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on 26 April 2011
This book unfortunately was a big disappointment for me. I absolutely loved the 4HWW but this book seems to be a hangover from his first book. "How to make money from selling information" and it seems that this book is the product of that philosophy.

Almost everything taught in 4HWW was used to promote this book including the use of competitions to sell more books during launch to get the book to the top spot in book sales. Asking this fans and followers to write reviews all to create more "credibility indicators" along with "real life examples". All of this has made me question the credibility/validity of this book.

In essence it's not a book thats getting good ratings for the merit of its content. So keep that in mind when making your decision about whether or not to purchase this book.

So onto the book itself. Having read all over the subject of personal health and nutrition I was hoping that this book would provide something new and remarkable in developing a system to improve results of sorts. However, this book seemed to be a bit of a hack job. Bits and pieces put together to create a beast of a book.

I especially enjoyed the titles: "How to lose 9kg in a month". Anybody who is significantly overweight that goes on a healthy diet would lose that kind of weight easily including myself. And it seems that many people who have seen these results have assigned its merit to the 4HB. Once again resulting in more ratings.

"Six Minute Abs: Two ab exercises that actually work" - A variation of the classic abdominal crunch and sucking your belly in, oh and get your body fat percentage below 12%.

"From geek to freak: How to gain 15.4kg in a month" - Supplements and exercises that promote Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy. Will it it make your muscles big? Yes, through making them bloated. Again, disappointed there was no mention of muscle hyperplasia (creating new muscle fibre). Again the book seems to be targeted towards quick superficial results. And I use 'quick' as a relative term. (PS - I like the way how they left out the word "lean muscle" from the title of this section.)

Will this books help people lose weight? Sure, and the somewhat misguided publicity will convince more people to follow its principles. Are the theories sound/safe? Some of them are - in an over-hyped and half-truthful way, and the rest are questionable at best.

My advice is to try the book as an experiment and then take what works with you. Some of the theories may turn out to be effective and just what you're after, others not so much. My only wish was that Ferris had used his clout to promote proper health and nutrition and not mass radical experimentation.

Losing weight and getting lean is a slow process as well a long-term study/education. Take any of these shortcuts with due diligence. And if you're already a health freak following a healthy routine and seeing results, get this book for fun and keep it on your bookshelf but don't expect to learn anything new - its introductory level at best.
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on 9 January 2012
As others have said, this book is more like the authors 'encyclopedia' of all things he's tried in all things body. Not to be read necessarily end to end, and not everything works for everyone - at least it didn't for me. Some of the tips (like immersing yourself in cold water) may trigger fat / weight loss in a scientific and measurable way, but it's not something I necessarily want to do to myself and I'm not even sure it's safe to follow either. Same goes for the counter-intuitive diet he's proposing which doesn't sound healthy in the long term - eat proteins every day except one day / week where you can go wild and it absolutely anything in any quantity you want.
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on 5 March 2011
Ferris throws together a wide ranging and somewhat disparate ensemble of topics and offers some interesting insights into them all. Unfortunately he does so with incredible hypocracy. Scoffing at poor science he proceeds to offer anecdotal evidence for many of his claims and adopts a inconsistent approach to referencing.

Each chapter is a small essay on a different topic, and each jumps between narrative, product endorsement, unreferenced fact, and often, some very insightful ideas and jumping-off points on the subject.

As an introduction to the numerous topics, this book represents a great starting point for further research, and goes further than that in many places. More importantly, Ferris recognises the importance of what some teachers call "cues". Not necessarily focusing on telling you the facts, but rather what you need to hear to get results. In my opinion he frequently hits on very effective techniques that work.

Perhaps my biggest issues with the book are that firstly the chapters are hard to follow as serious advice darting as they do between ideas, and secondly often it reads more like the hype and marketing bumf he purports throughout to eschew. It's often less a "how to improve yourself" than a "how to make a lot of money from selling a book to suckers".

I'd give this book more stars for its smattering of insightful gems if only I hadn't been made to feel like a sucker!
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on 30 October 2011
The first thing the author of this book tells us is that we're not meant to just pick it up and read it all the way through. Instead, we're encouraged to read the introduction to establish a certain base level of knowledge, and from there decide for ourselves which of the remaining sections are relevant to us.

The book has specific sections on losing fat, gaining muscle, improving sex, perfecting sleep, reversing injuries, running, getting stronger, living longer, plus a section called "from swimming to swinging", which covers a grab-bag of topics. Personally I focused on fat loss, so that's what I'm going to focus on in this review.

The section on fat loss begins with a chapter entitled "The Slow-Carb Diet I: How to Lose 20 pounds in 30 Days Without Exercising". Pretty spectacular stuff, huh? In fact, most authorities agree that weight loss that rapid is not healthy. So before I began I decided that if the program truly lived up to its hype, I'd only stick to it for a couple of weeks before going back to a slower weight loss program. Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending how you look at it - overly rapid weight loss never became a problem.

The diet is broken down into five rules:

1. Avoid "white" carbohydrates (e.g. sugar, white rice, white bread, potatoes).
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
3. Don't drink calories.
4. Don't eat fruit.
5. Take one day off per week and go nuts.

The author also advises dieters to emphasize high protein foods, legumes, and vegetables.

I took two serious shots at this diet. In the first I made one small change of my own, but in the second I followed the stated program TO THE LETTER. In neither attempt did the results even remotely live up to the claims made by the author.

In my first attempt, on my non-binge days I ate:

Breakfast: 2 cans of Old El Passo "Mexe-Beans" plus raw baby spinach.

Lunch: Kangaroo keema with optional green salad; OR steak with grilled tomato and optional steamed broccoli.

Dinner: 20 gm of 85% cocoa dark chocolate plus 20 gm of sunflower seeds plus optional green vegetables (raw baby cucumbers or celery, or steamed broccoli). The chocolate, which I ate for its established heart-health benefits, was my only break with the diet's normal rules. It represented less than one single teaspoon of sugar per day, and as a low glycemic index (GI) food, at least seemed in the spirit of "slow carb".

I drank only water, diet sodas, and black, unsweetened coffee. Following a further suggestion of the author's, I also drank two litres (4.2 pints) of chilled water per day. I occasionally skipped a meal, but as stressed in the book, always ate my high protein breakfast within an hour of waking up.

In the week before going on the diet I have to admit I overindulged. As a result my weight "spiked" by 3.4 kg (7.5 pounds). After five days on the diet literally all of this had come off. Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. In the three weeks after that I lost just 1.3 kilograms (2.9 pounds). So on a diet billed as causing weight loss of 20 pounds in 30 days, I actually lost less than 3 pounds in 3 weeks. At this point I decided it wasn't worth continuing.

My body fat percentage did end up marginally higher than it was when I started, but the difference was well within my normal daily fluctuations. I did not go quite so far as to use the more rigorous body fat measuring protocols suggested in the book, but I did use my scale (with electronic body fat monitor) at the same time each day: immediately upon awakening, after using the bathroom but before eating or drinking anything.

On the plus side, if you not unreasonably take the view that Mr. Ferriss is not responsible for what I did to myself in the week before going on his diet, you could say that I lost 10.4 pounds. On the other hand, if you factor in the reality that - as any experienced dieter knows - weight gained during these "final" binges usually comes off very quickly anyway, what we're left with is a loss of less than one pound per week. As a personal aside, when I ran the weight loss program by a nurse friend of mine she predicted that it wouldn't work: that each week I'd just regain what I'd lost in my weekly binge. This is one of those friends with an unfortunate tendency to be right. As it turns out, each week I regained almost, but not quite all that I had lost. Hence the very slow net weight loss I did in fact achieve.

And that's where my discussion of the slow carb diet originally ended. However, after posting this review I began seeing claims that my daily dose of dark chocolate was why the diet didn't work for me. I decided to do some reading, and found an article in the Journal of Nutrition reporting that coco-flavoured foods really do cause an insulin response greater than you'd expect from their GI alone. Dark chocolate is still very good for you in the long run, but it _might_ cause an insulin spike at the time you actually eat it. And it is true that the book tells us to avoid this. I figured it was just possible that the fault here really was my own, so I decided to give the slow carb diet another try.

The second time around, on the days I didn't "go nuts" I ate nothing outside the following four meals:

Old El Paso Mexe-Beans served on leafy greens with a splash of red wine vinegar and jalapeños.

Kangaroo and cauliflower curry served on leafy greens with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Lean rump steak with steamed Brussels sprouts.

Stir fried vegetables (from local Chinese takeaways; on most occasions ordered in curry sauce).

The second time around I omitted the 2 litres of chilled water per day.

On almost every day of the diet I ate three meals: one beans, one meat, one stir-fried vegetables. I once missed the third meal, and I once had a second meal of Mexe-Beans in place of the vegetables, but that's it. As before, I was always careful to eat a high protein breakfast within an hour of getting up, and drank only water, diet sodas, and black, unsweetened coffee. This time around I also made the supreme sacrifice and omitted the pre-diet binge so beloved of slimmers everywhere. I wanted to be sure that whatever weight I lost was going to be real weight loss. No excuses!

My results were mediocre to say the least. After six days of regimented eating I'd lost 1.1 kg (2.4 pounds). In the "go nuts" day that followed I not only regained all of this weight, but more besides. As a result, by the end of the next six days of regimented eating I was still actually 0.1 kg (3.5 ounces) HEAVIER than I'd been at the end of the first six days - although still 1 kg (2.2 pounds) lighter than when I first began. On a positive note, in this second shot at the diet my body fat percentage did drop slightly, so all of that appears to be real fat loss. Even so, it seemed pretty clear that I was simply yo-yoing, just as my nurse friend had said I would. Plus I'd only lost about a quarter of what I should have by day 14 had I truly been on course to "lose 20 pounds in 30 days". I decided it was time to call it quits and resume a healthier pattern of eating.

So much for my personal experiments in fat loss. There are two other sections of the book I would now like to comment on.

First, "Adding Muscle". Ferriss is an advocate of Arthur Jones style High Intensity Training, or "HIT". As with his weight loss program, Ferriss has no problem advertising truly spectacular results, titling one chapter "From Geek to Freak: How to Gain 34 pounds in 28 days". I agree HIT deserves more attention than it gets, but there are more realistic manuals out there. Just do a book search here on Amazon on "High Intensity Training" or "Mike Mentzer" and you'll get some good suggestions.

Similarly, while Mr. Ferriss has a chapter entitled "Living Forever: Vaccines, Bleeding, and Other Fun", a lot of the science behind this chapter on "Living Forever" is highly debatable. Here too I would advise that there are simply better, and certainly more scientifically grounded books available. I personally suggest starting with Dr. Roy Walford's Beyond the 120 Year Diet and the CR society website. On a more conservative front, Jack LaLane's Live Young Forever is also well worth a look.

Finally, I would like to comment on the number of five star reviews this book has garnered, particularly over on Amazon's US website. Having seen other reviewers claim that this book gained a suspiciously high number of positive reviews rather too quickly, I decided to do a little detective work. By sorting the reviews from oldest first, I easily verified that 110 reviews of this book were posted on the 14th of December 2010. Of these 110 reviews, all but 5 gave the book five stars. Obviously it's equally easy for you to verify all this too - provided you don't mind doing some counting! A disturbingly large number of five star reviews also happened to appear on the US website on April 26 2011. I've no idea why April 26 2011 was the magic day, but if you do happen to know, then please leave a comment on this review letting me in on the secret. I'm quite curious myself!

Incidentally, having read many of the other reviews, I can't help but notice that even among the 5 star raves, when an actual rate of weight loss is reported, it is generally about half of what is claimed in the book - and often considerably less. Why these people are willing to give a book five stars under such circumstances is a question you'd have to ask them.

In the end I can only say that I went into this with an open mind. I did actually buy the book. If you track down this review as it appears on Amazon's US website (which is where I bought it from), you'll see that it does have the Amazon Verified Purchase label. I didn't throw away that money just so I could write a nasty review. I also took not just one but two very serious shots at the weight loss program contained in the book. And yes, like anyone else on a weight loss program, of course I wanted it to work. However, I find that I cannot reconcile my own experiences with the countless rave reviews this book seems to attract.

Draw what conclusions you will.

Theo.
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on 29 December 2014
This is a great book for starting you on your way to a better body and diet. It may be a compendium of ideas from other books, but so what? This means I can focus on what works try it and adapt it to my lifestyle.

I teach martial arts, and as a starter book I always recommend this one.
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on 11 June 2016
I've followed the "It's not a diet" plan for just over 2 months, including a week off on holiday. I've lost 22lbs.3 inches off my waist. I haven't done much additional exercise, this has purely been through applying the principles outlined in the book. It has worked for me.

I stuck with the "beans with breakfast" thing for about a month, but then just couldn't face it any more. Better to drop that requirement than to drop out completely. Sometimes I've drunk dry white wine (there are contradictions about this in different chapters of the book) rather than the red. I've been pretty scrupulous in sticking to the 2x125ml glass limit.

The plan allows for one Binge day a week, when you are actively encouraged to eat anything you want, to excess if that's what you want. Sometimes I weigh over 3 pounds more the morning after a Binge day than the morning before, but, remarkably, Ferriss is right: within a couple of days it goes. Our bodies just simply don't absorb that much permanently if eaten in a binge.

The key to the plan is to remove sugars, in as many forms as possible, from our diets. Fats are not the evil, here, to the extent that milk in tea is contrary to the diet (because of milk sugars) but organic butter isn't. It's not a starvation diet, or calorie counting diet, it's a series of hacks which, Ferriss argues, make our bodies burn our fat reserves.

So, if you can live without fruit, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, milk, cheese, honey, sugar, and nearly every processed food, and you don't mind eating plenty of beans, pulses, chick peas and other legumes, alongside meat or other protein sources, and non-starchy vegetables, and, like me, you're an "all or nothing" person, it could be worth a try for a couple of months.

I hope you have the same success I have!
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on 14 August 2013
Tim Ferris is so entertaining and left-field that this book is worth reading even if you have no intention of using it. Oh, and if you do use the techniques that he promotes then they are unbelievably effective. I have lost 10 lbs of fat in 8 weeks and don't ever feel hungry! How do I know its fat? Because I measured areas of the body, waist, hips arm, thigh, calf and also used calipers. Tim is a measurement freak and its easy to get into. Really worth measuring early on as the scales tell one story whereas the measurements can give much more encouraging info when you understand whats going on with your body. Easy to stick to because he encourages eating the same meals over and over again (sounds dull but its ok if you like the meals!) As you are pretty much only eating beans in all their glorious forms for carbs, wind may be an issue for those in the early days of the diet but your digestive system seems to adapt and it doesn't persist! The audiobook is unabridged and an easy way to get into the book, would also recommend the books that have been written by others to nail down actual recipes because when you read the book you may get to a point where you just want a meal plan and to get on with it! There is a cheat day once a week which is to stop your body going into starvation mode when you can eat any foods you might have fancied during the week, for me that would be dark chocolate. However, I've found that I don't really crave much junky food at all so the caloric intake on that day is pretty low but psychologically its a good release. Interestingly, main reason diet fails is not eating enough protein in each meal and not drinking enough water. Only 10lbs to go ,target 12 stone 10!
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on 23 July 2014
If you are after measurable results then what's in this book i definitely worth a look. I did the slow carb diet thing and it may been uber boring but it worked incredibly well. Mixed results for the other stuff in the book but thats entirely acceptable as not everything will work for everyone (we are all different after all!!!).

Another huge benefit of the book is it increased my overall awareness of how to live a healthy life massively in a very concise way. I may have been starting for a poor position but all very useful never the less.
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on 31 January 2011
The early advice in the book is to not read the whole book, just pick out the chapters that interest you. This is what I usually do, but I read the 4 hour body all the way through in one weekend. It is fascinating, it is informative and I learned a lot. Yes there is a recipe of what you should do to reduce fat and train better (and in much less time). But what I take away is the self experimentation I can do too and have fun with it. I am inspired by Tim who is quite clearly an exceptional individual. His passion and knowledge oozes out of this book.
In particular if you want children, men should read about Tim's insight in this area and the female orgasm chapter is very.... DETAILED.... with diagrams on how to and even what to say and all. That should suit a lot of men!

One thing that is seriously annoying is, that the editors deemed it necessary to translate all the kg weights into stone & pounds for the British release of the book. This was done by somebody who has no concept of British measures and therefore they are often wrong. Nobody would use 0.12st for a kilo or at one stage they claim 14 kg = 7 stone. They also translated every $ amount into £ as well. WHY? It really is annoying and distracting when reading the book, please leave it out in the reprint.
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on 18 May 2014
I read his other popular book "4 hour work week" after my wife bought it for me and I bought this book after doing P90/Insanity hybrid work outs but was failing on losing weight (because of my eating habits) where it counted... the stomach. Reading this is both educational and mind blowing.

After completing his recommendations on losing weight without working out for the past 3 weeks... I am down 5 kg and only work out 2-3 times a week. Well worth it!
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