July 20, 1977 |
East Hampton, NY
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Genres||Self-help, Personal Development, Self-experimentation|
|Notable work(s)||The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Body
The 4-Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss (born July 20, 1977) is an American author, entrepreneur, angel investor, and public speaker. In 2007, he published The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, which was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, a No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, and a USA Today bestseller. The 4-Hour Workweek has made the Best Seller List for 7 consecutive years from 2007 to 2013. In 2010, he followed up with The 4-Hour Body, which was another No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Ferriss's third book, The 4-Hour Chef, was released in November 2012 and was a No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.
Ferriss grew up in East Hampton, NY and graduated from St. Paul's School. 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 was frustrated by inefficiencies at the company and his salary, and began building his own Internet business while still employed at the company.
In 2001, Ferriss founded BrainQUICKEN, an online nutritional supplements company. It made a product that was marketed as both BodyQuick and Brain Quicken, and whose ingredients included: "Cobalamin, Niacinamide, Folic Acid, 2-dimethylaminoethanol, Pyridoxine HCL, Pantothenic Acid (Calcium Pantothenate), Proprietary Cognamine™ Complex (including components of: Phosphatidylserine, Choline Bitartrate, Vinpocetine, Salix Alba, Thioctic Acid, L-Tyrosine, Ciwujia)." It was claimed that this product would dramatically increase short term memory and reaction speed, taking effect within 60 minutes. It was also claimed that the product was used by 17 world champions, yet no evidence to support either assertion is available. In 2010, he sold the company to a London-based private equity firm.
Ferriss is an angel investor and advisor to startups. He has invested or advised in start ups such as StumbleUpon, Lyft, Posterous, Evernote, DailyBurn, Shopify, Reputation Defender, Trippy, Foodzie, Badongo, TaskRabbit, RescueTime, and SimpleGeo in addition to small equity stakes in Facebook and Twitter.
In December 2008, Ferriss had a pilot on the History Channel, 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.
Ferriss 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.
Ferriss developed the ideas present in The 4-Hour Workweek while working 14-hour days at BrainQUICKEN. Ferriss's frustration and then personal escape from a workaholic lifestyle was the genesis of the book.
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. He has since been praised for this technique. 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's 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's methods.
Two months before the release The 4-Hour Workweek Ferriss launched a blog for the book, which he updates to this day. His blog has since become a publishing clearing house for many notable entrepreneurs, bestselling authors, and thinkers, including Chip Conley, Neil Strauss, Tucker Max, Ramit Sethi, Ryan Holiday, Noah Kagan of AppSumo, Chase Jarvis, Paulo Coelho, Reid Hoffman (chairman of LinkedIn), Peter Diamandis, Daymond John (founder of FUBU), and others. The resulting influence from such posts on book sales and other metrics has been dubbed the "Tim Ferriss effect."
In December 2010, Ferriss's 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 polyphasic 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, Ferriss 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's 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 methods for accelerated learning. Ferriss calls this capacity for mastering new skills in the minimum amount of time possible "meta-learning."
The book would go on to debut at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Prior to the release of The 4-Hour Chef, the book was boycotted by a selection of brick and mortar bookstores, most notably Barnes & Noble, due to the book's publisher, Amazon Publishing. This boycott led to Ferriss striking a handful of partnerships with non-conventional partners, including BitTorrent, Panera Bread, and TaskRabbit. 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. The bundle was downloaded over 300,000 times the first week after release. During the first week, the book received coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, CBS, Wired Magazine, Outside Magazine, Dr. Oz, and many other outlets.
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.
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.
Ferriss has acknowledged using 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.
The New York Times said Ferriss was "somewhere between 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." In 2012, he was listed in Newsweek's Digital Power Index 100 as the 7th most powerful online personality. Ferriss was named a 2009 Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute.
Both The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Workweek are in the "10 Most Highlighted Books of All Time" on Amazon Kindle. His blog is listed as one of Inc.'s "19 Blogs You Should Bookmark Right Now."
Ferriss 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.
He has also faced repeated allegations of manipulating the Amazon review system, via soliciting or paying for reviews, a practice known as "log rolling." In a New York Times article titled "On Amazon, Cooking Up Friendly Reviews," by David Streitfeld concerning Amazon's broken review system, it was noted that many of the four and five star ratings that Mr. Ferriss' books achieved were given on the first day by reviewers who had no other record of Amazon reviews, and who also admitted to not having read the book they reviewed.
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