and mass building, the body only needs a bare minimum of load to stimulate the desired hormonal and hypertrophic responses. In other words, if done correctly you can spend way less time in the gym for the same physiological response. I have been experimenting with this myself; so far, for hypertrophy, I have reduced the number of exercises I do to just TWO (deadlifts and bench press), and spend on them less than 30 minutes at a time, 3 times a week. So far the results have been excellent.

Now, I know this isn't science. Those who criticize Ferriss for not being scientific in his approach are missing the whole point entirely. And Ferriss even dedicates a portion of his introductory chapter to emphasize that he isn't trying to do science. He's trying to do anecdotes. In some ways, he's just presenting a Jackson Pollock of shit he's tried on his body (shit tied to sound principles, mind you), and explain what he found to work, and the quantitative evidence that suggested to him it was working. If you want to try one or two things for yourself, great! Here's a grab bag of tips and tricks.

I've had fun thinking about what physiologic pathways and mechanisms might be involved if some of the outrageous claims Ferriss makes are actually true. But more than that, this book's main effect has been a rather counterintuitive one: by providing me with a few creative, non-traditional techniques, it has reminded me just how simple the principles really are.
Profile Image for Gnomad.
44 reviews7 followers
January 10, 2011
Tim Ferriss, time management guru/guy on the internet I love to hate, followed up his first book, The 4 Hour Workweek, with a book designed to teach people how to hack their bodies. It's a hodgepodge of advice on everything from weight loss, bodybuilding, sex, running, sleep, and nutrition, and attempts to eschew conventional wisdom in these areas in favor of small (except not really), easily done (except not really), often overlooked (except not really) hacks that anyone can employ. Now, I expected to eye roll a lot at this book (and I did), but I thought it would be interesting. Instead of mild interest, though, I spent the entire read alternating between spitting anger and abject boredom.

The cornerstone of the book is Ferriss' self-experimentation. As he says, he's gone out and tried all the crazy treatments and bought all dangerous products so you don't have to. And that's very nice of him, certainly, though I suspect he's really only indulging his own neuroses and OCD issues rather than doing these things out of any sense of altruism, but whatever. And I do believe that there is a ton of value in self-experimentation. Self-experimentation is where the big theories and scientific discoveries start, take shape, and get you thinking about the world in ways you hadn't before. It's is not, however, science. Science is what you do after you've come up with all these great ideas and interesting observations. Ferriss doesn't seem to understand this, though, skips the middle science part all together, and goes straight to doling out advice on what the reader should be doing to change themselves. The result is contradictory recommendations that are at best benign and at worse dangerous to the user on a physical and mental level.

And then I got to the sex chapter. Ferriss, you see, decides to teach the world (men) how to give a woman a 15 minute orgasm. As though they too are something to be hacked and experimented on so that men can feel better about themselves and their mad skillz. So he talks about his 'experiments' in female sexuality while nudgenudgewinkwinking his way through the parts where he finds his 'test subjects' and talks to 'experts'. And, you know, as disgusted as I was with the whole tone and objectification throughout the chapter, I think I could've forgiven a small part of it if I had learned something interesting or been presented with a novel sexual technique. But no. Ferriss' road to mindblowing orgasms is...manual clitoral masturbation. And I'm still not sure where the 15 minutes comes in. Ugh.

"No, I was more concerned with increasing sperm count than isolating variables."

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the book for me.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
279 reviews482 followers
February 23, 2022
"It's never too late to reinvent yourself."

Ferriss's 4-Hour Work Week (4HWW) had been on my TBR for a very long time. I almost picked it up a few times, but the size of that book still keeps me away from it. But 4-Hour Body (4HB) is something that I had picked up accidentally, which also ended up next to 4HWW collecting dust for a while. But with hours of online research I've been doing on health, diet and exercise over the last two years, I decided to see how 4HB would fit into things, especially regarding some of the contradictory, confusing concepts I come across every day.

"Scientist seem to change their minds every six months. Eggs and butter will kill you, so you turn to margarine and turkey bacon. Now margarine will kill you and one egg a day is okay?"

Right off from the start, it became apparent that this is one of those 'love it or hate it' kind of books, given the principles outlined are aimed at extremes of body recompositing. Understandably, readers from a medicine/ health care background would find the practices too aggressive and unproven. So why the 4-star rating you ask? It's because these extremities help you find you own sustainable middle-ground to achieve a healthier lifestyle. You could define your own timeline, and take it a bit slowly until you reach your goals.

"Extending lifespan at the expense of quality of life makes little sense."

What I found most enlightening about this book is the way Ferriss manages to combine a number of seemingly independent components related to body recompositing by explaining how each impacts other. The collection self-experimentation results he has outlined could be a far cry from reliable medical research findings, but the logical approach and the assumptions make you realize that even those 'reliable' or 'proven' approaches are only showing part of the picture.

"A high percentage of vegans use soy as their primary source of protein. This is a bad idea. 30 grams of soy per day (about two tablespoons) for 90 days can disrupt thyroid function."

All that being said, I do believe that to get the most out of the book, the reader must have some background on diet, metabolism, and exercise. Otherwise, the contents could easily become overwhelming, or unrealistic. But depending on how open minded the reader is, even a novice could benefit from this book, given he or she is not opting for the extremes I've mentioned before and finding a SUSTAINABLE middle ground.

"If simple does the job, keep it simple."

And lastly, this entire review is based on the contents on diet and exercise, not the other one or two (namely, living forever and sex machine) somewhat beyond extreme chapters.

"Controlling your body puts you in life's driver's seat."
Profile Image for Jerzy.
469 reviews105 followers
October 7, 2012
Two stars instead of one, because it was so amazingly bad I just couldn't stop reading.
Reader's digest version:

"I'm Tim Ferris. Last week I tracked the weather for five days and noticed that it rained on the four days when I didn't carry an umbrella. But on the day when I did bring an umbrella, it stayed dry out. So obviously, carrying an umbrella prevents rain.
Now, some scientists may scoff and say that this flies in the face of known science and conventional wisdom, or that at least they'd need more data in order to be convinced. But I have no problem writing a whole book insisting to readers, through a stream-of-consciousness narrative told in OCD-level detail, that my umbrella-carrying behavior is what controls my weather.
Of course, if you want to really track the weather around you, you'll have to be willing to pay hundreds of dollars a week on expensive and time-consuming diagnostic tests to keep tracking your weather in minute detail, so that you can adjust your umbrella-carrying behavior in case the weather starts getting out of hand.
Also, I, Tim Ferris, am constantly having sex with models and partying with rockstars, as my 8 billion Twitter followers can avow. The book will continually remind you, just so you don't forget this even for a second.
In the introduction I'll tell you to be skeptical, to cover my ass; but I'll fill the rest of the book with overenthusiastic claims and dismissal of skepticism."

He does have a few decent tips, especially in the interviews with professional athletic trainers who actually get many people to do a program over time and see their results. I do admire the focus on doing the minimal workout to get results, rather than overdoing it unnecessarily.
(...although every chapter's advice contradicts itself: Work your muscles to failure every time. No, lift lighter weights for just a few reps, and workout right before eating every meal. No, eat breakfast as soon as you get up, before working out, and make sure it's all protein. No, avoid too much protein and have a glass of grapefruit juice with breakfast. No, avoid all fruits like the plague... I guess that's why the introduction tells you to read one segment at a time, not the whole book from start to finish. Oops.)

And I agree that obsessively-recorded self-experimentation might lead to changed habits that are right *for you*, individually. But the anecdote ("a few times I've had great sex after eating some almonds") does not translate into the general recommendation ("according to my in-depth research, guys should always eat almonds a few hours before sex"). I was not surprised to see a chapter here by Seth Roberts, who specializes in exaggerating the power & generality of claims he makes based on his own self-experimentation. They may be true claims for him, and they may be worth trying by others -- but he claims that if something works on him, that's enough evidence to trumpet it as reliable advice for everyone else, and I have no patience for that.
I'm also not convinced by his tracking of nutrient levels through tests that are both ridiculously expensive and unreliable from reading to reading.

I'm most impressed that Ferriss put two chapters about identifying quack medicine right before the description of his own bullshit "study." Oh, your diet program has a 100% success rate? But the participants were self-selected volunteers from your rabid Twitter followers, not a random sample of the population. And you dropped the people who didn't complete the diet -- you don't know how many tried it and failed without bothering to report their failure on your survey. And the 200 reports were those who "responded to all questions" -- so it sounds like you dropped out the failures who skipped a question or two. And you break it up by subgroups that would be too small to compare even if the study design *were* statistically sound.
The diet may happen to be perfectly good, but the report here simply provides no evidence, whether in favor or against.

Dear Mr Ferriss, you do a far better job with the inspirational writing in the closing thoughts:
"Most of us have resigned ourselves to a partial completeness... The beauty is, almost all of it can be changed... Your body is almost always within your control... take an inventory of all the things in the physical realm that you've resigned yourself to being poor at. Now ask: if I couldn't fail, what would I want to be exceptional at?"
Lovely. Stick to that, please.

PS -- the author's bio says he is "a tango world record holder." I'm not sure what about tango you can measure and hold records in... but if that's your approach to a dance of emotional connection, then dude, you're doing it wrong.
Profile Image for Camille.
293 reviews45 followers
January 4, 2012
Anyone who read my review of 4 Hour Work Week knows that I think that Tim Ferriss is a total smug dick. That said, he is a smug dick who really seems to kinda know what he is talking about. There were a ton of super useful tips in 4HWW and he really spells things out to you to total dummy level. So when I found out he had a diet book, I figured I should check it out. This dude is the king of of shortcuts, SO if anyone was going to be helpful (and most efficient) in helping me achieve my meager weight loss goals, I figured it'd be him. At the moment I am trying out his slow-carb method, which means I eat protein, veg, and beans for 6 days on and then one mega "refeeding" (read: binge) day a week. I'm hopeful that this structure is going to work since the binge day will keep me from all the cheats through the week that keep me from achieving my goals. In addition to this, I am also regularly doing the WODs from Bodyrock.tv (which I was already doing anyway). Keep in mind, I am not on a short term diet. I am already pretty committed to eating this way (primal) and I love fitness and working out, especially weightlifting and HIIT (not so much into those other activities that are fun but slow and don't really give me that 'worked out' feeling). I hope to be back here in a few weeks with some positive results!

As for the sex part of the book, I have to take a pass. The idea of taking sex tips from someone like Tim Feriss makes me vomit in my mouth a little.
Profile Image for John.
27 reviews11 followers
February 5, 2011
II'd never read a health book which starts out by describing being backstage at a NIN concert.

I knew I was in for a wild ride.

In the 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss chronicles his eclectic experiences at hacking his body: weight loss & muscle gain, perfect abs and perfect baseball swing, tripling his testosterone, holding his breath for three minutes, & more.

As a family physician, I can tell you that most of his material is not that revolutionary: his diet is just a simple variant of a low glycemic load diet, and many trainers will tell you that kettle bells rock as an exercise. But Tim is a showman at heart, as well as probably being just a little bit crazy, and this book reflects his devil-may-care take-life-by-the-throat until it screams for mercy approach to living. The book is intentionally designed to give you a potpouri of ideas and projects to pick from, and he encourages you to find something that you want to change about your body and go for it.

Even if you don't implement a single thing in this book, you'll have a barrel of fun reading it. And most everyone will find at least one chapter that they will find intruiging enough to implement his concepts to try on their own. He's motivated me to get back to my ideal weight, and I'm already half way there by implementing some of his regimen. Trippiest health book of the year.
Profile Image for Lauren .
1,699 reviews2,299 followers
July 4, 2013
Book is simultaneously brilliant and insane. I have heard of Ferriss and his experimentation and "4-Hour" approach to life for years, but this was my first foray into his brand of "research". Dude is thorough and committed, that's for sure.

It is important to note that this is not a conventional read - the book is meant to be skimmed, only reading sections that interest to you. In that way, it seems more like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book: you want to lose fat? build muscle? increase strength? here's a formula. You want to train for endurance and/or speed? here's a different one. You want to sleep better? The book is nearly 600 pages, with several appendices to boot, so reading cover to cover just isn't the way to go.

Life is one big experiment for Ferriss - so in that way, I admire his approach. He has a very open mind, but seems to fall into the correlation-implies-causation fallacy in several aspects. It is also worth saying that just because something worked for him does NOT mean that it will work for everyone, no matter how many times he tested.

The chapters that I chose to focus on were fat loss, building strength, and injury prevention. The fat loss chapter in particular had me vacillating on whether his advice is snakeoil or panacea - ridiculous or gospel truth... Is this some secret that no one talks about? Take this concoction of supplements and see amazing results (all natural things like green tea extract and garlic pills) or is this some crazy money pit? After reading the chapter and more information about his Slow Carb Diet, I am still not sure what to think. The reader is intended to experiment along with Ferriss, and I am giving his diet a try (with adaptations to my own dietary ethics and guidelines). The strength and muscle building chapter is more forward and actually quite simple: less is more. You don't need to spend hours at the gym. Max weight, low reps/sets, proscribed power moves, low frequency with a focus on recovery. He outlines some training programs, and the advice is scientifically sound. The injury-proofing chapters were my favorite - focusing on therapy, correcting imbalances, rehabilitative movements. I am planning to incorporate some of the injury-proofing strength work into my own regimen.

I realize that this review is all over the place - and that is a reflection of the book itself. It's written to be a guide to optimize your physical self in nearly every way. (Including a somewhat displaced single chapter on improving your sex life, but this focuses almost single-handedly - oops, no pun intended! - on the female orgasm). A book with a thesis that broad is bound to be all over the place.

In the end, this book needs to be read critically, but with an open mind (does that make sense?) If this sounds like something that you would like to do - this interactive approach - then I totally recommend it.
Profile Image for Christine.
17 reviews36 followers
August 5, 2012
After knowing so many people that have successfully changed their eating habits with the help of this book, and then watching "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" and "Food, Inc." on Netflix, I finally had to try it myself.

Going into week three of 4HB style eating, and I've lost 4lbs with minimal effort. The much bigger deal? Since dropping gluten & high-fructose corn syrup from my diet, my allergies have all but disappeared, and my inflammation has dropped so much that most of my shoulder pain (which I've had for 10+ years) is gone!

Knowing how much pain I'm missing out on has kept me motivated to continue the positive diet change and life-hacking my body, 4 Hour Body style!

*I marked that I've "finished" the book -- I've finished the sections for my personal goals. You do not have to read the full book - just the parts you need!
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,631 followers
December 27, 2018
What a fascinating book this was. I've heard a few people talking about the "slow carb diet" and "bulletproof coffee" and decided to read up on this trend.

I won't bore you by describing Timothy Ferriss' entire diet program (you can find good summaries online for his slow-carb diet), but the short-short version is to eat a high protein & high veggie diet six days of the week, and then have one cheat day. His book also has a bunch of exercise tips, supplement tips, and other hacks for boosting weight loss.

What makes this book more interesting to read than your typical diet book is how much experimenting Ferriss has done on his own body. He's a bit of a madman, to be honest. Besides weight loss, he also has chapters on adding more muscle, getting better sleep, running faster, etc. Recommended.

Meaningful Quotes
[from someone who lost 70 pounds in one year, on what inspired him to begin]
"'For me, it doesn't even matter what I wear; I'm not going to look good anyway' ... I heard myself say those words and I recognized them not for their content, but for their tone of helplessness. I am, in most of my endeavors, a solidly successful person. I decide I want things to be a certain way, and I make it happen ... If I want a better-than-average career, I can't simply 'go with the flow' and get it. Most people do just that: they wish for an outcome but make no intention-driven actions toward that outcome. If they would just do something most people would find that they get some version of that outcome they're looking for. That's been my secret. Stop wishing and start doing."

"Your body is almost always within your control. This is rare in life, perhaps unique. Simply focusing on some measurable element of your physical nature can prevent you from becoming a 'Dow Joneser,' someone whose self-worth is dependent on things largely outside of their control. Job not going well? Company having issues? Some idiot making life difficult? If you had ten laps to your swimming, or if you cut five seconds off your best mile time, it can still be a great week. Controlling your body puts you in life's driver's seat."

Profile Image for Riki.
518 reviews33 followers
May 26, 2012
Timothy Ferris clearly thinks quite highly of himself and doesn't hesitate to let you know how superior he is to you in every way in this incredibly long (592 pages) doorstop of a book. In it he professes to have the solution to many of your health woes and promises to help you accomplish such things as "Sleep 2 hours per day and perform better than on 8 hours." (I'll spare you the pain of reading his incredibly scientific and boring explanation by telling you that this requires an unbelievably complicated schedule of sleeping a few minutes at a time all day long. If you're blessed by the type of lifestyle where you don't have to work or interact with other human beings in any way, this might work for you).

Ferris' idea of a healthy life is chock full of supplements and expensive testing. He subjects himself to a myriad of experiments and has found success in his trials, but any adult with an actual job and family obligations could never afford the pills and gadgets he touts as lifesavers. I am thankful that I got this book from the library and didn't waste the $26.95 it costs to buy the book.

Besides being incredibly scientific and difficult to read, Ferris is simply too cocky and stuck on himself to gain my trust.
Profile Image for Don.
204 reviews7 followers
February 21, 2011
Ok, what can I say here......folks, this may be one of the most dangerous health books even written. Authored by self proclaimed internet guru, Tim Ferriss, the 4-Hour Body is a rambling mix of diet, workout, drugs, sex and body manipulation that should be called 'The Narcissist's Bible'. Using the 20/80 rule for all of his information, Ferriss tries to convince the reading that you need only minimum effort for maximum results - be it eating, running, weight lifting, etc. He uses modern sports training methods to drive his points - to maximize at physical training you must use short bursts rather than long drawn-out workouts.

I won't dive into the details only to say that he uses many (and I mean many) unorthodox methods on his own body (vitamins, drugs, hormones, etc) to see what effect they have on his strength and metabolism. On top of that he advocates a 'slow carb' diet that focuses on protein and no white carbs (similar to the Atkins diet). Given that I purchased this book I decided to go on the diet in early January.

After three weeks on the 4 hour body diet I can say I lost 5 lbs, however, the side effects were massive! I literally started to lose both my emotional and mental stability. It affected both my job and my family. I felt so crummy that I decided to quit the diet by making a plate full of french toast for breakfast (a total no no in his book). I felt so good that day that I quit completely.

This book is a complete mess of what I would call 'pop science' (yes, there are some facts - he does use reliable sources) however, the techniques used are very dangerous to the average reader out there.

My advice - eat less, exercise more, up your vitamin intake and enjoy life (plus, don't shell out any money for this book).
Profile Image for Matt.
18 reviews11 followers
January 25, 2012
A lot of people miss the point of this book. It's possibly because, as one reviewer said, Tim Ferriss comes across as a smug dick. As a writer, his voice leaves a lot to be desired.

I digress. Tim throws out a lot of factoids, many of which may be oversimplified or even wrong out of context. But his methodology is right. The point of this book that seems to get missed is to 1) use your body as a laboratory and 2) MEASURE EVERYTHING.

He records everything meticulously. He changes one variable at a time. He consults with experts. And he is not afraid to try something just to see what happens. He forms an educated theory and then shines a light on it and if it stands up it goes in the book.

THAT is the point of the 4 Hour Body. Anyone who reads it should not take his word on the specifics as anything more than "This worked for me." What they do need to take is his methodology and principles and extend them to their own lives.
Profile Image for Begoña.
Author 9 books58 followers
August 10, 2012
I hated this book, mostly because it sells as
science this guy's statistically insignificant, biased and poorly designed life experiment. It's less entertaining than a car crash, but has a bit of the morbid interest about the damage it may cause to society.
Not to mention the sex bit, which is pathetic in its definition, scope, and intended results. Luckily, for the better knowing women it will probably mark him as a clueless lover.
I read the first half, abandoned it for a year, and then skimmed through the rest: nothing to call my attention. No more Ferriss for me, ever.
Profile Image for Nirmal.
Author 1 book55 followers
February 2, 2015
It's not in the same level of 'The 4 hour work week' but definitely is worth reading. Timothy is a bit crazy in this book, some of the chapters have too much technical information which looses the grip. So, i skipped the chapters which i found impractical and not applicable to my life and finished in just 2 days.
Profile Image for Grant.
27 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2012
I get the impression many people miss the point of Tim's work. Does he come off as the kid who was pretty unpopular in High School scrambling for attention? Yeah, a little. But he offers a starting point and a perspective. N=1 experiments. You are your own N. Try things, isolate variables. Do a science on yourself. I see a lot of reviews complaining that "this stuff doesn't work". It worked for Tim. Find what works for you.

I'm a little biased. I beat Tim to the punch on most of this stuff, and found myself nodding in agreement (Though I've had better luck in strength gains using different methods). Much of the same stuff that Tim has tried has worked for me in the past. He left the reader with a cliffhanger on the 50K run, but having used Brian Mackenzie's methods for years I can tell you it works for many of us. I hope it works for Tim and the rest of you who try it too. If it doesn't and you really want to run an Ultramarathon... then find a way.

All in all Tim is recommending learning to learn, experimenting on yourself, and knowing your goals. Figure out what you want to do. Stop doing everything else and do that. Isolate variables. Build, test and learn, then decide what's next.
Author 3 books117 followers
August 31, 2015
Ferriss' book has some good ideas in it, but it needs to be edited down... significantly. It's bloated with anecdotes, hype and rhetoric that waste time. It is true that Ketosis diets work, and so I don't think this is a gimmick. The book, however, can simply be put to the side. A few pages of dietary lists and exercises cover 90% of the useful knowledge.

I didn't even bother with his pathetic "superhuman sex" advice.
Profile Image for Judith.
1,488 reviews71 followers
June 8, 2011
One of my passions is diet & exercise books. I read them religiously instead of dieting or exercising. The 4-H Body was really entertaining, informative, and inspiring. It's really directed more toward men's health than women's, but I enjoyed it anyhow and will probably put into practice some of his tips. I am reading it now for a second time; this time, with a highlighter and post-its. NO, it's not a library book: I actually purchased the book for once. This is the kind of book you want to keep because it is encyclopedic and needs to be used as a reference.

The author describes so many different techniques for reaching your goal of a healthier, happier new you. What makes this book such an interesting novelty for me is that the author is into extreme conduct. He's got a cupboard full of ideas: ice baths being one of his suggested paths toward weight loss. He also warmed the cockles of my cellulite with his tip that you should embrace your yo-yo dieting because it's going to be with you forever and it's not a bad thing.

One of the funnier chapters is called, "The 15-minute Female Orgasm". Spoiler alert: being female, I was looking forward to learning how to have a 15 minute orgasm. He proceeded to relate his experience at sex class in San Francisco where he learned the technique that will guarantee a woman would have an orgasm in 15 minutes or less. It doesn't last 15 minutes; it only takes 15 minutes to achieve. The technique is illustrated with line drawings that appear to show a man stuffing a turkey.

In any event, it was a refreshing break from calories and wall squats and strangely enough, it doesn't seem out of context. And, in the end, the author is so enthusiastic about life that it is contagious and inspiring.

24 reviews
January 4, 2011
Have you read Tim Ferris's blog posts? It reads like an infomercial. How to do X (which usually takes years or is nearly impossible) in 4hrs (or for free). Over the years, X has been:
1) Running a successful business
2) Losing 10lbs
3) Adding 34Lbs of muscle
4) Learning a new language
5) Flying around the world

Critics call him a snake oil salesman, his fans (and there are plenty) call him a genius life hacker. In reality, he might be both. His accomplishments are very real (I'm writing about him, aren't I?).

This book then is to be taken with a grain or two of salt, but I was extremely surprised at how much real, useful, insightful information was packed in this book. Of course, it's liberally seasoned with name dropping and wonderful claims that you usually associate with late night TV, but a waste of time it is not.
I give it only a 3 star because of the sensationalism and the marketing tactics that I find distasteful. If you give it some time though, you'll find something whether you're interested in fitness, life hacks or are a hypochondriac.
Profile Image for Guilherme Zeitounlian.
234 reviews5 followers
November 4, 2018
After over 5 years since I first read this book, I felt it was time to revisit it.

This is the book that changed it all for me.

Not because it has the most scientific-based approaches (it doesn't) nor because it is "the last book you'll ever need to read about diet".

But because it found me in a particular time and place - it was the right book at the right time.

You see, in the distant year of 2013, I was overweight, and had just moved to a new country.

I had time in my hands, and was determined to succeed.

So I started killing myself with diet (eating whole grains every 2-3 hours, and feeling hungry most of my waking hours), and exercise (over 2 hours per day. And I hated it).

In the first weeks doing this crazy regimen, I lost about 6 pounds. But I couldn't lose any more.

I felt tired all the time.

Then... I read mr Ferriss' book.

And the advice contained was the exact opposite of everything I had tried.

Eat 3 square meals a day - no snacking.
No need to feel hungry - eat until you're satiated.
No fruit.
No whole grains.
And wine every day.

To top it all: a cheat day. every. fucking. week.

I was sure this wasn't going to work. But hey, at least it seemed like more fun than I was having.


Fast forward a few months, I had lost over 30 pounds with the Slow-carb diet, and became obsessed about healthy eating.

I became obsessed about the topic. How everything I had learned so far could be so... wrong?

So I started reading a lot. And experimenting.

I began following a more low-carb (and even ketogenic) approach.

I started intermittent fasting.

I started lifting heavy, but less often (goodbye ABCDE bodybuilder splits. Hello compound lifts).

I ditched all the other sports (which I hated, and only did because I felt it was needed to lose weight). I stopped feeling sore all the time (thank God).

And I lost more weight, and gained more muscle.

In fact, with small changes here and there... I realized I had stopped following Tim Ferriss' advice altogether.

Because it had taken me so far. But now - in order to go forward - I needed other tools.

I began carb cycling - with a higher protein intake.

Cheat days every week stalled my progress, so I reduced the frequency of diet escapades.

But I always kept a special place in my heart for that book. Because it was where it all began.

So, after all those years (and a myriad of other diet books), I felt it was time do acquiesce myself with it again.


So, I read it again. And, I have to say, it has its pros and cons.

PROS: It's very action-oriented. Tim Ferriss is a great storyteller, and the book is fun to read - at least the first 60-70%.

The book is very well-writen. Specially the start of the book, where I feel Tim "rigs the game so you can win". What I mean is this: The diet is enjoyable and easy to follow. Cheat days every week mean you still eat all your favourite foods on a weekly basis. No calorie tracking removes confusion and a layer of complexity. The workouts are simple and not time consuming (you can do it all in machines, no need to learn new lifts).

CONS: You have to trust Tim's word for most of it - I mean, it's not like legumes have any magical property - at least, not according to science. Also, the strengths of the protocols become their weaknesses: no calorie tracking means you're flying blind. Cheat days every week may stall your progress. The workouts (like the ones in Occam's Protocol) won't break any records.

And the other advice in the book is more useful as thought-provoking reads than as instructions: you really won't start playing major league baseball after reading the chapter, nor become an ultra-marathoner.

TL;DR: All things considered, this book has good advice for really overweight people who want to get to a "normal guy/gal" baseline. It will not make you super shredded, and Tim can be a bit of a name-dropper sometimes.


It has its gems.

I tried some exercises for lower back pain, and they worked surprisingly well.

The sex chapters are worth delving into (at least a part of them).

And cold therapy may not burn a ton of calories (as implied by the book), but cold exposure can be a stoic exercise in resilience, a kind of hormetic stressor - and really wake you up as a bonus.

It also highligths the value of self-experimentation, which is important for long-term adherence.



Reading the book 5 years later, I feel that pretty much everything in this book is hyped up.

Maybe that's the price you have to pay to make sensible and useful advice become a best-seller.

Or, specially: to get people to start taking action.

I know it got me moving - even if, in the end, to a different direction than the one indicated in the book.

However, getting people to take the first step (and following through) may be the most important factor.

Because the best diet (or execise regimen, or whatever) is the one that you can stick to.

And Tim Ferriss is very good in making it an easy game to win. It gets a 4/5 for that.
Profile Image for Saeed Ramazany.
Author 1 book62 followers
March 9, 2018
کتاب بسی مفیدی بود. تیم فریس از اون آدمایی که ایده‌ی ۲۰/۸۰ رو خیلی خوب دنبال می‌کنه و وقت می‌زاره.
تو این کتاب با انواع آزمایش‌ها و تست‌هایی که رو خودش انجام داده، اطلاعاتی که از مصاحبه‌ها و کتاب‌هایی که خونده گرفته و بر اساس مدل‌های موجود کارکرد بدن، میاد میگه چطور میشه سریع چربی سوزوند، عضله به دست آورد و سکس خوب داشت و خوب خوابید.

من بخش عضله‌سازی و سوزوندن چربی رو خوندم. دو هفته هم تست کردم. البته نه به صورت کامل و دقیق. با یه سری تغییر.
هفته‌ی اول ۲.۵ کیلو کم کردم. هفته‌ی دوم ۱۰۰ گرم اضافه کردم((:
البته برنامه دارم وضعیت مالی‌ام ثبات بیشتری داشت، دوباره شروع کنم به ادامه دادن.
Profile Image for Melody Schreiber.
Author 2 books22 followers
December 22, 2010
The Good:

This is probably the best nonfiction I've read in 2010. It doesn't take long to be convinced that the author is someone we should listen to (this man is clearly OBSESSED!!), but more importantly, the book is extremely readable. If I were to write a book on the same topic with the same information, it would probably come out reading like the DSM-IV, but Ferriss does a good job of including plenty of entertaining anecdotes and humor to help us along, not to mention simple and concise explanations.

As the subtitle promises, the content of the book is definitely uncommon. There are some very unusual techniques and advice that I've never seen before. However, the greatest uncommonness of the book is its "Tipping Point" approach to health. Following the trend of The 4-Hour Workweek, a major theme of The 4-Hour Body is how to see the most results from the least amount of effort. Ferriss is not necessarily saying that conventional wisdom (hard work, discipline, keeping up with research) is wrong--just that there's an easier and smarter way through hacking the human body. I think this approach works great for a generation with a low attention span and an immediate results mindset.

The Bad:

Critics are going to run wild with this book. Everything from advice on mixing different over-the-counter drugs and supplements, to consuming high amounts of cholesterol, to his claims of gaining more than 1 pound of muscle a day for a month are going to feed the fire for skeptics, trolls, and haters.

I, for one, believe it's impossible to gain 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days as he's claimed to have done. Yes, it is possible to gain that much total weight, mostly water, especially if you're an experienced dehydrator-rehydrator as he is, but muscle is completely different.

Claims like these are going to make a lot of people call the author a snake-oil salesman, and I think to an extent he is. While it will help him sell books, unfortunately I think it will also cause people to label him as a fraud and therefore dismiss all the other information that is definitely worth reading and considering.

The Ugly:

The author actually weighed his poop.

This was a guest review by Edward Bartlett. For his full review, please visit my site, Melody & Words!
Profile Image for Matt.
814 reviews
May 2, 2020
Another walk-the-dog audiobooks. Lots of interesting information. I borrowed this from the library and I think if I were serious about following his guidelines I would need to purchase/borrow a written copy so I could jot down the specifics of his techniques. Over all Ferris presents much good info (as in all his books) but applying all of it might be impossible. Applying some of it is my goal.
Profile Image for Lars Mikal.
37 reviews
April 28, 2022
This book was ... interesting?

Tbh I did not expect much, I had primarily heard negative things about Ferris' and his books. I gave this book a chance because it is interesting to read from someone who has a different perspective on fitness and health that deviates from the norm.

I'll give Ferris that this book is extensive and the amount of testing this guy has done on himself is astounding (and scary). His writing style is (mostly) easy to read and he is quite humerous. I love that he affirms that HDL cholesterol is good and thay we should eat the yolks. Also the 4-hour Body Plan itself is actually quite allright. That is where my complements end.

This book acts like it is based on science, but it is not. Claims like "calories don't matter" and "Oh you're lactose intolerant? Have you tried drinking milk for 2 weeks?" just exemplifies some of the nonsense he spits out. Does he know what lactase is? Oh and the part where all the women become sexually attracted to him because of feromones - what the hell was that?

The guy reccommends so many different supplements that you might as well just stop eating whole foods. Oh and he says no vegans in 4HBP, but in a later chapter do try to eat mostly plant-based. That being said I have ordered his reccommended PACC-stack of supplements just for the hell of it. If it works - great; If not - well I'm not that surprised tbh.

The last 60% of the book is the worst and is mostly written like a YA fantasy hero looking for the proper master who can teach Ferris either how to lift heavier, swim faster and more efficient, how to hold your breath, run faster and longer, etc. All of these chapters were incredibly boring and had nothing to do with 4HBP. The book should've been just the 4HBP - essentialy cutting half the book. I would've probably given it a higher score.

My favorite part was probably when Ferris laid out 4 simple rules like: "Don't drink your calories" - but you can have a glass or two of red wine because Ferris really likes it. Also do not eat fruit because our ancestors did not have access to a lot of fruit??? Yeah that one fruit a day that gives you a lot of vitamins and minerals is so much worse than red wine. Did our ancestors in the stone age also have access to red wine?

A fun read, but probably not how Ferris intenteded me to enjoy it.
Profile Image for Swapnil Agarwal.
156 reviews14 followers
September 9, 2020
I loved how actionable this is! Tim provides a low-friction approach to reap benefits; you don't need to read the whole book, just skip to the sections that are most relevant to your body right now. I made lots of notes along the way (skimmed the parts mentioning supplements) and have already started incorporating some of the changes in my day-to-day life.
Profile Image for Mike W.
59 reviews35 followers
April 30, 2012
Having seen Tim Ferriss on TV, I suspected he was a huckster. But I was sufficiently intrigued that I read his books anyway. Now, having read them, I'm convinced he's a huckster. The gullible reader of this book will be convinced that he can have the body of a champion athlete or model with very little effort, just as the gullible reader of Ferriss's other tome, the 4 Hour Workweek, might imagine that she can make millions of dollars (or at least live like a millionaire) with a mere 4 hours of work per week.

So Ferriss is a sophist, and much of this book is nonsense and chicanery.

And yet, even the Sophists had real insights at times, so that even their greatest adversary, Socrates, sometimes defended them. And so it is with the ebullient Ferriss.

While many of his particular prescriptions seem bogus, some of the general principles he suggests are valuable. I have myself benefited from following some of his advice.

Among his key idea are the "Pareto Principle" and the "Minimum Effective Dose." The Pareto Principle comes from the great economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto. It's defined on Wikipedia thusly: "The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes." And the related concept of a minimum effective dose Ferriss himself defines as "the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome."

Here I found Ferriss's advice useful. Much of the time I spent exercising was wasted, because I had not thought sufficiently about how to optimize--how to be efficient. Following his advice on weightlifting, I cut down from doing 3 sets of 10 reps per session, at 2-3 sessions per week, to doing 1 set of 5-7 reps once a week and got substantially better results. Much of the time I had spent lifting weights was clearly counterproductive.

I also benefited from Ferrriss pointing me to the so-called "cyclic ketogenic" diet. That diet is different from the one Ferriss himself recommends in the book, but shares some common features. Ferriss's own diet he dubs the "slow-carb diet". It differs from low-carb or ketogenic diets by encouraging consumption of complex carbohydrates that do not metabolize quickly, like beans. And it shares with the cyclic ketogenic diet the idea of cycling, or taking days off periodically. My own experience suggests that this is superior to the typical low-carb diet.

Ferriss has a tremendous talent for self-promotion, like Madonna or Lady Gaga. And he is almost as superficial. But he sometimes has something interesting to say, unlike those two "ladies". He contradicts himself repeatedly. He advises, at different times, to take no rest in between sets in lifting weights, and to take 3 minutes between sets, and also 5 minutes. And in each case he's very certain and very precise in his prescription. This deepens the sense in any reader who is not asleep that he's just making things up.

And Ferriss takes a hard line on epidemiological studies because they are typically observational rather than experimental. And yet he himself frequently draws firm inferences from observational data that even a mediocre epidemiologist would deem far beneath her standards. For instance, Ferriss cites, as evidence for his assertions, the case of Casey Viator, who followed a regimen Ferriss approves of and purportedly gained 62 pounds of muscle in 28 days. But there was only Casey in this "experiment" and there was no control group. Just one guy, who might or might not have been taking anabolic steroids, in an emprical study from 1973 that was never repeated.

In sum, there's a lot of dross here and only a handful of gems, in a long book. But the discerning reader might still get some advantage from reading it.
Profile Image for Margot.
658 reviews15 followers
September 20, 2011
The 4-Hour Body is a hulk of a book, weighing in at over 600 pages. But Ferris comes right out in the intro and encourages readers to use it in an a la carte fashion, based on their personal needs and interests. I did not heed said advice, since I wanted to review the entire content of the book, rather than just what pertains to me (obviously, I'm not planning on gaining 30 pounds of muscle weight in as many days).

I found this book unexpectedly and deeply engrossing. Every time I sat down to read it, I would immediately get sucked into the text--oblivious to all distractions (often on a bus commute), immune to morning commute sleepiness. And this is nonfiction I'm talking about--what I usually read to fall asleep at night! 4HB is science, health, fitness, and nutrition written in a highly engaging way with advice that is then easily applied to one's own life. The only chapters I skimmed through were a few in the appendix plus the one about hitting home runs.

As far as my own results go, I started working out 2-3 times per week for 20 minutes each session, under the simple 6-minute abs/hip thrust & flying dog/kettle bell regime, and saw "shape" improvements after only two weeks. I only stuck with the slow-carb diet (what I refer to as the bean diet) for two weeks, however, because I believe beans are an exacerbant to my rosacea. When I'm feeling motivated again, I'll switch back over to The Fat Flush Plan, which is similar but doesn't require beans.

In summary, this is an excellent and well-researched book. If you care at all about your health and fitness you should read it (though probably not straight through ;-) ).
Profile Image for Barrie.
499 reviews4 followers
June 28, 2011
Okay, Timothy is a crazy weirdo who thinks everything he does is perfect, and because he's tested it - then it's true and if you don't do it, you are then dumb and wrong.

Well, maybe he really isn't all those things - but that's how he comes across in this book. Filled with what he promises as a "minimalist approach" to a better life, I read this as a joke at first and also to see what the heck he had to say. First off, he can't quite say that anything he proposes you do with weight, sex, sleep and sleep is anything but minimal. It's step after step after drug after step to get to this so-called perfect place. Want to lose weight? Only eat beans and veggies for every meal (if he were to read this he might call my bluff, as he says you can eat other things, but it's basically beans and veggies). But then take this and that and only drink grapefruit juice on Tuesdays and then gorge yourself on a cheat day. ARGH!

It goes on and on like this with every life aspect. Want to achieve mind-blowing orgasms? It's as easy as doing 500 really easy (did I mention it's easy) steps.

Towards the end I kinda gave up, because I didn't care enough to read about how to become the perfect swimmer or the perfect basketball player. I'm giving this a two instead of a one mainly because a)Dominic and I will forever joke about the 2 sheets of paper rule and b)this is great fodder for my job.
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,348 reviews58 followers
May 27, 2018
Ferris is the human test gerbil...great research, some excellent ideas to get in shape and to push yourself to become something better.
Profile Image for Vadim.
185 reviews25 followers
December 1, 2018
Тим Феррис суммировал в книге свой опыт по снижению веса (% жира), развитию мускулатуры, обучению плаванию, бегу на марафонские дистанции, здоровому питанию и сексу, восстановлению после травм, улучшению сна. Он потратил на это четверть миллиона долларов и десятилетия жизни, вы можете купить эти знания за $5 и прочитав книгу за 10 часов, сделать свое тело привлекательным и здоровым.
Profile Image for Casey Malone.
12 reviews52 followers
December 17, 2010
So, there is pretty much no one I know who has a better grasp on nutrition and what's what than my former co-worker Sylvain Dubrofsky. And in the lead up to this book's release, he was constantly sharing excepts and interviews with the Author, so I took notice. When it came out, the Kindle Edition was $10, and I will spend $10 on PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING if it catches my interest, so I picked it up.

First off, this dude is two things - obsessed with his body and a total nerd. Not a nerd like I am, where I just know the difference between a B-Wing and a Y-Wing and which one Admiral Ackbar invented, but a programmer, computer-science style nerd who loves nothing more than intricate systems and algorythms and all that stuff. So combining these two, he wrote this book.

His writing style is easy to read, and he enhances that ease by sectioning off different parts of the book - mid-chapter - to let you know "this part is super technical if you want to skip it" or "this is just an anecdote I have if you're not interested," which is handy, because I was only mildly interested in the science and not at all interested in his anecdotes.

The book breaks down into four sections - weight loss, muscle gain, sexual health and this weird sort of potpourri category that is random knowledge he picked up while working on these other things. There's advice in the intro to only read the stuff you're interested in, so I read through the weight loss and sexual health sections.

The weight loss section is full of a lot of really practical advice and simple rules for eating to facilitate weight loss. I'm going to give them a try, as they don't include anything too extreme, like Atkins. They do, however, eschew the typical calorie counting as a way to lose weight. It focuses instead on eating mostly protein and very specific vegetables while avoiding sugar and carbohydrates for six days a week and then allocating one day a week to eat whatever you want. It's explained very clearly in the book why he suggests specific foods and why. What lends the book's approach credibility, I feel, is a recurring statement by the author that this is not the only way to lose weight, but is what he feels the best way. He also is a huge proponent of tracking and measuring your input in ANY way and setting reasonable goals. Again, the book's common-sense language and explanations made the diet he proposed more appealing.

Then I got to chapter 2 of the weight loss section. Now, the first was "How to lose weight," and this section is more of the "How to reduce your bodyfat down from 8% to 5%" kind of insanity. I say insanity because he talks about the kinds of things he does like taking cold, twenty minute showers, because your body needs to warm itself up so it uses energy. This whole section was full of stuff I will NEVER do, but was kind of interesting from a nerdy perspective.

The sexual health section is bananas. I expected it to be about nutrition and instead it was a crazy half-memoir half-instruction manual for sexual organs, half-excerpt from "The Game." Very strange.

So, I guess I'll try the diet and that is going to be the deciding factor about if this book is any good or not. But I found it a really interesting, and bizarre, read. Might go back to it eventually, but for now I think I've got all I need.
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