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The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life Hardcover – Print, November 20, 2012
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About the Author
- Publisher : New Harvest; 1st edition (November 20, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 672 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0547884591
- ISBN-13 : 978-0547884592
- Item Weight : 3.85 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.5 x 1.92 x 9.13 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#93,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,444 in Culinary Arts & Techniques (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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-Buffet style learning. The book is intentionally written in discrete sections, and the author specifically advises that if you're a certain type of reader you may feel free to skip around and pick the bits you want. This is great. Too many self-help books are basically just a handful of points stretched out because you have to print so many pages before your publisher will call it a book. No such issue here- those five points will be a bullet list up front, and the author is perfectly fine if you want to skip the explanation portion of the chapter and get on with your day. Only read the intervening part if you want that insight.
-Holistic learning. The author realized a whole lot of skills in life can be learned essentially the same way, so the "chef" portion which teaches you cooking is meant to be an example of the overall technique. I'll even hand you the basics free of charge- it's the 80/20 principle. Basically, find the 20% of what you need to learn that will get you 80% of results. You don't need to memorize the whole dictionary to read this review- 20% of the dictionary will probably be plenty to read every word on this page. On top of that, sequence your cooking in a logical order so you learn that 20% in an efficient way. A great example is that if you want to learn to cook, one of the best ways is to start by making eggs (which are included toward the front of the cooking program). Eggs require a lot of skills. There's ingredient selection- you can't pick out cracked eggs. There's dexterity- cracking the shells and flipping the eggs. There's heat control and observation- you have to flip the eggs and move them around to prevent them from sticking or burning. Cook some eggs, and you'll efficiently learn half a dozen skills at once rather than slowly getting to them separately. It turns out a lot of skills- from language learning to three-point shooting in basketball, can be approached with these principles.
-Data-driven results. Tim Ferris made himself a guinea pig, and shows you what he did and the results of his learning. That's one proof these methods work. Tim generally also has his friends try the method, asks his readers to try it and report on results, and asks experts what they'd recommend or change. He takes all those inputs, and gives you the notes.
This is a bit of an odd book. It's not a cookbook, there are only a few recipes and they're dumbed down so that you can learn to cook. You may want to move on to the "real" recipes later. A great example is that his first recipe is "Osso 'Buko'", a dumbed-down version of Osso Buco. It tastes great, but it's meant to teach you cooking skills, the recipe itself is just a tool. Similarly, he shows you tips for memorizing lists of numbers or for learning a language. In each case, what he shows you is an example. One great example is that he shows you how to memorize a deck of cards, shuffled into any order, quickly. Not many of us are going to need that. But what if you could memorize a seating chart in a few minutes, so that you can know exactly where every single person in a company is seated after only a few minutes of review. Now that could be useful- no more guessing who's who in a new office.
Anyone with some familiarity with Buddhism or Zen is going to see the parallel, and why some people aren't taking to this book. As the parable goes, sometimes a teacher points toward something the teacher wants you to see, but the student instead focuses on the teacher's hand and thinks the pointing hand is the lesson. If you only look at the hand- like if you only look at the recipes in this book- you'll totally miss what you're supposed to see. Again, the real key is the 80/20 principle combined with sequencing. The whole book is an exercise in helping you spin up on those skills. Every example is an example of those learning skills, and it only happens to give you into a window of learning languages or starting a fire.
Top reviews from other countries
But with the 4-Hour Chef, I finally learned about taste, smell and how to use basic ingredient to change the flavour. I've learned about combination and the typical ingredient used for each type of cuisine, by country.
I also now have a bulletproof recipe for the perfect steak. Thank you Tim!
But, the reason I bought the book in the first place is not for cooking, it's to get Tim's method for accelerated learning. It's brilliant and highly valuable. I now use it overtime I want to learn something new. It might not be obvious that it's in there if you don't know about it, but this is something you should not miss!
The 4-Hour Chef is a brilliant book, one that I still refer to for cooking. Whether you want to finally understand cooking or want to understand who you can learn anything much faster or if you want both, give it a go, you won't regret it.
My only regret is being the ebook version and really struggled because of all the images, so I did the unthinkable and ordered the print version to be sent to HK (Not cheap). Best decision ever! The reading experience was about a hundred times better.
Get the printed version, not the ebook.
In essence this book is a user manual for the process of learning, just like the "4 hour body" was a user manual for the human body.
As far as cooking itself is concerned, the recipees are simple and easy to make. Division between the cooking itself and getting ready to cook (prep and pickup) is wonderfully demonstrated.
My only gripe with this book so far is that EVERYTHING that I made (though it seemed delicious to me) my wife imediatelly critisised and found simple ways to improove. Usually by adding one or two simple additions to the meals served. Then again, my wife is a wonderfull cook :)
Hope you find this as usefull as I did.