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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, but not from start to finish
I would say that 2/3 of the book really appeals to me, and the other 1/3 does not, and yet I feel like the $24 I spent on this 500 page beast of a book was well worth the price. From reading some reviews and discussion surrounding this book, I've come to realize that a lot of people really seem to hate it and its author Timothy Ferriss. I've seen him being accused of...
Published on Jan. 27 2011 by Devin

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111 of 128 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak follow up
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...
Published on Dec 22 2010 by darkshadow77


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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promises Far More Than It Delivers, Feb. 15 2013
By 
Theo (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, June 6 2011
By 
BrahmaBull "BrahmaBull" (Kitchener, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
Loved the first two-thirds of the Four Hour Workweek. I've also enjoyed following Tim Ferriss's blog as well. So when I saw he'd written a book about the body, mind and other physical issues, I thought great, being an avid workout fiend, and always looking to improve on my genetic lot in life.

What a huge disappointment. Don't be fooled - the depth of research and discussion is non-existent, and his use of personal anecdotes and observations should be discounted - everyone is different.

It is also hugely contradictory from chapter to chapter. For example he talks about the ills of dairy products one chapter, to espousing the virtues of it in another.

He dangerously discusses nootropics, and the discussions on sleep phasing is almost ridiculous.

I don't know... a huge huge disappointment, and there are certainly better sources of information in other books and on the web if needed on almost every subject in this book.

Don't buy. Take it out of the library (like I did).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and Bad, March 16 2011
By 
Jeff McAndrews (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
This book has some great information, but is very poorly written. It's almost as if the author is spitting information at you. In a way it was an annoying read.

However there is bits and bites that any health enthusiast can take with them. It had some great information on a few new Ab workouts, and kettle bells, the meal plans are simple and reasonable and his three scale approach to sliding the percentage of exercise, diet and supplements is smart.

I find Tim Ferriss an interesting guy and someone to learn from, however this book is not a plan that the majority of us can live by. I see most people taking some good information from it and applying working it into there existing routine.

All in all good information, but again, very poorly written.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent body of knowledge, Jan. 15 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
This book is very well laid out, considers that you might just want to improve a few things in your life at a time, and had incredible detail.

I recommend to anyone who wants to learn about how their body works in relation to weight, injuries, and exercise.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read this, Jan. 14 2011
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This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
I've been a personal trainer for about 7 years and this book has changed the way I look at most things. Invaluable insight is provided and some of the craziest and most effective techniques I have ever seen or used.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good purchase for me, March 30 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
Most of the chapters either taught me something new or refreshed my memory on things that I had read before. I was chalenged to try things that were new to me while avoiding pitfalls and errors. Some chapters I read more than once and will prefer to them again. I thought it was a great buy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Feb. 11 2012
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
Got the book after listening to the audio version. The book has tones of info at you finger tips , great stuff.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 4-Hour Body, Feb. 10 2012
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
This book is amazing and a delight to read. The author makes his points in a very decisive manner while introducing humour in a subject that is very dry! I have enjoyed it immensely! Dieting is not much fun, but the way Timothy Ferriss explains everything is very down to earth and what's more... it REALLY works!

I definitely recommend this book to everyone who wishes to live a healthy life!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 pounds, 2 weeks, Aug. 9 2011
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This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
I just spent a day munching on chocolate, croissants, caramel dip, chips, alcohol, and cheese...I've lost 5 pounds in the last two weeks. THIS DIET ROCKS!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 4-hour body lern a lot, Feb. 27 2011
This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover)
This book has a lot of valuable information that is easy to read and understand. Even if you don't follow the whole plan you can easily learn and apply the information he gives to day to day life.
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