The 4-Hour Chef

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The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
The 4-Hour Chef.jpg
AuthorTim Ferriss
CountryUnited States
SubjectSelf-actualization, Self-employment, Self-improvement, Cooking
Published2012 (New Harvest)
Media typePrint
Preceded byThe 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.[1][2] The book continues Ferriss' "4-Hour" themes of self-improvement, self-actualization, and the skill of learning new things through the lens of cooking.[3][4] The book is intended to be the cookbook for people who don't buy cookbooks and was a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.[5]


The 4-Hour Chef contains practical cooking and recipe tips and uses the skill of cooking to explain methods for accelerated learning.[6] Recipes based on Ferriss' Slow-Carb Diet are included, and the book is presented as a practical guide to mastering cooking and food.[3][7] Alongside these cooking techniques, Ferriss shows readers how to learn any new skill or ability quickly.[6] Ferriss calls this capacity for mastering new skills in the minimum amount of time possible "meta-learning".[6]

The book is broken down into 5 sections:

Meta (Meta-Learning)

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.[8] Topics covered range from language learning to fire building.[9][10] This section is further broken down using the acronym “DiSSS”[11][12]

  • 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?"[13]

Dom (The Domestic)

The Domestic section covers the building blocks of cooking.[14] Ferriss cites Pareto’s 80/20 principle to teach 14 core lessons which can be used to create thousands of dishes.[15][16][17][18]

Wild (The Wild)

The Wild section is where Ferriss advocates readers connect directly with ingredients and step out of the kitchen.[19] Examples from the section include “The anti-hunters first hunt”, “How to gut and cook tree rat” (squirrel), and “How to cook over fire.”[20][21][22]

Sci (The Scientist)

In The Scientist, Ferriss uses recipes to explain 14 chemical reactions he hopes will give readers a better understanding of food.[23] Examples include dehydration (How to make beef jerky), solvents (How to make bacon infused bourbon), and gels (How to make crunchy bloody marys).[24][25][26]

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.[27] The section starts by focusing on the success of two restaurants: Chicago's Alinea and New York City's Hearth.[27][28]

Release and reception[edit]

The 4-Hour Chef premiered on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA Today bestseller lists, and was a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.[29][30][31]

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.[32][33] This boycott led to Ferriss striking a handful of partnerships with non-conventional partners, including BitTorrent, Panera Bread, and TaskRabbit.[34][35][36] 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.[37] The bundle was downloaded over 300,000 times the first week after release.[38][39]

In the week of release, Ferriss orchestrated an extensive media campaign, one that USA Today described as an "online media onslaught."[29] 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.[40][41] 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.[1][22][29][35][42][43][44] Kirkus Reviews called the book a "wildly inventive excursion through the creation of our daily bread."[45]

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."[46]


  1. ^ a b Trachtenberg, Jeffery A. Amazon Publishing Signs Up Timothy Ferriss's Next Book. Wall Street Journal. August 16, 2011.
  2. ^ Stone, Brad. Amazon's Hit Man. Business Week. January 25, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Trachta, Ali. Amazon to Publish The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss + What The Heck is a 4-Hour Chef?. August 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Ferriss, Tim. The 4-Hour Chef – The First Kindle Fire Book Teaser (Want a Free Kindle Fire?). November 29, 2011.
  5. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended Nov. 25". Wall Street Journal. November 30, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "The 4-Hour Chef".
  7. ^ Amazon Publishing Acquires #1 and Four Years Running New York Times Best-Selling 4-Hour Guru Timothy Ferriss`"The 4-Hour Chef," to Launch New York Imprint. August 16, 2011.
  8. ^ Ferriss, Tim. "The 4-Hour Chef: Meta Sampler". 4-Hour Chef.
  9. ^ "Culinary Design". Inside Hook. November 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Schawabel, Daniel (November 18, 2012). "The art of learning". Metro. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012.
  11. ^ Nisen, Max (November 21, 2012). "The 4-Step Process For Mastering Any Skill". Business Insider.
  12. ^ Galloway, David (November 23, 2012). "Use Tim Ferriss' Four-Step Process to Master New Skills". Life Hacker.
  13. ^ Nisen, Max (November 30, 2012). "14 Tips For Learning Any Skill Incredibly Fast". Business Insider.
  14. ^ Sniderman, Zachary (November 20, 2012). "The 4-Hour Chef: Tim Ferriss' Crazy, Brilliant Cookbook". Greatist.
  15. ^ Ferriss, Tim. "The 4-Hour Chef: Domestic Sampler". 4-Hour Chef.
  16. ^ "Make Better Meals In Less Time". Livestrong. November 19, 2012.
  17. ^ "Tim's Rapid Learning Method And The Four-Hour Chef – with Tim Ferriss". Mixergy. November 16, 2012.
  18. ^ "Tim Ferriss Interview on The 4-Hour Chef". Sources of Insight. November 20, 2012.
  19. ^ Ferriss, Tim. "The 4-Hour Chef: Wild Sampler". 4-Hour Chef.
  20. ^ Ferriss, Tim (November 21, 2012). "The Anti-Hunter's First Hunt". Huffington Post.
  21. ^ Ferriss, Tim (November 21, 2012). "How to Gut and Cook Tree Rat". Outside Magazine.
  22. ^ a b Ferriss, Timothy (November 20, 2012). "From Modern to Mallmann". Outside Magazine.
  23. ^ Ferriss, Tim. "The 4-Hour Chef: The Scientist Sampler". 4-Hour Chef.
  24. ^ Ferriss, Tim (November 20, 2012). "How to Make the Best Beef Jerky in the World". Art of Manliness.
  25. ^ Ferriss, Tim (November 20, 2012). "Bourbon + bacon = winning. 'Nuff said". Ask Men.
  26. ^ Ferriss, Tim (November 20, 2012). "Crunchy Bloody Mary". Cooking for Engineers. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012.
  27. ^ a b Ferriss, Tim. "The 4-Hour Chef: Pro Sampler". 4-Hour Chef.
  28. ^ Lyons, Billy (November 26, 2012). "Tim Ferriss Wants You To Spend Less Time Cooking, More Time Eating". Zagat. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012.
  29. ^ a b c Deutsch, Lindsay (November 29, 2012). "Book Buzz: Give the gift of books this holiday season". USA Today.
  30. ^ "Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers". Times Union. November 29, 2012.
  31. ^ "Publishers Weekly Best-Sellers". Huffington Post. November 29, 2012.
  32. ^ Donahue, Deirdre (November 19, 2012). "Timothy Ferriss' 'The 4-Hour Chef' stirs up trouble". USA Today.
  33. ^ Shaffer, Andrew (November 19, 2012). "The Most Banned Book in U.S. History? Hardly". Huffington Post.
  34. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (November 16, 2012). "Tim Ferriss Teams Up With BitTorrent". FastCompany.
  35. ^ a b Streitfeld, David (November 20, 2012). "Tim Ferriss and Amazon Try to Reinvent Publishing". New York Times.
  36. ^ "Tim Ferriss Presents: The 4-Hour Chef". TaskRabbit. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13.
  37. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (November 16, 2012). "With Amazon Publishing Stonewalled By Retailers, Tim Ferriss Taps BitTorrent To Market His New Book". TechCrunch.
  38. ^ Protalinski, Emil (November 30, 2012). "Thanks to BitTorrent, The 4-Hour Chef goes from being boycotted by Barnes and Noble to a bestseller". The Next Web.
  39. ^ "The 4-Hour Bestseller (Thank You)". BitTorrent. November 30, 2012.
  40. ^ Ruffles, Michael (November 21, 2012). "Tim Ferriss shakes up the publishing industry with new book". Smarta.
  41. ^ Medhora, Neville (November 18, 2012). "How to have Tim Ferriss speak at your event for free". Nevblog.
  42. ^ Schawbel, Dan (November 20, 2012). "Tim Ferriss: What Cooking Can Teach You About Learning". Forbes.
  43. ^ "Timothy Ferriss talks food, life lessons". CBS This Morning. November 23, 2012.
  44. ^ "Tim Ferriss' Plan to Master Cooking in 4 Hours, Pt 1". Doctor Oz.
  45. ^ The 4-Hour Chef. Kirkus Reviews.
  46. ^ Jr, Aram Bakshian (4 January 2013). "Recipes for Frustration" – via

External links[edit]