The Ferriss Experiment – 4 Hour Fact or Fiction?

Tim Ferriss doing kettlebells

Many of you are familiar with Tim Ferriss, author of the excellent “4-Hour Work Week“. Tim is a personal hero of mine (one of his productivity tips is mentioned previously in my post “The Urgent vs. Important Matrix“) so naturally I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his sophomore effort “The 4-Hour Body“. The new book promises to be “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman” – a bold claim indeed.

Tim has written about fitness before, posting two articles with similarly outrageous headlines on his blog – one called From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs of Muscle in 4 Weeks and another titled How to Lose 20lbs of Fat in 30 Days – Without Doing Any Exercise. These two posts together give us a glimpse of the principles Tim fleshes out in “The 4-Hour Body”. Is it really possible that Tim has cracked the code on fitness? One year ago, I decided to find out by combining Tim’s published writings into a comprehensive fitness plan and measuring my results. My goal – to determine whether Tim’s methods actually work in real life. This is what I discovered.

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Get Financially Organized – A 20 Something’s Guide to the Real World

saving-for-college

My younger brother just graduated from college this year and is getting settled into a new job, life on his own, and financial independence. Along with his first paycheck, he’s also been bombarded with a lot of new financial choices and a lot of acronyms (IRA, 401k, etc). Everyone knows they should be saving money, but the reality is that nobody ever tells you exactly how to go about it short of stuffing cash under your mattress. This post isn’t going to be an in depth discussion of what stocks to buy or how much of your net worth to put in bonds – rather, I want to focus on the mechanics of how to organize your finances as a single, newly independent young adult in order to set yourself up for prosperity and success.

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The Six Principles of Influence

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

I recently made a personal commitment to read more books, so I turned to the lengthy “Saved Items” cart on Amazon that I had been filling with friends’ recommendations for the past 18 months and ordered several titles. The first to arrive was Dr. Robert Cialdini’s fascinating and bestselling book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, which had been recommended to me by several friends, acquaintances, and subject matter experts, including Tim Ferriss, Guy Kawasaki, and Noah Kagan.

In is book, Cialdini (formerly a nationally renowned professor of marketing at Arizona State University) describes Six Principles of Influence which encompass every negotiation tactic and act of persuasion utilized in board rooms, living rooms and farmers markets the world over. That is to say, these are the six “puppet strings” that all of us tug at to gain compliance from those around us. They are vastly and widely applicable, from business negotiations to marketing to disagreements with your spouse. If you look closely, you’ll notice that all of us employ them every day to achieve our goals and influence those around us. Many of them are particularly applicable to entrepreneurs, so I’ve attempted to crystallize the essence of the six principles and share them below.

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The Coming Chinese Internet Tsunami

Shenzhen-East-City

I have begun to think and write about China more and more lately; there is such an incredible opportunity across the Pacific that seems largely unobserved by a majority of Americans. The Chinese economy and population base is so large and modernizing so rapidly, and has transformed from 3rd world to 1st world in a matter of decades (that same evolution took us hundreds of years here in America). As you can see in this chart from Google, China’s internet adoption has blown past the United States, both in terms of growth rate and sheer number of users. And they’re still at only 20% internet penetration. Mobile phone penetration is actually higher than internet penetration, approaching 60% depending on what study you read – that’s over 500 million mobile phones. This in itself is an interesting dynamic, as it seems that in China the mobile phone (rather than the PC) is the primary method of internet use and communication. As I understand it, this is a result of the relative difficulty and expense of getting a computer and home internet line installed – particularly in rural China, which does not yet have the widespread and developed communications infrastructure that we enjoy in the United States. Coupled with pervasive and cheap mobile phone service and a proliferation of advanced smart phones, the mobile internet has become the single point of connectivity for millions of Chinese. However you measure China’s growth, it doesn’t take an economist or venture capitalist to see that the pace of technological change, adoption, and transformation in China is unlike anything experienced in America or anywhere else.

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Go East Young Man

Shenzhen-skyline

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the American “Wild West” was a place of great opportunity and great adventure – rapid development, gold rushes, land grabs, and a booming population provided an opportunity for enterprising young men and women to strike out on their own and “grow up with the country”, as the famous quote goes. The West took on an almost mythical aura as a place where anything was possible and success was limited only by ambition.

Even after the American West had been developed, the United States has remained the epicenter of the world’s economic growth and a proverbial “land of milk and honey” for immigrants from across the globe. The best and brightest students from countries the world over aspired to one day travel to America to make their fortunes and pursue the “American Dream” – and countless many have done just that. However, while the western world has been the place to be for the past 150 years, I’m beginning to think that the next 150 may see a stark reversal of the compass needle.

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