Opening the Kimono® Event


(Photo: E. Murray)

The most frequent question I get is:

“How did you hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list?”

Historically, I’ve answered with “That’s a long, long story.” If pressed further, I would explain that I couldn’t go into the details until I hit #1 a second time. Alas, in publishing and in life: once you’re lucky, twice you’re good.

Now, I can finally share the inside baseball of all I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years.

For the first time, I’ll be deconstructing the biggest hits in publishing, including the preparation and execution of launches for my two books, both of which hit #1 New York Times:

The 4-Hour Workweek… (published April 2007)
#1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, #1 BusinessWeek
Called “The most surprising self-help hit of the decade” by Men’s Journal
More than 1,000,000 hardcovers sold in the US alone
Nearly four years unbroken on the New York Times Business Bestseller List
Sold in 35 languages, 60+ printings
An Amazon Top-10 Reader Favorite of 2007
AdAge “Best Product Launch for 2007”
Digital sales: 4.8% of total units
Advance paid: < $100,000 (signed before publication)

The media were kind in 2007, with quotes like “best self-promoter of all time” (Wired) and “branding wunderkind” (FastCompany).

But it wasn’t me. Not at all. It was due to process. To wit, the 2010 release of The 4-Hour Body:

The 4-Hour Body… (published December 2010)
Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, #1 six out of the first eight weeks
Nearly 500,000 books sold in the first four months
Selling at FIVE times the rate of The 4-Hour Workweek
The #1 most-highlighted book of all time on Amazon (screenshot here)
[Note: The 4-Hour Workweek is currently #5, just below the Bible]
First business author to jump non-fiction categories and create another instant #1 hit
Digital sales: 30% of total units, 90%+ of which is Kindle
Advance paid (largely based on the proposal’s marketing plan): $2,000,000+

For the first time, I’m going to explain how my team did it all, ranging from flexible first principles and guidelines, to trench warfare and exact wording in pitches and partnership proposals.

It will be covered in a single seminar —

Repeat Engineering of #1 — The Future of Book and Content Marketing

Dates: August 19 – 21, 2011
Location: California wine country, confidential retreat location. Details sent upon sign-up.
Available spots: Limited to 200 people.
Policies: No media coverage, no Twitter, Facebook, or other coverage of the event, and no recording whatsoever.

Who is it for?

Authors — Increase both advances and bestseller probabilities
Publishers/Agencies — Know which authors to bet on, sign bigger authors or win auctions, and increase your homerun ratio
PR/Marketing Professionals — Attract and retain the best clients who believe digital execution is the future
Anyone who wants to compete with (and learn from) the newest generations of whiz kids, rather than be defeated by them.

This seminar is not about buying your way onto the lists or the latest social media fads, though we’ll explain how people do the former. This seminar is a roadmap for the rarest of recipes: a repeatable and ethical content-creation and launch process that will put your product at the top and keep it at the top.

In sum: We’ll cover all of the most important lessons I’ve learned (and witnessed) over the last five years — and discover how to find elegance in the chaos.

The experience will include exact details of:

* Building marketing into content creation, and the value of working backwards
* First principles and overarching strategies in a digital world: the core of testing
* Timing of PR and phased outreach — exact calendars and e-mails
* How to build a high-traffic blog in minimal time, plus fatal mistakes
* Borrowing approaches from movies, and the art of the calculated tease
* How and when to use pre-sales (almost no one gets this right)
* Tools and tricks for project management without micro-management
* Secrets of the “Lean Launch” model
* Review copies and advanced copies — viral approaches
* Uses and misuses of Twitter and Facebook (I’m an investor in both)
* How to test high-leverage contrarian approaches without betting the farm
* How to combine offline with online, and when not to
* Dozens of real-world case studies
* Special guests seldom or never seen in the book world
* Much, much more…

It will also include fine wine, extensive Q&A opportunities to address your specific situations/challenges, high-level networking, and, of course, the beauty and wonder of wine country.

Once this event is sold-out, it is sold-out.

Cost: $10,000

Just like TED and similar high-end events, flights and hotel are not included, but numerous surprise goodies will be provided on-site.


To sign-up for one of the 200 spots, please fill out this form. If you are new to this blog and are wondering — who the hell is this guy? — here is a short bio.

I look forward to meeting you and sharing a glass of Malbec. This will be an event to remember.


UPDATE: There is an Opening The Kimono® 2 (OTK2) being planned for 2013. Stay tuned…

Posted on: April 12, 2011.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

270 comments on “Opening the Kimono® Event

    • Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the comment. No student discounts this time around, but I appreciate the ask. There are no plans for this seminar’s content to be put on the blog, primarily because the content is a huge competitive advantage. I’m happy to share with a few qualified people willing to agree to not publicizing/sharing the event’s content, but I’m not quite ready to put it out to the world online.

      Again, appreciate the ask — gotta do it :)

      All the best,



      • is there anything you need at the seminar that I could possibly bring/give/find/research/ etc that would enable me a discount? I’m at med school right now and writing a bestseller is one of my long term goals and this seems like a once in a lifetime seminar. Alas, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs so I can’t afford that price tag.


      • Jason beat me to the question, go figure.

        Tim, would you ever be interested in speaking to College Students in general at a reduced rate than your normal? I’m going to be the President of the Entrepreneurship Club at ASU starting next semester and would really love to have you, and what bigger stage for speaking to students is there than ASU? With that said, the club doesn’t have six figures to pay you so if you do student discounts at all let me know,



    • I charge when it’s worth it, but you’ll notice 300+ free blog posts. The seminar will only be worth it for a small subset of people, but for this minority, the price tag will be a small % of the results that follow.

      Hope that helps,



      • 1. I guess the question is not fair. Tim charges for information for a long time now. As in, the books are sold for money.
        2. It’s really hard for me to understand the success of the second book. Only way I can understand it, is that you penetrated a completely different market and crowd. I’m one of the millions that purchased a hard cover of 4hww, and can say that the book is a life changer. A corporate guy for many years (still am), I am now working on a muse. What the book did, was to unveil a complete universe of tools, people and concepts I was never aware of.
        The new book however, does not fill that specific painful gap in MY life (which probably makes its success more impressive).



      • Any chance the your next book willl be how to write and promote a book- containing content from this seminar? Just a thought.


      • A mental version of the 4 hour body would be better, i.e. a book that describes how to boost our brain in the same way as the 4 hour body describes how to boost our body.


      • Hi Tim,

        I definitely understand now about the price. Thank you for all your blog posts (they have helped me in more ways than I can count) and thank you for your answer. I look forward to meeting you in the near future. Martial art fight in Moscow?



  1. btw. the reason I ask about charging now, is cause I’m 17 and really can’t afford it yet. Wish I could, I really am learning and want to learn from you. Anyway, Best of wishes!


  2. Wow! I would love to come my man, but the 8K is a little steep for me at this time. I am sure there are plenty here who will fill the slots VERY quickly! I’m sure it’ll be a blast and well worth every penny.

    If you read this and decide to have a “1 free slot competition” of some sort, I would love to partake in that :).

    Keep rocking it my man,

    Patrick Hitches


  3. Dang. Wish I had $7000.

    Tim, did you ever suffer from doubt? If you did, how did you get over it and proceed with action?


    • Its more than $7000, remember the hotel and the airfare is not covered…. More like a $12000 maybe. Tim would make a $2 million on this one.

      But he has a solid head on his shoulders and probably wannabe best selling authors would benifit greatly from this event.


  4. After you published the 4-Hour Body, I wondered what you would be doing next… And there it goes. Your ideas never stop, do they? :-)
    This is brilliant, Tim. You won’t let people stop talking about you, and that requires skills. As usual, bravo!


  5. Sounds awesome. I now am frustrated more than ever that I’ve chosen a profession I love, but pays me pennies. I would give nearly anything to be able to afford this.


    • Tim:

      Do you think the content in this seminar would be useful for people planning to launch a web or mobile app, or any other kind of product launch besides a book?

      Or do you think the majority of the content is only valuable for book launches and could not be applied to launching, say, a mobile application or service.




  6. Nice advance on the 2nd book, it’s wonderful to see hard work
    pay off.

    It makes me think of this quote “forget about the fruit and nurture the root”

    it seems that most successful people in all walks of life, just take care of the most important steps and the “fruit” naturally grows. It’s nice to know that Any level of success can be easily replicated just by following simple steps.

    Have a great event!



  7. Haha you’ve beaten the bible in the highlighted list… Awesome. You should consider starting your own religion Tim :p

    But seriously congrats man! Keep going


  8. I wish this is something I could realistically take advantage of. I can still appreciate this as a near perfect event offering. 7 figures, self qualifier due to price, virtually no investment risk or downside to organize, and doing something you would probably do without 200 people. Impressed as always.


  9. Damnit Tim!

    How about I trade you an advanced copy of my survival book this summer (promise it’s worth it )and an IOU for the $10K after publication? I’ve read 4HWW four times since picking it up in Feb and have purchased copies for the whole fam. Would give one a protuding body part to be there. Help a fellow Silicon Valley brotha’ out with an invite. Don’t make me start stalking wineries dressed up as a server! :)


  10. Typo: Under PR/Marketing Professionals, you have the word “attract” with an extra “t”. :) Wish I could shell out to make it. Don’t suppose this will be the subject of a giveaway?


  11. You should offer to go for free to a few young people – let them submit a paragraph on why it will change their life to attend or something like that.

    That said, I can’t believe you’ll sell out – it’s just to pricey for what you’re pitching.

    Finally, you should of course do it all in four hours, instead of three days.


    • No selling out involved. Strict trade of value for goods. If I felt I could deliver $10,000 of value in 4 hours, I would shorten it, but there’s also the fun/networking/party aspect of this event which would be tough in one afternoon :)




      • I think he meant that he doesn’t think the event will sell out (that you won’t get 200 people to pay that much for it), not that you, Tim, are “selling out” for offering it.

        -Marshall Jones Jr.

        P. S. You could always condense everything into a 4-hour long DVD and sell that down the road. That’s an easy way to break into the movie industry… sorta. :>)


      • Tim,

        I think Randy meant that he doesn’t think you’ll sell out all the slots – he wasn’t implying that you’re a sellout :) So, hopefully there is “selling out” involved.

        Best of luck.

        P.S. Revenue and profit up 98% with 0 employees (and it’s fully scalable) using the principles in 4HWW. Gain 22 lbs and doubled strength in many lifts using kettlebells – all thanks to 4HB. Thanks for the inspiration!


      • Congratulations, Zack! Those 4HWW and 4HB numbers are outstanding. Keep up the great work.

        And, yes, one of the goals is absolutely “selling out” in that connotation :)



      • Errrr ……. “sell out” as in sell out event is what i took away, not “you’re a sellout SO…..”……

        You must be thinking this is a fat loss post……….