The 4-Hour Chef – The First Chapter and a Publishing First


The introduction to The 4-Hour Chef. The book has 1,000+ photographs and 100+ illustrations.

If you missed the big news, The 4-Hour Chef is being boycotted by 700+ bookstores across the United States, led by Barnes & Noble.

Why? Because I’m the next big bet from Amazon Publishing. I now have armies of booksellers hoping me to fail, despite my only motivation: getting books to as many people as humanly possible.

Some retailers are rallying behind the book, but they are few and far between. I’m certainly grateful for their support and will help ensure they move copies.

In The New York Times today, David Streitfeld writes:

The book [The 4-Hour Chef] might need all of his considerable promotional talents. It has not yet generated instant heat even on Amazon; on Sunday it was ranked No. 597 in books and 4,318 in the Kindle Store. “The 4-Hour Workweek,” in an updated edition published in 2009, was by contrast No. 328 in books and 2,723 in Kindle.

To that, I would reply: Patience, dear friends and foes. The number is moving in the right direction.

I don’t rush, and I haven’t even gotten started. I still intend the launch of The 4-Hour Chef to be very different… starting with this post. And despite the hailstorm of blacklistings, I have not downsized my ambitions. I have upgraded them.

Fiction: My goal is to have The 4-Hour Chef hit national bestseller lists.
Fact: My goal is to have all three of my books on the lists at the same time.

The New World of Cross Promotion

I have worked hard with both of my publishers, Crown Archetype and Amazon Publishing, to provide a preview chapter of The 4-Hour Chef.

It’s smart business, and I sincerely thank both teams for being forward-thinking enough to make this a reality. There’s also a short sample of The 4-Hour Body in The 4-Hour Chef, which brings the franchise full circle.

The 4-Hour Body on Kindle — notice the new sample chapters in the Table of Contents.


– If you have a digital version of The 4-Hour Body or The 4-Hour Workweek (must be “Expanded and Updated” edition), you now have access to The 4-Hour Chef chapter entitled “HOW TO USE THIS BOOK: CONFESSIONS, PROMISES, AND GETTING TO 20 MILLION.” It’s a funny read, a good primer, and it outlines the entire book.

– If you don’t have digital copies of either of my two previous books, this is a good reason to grab one or both. Have you read The 4-Hour Workweek but not The 4-Hour Body? Now you have an excuse to grab 4HB. Read The 4-Hour Body but not 4HWW? Grab a Kindle copy for $12.99.

If you already have a Kindle version, directions are at the bottom of this post, but first, some industry-wide thoughts…

It’s amazing to me that the last page of every e-book isn’t a sales page for related “backlist” (an author’s previous works) or, at the least, an e-mail opt-in for free similar content (e.g. sample chapters from past or future books). Publishers should study how start-ups refine sign-up flow (scroll down here for good models). To create profitable content in a world of endless noise, you need a direct line. Otherwise, you’re like an advertiser at the Super Bowl, paying $5 million a year to reach the same audience.

Second, traditional publishing is siloed. Competition for authors, and constantly changing staff, means orphaned books left and right. This also means fragmented backlists and lost revenue. There are many authors with books at 2-4 publishers, and despite cordial relationships with them all (in my case and in many cases), the books aren’t cross-promoted. Even though publishers compete for top talent, much like universities, I think the future is in collaboration, again much like inter-university research projects. There is no need for antagonism, especially when the costs of digital experimentation are so low, and the potential downsides can be so easily capped. Once you cap the downside, the upside usually takes care of itself.

Perhaps this promotion is a prototype.

On Your Kindle — The Steps

If you don’t have one of my previous books, nothing special required. Just download one and you’re good to go.

If you *already* have digital copies of 4HWW or 4HB, here’s what to do on your Kindle:

You can receive the new versions by going to the “Manage Your Kindle” page. Find the book in your Kindle Library by typing “Ferriss” in the search field, and click on the “update available” link next to the book’s title.

Within 5 minutes, any of your devices that have the eBook currently downloaded and have an active
wireless connection will be updated automatically. The previous version will be replaced with the corrected version.

Before clicking “update,” please be sure the wireless and “Annotations Backup” settings are turned on for each of your devices. Go to “Settings” –> “Reading Options”. Doing so will retain any highlights, notes, and furthest page read. You can check and adjust your Annotations Backup settings by navigating to the settings menu on your device. For further help with modifying settings, go to and check the help pages for the devices or applications you are using.

I hope you all enjoy this first chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And keep an eye on the blog. I promise much more excitement this week :)

Posted on: November 5, 2012.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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175 comments on “The 4-Hour Chef – The First Chapter and a Publishing First

  1. Tim,
    I just clicked on the link and pre-purchased my copy for Kindle… wish you the best with the launch and fighting the silly establishment who is boycotting, how lame.


  2. I like how you’re thinking outside of the box and actively innovating with your publishers! Also I find it unwise and frankly immature of Barnes and Noble (and others) to blacklist a guaranteed cash cow. Maybe they should start to make their own business model a little more efficient so they would be able to compete with Amazon without resorting to kindergarten tactics…


  3. If we prefer reading things in real, honest-to-goodness paper and thus don’t have digital versions of the books (but have read both!) is there a way to access the sample chapter?


  4. Hey Tim: Any consideration for those of us who have purchased multiple copies of both books in hard copy format…I bought at least a dozen 4HWW and 5 4HB. If not, it is not a big deal…just hoping.


  5. This is very frustrating to see. They hate Amazon’s success so they decide to make an enemy out of an author instead and punish their own customers by capriciously limiting choice? If B&N wants to win the publishing wars, providing fewer products to their customers is probably *not* the way they want to go. Amazon has problems, sure, but booksellers boycotting books is a strategy that will not serve B&N. Love your books, Tim. I’ll be buying.


  6. Keep it up Tim, I love your endless energy and ambition, it’s inspiring. I’ve been excited about the 4HC for ages and can’t wait to get mysef a copy to add to the previous 4 hour books in my reader. I have a feeling they will all compliment eachother well. Go go go!


  7. Found it on my Nexus 7, needed to update on Amazon, delete from my device, and load again. Thanks! Was nervous it was only going to be on the kindle and not the kindle app. :)


  8. Tim,

    I wish you the best with the launch of this new book. I’m an author who has been lucky enough to be traditionally published, a form that gives more cred to the author—at least at first. Naturally I follow trends in publishing like a fly on meat.

    This boycott by B&N and others is silly. Publishing is an 800-pound paraplegic gorilla. Though Amazon is often viewed as this bully, I do hope their foray into publishing pushes the rest of the biz to get its act together. As it stands, publishing sits in its wheelchair getting its IV drip from Stephen King, John Grisham, and James Patterson.

    I’m not quite sure what to make of Amazon in this game yet, but I do wish you the best and we’ll see which direction the 4-Hour Chef and others takes us.