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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
Tim Ferriss is author of the #1 New York Times best sellers The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body. He’s been called “The Superman of Silicon Valley” by Wired, one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and “the world’s best guinea pig” by Newsweek, which ranked him in its top 10 “most powerful” personalities on the 2012 Digital 100 Power Index. He is an adviser and faculty member at Singularity University, based at NASA Ames Research Center, which focuses on leveraging accelerating technologies to address global problems. Tim’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, The Economist, and The New Yorker, among many others.
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Top customer reviews
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.
What I mean? In hard copy book you have photos and text on one page. You read, see photos and everything is ok. On kindle you see text that says something about a photo ...on another page.
Why 5 stars then? Cause I bought hard copy after purchasing digital. I don't want to give stars for book format, rather for what's inside.
Please don't think that a 100% cookbook. It... kinda is but not all of it. It's like 4 hour body. It's not a loose weight book, but kinda is. Just a great mix of knowledge, this time "how to learn uber fast...on cooking example".
Would recommend :)
However, only the first section of three (and the shortest of all) was about the learning process. It was a summary of things that can easily be found in the internet. He repeats some of the famous, but somewhat suspect, claims like the 80/20 rule and how you can gain "fluency" in a language in 3 months by learning a very small subset of the most common words. The idea of breaking skills down at the beginning and focusing on them singularly and intensely in a piecewise manner was very interesting however.
The second section applies his method to cooking. It is interesting, and it provides a very succinct type of cookbook style that would be very handy with more recipes. However I found it also to be somewhat of a surface treatment. The perfect example of what I mean is the treatment on knife skills. I think three different techniques were discussed, but the entire discussion was maybe a page or two. That is not nearly enough space to teach someone proper knife handling skills to julienne, dice, chop, and cube.
The third section was the application of the method to hunting, gutting, and outdoorsman type activities. Frankly, I wasn't interested in this section and I skipped it.
Overall I think the book was just okay. It was a surface treatment of how to become okay at things quickly. I think this is the perfect book for people who like to be "advanced beginners." The book didn't change my life, or my approach to learning at all. It was interesting, but not life changing as a the author likes to claim.
Most recent customer reviews
It covers so much more than just cooking. It is basically a book on rapid learning, full of interesting facts and details. Brilliantly written.