Timothy Ferriss

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Timothy “Tim” 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. 1New York Times bestseller. Ferriss’ third book, The 4-Hour Chef, was released in November 2012 and was a No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Ferriss is also an angel investor or an advisor to Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Evernote, and Uber, among other companies.

Early life

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 began building his own Internet business, BrainQUICKEN, 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. 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 writing his first bestselling book, 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 December 2013, Ferriss premiered a TV show called the Tim Ferriss Experiment on HLN. Although there were 13 episodes shot, only a portion of those were shown on television. Ferriss has tried to release the show in a digital format but has encountered resistance from the network, who wishes to shop it to traditional outlets first.


In November 2013, Ferriss began an audiobook publishing venture “Tim Ferriss Publishing”, to publish the audiobook versions of select books. The company has since published Rolf Potts‘ travel book Vagabonding, Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin, and The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

Investor and advisor

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. Ferriss currently has more than $4 million to apply to any individual deal and the funds are secured by approximately 600 accredited investors who are backers of his AngelList Syndicate.


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.

The 4-Hour Workweek

Main article: The 4-Hour Workweek

Ferriss developed the ideas present in The 4-Hour Workweek while working 14-hour days at BrainQUICKEN. Ferriss’ 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’ 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.


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.”

The 4-Hour Body

Main article: The 4-Hour Body

In December 2010, Ferriss’ 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 Todays 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.

The 4-Hour Chef

Main article: The 4-Hour Chef

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 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. The audiobook featured guest narration by bestselling author Neil Gaiman. 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.


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 generations —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 Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk.”[18] 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.”

“The Tim Ferriss Effect”

In 2012, author Michael Ellsberg terms 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. The phrase has since been documented by other authors and startups who were endorsed by Ferriss or recommended on his blog.

Lifestyle design

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.

Primarily through his blog, Ferriss and his readers have built schools in Vietnam and are active in constructing schools in Nepal, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.

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. Ferriss received the award for his work in education reform.

Personal life

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 consecutivetango-spins in one minute. Ferriss and his dance partner Alicia Monti set the record on the show Live with Regis and Kelly.


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 – a practice known as “Weight cutting“.

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.

Ferriss is one of several authors who critics have speculated influenced their own Amazon reviews, due to the large number of positive reviews which appeared on publication dates. Ferriss addressed these claims directly in The New York Times and in a video reddit AMA, by pointing out that 1-star reviews also appear at or near publication date and attributing the early positive reviews of his books to the hundreds of advanced copies sent out by the book’s publisher before release to people “you would hope or expect to like the book.”

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