July 20, 1977
East Hampton, NY
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Genre||Self-help, personal development, self-experimentation|
|Notable works||The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Body
The 4-Hour Chef
Timothy "Tim" Ferriss (born July 20, 1977) is an American author, entrepreneur, angel investor, and public speaker. He has written a number of self-help books which have appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists, starting with The 4-Hour Workweek.
Ferriss grew up in East Hampton, New York and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. He received a degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 2000 (after switching from Neuroscience in an effort to "avoid putting printer jacks on cat heads"). After graduation, Ferriss worked in sales at a data storage company. Ferriss began building his own Internet business, BrainQUICKEN, while still employed at the company.
Ferris has stated that, prior to his writing career, he won in the 165 lb. weight class at the 1999 USAWKF national Sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) championship through a process of shoving opponents out of the ring and by dramatically dehydrating himself before weigh in, and then rehydrating before the fight in order to compete several classes below his actual weight - a practice known as "Weight cutting".
Ferriss has acknowledged using anabolic steroids, specifically "a number of low-dose therapies, including testosterone cypionate," under medical supervision following shoulder surgery, as well as using "stacks" consisting of testosterone enanthate, Sustanon 250, HGH, Deca-Durabolin, Cytomel, and other unnamed ingredients while training.
In 2001, Ferriss founded BrainQUICKEN, an online nutritional supplements company which made a product that was marketed as both BodyQuick and Brain Quicken. It was claimed that this product would dramatically increase short term memory and reaction speed, taking effect within 60 minutes, but these claims made about this combination of ingredients have never been scientifically validated. In 2010, he sold the company to a London-based private equity firm. It was the experiences Ferriss had running BrainQUICKEN that led him to write The 4-Hour Workweek.
In December 2008, Ferriss had a pilot on the History Channel called Trial by Fire, where he had one week to attempt to learn a skill normally learned over the course of many years. In the pilot episode he practiced yabusame, the Japanese art of horse archery.
In November 2013, Ferriss began an audiobook publishing venture, Tim Ferriss Publishing. The company has since published Rolf Potts' travel book Vagabonding, Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday, and The Tao of Seneca by Seneca.
Ferriss is an angel investor and advisor to startups. He has invested or advised in start ups such as StumbleUpon, Posterous, Evernote, DailyBurn, Shopify, Reputation Defender, Trippy, Foodzie, Badongo, TaskRabbit, RescueTime, and SimpleGeo in addition to small equity stakes in Facebook and Twitter.
Ferriss is a pre-seed money advisor to Uber, a company co-founded by Garrett Camp, founder of StumbleUpon, which Ferriss also advises. In September 2013, Ferriss raised $250,000 in under an hour to invest in Shyp by forming a syndicate on AngelList. Ferriss ended up raising over $500,000 through his backers and Shyp raised a total of $2.1 million.
Ferris is the author of three books, The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef; the first two were No. 1 New York Times bestsellers and the third was a No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.
The 4-Hour Workweek was rejected by 25 publishers. In 2007, Random House, the 26th publisher, released the book through its Crown imprint. Before release, Ferriss was an unknown. He marketed the book heavily through bloggers with whom he created personal relationships. The 4-Hour Workweek would reach No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and No. 1 on the BusinessWeek bestseller list. It has currently sold over 1,350,000 copies and has spent nearly 4 years on the New York Times bestseller list.
The book received both positive and negative reviews. Leslie Garner of The Telegraph noted that, "With a punchy writing style and a higher literacy level than most flash-in-the-pan gurus, Ferriss has struck a chord with his critique of workers's slavish devotion to corporations... Ferriss' book skillfully compartmentalises, then pathologises, workers's unhealthy relationships with office life." Dylan Tweney of Wired wrote, "Nearly every idea taken to extreme. No sense of work being anything more than a paycheck."
In 2009, The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated was released by Random House and included multiple case studies authored by people who have utilized Ferriss' methods.
In December 2010, Ferris' second book, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, was published by Crown. The book covers more than 50 topics, including rapid fat loss, increasing strength, boosting endurance, and polyphonic sleep. Ferriss also introduces his version of the Slow-Carb Diet, which involves the elimination of starches and anything sweet (including fruit and all artificial sweeteners) and a strong preference for lean protein, legumes, and vegetables.
For the book, Ferris interviewed more than 200 experts over a three-year period. The experts ranged from doctors to athletes to black-market drug salesmen. He said that he had recorded every workout he had done since the age of 18, and from 2004 (three years before his first book was published) he had tracked a variety of blood chemistry measurements, including insulin levels, hemoglobin A1c, and free testosterone.
The 4-Hour Body was an immediate bestseller and debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list. It peaked at No. 4 on both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today's lists, and was one of Amazon.com's top 5 bestselling books for December 2010 and January 2011. As part of the press for the book, Ferriss appeared as a guest on The Dr. Oz Show and ABC's The View.
Ferriss' third book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life was released by Amazon Publishing in November 2012.The 4-Hour Chef contains practical cooking and recipe tips and uses the skill of cooking to explain his methods for accelerated learning, which he calls "meta-learning".
The book reached No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list in its first week of issue. However, many brick and mortar bookstores including independents and Barnes & Noble chose to not stock the book due to their objections to the business practices of Amazon Publishing. This required Ferriss to make arrangements with non-conventional partners, including BitTorrent, Panera Bread, and TaskRabbit in order to distribute the book. In particular, Ferriss teamed up with BitTorrent to distribute an exclusive bundle of 4-Hour Chef content including excerpts from the book, photos, interviews and unpublished content, which was downloaded over 300,000 times the first week after release. The audiobook featured guest narration by Neil Gaiman.
Ferriss' podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, has been described as the "Oprah of online podcasts". In 2016 the podcast has reached 70 million downloads. The podcast covers topics ranging from personal and character development, to exercise routines, acting, venture capital and metaphysics.
The New Yorker magazine described Ferriss as "this generation's self help guru", comparing Ferriss and his books to authors of similar influence of previous—Napoleon Hill and Think and Grow Rich, The Power of Positive Thinking and Norman Vincent Peale, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Stephen Covey, and Who Moved My Cheese? and author Spencer Johnson. Wired Magazine called Ferriss “The Superman of Silicon Valley”.
The New York Times said Ferriss was "somewhere between [retired General Electric chairman and CEO] Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk." Newsweek declared Ferriss "The World's Best Guinea Pig" In 2008, he was named Wired's "Greatest Self-Promoter of All Time." He was named one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Business People of 2007."
Both The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Workweek are in the "10 Most Highlighted Books of All Time" on Amazon Kindle. In 2009, his blog was listed as one of Inc.'s "19 Blogs You Should Bookmark Right Now."
In 2012, author Michael Ellsberg coined the phrase "The Tim Ferriss Effect" in a Forbes profile. The phrase was used to describe the influence a blog post on Ferriss' site had on the sales of Ellsberg's book. Ellsberg found that his post on Ferriss' blog sold more books than a piece in the New York Times and a 3 minute segment on CNN. Ryan Holiday concurred on the effect it had on his book's sales.
Ferriss is known for his application of both the Pareto principle and Parkinson's Law to business and personal life. He has also taken the position that technology such as email, instant messaging and internet-enabled PDAs complicate life rather than simplify it. His teachings fit under the umbrella of what he calls "lifestyle design", in which he promotes "mini-retirements" as an alternative to the "deferred-life" career path where one would work a 9 to 5 job until retirement in one's 60s. This involves breaking what he calls "outdated assumptions" and finding ways to be more effective so that work takes up less time.
On his blog and later in his subsequent books, Ferriss applied this approach to areas other than business. His book on fitness, for example, claims to provide the exercise and diet advice that produces the greatest results with the least amount of effort or time. Ferriss uses the analogy of the "minimum effective dose" to describe this technique."
Ferriss is a charity advocate and a member of the National Advisory Council of the public school nonprofit DonorsChoose. His projects and donations have raised more than $250,000 for underfunded public school teachers and classroom projects, and his campaigns, such as dedicating his birthday to raising funds and heading LitLiberation to increase literacy worldwide, have impacted more than 60,000 students.
In October 2014, BUILD Boston, a not-for-profit organization that uses entrepreneurship to equip Boston youth for high school and college success, honored Ferriss with the annual BUILDer Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for his work in education reform.
Ferriss lives in San Francisco, California. He claims to speak five languages on his blog. Ferriss holds the Guinness Book of World Records' record for the most consecutive tango-spins in one minute. Ferriss and his dance partner Alicia Monti set the record on the show Live with Regis and Kelly.
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