The 4-Hour Sucker

In case you didn’t know, Tim Ferriss has a new book out, The 4-Hour Body. As such, I’m going to share an opinion of mine, marketing is one of the most powerful forces in the world. If you are unfamiliar with Tim’s work, he wrote a book called the 4-Hour Work Week, which is still on best seller lists. Essentially, the book is full of productivity hacks and promotes illusions pertaining to a concept called lifestyle design. What is lifestyle design you might ask?

The New Rich (NR) are those who aban­don the deferred-life plan and cre­ate lux­ury lifestyles in the present using the cur­rency of the New Rich: time and mobil­ity. This is an art and a sci­ence we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD).

A luxurious lifestyle with plenty of time and geographical mobility: sounds amazing, right? There’s just one problem: it’s not quite as easy as the book title makes it sound. At some point in time, you still have to actually create a business.  There is nothing new in his book, except for a clever repackaging of old ideas.  Also, I can say with a relatively high amount of certainty that Tim Ferriss actually works more than four hours per week.  I know, it just smacks of irony.

Furthermore, the term lifestyle design was hijacked by charlatans shortly after the books release. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is a lifestyle designer. We’re all trying to design a lifestyle that will maximize our happiness. The way Ferriss uses the term makes it a simple synonym for the entrepreneur lifestyle. Granted, some people are better at this than others. I’ve seen countless posers trying to convince people that the secret to getting rich is detailed in their e-book for the modest price of $19.99. This is what I call a sucker problem.

Sure, there are more effective ways (hacks) to use the tools we have available to us, but the bottom line is that at some point you actually have to create a legitimate business. At the core, the key to creating a successful business is to have an amazing product or service, then build a company and brand around it. This is the part that no one wants to hear because hard work just doesn’t sound all that sexy.

Tim is a brilliant marketer and I respect him for that. Unlike some other people, I don’t assume he’s a bad guy just because of his marketing prowess. When push comes to shove, marketing is a necessity in a capitalist society. In his first book, he was able to re-brand the names of philosophical and entrepreneurial ideas so that they become intelligible to a wider audience. In my opinion, he wasn’t really saying anything new, but nonetheless, I do happen to accidentally agree with many of the ideas he promotes.

I haven’t read his new book yet, but I’m going to venture a guess that he has again mastered the art of re-branding ideas again, this time from various health and fitness communities. Since he has a large following I’m expecting that this book will do quite well.

I really hope his next book is titled The 4-Hour Sucker: How I Mastered the Art of Marketing and Became Rich.


7 Comments on “The 4-Hour Sucker”

  1. Nobody sells their e-book at a modest price of $19.99.

    E-books typically sells for much more because another great marketing trick is that price indicates value. So 20000 words of platitudes blown up to 60 pages using stock photos and plenty of margin almost always sells for much more.

    Also, e-book prices are usually priced at a round number ending in 7 (apparently studies have shown that this number makes people buy more than say 9) and it’s generally much higher, e.g. $37 or $77 or $147.

  2. Greg Linster says:

    I have never bought an e-book and I’m clearly unfamiliar with the price points. Anyway, I like your blog!

  3. Brian Anzur says:

    Liked the post Greg. I’ve noticed the same thing and found an interesting presentation Tim Ferris gave about marketing and self promotion. He follows a very strict process in his promotion and its amazing how he has leveraged it. It brings into question whether “quality content” or just targeted and regimented promotion is the key to success. I would argue that both are necessary yet it seems that society, in general, might be placing less value on the content… and marketers are taking notice and cashing-in on that fact.

  4. Greg Linster says:

    Thanks for the comment Brian, that’s an interesting presentation. I would also add that his personal brand was pivotal to his success. Had he not been a language guru, world champion salsa dancer, etc. his message would not pull nearly as much weight. I find it highly unlikely that his scientific approach to marketing would work for the average person without a personal brand of that caliber.

  5. […] writing this post yesterday about the The 4-Hour Body, I decided to pull the The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live […]

  6. […] use of economic logic (I wrote a post in response to his latest book release aptly titled “The 4-Hour Sucker“). Inefficiency is, however, an important piece of the economists toolkit. I’ll […]

  7. […] suspect. I’ve been sharply critical of Mr. Ferriss’ work in the past myself (see “The 4-Hour Sucker“). For many people, he’s an easy guy to dislike and it’s not hard to see why. I […]

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