150 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with the right expectations
Disclaimer: I am a real reviewer who actually purchased and read the book. I felt compelled to write my first review because I was annoyed in two ways: first, the clearly fake reviewers, second, the readers who came in with ridiculous expectations about the contents of the book.
Second disclaimer: I am NOT a Tim worshiper. The 4-Hour Workweek is a sometimes...
Published 12 months ago by Mark Fenny
735 of 797 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zen and the Art of Just About Everything
Tim Ferriss tells you right off that this isn't a book about cooking, just like Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance isn't about Zen or changing oil. He'll teach you how to handle a knife and make a few interesting dishes, but mostly he takes you on a long, strange, self-indulgent, and sometimes useful trip.
What I enjoyed:
Published 12 months ago by Debra Eve
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735 of 797 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zen and the Art of Just About Everything,
This review is from: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Hardcover)Tim Ferriss tells you right off that this isn't a book about cooking, just like Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance isn't about Zen or changing oil. He'll teach you how to handle a knife and make a few interesting dishes, but mostly he takes you on a long, strange, self-indulgent, and sometimes useful trip.
What I enjoyed:
-- Ferriss's storytelling. He has a nice way with words: "Mangalitsa acorn-finished woolly boar tasted just like acorns. I was chewing on fall, clear as crystal, in a sliver of cured ham."
-- His emphasis on the slow food movement and local, organic farming. (But strangely, his "Clean 15" foods include sweet corn, which is mostly genetically modified.)
-- His language hacking tips, which are gold. I've always wanted to master several languages and found his methodology solid and logical.
-- The 140-character Twitter recipes from almost every country in the world: fun, simple, and intriguing.
What I didn't like:
-- Ferriss's tangential teaching style. At one point he goes from braising to English's 100 most common written words to kickboxing to chess to tango spins in order to emphasize the importance of selection and sequencing. It didn't work for me, because I often lost track of the original concept.
-- His foray in into survival and hunting skills, just so you can make your own venison burger. (If you want some cricket protein bars, however, you'll need to mail order the crickets.) This section could have been a separate book and might have been fascinating as a metaphor/methodology for learning entrepreneurial skills.
-- His unrealistic (for the busy person) science experiments, such as making arugula spaghetti using a syringe and flexible tubing just to avoid that dreaded white flour. (Though some of his cocktails in the same section sound delicious.)
If I were to sum up this book in one word, it would be "manic": excessively enthusiastic and somewhat disorganized. Ferriss is obviously a curious and driven guy. I came away feeling he gets satisfaction from the ability to tackle and master anything, but not joy.
150 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with the right expectations,
This review is from: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Hardcover)Disclaimer: I am a real reviewer who actually purchased and read the book. I felt compelled to write my first review because I was annoyed in two ways: first, the clearly fake reviewers, second, the readers who came in with ridiculous expectations about the contents of the book.
Second disclaimer: I am NOT a Tim worshiper. The 4-Hour Workweek is a sometimes unethical pipe dream that a couple people writers imitating Tim have made money on. For most of us, it contains a couple tricks to be more efficient at our 9-5. The 4-Hour Body is a relatively interesting and fun book on fitness and diet experimentation. I learned a few tips and tricks from it and really enjoyed reading about his experiences. I have read most of Tim's blog and consider it a sometimes better alternative to "Life Hacker".
Those two disclaimers being said, this is a GREAT book if you come in with the right expectations. If you're looking for 600+ pages solely devoted to grocery shopping, prep, recipes, cooking and eating, you will not find it here. You'll find about 200-250 pages dedicated solely to such, and 200 more at least somewhat related--consisting of wilderness cooking and survival, great restaurants, 140 character recipes, and basic tools you need in the kitchen. At a macro level, the most useful cooking lessons are Tim's notes on equipment to have in your kitchen, his 10 easy recipes (most of which are really interesting/easy shortcuts), and the charts on spices that go with different countries. At a micro level, I picked up a few random tidbits from the 1/2-pagers on how to quickly defrost a steak, how to make the perfect cup of coffee, etc. The most important part of this section is that Tim teaches you HOW to cook, not just how to follow a recipe. The best part about his methodology is that he removes all roadblocks from the reader--the excessively expensive equipment, the hard to find ingredients, and the difficult cooking techniques are all put nicely out of mind with shortcuts and detailed pictures.
The rest of the book, in my opinion, is actually more interesting. The first section is about a hundred pages are worth the price of admission alone. It details a method to learn anything efficiently--Tim is merely using cooking as a MEDIUM to teach this method. I've started applying this first section to learning a number of skills already. As the middle sections are the ones devoted to cooking and wilderness survival that I detailed above, the appendix is related to random skills and interesting "life hacks" that you can learn quickly. Yes, these feel like last-minute additions but if one thing is clear Tim actually cares about his readers, why not throw in these interesting pages--they do not detract from the focus as they are part of the appendix.
If I can say one thing--buy this book. For me, I can see myself going back to it for years anytime I'd like to learn a new skill (be it with cooking or otherwise). If you want to learn HOW to cook taught in an unpretentious tone with easy to follow pictures, you'll find it here. If you're interested in shortcuts to learning complex skills, you'll find it here. If you just want to pick up a few cooking shortcuts, you will most definitely be delighted with this book. And lastly, if you are a fan of Tim and his other works, absolutely buy this book.
Lastly, a note on format, BUY THE HARDCOVER. I bought the Kindle as well since it was on sale for just $4.99 on Amazon and it does not even come close to comparing to the hardcover version. This book is meant to have pages cut out and marked up, its detailed color pictures to be seen, etc.
168 of 198 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book but extremely random and reads more like a magazine,
This review is from: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (Hardcover)I am a fan of Tim Ferris but I have to say that this book over promises and under delivers. Ferris is the master of marketing and hype and even teaches you his techniques on his blog so it is very easy to pick out what he did. Here are some of my thoughts on the book.
- The book claims it's not a book about cooking yet 80% of the content is food related. He talks a lot about meta-learning but doesn't really dive into learning types and just gives generic learning tips.
- The book reads almost like a magazine and jumps all over the place as you progress through.
- Random mens magazine style tips (how shoot a jumpshot??, Knifes, guns, camping etc) I feel like I'm reading a GQ magazine.
- Really big book, the formatting is good but some of the pictures looked very amateur.
- You can tell he didn't write a lot of content of the book. Ferris is the master of outsourcing yet he makes it seems like he is the jack of all trades.
- Tons of pages of recipes (I thought this wasn't a cookbook?)
...more later as I progress through the book.
Overall I would say that it is a very entertaining book but I didn't find it more educational than any magazine you can pickup off the newsstands.
56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the ADDers ULTIMATE guide to becoming a REAL MAN!,
What can I say about this book? It's a dream come true! Being the creative type, I love a book with variety. I've read some reviews criticizing certain subjects in the book stating that they aren't practical. True, you might not want to kill a squirrel and eat it out in the wild, but I'd be willing to bet you'd want to eat steak that makes you strong like bull in the bedroom haha. I mean come on people, have you never read a Tim Ferriss book before? They're entertaining! One of the reasons I like reading Tim's books is due to the "choose your own adventure" format. So far I've learned that I can amp up everything that I thought I knew about food, I can improve in anything I want to improve in and do it all in record time. The book is beautifully illustrated and color coded, so definitely get the hard copy version over the kindle. Honestly, I love my kindle but I'd be awfully confused attempting to read it on one.
After reading his last book the 4-Hour Body The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman
I lost 35lbs, got better sleep, improved my sex life, and learned to heal my old injuries. I can't wait to see how much I can improve on after I finish reading the 4-Hour Chef.
Five Stars!!!! Kudos Tim!
95 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too scattered and unfocused,
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars review #850 which is even-handed and not sycophantic,
the book reads like a series of blogs, articles, etc... like a glossy magazine: this is good, and entertains the eye. great design sense, which makes the huge page count very approachable.
this is by far the best of tim's 3 books, and i'd recommend any newbie to the ferriss-model to start with this book, and move backwards.
regardless of the weird vortex of hype (and hyperbole) surrounding tim's approach to life, the 4 hour chef contains a lot of neat and useful tricks to use in a variety of kitchen and non-kitchen settings. like any good philosophy, behaviors in one area are applicable in other seemingly disparate areas.
the main issue i have with tim is probably also why he is so successful - his eagerness to impress others and have others like him. many times the book comes across in a kind of "look what i just did while i pat myself on the back" sort of way, but luckily and skillfully (either tim has figured this out about himself or he has a great editor) it always veers back to skill-building and learning.
read the book, use the tips, learn how to learn and PLEASE, don't guru-ify people who aim to help you.
559 of 731 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not magic,
I find it interesting that all the reviews for this book are 5 star. I was impressed UNTIL I noticed that all the reviews were submitted on the same day at almost the same time. So, I looked at what else the reviewers were reviewing. Most of them ONLY reviewed this book. Even those that had reviewed other items, had only reviewed one or two and they both got 5 stars as well. The reviewers must also be reading the same things because (of those few who had reviewed more than 1 item) most had also reviewed the re-educating millionaires and fit mom books.
UPDATE 11/26/2012: Since some have wanted specific criticisms, here are some things I didn't like:
- There was quite a bit of old information - things that are either common knowledge or things that Mr. Ferris has presented before. Note, I'm not a Ferris follower but I like to pick up cooking tips when I can.
- The book felt thrown together, are we learning to cook or hunt or do science experiments? Apparently, all those things and much more and in a random fashion.
- Atkin's like diet advice feels very preachy. If I want diet or nutrition advice, I'll read a book by some one who has specifically studied nutrition.
- From the title, I would have thought the book would be mostly about learning to cook like a pro and the techniques pros use with a few interesting asides. Instead, there's only a little of that, a huge spattering of recipes mixed with a ton of information on many unrelated subjects.
52 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment,
306 of 403 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Named: "The 4 Hour Jack Of All Trades" Instead,
Do not let the size of Tim's latest book deter you. Yes it's as big as an encyclopedia but it's also as useful and structured as such. In fact, like his last book, it's more a reference that you can jump to the parts that interest you most.
All of Tim's books have been inspirations for me. The 4Hwork week inspired me to start my business, the 4hourBody was a major inspiration behind the program inside this book Train Your Taste To Trim Your Waist: A Simple Method To Love the Food That Loves You Back and now Tim's latest book is an amazing tribute to food, life and learning.
As a health, fitness and nutritional expert, I have found myself disagreeing with certain aspects of Tim's methods (or explanations) of them in the past, but for the most part I love his approach to experimentation, life and bio-hacking and determining what works best for you.
First, what I disliked: The name of the book. It's actually misleading. Although innovative recipes and methods of cooking seem to comprise the majority of the content, there are a lot of non-cooking related topics that are equally as useful. A more apt title might be The 4-Hour Jack of All Trades With A Specialization In Cooking Cool Stuff. Ok I know that's a terrible title, but the book conveys so much more than cooking.
I'm a huge learning-addict, so the "Meta Learning" chapter was what I jumped to first. That's a smart idea because there's a lot to "digest" in this book.
Next, I jumped to the Sexy Steak chapter because that had one of the most alluring names obviously.
Now, I'm a big proponent of Juicing Vegetables...but I have to admit, a good grass fed steak is an awesome treat and I look forward to using Tim's recipe...including the Pine Pollen...which for reasons I won't be discussing on this review is already on order :) (read the book to understand why.)
How to use this book for maximum effectiveness? Keep it handy in your kitchen or coffee table. Flip to it when you're bored or want to try something new.
Most importantly, try out the recipes, learn something new and give life a new flavor. After all, that's what I think Tim's work is really about...adding spice to life and finding new, exciting ways to live it.
I look forward to finishing your book Tim...or most of it at least. (And no, I don't regret having bought the physical book for 4x the cost of the kindle, because I might need to use it as a survival weapon)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you get a few uses out of this <$30 book it is worth it,
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The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss (Hardcover - November 20, 2012)