Timothy Ferriss: The 4-Hour Body

Timothy Ferriss’ investigative reporting style puts him somewhere between Neil Strauss and Morgan Spurlock, and his auto-ethnographic skills rival those of the O.G. human guinea pig himself, R. Buckminster Fuller. His latest, The 4-Hour Body (Crown/Archetype, 2010), is the result of a decade of experiments, expert interviews, and putting his own body through paces previously unpaced. His guiding research question: For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?

I shifted over to a vegetarian diet about seventeen years ago. The switch was prompted by my girlfriend at the time, but after six months, she went back. I never did. I felt better about what I ate. Part of this was simply because I started paying very close attention to what I put in my body. Part of it was (possibly) psychosomatic (as my friend Nick Mullen claims). Either way, I felt better and have felt better ever since, as long as I switch it up every once in a while and pay attention to what I’m eating.

The hardest part about making such a change is relearning your routine. It’s not that difficult to know what not to eat. The hard part is knowing what to eat.

The 4-Hour Body excels at this aspect of actionable change. There are plenty of things not to do, but the overwhelming majority of the book’s bulk is how to do things, what to eat, what to do. That approach is very helpful and it takes nearly no time to get started, hence the title. Recommended—even if you’re just slightly curious.

, 09 June 2011