Yay! The long-awaited 4-Hour Body from Tim Ferriss is here. It took me about two weeks to find time to open the book but once I did, I couldn’t put it down for an entire day. And the good news is you can find out what all the hype is about because I’m giving away a signed copy of Tim Ferriss’ new book at the end of this blog post.
The book is broken into chunks and TF recommends reading only the chapters that apply to you, so here are my thoughts on the sections I read:
The Slow-Carb Diet I & II
I’ll admit that I tried this already based on the blog post: How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise
I tried it at a time in my life where I wasn’t very happy, and it worked, but I had other problems I needed to address at the time and didn’t keep up with it. Now, I’m in a better place in my life–I’m at the end of a really big project, and I’m generally happy and optimistic about my future.
Which means I’m more optimistic about sticking to this diet this time, and was happy with the expansions, the additional case studies, and the anecdotes that came in this section. Whether it works, I won’t know for several months, and I didn’t want to wait several months to post this. So instead, I followed TF’s instructions to fail-proof my ability to stick to the diet and I’ll share the results in a blog post later. Either way, if you found the original blog post interesting it is more than worth the $15 cost of this book to get two full chapters on these same concepts. (In other words, buy the book.)
Some Other Chapters
The book goes on for a few more chapters and touches on some cool stuff, like how to binge without gaining weight and how swimming in cold water can allow you to eat 12,000 calories a day (or something like that–I don’t remember the details). Basically, if you enjoy books like Freakonomics you will enjoy these parts of the book. They are entertaining, funny, and maybe slightly useful, but I didn’t absorb as much from these chapters because I’m not mentally ready to implement them yet.
This is actually a theme in the book. You aren’t supposed to read it straight through, and now I can see why–because you can’t implement all the information at once. So if you read this book, choose one thing you care about most–diet, muscle building, sleep, injuries, running–and only read that section. Once you’ve got that section incorporated into your routine, you can pick up another.
Of course, I didn’t take my own advice. I kept reading.
The 15-Minute Orgasm
This much-hyped-before-publication chapter is my least favorite section of the ones I read. The anecdote at the beginning about the Catholic girl who didn’t masturbate when she was younger induced eye-rolling (also, Taylor Momsen made this point last month and it only took about ten sentences) that continued as the chapter talked about positioning a pillow under your back (which everyone who has ever opened a Cosmo, ever, already knows).
You can tell a lot about what bothers you in a chunk of reading by the exact point where you stop. For me, this is on page 243 (US hardcover version) when I saw the diagram of TF’s “preferred position as a right-hander.”
So you should buy the book just so you can see what I’m talking about. The position is so unattractive and lacks so much intimacy that no woman would want to have an orgasm this way, much less one that goes on for 15 minutes.
And that sums up what bothers me about the entire chapter: it is scientific and boring, which is the opposite of what sex is supposed to be. Also, it doesn’t touch on anything a woman actually wants: intimacy, love, and a steady relationship with a man who treats her well.
I am not the only one who thought this: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2010/12/27/tim-ferriss-diet/#comment-240100
And to be fair, there are several comments under the original link from males who defend the reason they found the chapter informative.
(But to be fairer to these men: your wife/fiance/girlfriend does not want a 15-minute orgasm. She wants to feel connected to you.)
Adventures in Tripling Testosterone
There was no reason for me to continue to this chapter, because this section is about sex again and is geared towards men, but I learned something else that I want to touch on. TF wants a wife and kids. Which is not clear from the previous 250 pages, because you couldn’t use yourself as a human science experiment if you had wife and kids, and you couldn’t keep experimenting if you wanted to have a wife and kids in the future. (I swear, I have a point here. Keep reading).
Engineering the Perfect Night’s Sleep
This was my last chapter in the 4-Hour Body, because I was interested in polyphasic sleep. But this is where the book broke down for me a second time. It’s not because I didn’t want to try it–who wouldn’t want an extra 4 hours of productivity per day? It broke down for me because my husband would kill me if I stayed up for half the night while he was sleeping.
The problem with polyphasic sleep is it’s completely impractical if you live with people who live in the real world because they will be on monophasic sleep and have different schedules than you. This was not addressed at all.
And this is a major problem with the book–it doesn’t address many of the emotional and psychological factors that hold most people back from achieving the lifestyle touted (aside from the slow-carb section, which thankfully, does).
This lead me to my last point about what I’ve read so far–you have to be careful about how you implement the advice in this book. It’s a great and truly informative book. But take and choose and modify and consider the consequences, especially if you live with other people that are more significant than roommates. There is a big difference between having great relationships (friends, parents, brothers, sisters, etc.), which I believe TF has, and having extremely intimate relationships where you are sharing your entire life–specifically your schedule–with other people. I don’t think the latter is addressed very well throughout the book, and some other very public figures who experiment with their lives this way (Steve Pavlina, for example), have ruined these intimate relationships in the process.