Archive for March, 2011

Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek, and The 4-Hour Body

26/03/2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been quiet for a while, something I hope to remedy shortly. In the meantime, here is a rant. Feel free to tune out.

Many of you may have heard of Tim Ferriss’s two best-selling books, The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body. Some of you may have even read them. I’ve read both of them, and enjoyed both of them. They are both full of useful information and entertaining tidbits; I encourage you all to read both of them if you get the chance.

Now there are a lot of bloggers and other social media types who have put up posts saying things along the lines of “Tim Ferriss’s books are scams and he is a fraud; he doesn’t have any of the credentials he claims to have; he doesn’t really work only 4 hours a week; he was on steroids when he gained all that muscle; etc.”

Here comes the rant!

Most of these are ridiculous posts. Common themes include: “the books don’t come close to living up to the hype around them,”  “it’s all lies!” and “you can summarize the entire book into X and X, so you shouldn’t buy them because you just learned everything in them.”

Okay, first of all: most of these authors haven’t even read the books. Some of them took time from their busy lives to read summaries. Some of them have only seen the marketing material. I repeat, most of these authors haven’t even read the books.

Point one: It is dishonest post a “review” of a book, especially ones that personally attack the author, without having read the book. End of story.

But what about the hype around the books? Will reading the 4HWW really make you go from 9-5 slave to $40K a month entrepreneur with no effort? Will the 4HB really make you put on pounds of muscle with little gym time?

If you are willing to put in the effort and effectively use the actionable items that Ferriss provides, I say yes. To the people who use the hype around the books as a basis for calling Ferriss a scam artist, I say grow up. Name me ONE such book that lived up to all the hype around it. I dare you. Chances are, if a book has any significant amount of hype, it won’t live up to it.

Point two: Marketing hype is never lived up to. Never. Grow up and get over it – didn’t you learn that lesson when you were 10?

As for the summary argument, you can do that with every book. The entire Lord of the Rings saga can be summed up into a single sentence: Bilbo found a ring of great power and great evil and passed it down to his adopted son Frodo, who had to destroy it to save Middle Earth. Sorry to ruin it for you, but that’s exactly what happened.

The reason to buy any book is that you will enjoy reading it and hopefully learn something in the process. I did both with both of the books.

Sure, the biggest productivity secrets from the 4HWW may be outsourcing and the 20/80 principle, but the rest of the book is thought-provoking, inspiring, and entertaining. You’ll get more out of the principles if you read the entire thing, IMO.

Point three: Any book can be summarized. This does not mean they are scams, or lies, or not worth reading.

Sorry, I just had to get that out there. If you’re going to try to rip an author to shreds, at least read the damn book first, and at least use actual arguments.