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

  1. Even if the attendees did not reveal the information to the outside world, at the end of the course, we would have 200 +1 (Tim himself) competing with each for the number one best seller slot. :-)

    Also, the resources that Tim would share may not be able to accomodate 201 competitors (maybe a particular TV show, a book agent or other).

    Plus it would be highly probable that the attendees (all book writers) would, after the seminar paraphrase the entire training and add their own insights and therefore generally conform with Tim’s NDA (non disclosure agreement)and still manage to make a quick buck by selling these concepts, ideas more cheaply.

    All in all, $10000 would not be exactly worth it. If we just sit tight, all these secrets would trickle out eventually in one form or the other to the general public. :-)


  2. Hi Charlie(..and Tim!)
    I must admit I am a bit anxious about the “going through the applications” concept.
    Does that mean that even though I seriously and with ernest intent submitted my application within the first week, that someone can “beat” me for a seat later?
    Is this first come-first served or whomever is deemed most deserving?
    Inquiring minds(all of mine) want to know!

    Plus, for someone who is SO not an email person, I am *sick* of checking my stupid email for a confirmation. The anticipation is f’n KILLING me. :P


  3. Hey Tim or Charlie -

    Any chance you can highlight comment posts from Charlie (and guest authors) like Tim’s posts? There are 200+ comments and I almost missed Charlie’s posts because I was scanning for the “official” highlighting.



      • Heya,

        It took me a while, but I figured out how to do it in wordpress and got it working on my site. I was hoping there was an elegant solution using a simple plugin or something, but the only way I could get it to work is by changing the Theme Functions (functions.php) and Stylesheet (styles.css) directly. It’s not hard to make the change, but every wordpress theme is different, so it has to be custom modified. If you have Charlie (or whoever) email me those two files (you can find them in your blog dashboard’s Appearance -> Editor screen), I’ll make the changes and send them back to you with instructions. Email me if you have any questions.



  4. Tim, you capitalist bastard!

    While one can’t buy their way to the top, apparently that’s what it takes to get into your heart-wrenchingly amazing event.

    Give the little guys a chance :)


  5. To all asking: we’re going through the applications now. It’ll probably be next week when we get back to folks. LOTS of applications, and I take this event and its attendees seriously, so I’m not going to rush it, but I am on it!

    Thanks again to all, and have a wonderful week!



    • Hi Tim,

      first of all, 2 great books!

      2nd: I filled out my application, and while I wouldn’t qualify in the finance department right now, I decided to put on 3 seminars to raise the money, so please consider taking me in despite the non quali right now!



  6. I live in the California wine country, and probably quite close to the vicinity of your retreat. I just want to know where you people are going to go out for dinner so I can get an adjacent table and eavesdrop on you and all the heavy hitters you bring.


    • To everyone attending-

      Have a great time at the event! Someone please let me know ahead of time where the next one is so I can quickly apply to work there as a sneaky cocktail waitress.

      Or I will wait until I can afford it. Either way: TIM come to Monterey!



  7. Did someone say Product Launch?

    1. Hold an exclusive, high-end event.
    2. Record the event.
    3. Package event into modularized and easily digestible information.
    4. Market and distribute said information via Internet Marketing at a later date for ultra-high ROI.

    Touché, Tim Ferriss, touché…

    Ron Reed


  8. Tim,

    Last summer I began a diet called 80/10/10 RV, which is a raw/vegan diet where you get 80% of your calories from carbs, 10% from fat and 10% from protein.

    I learned about it from the blog of ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes who had met a “fruitarian” named Michael Arnstein at a race. At first blush I thought this guy’s diet was crazy, but I couldn’t ignore the results he was having. I was also having other personal issues that I won’t get into and was ready for a big change. So, I bought the book and started the diet on August 1, 2010, and weighed in at 198 pounds and 23% bodyfat. On August 8th I was 184 pounds. By mid-September I was down to 172 pounds and 8.9% bodyfat. I experienced boundless energy and, on a physical level, my run performance went from having a best mile time of 7:45 in the end of July to pacing in a half-marathon at 7:30 on September 19th.

    One of the side-effects I experienced while on this diet (aside from everyone in my life thinking I was insane when I’d sit down with 10 bananas for lunch) was that I was perpetually freezing-cold. I couldn’t warm up to save my life. After reading your book, it got me thinking about whether or not this diet was a way of inducing the cold exposure weight loss methods you talk about…could this also be why I lost so much weight so quickly?

    I committed to doing the diet for 3 months and in early November I went to see the doc to see how this diet affected me on a blood-level. To my surprise my doctor said everything was great, and all of my tests came back better than the previous year. Based on this along with feeling really good, I decided to stay with the diet indefinitely, but only lasted through the New Year since fruit in the winter here in NY is pretty slim-pickings and expensive.

    I have since transitioned to the slow-carb diet, but definitely don’t have the energy I had on this diet. I’ve gained 5 pounds back, but am still enjoying being lean.

    My question to you is whether or not you had ever come across this diet in your travels, and if so, have you considered trying it? I’d be interested to see the results of a glucose meter on this diet as well as to see what the long-term dangers are. I miss the energy levels I had with this diet, but am hesitant to go back to it.

    Anyway, thank you for writing your books…they’ve done a lot to help me personally and professionally.

    Rich Y.


    • @Rich Y.,

      Did Tim ever reply to your question regarding the 80/10/10 diet? I myself just posted this to the blog board:

      Tim Ferris promotes a Primarily Plant Based Diet (PPBD), yet one which follows the principals of the Slow Carb Diet (SCD). Can anyone please give me some quality information or advice on following a low fat vegan diet, as promoted in the book 80/10/10? Please read the below before replying.
      The Four Hour Body is my absolute fitness and nutrition BIBLE. I followed Tim’s SCD plan back in February 2011, and in just 6 weeks dropped from 123 lbs to 116 lbs, went from 19.1% body fat to 15.9% body fat, and gained 2 lbs of lean muscle on a 5’4” frame (verified by hydrostatic body fat analysis), complete with massive binge days on the weekend. The only deviation I did from the diet was that I still ate dairy (low fat cottage cheese and fat free Greek yogurt, only). I still had amazing results. So amazing, in fact, that my body freaked out, and I didn’t have a menstrual cycle for the next 10 months (pretty scary for a 29 year old, childless, career woman who wants to stay fertile for future family planning). So after the 4th month of eating on the SCD, I started looking for another diet that would mimic the principals of the SCD diet, but allow me to put on some body fat.
      For a civilian (aka my profession is the furthest thing from fitness/nutrition), I have a pretty insatiable desire to learn about and experience all things diet and fitness. After the SCD proved to be a success, I switched to a gluten free diet, a Paleo/Primal diet, Jillian Michael’s diet plan, and have not been loosely following 80/10/10 for 4 weeks – all while varying my workouts to compliment the diets (aka Cross Fit style with Paleo/Primal and P90x type workouts with Jillian Michaels). Simply eating Gluten Free was a bust as it was not restrictive enough; I got pretty fat from all the overt fats in the Primal diet; and my body didn’t go any direction on Jillian Michael’s plan. I then came across Dr. Douglas Graham’s book 80/10/10 and the info in it really clicked for me, so I decided to follow it for a three month trial.
      The 80/10/10 diet is centered on eating a lot of calorie dense fruits for each meal and then supplementing dinner with a large serving of raw vegetables and greens. The key principals are to eat high carb, low fat, and keep your calories consumed to a ratio of 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fat. According to Graham, this ratio is more than enough to sustain even an Olympic athlete. However, I feel this diet is best suited for endurance athletes, and not so much for heavy body builders or those looking to build a lot of mass. Regardless, this diet was designed to support health foremost and athletic performance, and not a person’s muscular physique. The key take away is that sugar is not the enemy, AS LONG AS it comes from fruit AND as long as it is consumed as party of a low fat diet, because it’s the addition of fat into the diet that slows down the digestion of fruit and the metabolism of sugar, which in turn leads to spikes in insulin levels, fat storage, and decreased fat burning.
      Can anyone give objective advice on this diet? If not, I hope to in the very near future. Prior to starting the 80/10/10 diet, I got my body fat tested through hydrostatic testing and came in at 121lbs, 17% body fat, with 103.5 lbs of lean body mass. I am currently at the start of week 5 and planned to get dunked this week and somewhere around week 10-12. However, if anyone thinks there’s absolute reason to stop now, please let me know. Additionally, my workouts for this diet program is: 3 days a week of heavy weight/low rep training, 1 day a week of HIIT training, 1 day a week of endurance training, and 1-2 days a week of steady state cardio and/or active resting (walking, hiking, etc).


  9. Hey Tim,

    This is inspirational stuff just looking at the running order Tim! Very exciting living in our idea economy right now when so much chaos and over-think on everything, its great to be offered a roadmap and some true insight thats been hard and hopefully not so hard learned!

    My big question is I am not just looking to thrive in the publishing world and it seems this is specifically for that. Is that fair Tim?

    Thanks and good luck

    London Town
    United Kingdom of Wonky Teeth


  10. Hi Tim,

    I’ll be coming to the Bay Area to run Bay-to-Breakers: if you’re around I’ll look you up to split a bottle of Malbec then! ;)

    I’ll have to plan for the next round of “Opening the Kimono” perhaps sometime in the future and am sorry to have to miss this one.


  11. I am a big fan of both books. I have made some remarkable progress on some business venture having read less than 20 pages of 4HWW and am currently progressing quite nicely on the Slow Carb Diet (20 pounds, 25 days).

    I submitted an application to the “Kimono”, but did not receive an up or down?

    My interest and qualifications is as a seasoned business builder, my friend’s minor (16 year old) son, however, is the author and whose success I would support with the savvy gained from the event. We can justify the kwan for one attendee and the necessary travel for both of us, but requested that both attend for the single fee. He needs me to help with the doing, I need him as the courageous and gifted author to handle the personal contacts.

    I believe the request is reasonable, but it is, of course, your call and I would appreciate you or one of your VA’s to send an “OK” or “Nah!”.



    • Hi Jay,

      Tim’s assistant here. Sorry about the delay — we’ve had hundreds of applications and are reviewing them one-by-one. We haven’t compiled final attendee lists just yet, but we’ll keep you guys posted in the coming weeks.

      All the best,



  12. Hi Tim
    I filled in the form on 20 April – but not had any email confirmation that you got the applicaiton. I’ve spotted the comments saying you are still going through all the applicants – but is there any way to check you have got our applications?

    Keeping fingers crossed to meet you all across the water!


  13. The mere possibility that such an event like this will exist it’s amazingly inspiring for me. For now I am at peace that I am building my muse, building my income. I am also certain that not in a so distant future I will be able to just attend. With out crushing numbers, or figuring a 1000 things. I will just say yes and be there.

    Congrats again Tim. You are a role model for me and you keep coming up with a hundred different ways to keep me inspired. And certainly the possibility of one day being able to attend to something like this is one of them.

    Gracias. Cuidate y saludos desde Mexico.


  14. Hello Tim,

    I applied and received the email from Charlie, but I have to say that I’m disappointed. The email contained only information to pay from the USA. When I asked Charlie for an international bank number, he didn’t even replied to me, even after I send him a second message.

    It’s a pity that you doesn’t think about yours international customers. I’m a leader in my industry in France, and I go often in the US and it’s the first time I have such problems to attend to a US event.
    I’m a member of Jeff Walker’s Platinum group (a $14000 a year subscription mastermind group) so the price was way higher than your and the payment process was smooth (credit card). And I think it should be smooth with your event too.

    A disappointed fan.


    • Olivier- I just called and left you a message. I’m very sorry for the confusion, but I’ve been responding to your emails. Apparently they haven’t gotten through. Please check your spam filter to ensure my messages aren’t getting caught. In the meantime, do you have another email address where I can reach you? I’m more than happy to help (and have been trying!) so please let me know.




      • Hi Charlie
        I applied to attent this in early April but not heard anything more. Looks from the other comments that I maybe should have heard by now? I’m also making a special journey from the UK – so would need to pay from outside the UK as with Oliver.

        Any advice or should I email anyone?

        Really hoping to meet you all!


    • The china “study” wasn’t quite a study, the dude never did research himself.

      All he did was compiling some research date and raised a hypothesis, but he never tested it with any follow up study (usually a double blind study) to check if what he hypothesized was true.

      The dude is a fraud. Campbell just wanted to get his PhD and compiled a bunch of info and drew conclusions that are not right.

      It depends on where you live, on your genes and a whole bunch of other factors if animal protein is good for you or not.

      Yes, there’s a ton of more high quality complete proteins out there than animal protein, and I’m not a big fan of a “high” protein diet based on animal proteins.

      There are better ways available, and much better complete protein sources around. Cooked animal protein is not complete because 2 amino acids are not heat resistant and therefore all meat eaters are actually protein deficient, funnily enough.

      There is also the environmental factors to consider that industrial meat production create, but meat does not cause cancer.

      High-fructose cornsyrup does, sugar does, and all the other freaky chemicals that are added to our foods, but high quality organic meat not.

      Otherwise all of Northern Europe and Northern America wouldn’t exist because what else should those guys have eaten a couple of hundred years ago in winter.

      Campbell is a fraud, no question about it, but you can get better protein than meat on a daily basis. And if you do eat meat, just buy organic, locally produced meat and don’t support the planet wasting industry that’s killing the world slowly but surely.

      Vote with your fork every day 3 times!

      With love,

      Author and creator of the Unleash Your Vision method.


  15. Alrighty Tim!
    Since the Wild Card seems to be a free for all, I have decided to throw my name in the hat. 14.602 legit votes (you used my video as a pre-contest example- YaY!)

    So here are a few more reasons you might consider me:
    1. I reached out to YOU about your 4 Hour Body Title…and you not only acknowledged my heartfelt letter- you ACTED on it!
    2. Last year I raised nearly 10K in 20 days for Dr. Oz’s Health Corps…and in doing so WON the opportunity to meet and hug….drumroll please…OPRAH!
    3. Helped craft a plan that resulted in Gary Vaynerchuk taking my friend to a Jets game!
    4. Although I can’t balance a tequila shot on my posterior yet, kettlebells are doing wonders and this mom of 2 will be rockin’ her bikini this summer!
    5. Plan on spending 2 weeks in Greece with frequent flier miles I’ve obtained from travel hacking.
    Thanks for tenaciously gathering wisdom and sharing it with your tribe!


  16. I have spent many tens of thousands of dollars on personal development courses. I’ve met hundreds of fellow attendees. And I would say without a doubt that:

    I’m sure Tim know this. The high price tag will make sure that people who attend use what they have learned. – Frederick Sallaz


  17. Hi,
    Just submitted my online application. I’m working in China now and would need to know right away if I am approved so I can make my travel plans. Please let me know ASAP.
    Thank you !


  18. Hello Tim,

    A possible dumb question, but before I consider purchasing a seat I thought I would ask. Does the information covered apply to “fiction” writers too? Second, I have a feeling you could write a rockin mystery novel. Have you ever thought about writing a fiction book?


  19. Hey Tim, I’m a long time fan. I think your content is amazing. I bought both books and the audio book of 4 Hour Work Week. I think this seminar is great. You really can provide wonderful content. However, after seeing the price point of 10K, I am disappointed.

    I’d imagine your core audience after the 4 hour work week were people like me, people who are not satisfied with their 9-5, or who are unemployed, that are committed to breaking out of their current situation. The 4HWW offered awesome tools that many of use to leverage our time and bring financial independence one step closer. Some of us achieved the goal. Many of us are still on the journey despite roadblocks.

    To offer these latest sets of tools at such high price point subjects many of us to a quarantine from the strategies we desperately need in order to free ourselves. In order to be able to afford the event you must already be in a desirable financial position. Especially in this economy, it’s as if you are offering cooking tips to those who can already afford a 4 star chef, instead of those who are starving hoping to find a way to not have to eat yet another can of spam.

    I mean, the best person in the seminar business Tony Robbins only charges $4500 for his master learning event (Date With Destiny) and he’s been the best, by far, for the last 35 years.

    It’s difficult to determine whether this event is to sincerely help and contribute to others, or bolster your personal brand earning another stripe on an otherwise already well decorated arm. Some would say it can be interpreted that you made your money on peasants and now you only cater to royalty.

    I admit I do not know what your long term plan for this is (or any other project), whether you will release this as an affordable DVD set (under $2000) but I hope there is a vision I am missing because I want to still root for you. You’ve opened the eyes of many who were blind, let’s hope you don’t leave them lost without a trail.

    A True Sincere Fan – Martin S.


  20. Hey Martin,

    I asked Tim a similar question a while ago on this post. Here’s his response:

    “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,


    I also really badly wish the price tag was less, but now I get it why it isn’t. Why waste time listening to something that doesn’t really apply to you (ie I’m not an author/aspiring author) even if the info is from someone like Tim. However if you are that minority, then I think it is worth it.

    I doubt Tim would release a DVD (the event is 3 days if I read the info about it correctly before) but then you never know with Tim. I’m still trying to find/buy his Jack Canfield interview that he did in ’07!

    Hope this makes Tim’s view a little more understandable…



  21. Tim: My belief of why the book is so damn succesful is that it is very good and you a very good storyteller. You don’t ask readers to do anything you have not tried and tested which instantly creates the magic of know,like and trust for you.

    You are a serious guy with some great content that the World needs. I have been on your slowcarb diet now for 4.5 months and have lost over 40 lbs. To top that off I am a Tyoe 2 diabetic and have lowered my HbA1C score by about 15%.
    Love the pagg stack and the diet is becoming normal eating where the cheat days are a blast from the past.
    You are inspiring dude.!


  22. Tim: Any chance of a conference like this coming to the East Coast? If so, when? So, I can save up enough to attend or take out a loan. I didn’t hear about this until Ramit Sethi mentioned it a posted. Wish i could have attended.




  23. Hi Tim!

    I was firstly inspired by your book 4HWW. I have built my multiple sources of passive income using property investing, network marketing and infoproducts.

    I have a question for you. You dont promote downloadable versions of your books. By reading this post, it seems to me that print books gave you much more credibility,which then gave you the opportunity to sell 3 day events with high price tickets (200 people x $10,000=$2,000,000!!!!)

    Was not going “clickbank-style” a conscious decision?

    thanks for inspiring me to dream BIG (and take immediate actions, no need to be perfect at start)!



  24. Hi Tim,

    Congrats on all your success.

    They say creating value for others is the only true way to achieve success and you are certainly proof of that.

    Question, any plans to release the Open The Kimono event on DVD?