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113 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2010
I'm a big fan of the Four Hour Work Week. Not only was it a great read, but it contained rather unique ideas that caused me to reevaluate how to run my business and also my life. I would go as far to say that it is one of the last decade's seminal pieces of business literature that all serious business people should read.

With that in mind, it's unfortunate that The Four Hour Body is such a big let down. First, it's not really a book, but rather a series of independent chapters that the author says can be read independently. As such, the book doesn't really flow, and there's no real end goal. Second, I really can't tell who the target audience is, but a lot of the book appears to be geared towards people with very serious athletic ambitions. Want to run marathons, fix previous injuries with plasma injections, or lift more than 3x your weight? Sure, you'll get something out of the book. But the legions of normal people who bought the Four Hour Work Week probably won't.

Another problem I have is that the majority of the links that the author uses in the book appear to be affiliate links where the author makes money when someone purchases an item. Given that I can't seem to find any disclaimer that this is the case, I personally feel like it undercuts the serious message in some of the chapters, especially with the chapter on how to lose weight. How does one know that those supplements aren't being recommended simply to make money off of them? It's a conflict of interest, and it undercuts the message.

The author also has spent a lot of time doing medical experiments on himself, the results of which are used to reinforce some of the ideas in the book. Unfortunately, a experiment with one person is completely useless statistically. All it shows are the results for the author, and nothing else can be inferred from their presentation. In fact, there's one series of data that the author presents, but then spends far more time discussing all the problems with how he did the experiment than the time spent discussing the actual results. If the experiment was so bad, why not revise the methodology, or exclude it completely? It just seems hastily put together.

I was expecting a lot more from this book based on the marketing, the revolutionary ideas in The Four Hour Work Week, and some of the entries on the author's blog. But this book was one of the first books in a long time I started skimming near the end, simply because I was no longer interested in it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
I tried to listen to this on road trips but it was not exactly interesting to keep me listening for more.
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on June 19, 2013
I like the science and the fanaticism that went into this book. However, most of the advice offered is impractical for the average person. I still recommend an active and healthy lifestyle. It is just too intense to be applicable to the masses.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 15, 2013
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 June 8, 2014
We definitely wouldn't recommend this one for a serious reading - too many words, not enough content. Verbose… Not enough synthesis: lots of ingredients - not properly cooked
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on July 23, 2015
It's an OK book, but nothing special. Certainly not a note of '5', but there is a lot of positive things that if implemented would be positive.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2013
I have not yet had an opportunity to implement and test his recommendations, but feel compelled to warn you off on the writing quality alone.

1) He makes blanket statemens then later contradicts himself

2) Only a small portion of the book seems to be relevant and useful as a recipe and guide book. The rest is out of place like trying to explain how to give a woman an orgasm. WTF?

3) He mixes VERY detailed information into poor and rambling anecdotes that pissed me off because it was very difficult to tell if the current paragraph was supposed to be giving me instructions or making a point. When it was the latter it often failed.

That being said - 20% of the info had the potential to be revolutionary and I'll most definitely be putting it in to use. I just wish he had a stronger editor.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2011
I enjoyed the four hour work week, and purchased this book hoping it would be offer some interesting and practical solutions for weight loss. I am a Personal Trainer and one of my my clients saw the book discussed on Dr. Oz, so she went and bought it. I like to see what's out there in the industry, and am always looking for useful bits of information to share with my clients. I also like to know whats being fed to people so that I can make appropriate comments and give guidance on whats useful or not. Unfortunately, there was little that could be classified as useful information in this book. As far as I am concerned, Ferliss is much more interested in making money and studying/talking about his fabulous self, than he is in helping others. He tells the reader to be cautious of bad statistics, poor studies, and out of context information used to sell people diet solutions, yet his book is full of exactly this kind of flawed research- absurdly that he has done on himself..clearly not of any value statistically whatsoever. Not to mention that he is selling all the supplements he suggests...which undermines all of his advice. His suggestion that people binge eat one day a week is ludicrous - he obviously does not understand that ingesting sugar and fats in gross proportions can induce cravings for days after..a physiological AND psychological fact. Not to mention the gastric distress it can cause, in turn putting stress on the body, increasing cortisol levels, and affecting insulin sensitivity- a HUGE problem.

His diet is unrealistic, and closely resembles many other fad diets already out there- it is restrictive and would certainly work - for the time you are on it. The problem is after, as we all know....when most people gain all they lost back and then some.

There is no magic solution people. Losing weight means changing your lifestyle permanantly...slow and steady wins the race. Fad diets fail. Period. Don't waste your money on this one. I felt like punching the writer out for wasting the time it took me to read the book, as well as adding my hard-earned $25.00 to his coffers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
meh.... I think this book is a little out there and far fetched. Didn't really help me any at all
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2011
nothing but a compendium of many other diets that have already been published like the zone, atkins, etc. Otherwise the work of a man who for the sake of making discovery about the body and its response to various experiences, is rather abusive to his own body, not something i want to emulate in my weight loss; rather i want to learn to be disciplined but kind
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