The 4-Hour Chef
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|Subject||Self-actualization, Self-employment, Self-improvement, Cooking|
|Published||2012 (New Harvest)|
|Preceded by||The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body|
The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life is the third book by Tim Ferriss, published on November 20, 2012. The book continues Ferriss' "4-Hour" themes of self-improvement, self-actualization, and the skill of learning new things through the lens of cooking. The book is intended to be the cookbook for people who don't buy cookbooks and was a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.
The 4-Hour Chef contains practical cooking and recipe tips and uses the skill of cooking to explain methods for accelerated learning. Recipes based on Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet are included, and the book is presented as a practical guide to mastering cooking and food. Alongside these cooking techniques, Ferriss shows readers how to learn any new skill or ability quickly. Ferriss calls this capacity for mastering new skills in the minimum amount of time possible "meta-learning".
The book is broken down into 5 sections:
In meta-learning, Ferriss outlines techniques to accelerate learning, often by mimicking the world’s fastest learners to become world-class in a variety of fields in six months or less. Topics covered range from language learning to fire building. This section is further broken down using the acronym “DiSSS”
- Deconstruction: "What are the minimum learnable units, the LEGO blocks, I should be starting with?"
- Selection: "Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcome I want?"
- Sequencing: "In what order should I learn the blocks?"
- Stakes: "How do I set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee I follow the program?"
Dom (The Domestic)
Wild (The Wild)
The Wild section is where Ferriss advocates readers connect directly with ingredients and step out of the kitchen. Examples from the section include “The anti-hunters first hunt”, “How to gut and cook tree rat” (squirrel), and “How to cook over fire.”
Sci (The Scientist)
In The Scientist, Ferriss uses recipes to explain 14 chemical reactions he hopes will give readers a better understanding of food. Examples include dehydration (How to make beef jerky), solvents (How to make bacon infused bourbon), and gels (How to make crunchy bloody marys).
Pro (The Professional)
The Professional section analyzes how the best in the world came to be and builds on the skills learned in previous recipes to create more complex dishes. The section starts by focusing on the success of two restaurants: Chicago's Alinea and New York City's Hearth.
Release and reception
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.
In the week of release, Ferriss orchestrated an extensive media campaign, one that USA Today described as an "online media onslaught." The campaign included an "All-You-Can-Eat" promotion assembled by Ferriss, which offered incentives for book pre-orders ranging from supplemental materials to keynote speeches by Ferriss. 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. Kirkus Reviews called the book a "wildly inventive excursion through the creation of our daily bread."
Reviewing for the Wall Street Journal, Aram Bakshiam Jr praised the book for describing the challenges and delights of learning how to cook with dash and gusto, but ultimately concluded "the book itself lacks balance and coherence and has the feel of an overlong report produced by a committee."
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