The 4 Hour Chef

Author:
Tim Ferriss

Description

WHAT IF YOU COULD BECOME WORLD-CLASS IN ANYTHING IN 6 MONTHS OR LESS?

The 4-Hour Chef isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure guide to the world of rapid learning.

#1 New York Times bestselling author (and lifelong non-cook) Tim Ferriss takes you from Manhattan to Okinawa, and from Silicon Valley to Calcutta, unearthing the secrets of the world’s fastest learners and greatest chefs. Ferriss uses cooking to explain “meta-learning,” a step-by-step process that can be used to master anything, whether searing steak or shooting 3-pointers in basketball. That is the real “recipe” of The 4-Hour Chef.

You'll train inside the kitchen for everything outside the kitchen. Featuring tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, pro athletes, master sommeliers, super models, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.

The 4-Hour Chef is a five-stop journey through the art and science of learning:

1. META-LEARNING. Before you learn to cook, you must learn to learn. META charts the path to doubling your learning potential.

2. THE DOMESTIC. DOM is where you learn the building blocks of cooking. These are the ABCs (techniques) that can take you from Dr, Seuss to Shakespeare.

3. THE WILD. Becoming a master student requires self-sufficiency in all things. WILD teaches you to hunt, forage, and survive.

4. THE SCIENTIST. SCI is the mad scientist and modernist painter wrapped into one. This is where you rediscover whimsy and wonder.

5. THE PROFESSIONAL. Swaraj, a term usually associated with Mahatma Gandhi, can be translated as “self-rule.” In PRO, we’ll look at how the best in the world become the best in the world, and how you can chart your own path far beyond this book.

Notes

Having a Plan B removes much of the stress of cooking.

Ferriss confesses to being the ‘king of freaking out’ in the kitchen until he realized that he needed a backup plan. The first and last rule of the 4-hour Chef…

“If you f**k it all up, you can always order takeout”

Common failure points

  • Overwhelm (breadth of material, high load on working memory)
  • Unclear or inappropriate progression (some textbooks are formatted for the writers)
  • Intimidation (complexity of material)
  • Lack of motivation
  • Expense (cost of entry and cost of practise)

Information gathering – people

  • Extraordinary people (outliers) can be worth studying if there is proof that their results can be replicated by others. These are not necessarily the world’s most elite performers, but those who get results disproportionate to their efforts.
  • Top performers do not necessarily know the causal factors of their success, nor make good teachers for beginners. To learn quickly, copy those who have also learned quickly.
  • Look to emulate exceptional technique, rather than the naturally gifted or those with a brute force approach.
  • Interview world class performers to identify key principles, common mistakes, outliers, training methods and resources. It is easier to contact world class practitioners who are no longer in the limelight, such as former Olympic athletes.
  • Identify the rarely taught commonalities between top performers, including what they do but aren’t aware of.

Creating a syllabus

  • Break material down to see common principles and simpler building blocks. In the case of cookery, this includes understanding how to combine flavours.
  • Choose the highest yield material, for example, the most common one hundred English words make up fifty percent of all written material.
  • Find auxiliary or ‘helper’ skills which allow you to practise a wider range of material. This means learning cookery techniques such as searing and braising, rather than memorising lots of individual recipes.
  • Consider starting backwards, with practise drills that look at techniques from a different perspective.
  • Ensure quick wins by increasing the margin of safety
  • Identify the minimal effective dose: the least amount of work required to get the desired result
  • Distil techniques to the fewest moving pieces
  • Start by learning techniques that are less likely to fail, for example, braising requires less precise timing and temperature than grilling
  • Target areas which leverage existing skills

Putting it into practise

  • Write a prescriptive one-page summary (cheat sheet) of the key principles
  • Write practical one page examples for practise which encompass the principles
  • Conquer fears with low stakes practise, for example, using a plastic lettuce knife to gain confidence with basic cutting and chopping techniques
  • Use simulation to practise without the need for elaborate setup, such as using dried beans to practise the motion for sautéing
  • If possible, combine what you are learning with something of high interest. Tim Ferriss bought Japanese language books on Judo so that he’d be compelled to read them.
  • Memorisation is helped by frequent breaks and the inclusion of odd material in the middle of a session
  • Information that is hard to remember can often be encoded using mnemonics
  • Once basic skills are internalised, short-hand instructions can be less stressful because you can read them at a glance

Motivation

  • Leverage the fear of loss and public humiliation by publicly betting on success.
  • Make behavioural change small and temporary to lower initial resistance
  • Focus on convenience to begin with – establishing habits is more critical than perfect performance
  • It is possible to forecast setbacks and doing this helps lessen their effect on morale
  • Make it measurable and a competitive game

Take risks and you'll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It's that simple."

 

"The top 1% often succeed despite how they train, not because of it. Superior genetics, or a luxurious full-time schedule, make up for a lot"

 

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it is time to pause and reflect" -- Mark Twain

 

"It's not because things are difficult that we dare not venture, it is because we dare not venture that they are difficult" -- Seneca 

 

Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcomes I want? Simple works. Complex fails.

 

  • Fat loss MED: 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up
  • Female weight loss plateaus: MED = 5 minutes of kettlebell swings three times per week
  • 10-30 lbs of lean tissue in one month: MED = 90-120 seconds of tension for most muscles w/ slow cadence lifting
  • Master conversational fluency in any language: MED = learn 1,200 words, focusing on highest frequency
  • 100 well-selected words give you 50% of the practical usage of 171,000 words 

I much preferred 4HWW but overall am a fan of Tim Ferriss.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Analysis

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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