Why Not Hug Strangers? – A Video Experiment



What happens when you hug strangers?

Andrew Hales of LAHWF wanted me to find out.

The above video took place in Dolores Park in San Francisco last Thursday, around 5:30pm. All people hugged are complete strangers.

Andrew challenged me to make the awkward even more awkward:

  • Could I score a hug by simply standing like a zombie with my arms out? (He’s good at this)
  • Could I go for the “long hold” and hug someone for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or more?
  • Could I hug without saying anything? (Not my strong suit, it turns out)

To make things more interesting, Andrew accidentally–or purposefully?–started the filming at the famously gay southwest corner of Dolores.

Oh, boy…


In other news, if you’re looking for a short essay to jumpstart your week, this might be what the doctor ordered: “6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm.”

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4-Hour Parenting – plus – Sports Doping


First, An Email

This short post was inspired by an email.

John Heltzel, who’s on the non-profit board of Hand in Hand Parenting, sent me the following:

I was recently having dinner at Los Altos Grill with a CEO. He lamented that he travelled a lot and was having trouble re-connecting with his kids when he returned. I said: “When you get home, take out your iPhone, set the timer for 10 minutes, and say ‘you are now the boss for the next 10 minutes’ and see what happens.”

He wrote me back: “I did the ’10-minute boss’ exercise with my kids yesterday. They loved it. First started with ‘Get me some Skittles’ and then ‘Play school with us.’ Thanks for the tip!”

I’d love to hear from readers on other simple tricks for keeping connected to kids. As a some-day parent and driven person, it seems like the little things are the big things.

What do you think?

Second, Sports Doping

I was recently asked by The Next Web “[In the future]… will winning in sports be determined by technology?”

Here is my answer:

I would go so far as to say that nearly ALL future record-breaking athletics will depend on technology. This assumes we broadly define ‘technology’ as innovative tools for solving problems… like normal limitations of the human body. The 1980′s were the ‘golden age’ of steroids, which partially explains the records during that period. Moving forward, athletes’ coaches will use better tracking for Moneyball-like approaches to incremental gains; they’ll also use advances in medical and black-market biotech for massive gains.

The human body hasn’t evolved much over last 100 years for Olympic weightlifting or sprinting, right? This can be overcome a few ways: better scientific selection from massive populations (e.g. current day China, Cold War USSR), gene doping, cutting-edge medical treatment for faster recovery from injuries (Platelet-Rich Plasma injections, etc.), mechanical advantage (e.g. compression suits for swimming), and tweaking systems largely neglected in a sometimes anabolics-myopic arena (think acetylcholine optimization for 50-meter sprints). At the highest levels of power- or endurance-dependent sports, *everyone* is doping in some capacity, whether using EPO injection (banned) or high- altitude simulation tents (100% allowed but expensive, and the effects are nearly identical).

The options they choose are determined simply by how rich or poor they and their countries are. There is no such thing as a level playing field. Never has been and never will be.

Competitors with $1,000,000+ bonuses from big brands will always have more resources than the drug testers. It’s an easy game to beat…

[Read the full article here, including answers from others.]

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Announcements: Live Q&A Today, $10,000 Memory Challenge, Etc.


Hi All,

This post is simply a few time-sensitive announcements. More juicy content (really fun stuff) coming in the next post.


I’m doing a live two-hour Q&A session today — please join me!

Just go to this Facebook page, click “Like”, and ask me whatever you like. Here are the details:

Date: Today, April 22, Monday
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM EST (1:30-3:30 PM PST)

Where: This Facebook page


The biggest memory competition ever held now has a winner. Co-created by me and Grand Master of Memory Ed Cooke, then announced on this blog, it challenged “ordinary” people to learn to memorize a pack of cards in less than a minute.

Irina Zayats, a 24 year-old Ukrainian woman, showed just how quickly a brain can be trained. Miss Zayats had no previous experience using memory techniques, but she learned to perform the gold standard of memory skills (memorizing a shuffled deck of cards) in just five days. In doing so, she won $10,000 and, to her surprise, a job offer from Memrise, the learning platform that ran the competition.

How did she do it? Here’s the full blog post, and an incredible video of her performance is below:

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Christmas Deals from Start-ups


(Photo: Kevin Dooley)

Just for fun, I asked my start-ups (and a few friends) if they’d like to offer y’all a little something special from the holidays. Here’s an incomplete list.

Many are working on top-secret stuff and couldn’t jump in, but a few were game on last-minute notice, so here you go!

They are listed in alphabetical order by company/name:

Stop being a Wantrepreneur; start taking action. Free vids! Get here: http://appsumo.com/wantrepreneurs-videos/ via @AppSumo

Everything you need to transform. Free trainers, complete nutrition plans, & top-selling supplements. Save 10%! www.Bodybuilding.com/Save10

Photo + Film + Design + Software. Use coupon “tim2011″ for 25% off ANY single @creativeLIVE course til 1/1/12 http://creativelive.com

Email joseph-at-crowdflower.com and we’ll give you free CrowdFlower credits and a free crowdsourcing consultation to get you started on our self-service platform.

Foodzie’s Tasting Club delivers a monthly selection of artisan food products. Gift it and receive a FREE month on your own subscription. Valid through 12/24.

Ed Cooke trained Josh Foer to be US memory champ in 1 yr. He’ll train you if you can learn 500+ words in a week on http://www.memrise.com

Create a free and private website for your family photos this holiday season on Posterous Spaces.

Want a virtual assistant? Get one, FREE, for a year. (From Ramit Sethi of iwillteachyoutoberich.) http://bit.ly/uVjY3M

45% off a year of Reputation.com’s MyPrivacy service ($55 for a year) to protect your digital personal information. You can use this link http://www.reputation.com?code=4HOUR to get the discount automatically or enter the code 4HOUR in the gift code section on our site when buying.

Have a Productive New Year for 50% off – Sign up for @RescueTime for $36/year! – http://bit.ly/RT36Y

3 months free – Shopify Unlimited Plan, first 100 to use the promo code ’4HOUR’ [value $537]

Happy holidays!


Odds and Ends: The 4-Hour Chef is now up on Amazon.co.uk

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Housekeeping: Getting in Front of VIPs and Building Schools


Banksy grafitti close to the Roundhouse, Camden Town, London (Photo: CanonSnapper)

Just two quick housekeeping items, then back to our regular programming — some fun content coming — next post.

First, how you can get your product or service in front of 200 influencers this week; second, an update on the overwhelmingly successful school campaign.


The “Opening the Kimono” event is fully booked, and — my goodness — what an audience it will be! Top bloggers, highest-followed Twitter users, authors of 20 or so New York Times bestsellers, the team that engineered virality for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, top executives from huge companies that are household names, and many more.

If you have a product or service you’d like to get in a gift bag for this 200-person group, please fill out this form ASAP. First responders get priority. Note that, if you’d like to do this, all physical products would need to be shipped to Napa, California to arrive no later than this Friday, August 19thRead More

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How to Bulletproof (or Unf*ck) Your Mac


(Photo: Small Dog Electronics)

Macs are easy to use. Intuitive!

Viruses? Never heard of ‘em!

Well, perhaps. But problems do crop up, even with the venerated Macintosh. Not long ago, I went to use Spotlight (cmd + spacebar) and, well, it looked a little off.

It displayed “Indexing Spotlight,” with an estimated finish time of several MILLION hours.

I’m no computer scientist, but that seemed like an abnormally long time. Alas, “ruh-roh” realizations alone do not diagnose problems, let alone fix them. Much of the world has felt the same at one point or another: “My [fill in the blank] is screwed, but I don’t even know where to start.” Cars? Computers? Health? We’re all ignorant of something, as mastering everything just isn’t an option.

So, I put a notice out on the Internets asking for help and learned a lot about Macs in the process. First and foremost: It need not be complicated to bulletproof (or unf*ck) your Mac.

But what if your Mac crashes or is stolen? Does that goddamn spinning beachball mean that my computer’s going to implode? Is there a simple way to sleep soundly at night?

My hope is that this post somehow helps you to do exactly that. It won’t be fancy, and it won’t impress the Carnegie Mellon CS crowd, but it will get the job done with minimal headache and paradox of choice. Here’s what I’ve learned so far… Read More

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Five Minutes on Friday, Six Minutes on Saturday: Listen to Music, Save Japan; Email a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks


It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or sacrifice to do an incredible amount of good. Hence the name of this post (and potential series): Five Minutes on Friday. Even if it’s not Friday, this post might interest you…

Can you — and can I — take just five minutes each Friday (or Saturday, Sunday, etc.) to fix big problems and feel awesome in the process? Sure. It need not suck or feel like work. In fact, it can be like getting a Christmas present. Or perhaps like slaying bad guys as The Punisher.

Pretty sweet on both sides. Here are two quick options for your five minutes this week…

Listen to Music, Save Japan

Make a $10 or greater donation to Music for Relief for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan and receive a kick-ass exclusive compilation of music from incredible musicians. To get people to take action, the offer is only good for a few days. Listen to the music (listed below) and make a donation here: http://japan.downloadtodonate.org/

Current Tracklisting:
Hoobastank — Running Away (acoustic)
Shinedown – Shed Some Light (acoustic live)
Sara Bareilles — Song For A Soldier
Flyleaf — How He Loves (live)
Staind —Right Here (live)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — 21 and Up
Angels & Airwaves — Hallucinations
Taking Back Sunday – Best Places To Be A Mom
Placebo – Bright Lights (live)
Black Cards – Dr. Jekkyl & Mr. Fame
B’z — Home
Surfer Blood – Take it Easy (Live)
Ben Folds – Sleazy
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Starlight (live)
Counting Crows – Colorblind (live)
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon (live from Tokyo)
Talib Kweli – GMB
Plain White T’s — Rhythm Of Love (live)
Elliott Yamin — Self Control
Pendulum – Witchcraft
Patrick Stump – Saturday Night Again
Linkin Park — Ishho Ni

Pretty sweet, right? Click here to download the tracks.

Email/Call a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

More than 100 million sharks are now slaughtered annually to fuel the shark fin soup trade. The soup is non-nutritive, expensive, and doesn’t even taste particularly good (yes, I tried it in China in the 90′s). It is served mostly as a status symbol at Asian weddings, formal functions, and high-end restaurants.

How is this fine soup made?

Shark fins are cut-off the sharks in a process called “finning.” The practice is wasteful, unsustainable and ecologically unsound. Here’s how it works: sharks are caught on long-lines (miles of line floating in the oceans, affixed with hooks and bait), brought to the boat, and have their fins are hacked off. Next, since shark meat isn’t worth as much as shark fins, the mutilated but normally live animals are thrown back in to the water to sink and die.

Sharks cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with mass-production shark finning. In the Atlantic ocean alone, shark populations in many species have decreased more than 90% percent in the last 15 years alone. It’s fucking disgusting.

I wanted to be a marine biologist for nearly 15 years, and if there is two things to remember about sharks, here they are:
- Most sharks don’t attack humans and have no interest in us whatsoever. I’ve dived with hundreds of sharks without incident.
- If you destroy apex predators (predators at the top of the food chain), the rest of the food chain topples soon thereafter.

If the oceans go to hell, so do we. To stick it to the bad guys and help the good guys, here are two five-minute options:

1. Boycott and Publicly Shame Restaurants That Serve Shark Fin Soup

Below is a list of Canadian and US restaurants that still serve shark fin soup. Boycott them, write to them, and — corporations hate bad PR — publicly shame them for inhumanely slaughtering sharks, using blogs, tweets, Facebook, e-mail, or whatever you have:

United States List of restaurant perpetrators
Canada’s list of restaurant perpetrators

2. Join Future Shark Adventures

The University of Miami offers year-round shark expeditions, including weekly tagging trips in the Florida Keys, Great White Shark expeditions in South Africa, and Diving and Tagging tiger shark adventures in the Bahamas. Click here for more information.

If you have other creative ideas on how to promote ocean conservation, please contact Dr. Neil Hammerschalg at nhammerschlag-at-rsmas.miami.edu. To learn more about shark protection, visit these sites:


Yes, I really love sharks. Here, I tag my first shark off of Miami as part of Summit Series: a beautiful female tiger shark. Truly gorgeous.

Have a fantastic weekend, all. Take the five minutes if you can. It will make you feel incredible, and it will have an impact.

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So, You Want to Be a Writer? Read This First.


(Photo: Sybren A. Stüvel)

Neil Strauss has written six New York Times bestsellers and is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine. From the standpoint of most aspiring writers, he’s reached the pinnacle of success.

That’s why I first sent him an e-mail in 2005.

I attached a draft book proposal and asked for his feedback, hat in hand. To my astonishment, he responded with words of encouragement, and that book proposal later became The 4-Hour Workweek.

We’ve since become good friends and — who would have imagined? — have even taken retreats together while on deadline. Our latest jam sessions took place in a beach cabin in Malibu. I was finishing The 4-Hour Body and Neil was wrapping up his latest opus, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness.

Evenings were spent force-feeding Neil protein (that’s when he gained 10 pounds), drinking Cocoladas, and trading war stories from publishing and writing.

Neil wrote one chapter in his new book about the trials and torture of editing. I almost died laughing (crying inside) when I read a draft, and I made him promise I could put it on this blog… Read More

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Experience Zero Gravity with James Cameron, Director of Avatar (and Me, Among Others)


James Cameron is writer and director of Avatar ($2.7 billion grossed), The Terminator, Aliens, and Titanic, among other blockbusters and genre-defining films.

On October 9th, James Cameron, Jim Gianopoulos (Fox Films Chairman/CEO), Peter Diamandis (X PRIZE Foundation Founder and Chairman), Tim Ferriss (that’s me), and a select group of others will experience zero gravity. And you could be with us… Read More

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The Big Bang: Blow-out Launch Party in NYC, Next Tuesday


It’s time to celebrate! Three years in the making, The 4-Hour Body debuts next Tuesday.

I’m throwing a blow-out party in New York City that evening to thank readers who can attend. I hope to do more parties around the world in the coming months to thank you all. My sincerest gratitude to The King Collective for producing this event and making it gorgeous.

Here are the details — first the basics, then the fun stuff… Read More

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