941 of 1,070 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2010
I started reading this book and was enjoying it. Nice writing style, interesting theories and things to try. But this is not a novel where interesting and enjoyment count. This is a "self-help" body transformation guide where results count.
I went in with an open mind and started reading the chapters on diet and fat loss, which I liked. Nutritional science is not my specialty.
I then moved into the weight lifting sections. Now I am no Arnold but I know a bit about iron. I started noticing a lot of things.
Tim will mention powerlifters who bench 800 pounds. He will fail to mention they wear bench shirts which add 100's of pounds to the total. He will mention past powerlifting champions coached by Marty Gallagher who used linear periodization to build strength. He will fail to mention the enormous amounts of steroids these specific powerlifters used. One was even busted and ratted out fellow lifters. Tim is not telling the whole story. Just parts.
Little inconsistencies stood out. You do not need to add mass to gain strength because strength is a skill. Then some sections later the only way to get stronger is to add mass??? Huh? Which is it?
He relates a story how he gained a lot of weight working out with High Intensity Training. He mentions that he was detrained at the time. It is pretty common to be able to gain weight quickly after being de-trained. Very common and one trick that is often used in "before/after shots." Again - this is well known. It looks dramatic but is just that, looks, smoke and mirrors.
It made me think - if he is leaving stuff out of the strength sections, the area which I know and am familiar with, what is he leaving out of the other sections? If he is not telling the whole story in the strength department, why should I believe he is in the diet part?
I started to notice other little inconsistencies there as well. Calories in/Calories out is a flawed model. Eat as much as you want as long as you dont eat A B and C. Type of calories count. Be careful with nuts because the calories in them really add up. Do calories count or not? Why do nut calories count? Calories in calories out does not work. Person A lost lots of weight counting calories. Is he telling the whole story here or is he not?
His dad lost a lot of weight using the "slow carb diet." Is that the whole story? He did not tell the whole story with other sections. How do I know this is the whole story? Another guy lost a lot of weight using cold water. Lot's of fat people in Minnesota. Why does cold work for his guy but not Minnesota?
I just get the sense that this guy is willing to bend things to make it look like the way he wants.
270 of 304 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2010
Tim Ferris starts his book: "Please don't be stupid and kill yourself. It would make both of us unhappy. Consult a doctor before doing anything in this book."
The first rule of medicine is do no harm. I'm an M.D. Take him at his word.
In his chapter on "reversing permanent injuries," Tim explains how he went to a doctor in Arizona who injected him with "everything but the kitchen sink." The final cocktail included platelet-rich plasma, stem cell factor, bone morphogenic protein 7, and insulin growth factor 1. The result was emergency surgery at UCSF following a staph infection in his elbow. He still thinks the medication was right, but "I didn't find the right person to administer it."
Does he have any idea what all that stuff could do to his immune system?
The reason for his attempt at regenerative medicine - many injuries. His "pushing the envelope" had produced 20 fractures, 20 dislocations, two joint surgeries and innumerable tears and sprains. His orthopedist told him (p.297) that he was "a 30 year old in a 60 year old body."
Before you buy his book, consider Tim's own history.
There is excellent advice here on motivation, an excellent chapter by Ben Goldacre on what really happens in drug research, many provocative ideas. But a diet suggesting mandatory bingeing? Sleeping effectively two hours a day? For those attracted by his video which promises "you can do the impossible," I would ask this - consider what the impossible might do to you.
169 of 190 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2011
In one of the intro chapters to the book Tim goes over a 2.5% rule that basically states: "2.5% of the total subject matter provides 95% of the desired results."
Incidentally this rule applies perfectly to the book--of the near 600 pages maybe about 2.5% is practical, useful, and worth reading; you just have to figure out yourself which one applies to you.
The problem with the book is that it immediately sets itself up for failure. The intro talks about how science is completely behind the times and that the "common knowledge" we have today started off as hearsay decades ago, and that it'll take many decades to make what is rejected today (and shown in this book) to become common sense in the future; but as the other reviewers have stated most people who have a decent amount of knowledge in fitness already grasp these principles.
He claims this is a research/science based book but most instances and examples he provides are purely anecdotal. A woman who wasn't losing much weight following his diet plan? All she had to do was cut back on her workouts and magically the results appeared. Interesting? Maybe. Applicable for the average person? Not quite.
The book also states the all changes are "small and/or simple"--yet they are often anything but. Eating at a restaurant then immediately going to a bathroom and doing squat exercises? Taking ice baths? No.
For each new strategy he discusses, whether it be a new diet or exercise plan is a tip sheet at the end with articles or links to other books to get "more info".
And even while preaching about the simplified diet, there are literally dozens of recommended supplements he mentions that the reader take for fat loss alone, and tons more for weight gain purposes.
For instance his muscle gain chapter lists literally a dozen supplements he took DAILY, with zero explanation on what any of them do, and even those who are familiar with supplements have never heard of before. Micellean? Policosanol? Slo-Niacin? Put all this in my body?
Contradictories are everywhere as well; he says that the frequency of eating meals don't matter when it comes to fat loss, but in another chapter he says that less meals can lead to fat gain.
The other reviews on the book point these out as well.
So I do have to wonder how the hundreds of 5 star reviews were posted so quickly after the book launched--and why all the "most helpful" reviews are all critical of the book.
Also the first chapter I went to? 15 minute female orgasm--highly misleading.
And speaking of misleading, you, the reader, will NOT "gain 34 pounds (of muscle) in 28 days" as one of his chapter suggests.
214 of 246 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2010
First let me say, I was a big fan of the 4 hour work week, so I was pretty excited to hear about the 4 hour body. Many of the topics were right in line with my current passion, powerlifting. I voraciously read most of the medpub research and keep up to date on the latest methodologies for increasing strength and muscle mass. So from the early promotions done by Tim, I thought perhaps he had stumbled upon some unique combinations that the lab coats haven't gotten around to studying. Alas, it's not the case, just more of the same hype with little empirical backing.
In fact most of the book is just so random in its material: from how to swing a bat to producing pheromones through brazil nuts. In reality it seems more like six month's worth of Men's Health articles, complete with sensational headlines that have little substance. Take for example the 15 minute female orgasm, an item that I admit peaked my interest. Now it may be just me, but I read it as an orgasm that lasts 15 minutes, but in reality it is an orgasm "in" 15 minutes. Subtle difference in wording that makes a world of difference in meaning.
The most disappointing, for me and my background of powerlifting, was the information of strength gains and muscle growth. I could produce reams of data that contradict Tim's claims, but let's just suffice it to say gaining "34 pounds of muscle in 28 days" or adding "150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months" is a pipe dream except in very specific circumstances (for example Tim basically having been starved prior to his weight gain or untrained individuals gaining strength which basically happens to anyone first starting to lift on a decent program).
Overall, my expectations fell far short of the promises. But why should I be surprised? The fitness industry is plagued with snake oil salesmen, and when of the best self promoters out there (and I mean that with admiration; I wish I had the ability to do what Tim has done) comes out with a fitness book, why should I expect anything different than rehashed diets and workout routines with a dash of carnival barker?
160 of 184 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
I received this book a few days early of the release and started into it. Everything seemed fine until I hit the sidebar (what Tim calls "GA boxes") on page 23. Here Tim, in his flippant style, suggests you loose 107 calors during a "kick-ass hour-long Stairmaster workout." And, that that's only 7 calories better than sitting on the couch watching TV. Now a quick search on Google will provide you with information that suggests 107 calories likely not close to accurate at all. In fact, its most likely you loose between 300 to 600 calories depending on your weight, age, metabolism, level of exertion, etc. I actually asked Tim about this (I have a friend who knows him) and he wrote me a short rambling note that ended up by his stating that the overarching message was that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss (which had nothing to do with my question)? So I ask why make flippant comments you cannot back, especially if they add no value to your book?
I have not gotten further in the book because I smelled something fishy and after a few more minutes on the Web, I realize that there's a lot to be suspect about when it comes to the Author. I won't do a review of the author here, however. I'd just recommend you do a little homework before you jump on board and leave you with these two famous sayings: "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is" and "the devil is in the details."
99 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2010
I purchased this book on kindle and I'm not sure what all the 5-star raters were reading, but it must have been a different book. I gave in to the marketing hype and now am left disappointed. For the most part this book is just a collection of what many other EXPERTS have been discussing for years. Tim just put all the info into one location. Nothing is either new or revolutionary. Most of the information can be found out there for free(paleo diet, stregth and conditioning info, prehab)with better detail. His diet was just him putting his own name on Paleo(only the billionth person to do this). If you want to follow paleo, you would be better off reading robb wolf. If you want to get leaner, stronger, or bigger go straight to the experts(dan john, elitefts, mark rippetoe, defranco, lyle mcdonald, pavel, bret contreras, christian thibadeau, etc, etc) not Tim. Think you are going to learn how to add an amazing 100lbs to your bench? well, just know that he is assuming a very beginner starting point on your behalf(200lb bench). This may be great if you're a beginner, but if you have been in the iron game for a bit, good luck following the program and putting 100 on our bench. If you are a beginner, don't buy a book go into the gym, work hard, eat like its your job, and read from the experts. Suddenly, the claimed 100lbs wont be so impressive. There were some interesting protocols that I want to try out( how to raise t-levels and sperm levels). Since I have yet to try them, I can't comment on their validity. ALl of the information on how to sleep better and polyphasic sleep can be found free online. Really I am not sure what is new information in this book. YOu are basically being charged for hearing stories of Tim testing these methods and some new ones on himself. It seems to me that this is Tim's last book. That he was banking on hyping it big time, collecting money, and then riding into the sunset laughing at how dumb people were to give in. If this wasn't his intention and he plans to keep writing, then he is going to have to find a way to bring his followers back in because many many people are going to be disappointed with this book.
115 of 142 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2010
This book was mostly a waste of money, and definitely doesn't live up to the hype.
The 4-Hour Body is an exercise, health and nutrition book that details a number of approaches to a few very specific goals - losing fat and keeping it off, gaining muscle mass, improving your running speed, improving your running distance, etc - all in the shortest amount of time reasonable for anyone who is not an Olympic-level athlete. It has some good information, and most of the advice is sound within the parameters of the goals that Tim defines, but there is really just not that much new that justified being republished, and there is a haphazard quality to the book that I found annoying. I bought it at Borders with a 50% coupon, and I'm glad I didn't pay any more for it than that.
Most of the value in this book for most people - the sections on losing fat and gaining muscle - are already covered in his other book and in his blog articles online. I had already purchased that previous book, so to pay for a rehash of these ideas was pretty much a waste of time and money.
The other things - improving your running speed, increasing your distance up to 50k (30 miles) etc. - are all interesting, and useful to a point, but how many people are really going to follow these training protocols who don't already have access to a gym and personal trainer that could have taught them the same things?
Meanwhile - where is the information on stretching??? A book that purports to be about health, especially for someone like Tim who supposedly has longevity as an underlying goal, should absolutely have more information about warming up and stretching. This would have been a logical topic for the "Pre-hab" chapter.
Also - the exploration of vegetarianism and non-animal-product dietary restrictions is laughable. As someone with a genetic predisposition towards insanely high cholesterol and triglycerides, eating all the beef, chicken and eggs he talks about is just not an option for me. I know I'm not the only one out there, so it would have been nice if he had discussed alternatives beyond a perfunctory level to justify putting it in the advertising, since heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in the US.
Finally - Tim claims to be up on research, but he doesn't mention alkalinity/acidity at all in talking about diet. This is a major area of research for long-term health that is gaining more and more attention, but it doesn't fit within his narrowly defined short-term goals (fat loss, muscle gain in shortest amount of time humanly possible), so apparently he either didn't bother to do his research or didn't feel it was worth mentioning. I found that to be a major blind spot in the book.
And all that stuff about the female anatomy and "15-minute orgasms"... I'm sorry, but I learned all that when I was 17 from reading women's magazines. Ironically, those women's magazines use the same deceptive headlines and titles to bait and switch their readers.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2011
-What bothers me the most is that the book keeps referring the reader to his website or other people's websites.
If I'm going to buy a book, I'm buying it because I want to hold it in my hands and READ it. I can go online anytime. If I had read the table of contents more carefully and had noticed how much space each topic got, I would not have bought this book. Given the number of repetitions, this book needs to go on a diet.
There's good advice in this book but none of it is appropriate for women my age (62). There are a lot of us out there over the age of 50, serious lifters, runners and swimmers not in aerobics classes. This exclusion makes no sense. The big clue that this is NOT for the girls is the lengthy chapter on the best way to make love to a woman.
The book is entirely geared to men between the ages of 18 and 40. It is basically about winning, not about getting your game better- run better, swim better.
The writer is really long-winded and takes up too much time and space defending his ideas with tedious proofs and name-dropping. Lots and lots of of name dropping - I don't care what rich guy or celebrity is involved with his program, I just want the info straight and without so much verbiage.
If I wanted to read a book that was about weight loss, I would have bought one. Nearly 1/4 of the book is devoted to losing weight. It is boring for anyone who is already in good shape to have to plow thru this kind of info.
The chapter on working thru an injury is ok, but again, nothing that can't be easily found on line.
His off the cuff comments about aerobics and vitamins are really funny and are among the few comments he makes that are unique, interesting and valuable.
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
This review applies ONLY to the ABRIDGED AUDIO BOOK version available on CD and through Audible. Please note that Amazon combines the reviews for all forms of media (book, kindle e-book, audiobook, etc.)
There is a huge amount of information missing from the abridged audiobook version. The audiobook does say it's abridged, but the description goes on to detail the topics that are covered. Many of these promised topics are NOT contained in audiobook.
Missing info includes: Reaching Genetic Potential in 6 months, Running 50K in 12 weeks, Sleeping 2 Hours Per Day, Reverse Permanent Injuries, Add 150 Lbs to Lift in 6 Months, Pay For Beach Vacation w/ Hospital Visit.
It's not just the product description; the content of the audiobook contradicts itself as well. The reader says "more on this subject later", but then the topic turns out to be omitted. This seems to indicate rushed and poor quality production.
I'm sure the unabridged book is great. And this rating would have many more stars if not for the false advertising of missing information. The author Tim Ferriss seems to have quite a bit of attention to detail, but I'm guessing he wasn't all that involved in the audiobook. Too bad.
Now I'm trying to decide if it's worth the investment to purchase this book yet again but in a different format. I feel like I wasted my money the first time around.
75 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2010
I am writing this review because I was indeed very disappointed and I find it ridiculous that 100+ 5 stars review are posted on day 1. I guess you need to be a very fast reader to enjoy this *Cough*.
This book is a two stars because Tim's writing style is entertaining. If you read this book one chapter at a time and in random order that is.
Chapters feel disconnected and either repeating or contradicting themselves ( dismisses calories count but refers to them continuously). It leaves you wondering if this book has been edited whatsoever. Certainly feels like a one man job.
The approach of telling "everybody out there has it plain wrong, but now you are in good hands" is the most common and thickest plot in the fitness industry (Read any fitness blog or watch any fitness equipment infomercial). Unfortunately, this book follows the exact same path. Research coming out of nowhere and self inflicted experiment are the best "facts" you will get to feed on. I hope you are a believer.
Claims such as "It works because I have never seen it fail" don't really cut it for me. Not that I need strong scientific backing but I wasn't in for a sermon either. The diet is based on what Tim likes, but if you try hard enough you will get use to it. Come on, dieting is enough of a pain on what you like so do you really believe people will eat pinto beans for breakfast on a regular basis? This is closer to rabbit poop than food!
Rehashing is also a major theme. I have nothing against aggregating ideas in a central place, but a vast majority of the fat loss material has already been published for free on Tim's Blog (I mean copy-pasted!). You really need to read it through to find new material, the bulk has been out there (for free) for over a year.
On the bright side, this is yet another lesson in self promotion and internet networking. Not sure I want to be sponsoring this anymore though.
If Tim is your personal Jesus then you might get motivation out of this reading otherwise you are left with a 2 stars bargain bin material.