Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss Is Almost Here!

by Chris Masterjohn

I just received my advanced copy of Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman.

Tim's last book, The 4-Hour Workweek, was #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week bestseller lists, and has been translated into 33 languages.

Last year, Tim contacted me through Dr. Michael Eades and asked me to write a critique of The China Study for his new book as a case study in junk science. 

It looks like my critique got relegated to the bonus material that will be available on the web site using a password found in the book, which isn't surprising considering the book in its final cut is 571 pages long.  Given how well his last book did, this may prove to broaden the influence of important China Study critiques.  I've updated my original review with links to Denise Minger's critique and my most recent analysis of Dr. Campbell's rat research.

My name is nevertheless found in the index, right below "Mark (weight fluctuation)" and right a above a much more awkward m-word.  On page 512, he discusses my work on Activator X and vitamin K2, the findings of Weston Price, and the important interactions between vitamins A, D, and K2.  He gives a nod to natto, gives goose liver pate a "yum," pays his respects to hard cheeses, and recommends cod liver oil, grass-fed butter, eggs, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

If his chapter on how to get eight hours of sleep in two hours has any merit, I might actually be able to read and review this book before it hits shelves on December 14.

Here's the trailer:

Click here to learn more about the book.  If you think you'll want it, pre-ordering it now will help boost the shelf space that retailers will be willing to use to promote it.

Based on ten years of self-experimentation and interviewing hundreds of elite athletes and dozens of MDs, Ferriss claims a lot of seemingly impossible stuff is possible. If a tenth of the crazy superhuman things he claims are possible actually are possible, this book will be well worth it.  It will certainly be entertaining, regardless.  

Read more about Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.


  1. I have a long-time friend with whom one of our running jokes is that we need to learn how to sleep faster. That's owing to the mixed blessing of being interested in damned nearly everything.

    With the hook of "how to get 8 hours of sleep in 2 hours", I'm going to have to buy that book. Normally, I would be a bit more resistant to that sort of hype, but I have read Mr. Ferris' 4-hour Work Week, and I was generally impressed.

    Even if I'm not 100% convinced that *I* can do that, he does make a good case. And now that I'm pushing 60, I'm pretty sure the days of "incredible sex" are behind me, but hey, I can dream, yes?

  2. I've been waiting* for 4HB almost since Tim first mentioned about it in his blog and now one of my favourite health "idols" is going to do an early review... Great! ;)

    (* Though, that doesn't mean I'm expecting some miracle cures, I just like his style and would like to see his argumentations for those 2h sleep things and others even though they sound a bit implausible/unsustainable)

  3. I haven't read the book, but I'm presuming the sleep thing is in reference to "polyphasic sleep". If you do a quick google search you can find more info.

    Basically, it's the idea that multiple naps throughout the day can reduce your total sleep need.

    This idea has spawned an underground internet following.

    People claim that the first two weeks of sleeping like this is difficult, but later your body adapts.

    I got myself involved in this craze about two years ago. I spent, literally, about 5 months trying to "adapt" on and off.

    This was the biggest mistake of my life. I never "adapted", and two years later I'm suffering a number of health consequences, mostly scary/severe mental problems, which is requiring many doctor visits. Among these problems is chronic insomnia.

    I'm 24 and have no family history of mental problems (or major physical health problems).

    I urge anyone to avoid it. It doesn't work, unless you're already a short/light sleeper.

    If you find the lack of common sense in china-study advocates annoying, try reading a few polyphasic sleep blogs. The pseudoscientific drivel in such posts is astounding. My adherence to it two years ago was nothing short of a mental problem, like the mental component of anorexia.

  4. I'm a huge fan of 20 minute naps, but I don't see how they could possibly substitute for sleeping solid hours at night. I think the sleep you get there is much lighter sleep that is good for regenerating mental power once your brain crashes from overload, but does nothing to help heal your muscles and so on. I'm more interested in Mercola's idea that you can cut back from 8 to 6 hours by getting to bed before 9-10pm. Any idea if that has any merit? It seems to work for me when I try it but I'm never able to sustain it because I have various commitments that take me at least till 11 on certain nights so I can't keep the habit.


  5. I used to be a night owl, but I now go to bed no later than 10 every night (I think this started after my kids were born a few years ago). In my case, I seem to sleep longer (about 8 hours) and tend to wake when I am rested vs. going to bed at 11 or 12pm and getting up with an alarm clock.

  6. Steve Pavlina got me interested in polyphasic sleep a few years ago. He blogged about his experience which is quite interesting. He apparently did it successfully but gave it up for family/social reasons. I have followed a few others who have seemingly done it quite successfully.

    There is little science here nor would I expect there to be much on the subject.

    It is my intention to give it a whirl in a few months and blog about it the entire time.

  7. I'm more interested in Mercola's idea that you can cut back from 8 to 6 hours by getting to bed before 9-10pm.

    I don't know about Mercola's stuff but Pavlina has an excellent article on how to become an early riser.

  8. For me it's all about consistency. Go to bed at 23.30 - get up at 7.00. I do that religiously. I live in different timezones during the week, so in order to get from one rythm into the other one, I just sleep at different times, although to my body it's still the same. Keeps me from getting jetlagged all the time :)

  9. The “15 minute orgasm” stuff is what got me to buy The 4-Hour Body.

    There is some good stuff in those two chapters - useful illustrations and a fairly straightforward approach from his trainers.

    While many of the ideas in the book were new to Tim, as he says, this information has been around since at least 1976. Of all the stuff in the book, sex seems to be one of the areas he has researched less. If these chapters are an example of Tim’s 80/20 rule – what he thinks is the 20% that produces 80% of the result, then I’d say what is in the book is closer to 10%, not 20% - there is a lot more available for both parties than what he describes. I’m guessing that as Tim’s research continues he’ll eventually wind up looking at the original source of this information.

    There is a lot of confusion on the web about the “15 minute” part – the book describes 15 minutes to get to orgasm, and many reader are confused or disappointed by this. The sources he mentions (Steve & Vera Bodansky, Lafayette Morehouse, One Taste) specifically discuss extended duration orgasms (orgasms lasting 15 minutes or an hour or three hours or more). Around the SF bay area, where Tim lives, there are actual demonstrations of varying length and intensity of female orgasm.

    Seems likely he is just getting started in this area - the way he describes it makes it seem like its a procedure you "do to a woman." Hard to know what he was taught vs. what he retained. What I’ve seen from the the Lafayette Morehouse, folks who, as Tim says, invented this stuff - is that “doing” is a ride you both take together, she the wave, you the surfer, two bodies, one orgasm. And it doesn’t matter which of you is doing the doing, it works either way.

  10. Chris
    I got the book from the library based on your comments. Your somewhat favorable view of this book of fantastic nonsence makes me question your judgement. Too bad, as my enjoyment of your blogs will diminish.

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