How to Eliminate Junk Mail and E-mail in 30 Minutes… and Red Bull Book Party!


For those of you interested in the tech tools I use abroad, or how some case studies have negotiated remote work, there is a short interview with me called “Workin’ 9 to…9:48?” in this month’s issue of Outside magazine, which focuses on dream jobs. It’s a very cool issue guaranteed to get you thinking about escape.

Before you can escape, however, you need to stop crap information from invading your life. It finds us through two channels that we’ll crush today: SPAM (which actually stands for “Sh*t Posing As Mail) and junk postal mail. Here are the quick 30-minute fixes for both:

1. Put yourself on the postal “do not call” list by sending a letter to the following address and asking to be removed from all mass and junk mailings:

DMA Mail Preference Service

Post Office Box 603

Carmel, NY 10512-0643

Big thanks to corporate pranking genius John Hargrave, who introduced me to this through his bible of sticking it to the man, Prank the Monkey, one of the most empowering and hysterical books I’ve ever read.

2. Sign up for SpamArrest. I’ve tried several spam filtering programs, and most have been either too lenient or excessively strict. SpamArrest, which I can use for Outlook without installing it on the server (key for many employees who don’t have administrator rights), used in combination with Gmail, has reduced my spam count to 2-4 message per week.

Keep it simple. Good barriers needn’t be complicated and seldom are. Take 30 minutes to trial the above and treat your brain to something like Discovery Channel instead of penis enlargement spam and credit card offers. Stop sorting and start eliminating.


Free Red Bull book launch party tonight in San Francisco!

For those readers in the bay area, come party with me tonight!

Forget cover charges. From 9-11pm tonight (Friday), get into this exclusive party with a proof of purchase of The 4-Hour Workweek! Jam to one of the hottest superstar DJs in CA, David Carvalho, and The Red Bull Energy Team will be there to fuel you all night long: free Red Bull!

It’ll be a wild evening of drinks and dancing with SF’s finest. Just bring your receipt from a local bookstore or Amazon (or a page from the book) and you’re in!

Address and details can be found at here.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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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.)

25 Replies to “How to Eliminate Junk Mail and E-mail in 30 Minutes… and Red Bull Book Party!”

  1. Damn I just heard about this now, I bet you guys are still having fun out there but it’s getting late even for me.

    Please have another party Tim I just got the audio book a few days ago and would love to meet you and the like minded folks out there.

    Party on people.

  2. You forgot to mention the DMA requires you to PAY them to get off of their lists!

    You either have to pay $1 via check or credit card. And that is per name in your household! Yeah, it isn’t much, but it is the principle of the thing. I’d rather just return the postage-paid envelopes to the senders.

  3. Tim, just received the book from Amazon. I’ll be mailing the DMA today to hopefully stop the CC offers.

  4. Thanks for the update, Junk Mail Hater! I did this some time back, and I’m not surprised at this ridiculous charge. I’d love to know if you have any other tips.

    One work-around is asking the local post office to stop delivering 3rd-class mail. If they won’t for whatever reason, I’ve seen two approaches:

    1. Cite the facts and insist: “Refusing 3rd Class Mail is allowed under Domestic Mail Manual Section D 042 ‘Conditions of Delivery’.” I’ve never needed to do this but have been told it works.

    2. Get a PO Box and forward all mail there, ensuring that you use a premium forwarding service, which automatically does not forward 3rd-class mail. I realized this worked when I first forwarded mail during extended travel absences.

    Thanks again!


  5. Stopping junk mail by citing the Domestic Mail Manual did not work for me. My local post office won’t even enforce prohibitory orders (form 1500).

    I’ve documented my fight with the USPS at the following:

    I’m thinking of starting a National Junk Mail Refusal Day in which people refuse their junk mail by putting it back in a USPS receptacle.

  6. Tim, I just discovered you today and I’m devouring your website content and I’ve ordered the book. My natural tendency has always been toward short intense bursts -weightlifting, sports, entrepreneurial ventures, but I never realized it. So after the burst, I kept working, thinking I had to “put in the hours”, and I would get burned out. It was undeniable that 90% of the work was done in 10% of the time, but I never considered to stop after the burst and go do fun activities for a few days or weeks. Seeing you live the 4hour/week action plan so successfully is beyond just inspiring–it really makes me believe I can do it too. This will be my biggest single life change I have made since reading Way of the Peaceful Warrior at age 16. I’m 35 now and run which is a comprehensive online program to get an aspiring entrepreneur from bootstrap to fun and profits in just 12 weeks. I’m going to engineer your philosophy into my program and make it even better. If I really start rocking with the 4HWW maybe I’ll meet you in Hawaii sometime for some MMA lessons with BJ Penn! ttys ~Victory

  7. If you want to know where the spam bots are getting your email address from, just do a search in google using your email address. If it shows up then you can be pretty sure the spam bots run into it also.

    Get a new name and don’t let anyone put it on any webpages. If they do, you can find it by googling it. I don’t get any spam.

  8. Just wanted to say I’m only 146 pages into your book (haven’t mastered your speed-reading techniques yet), but I’ve recommended it to more people than I’ve ever any other book before…I hope the last 162 pages are just as good. I really enjoy your blog too!

  9. Please don’t use whitelisting services to deal with your spam. Please.

    Spammers don’t use their real email addresses, so some unaffiliated third party often gets the blowback from the service. In many cases, that person is me.

    I have a couple of addresses and domains that spammers like to use. So, each morning, I have anywhere from 1 to 15 messages from spamarrest and other such services wanting me to let the spam through.

    And I do.

    Sorry, but if I have to deal with your spam problem, at least you have to read the message, too.

    I use a good filter for the rest of it and it works nicely. Out of about 3000 spams per day in my inbox (you read that right), all but 20 or so get marked as spam. I can deal with that. Particularly after I find that Indian personal assistant.

  10. Is there a tougher book to obtain than this one? I have now been trying for over two weeks. Initially I spent over a week calling local bookstores back because they kept telling me that copies were due to arrive any day. Last Monday (four days ago) I finally gave up waiting and placed an order with Amazon.

    As of today it still hasn’t been shipped.

  11. Hi All!

    Victory, count me in for training with BJ in Hilo. He is amazing. I was with him when he beat Matt Hughes for the title in the UFC.

    Peter, Smart Startup, and everyone else, I’m sorry the book has been so hard to get ahold of! No one expected the response to be so sudden, so the distribution was insufficient. The book is once again in-stock on Amazon, as there are trucks full of books headed in all directions in the US. I believe the retail shelves should be stocked next week. Thank you for your support!

    All the best,


  12. Tim,

    First, let me say thank you for a life altering book and blog. Much appreciated!

    Now, I have more spam than I know what to do with. Can you please tell me more about how you use SpamArrest and gmail together?

    I have most of my sites using a general forwarder, so everything that goes to that domain will get forwarded. That’s my first mistake, I’m sure and I have to change that so only certain emails go through. And all that email gets forwarded to my ISP email account, which is being forwarded to my SpamArrest account.

    So get’s forwarded to my ISP, which gets forwarded to SpamArrest which I download with my email client.

    Any suggestions on a better solution than this? I KNOW there’s gotta be one!


    ~ Paul

  13. Hi Paul,

    I actually use SpamArrest in exactly the fashion you do, but I have disabled the forwarding. Only a few select options get through at all. Within Gmail, I’ve found their spam filter to work wonderfully. In my case, there is not much more to it, though I’m beginning to have certain addresses forward to specific Gmail addresses for virtual assistants that handle certain functions.

    Hope that helps!


  14. Spam Arrest has worked wonderfully well for me.

    it’s caused me to think twice about subscribing to new information.

    One tool that I think you will like for the weak willed amongst struggling with going cold turkey on the information diet is… Temptation Blocker.

    It allows you to lock yourself out of certain programs for a set period of time. I’ve decide to reinstate it having read Your book Tim. I put it on a while ago and didn’t use it because I dint like it, (no shit Sherlock)

    anyway here is a link for it

  15. I had been a loyal and paying customer of Spamarrest for some time, recently their service has been erratic and I lost a number of important messages. After not receiving adequate support I decided to cancel my recently renewed account and asked for a refund of the unused portion. Here is their response:

    Hi David,

    Thanks once again.

    David, I am very sorry to tell you that we are not able to offer you a refund for your account. You may continue to use your Spam Arrest account till 2008-10-01 by reactivating the account.

    I truly apologize for your inconvenience, David. Please do let me know if you need anything else.

    Best Regards,


    Technical Support Specialist

    Spam Arrest

  16. I love Spamarrest, but I have 2 problems (1 big and 1 small) with them:

    They raised the price from $60 to $90 for two years (while barely added any features that I’ve noticed (or needed)).

    And the web interface has problems with slow connections, which I really only notice when I’m off the continent (and don’t have time to trouble shoot).

    So I switched to gMail two weeks ago (just forwarded the mail), and I can barely tell the difference. I’m not sure how much time I’m wasting, or if it’s I just felt more secure with SpamArrest.

    Are there any challenge response competitors out there?

    I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the whole $4 a month savings though, but it was only $2 a month before, so it irks me.

  17. The more I think about it since I wrote it, I’m sure I spent more than $4 of time writing it and thinking about it. And now I’m back writing more. So unless gMail turns out to be just as good, I’ll go back to

    That and my playing with it, and my other blog post on it

    I’ve probably spent $90 on thinking about it now…

    But I’m still wondering about other challenge/response server hosted solutions. (I really miss MailBlocks, they would let me look at my unverified mail via IMAP and if I dragged an item to the inbox it would auto-add to the approved list for me).

  18. I’ve searched around the web and found a lot of information similar to what you’ve covered here, i.e. stopping junk mail. However, half of the unwanted things that the post office puts in my box are not “mail” per se; they are ads for local businesses, department stores, etc. How can I get this stopped? I don’t know a search term for this; do you know what they are called?

  19. Great post and after writing a post on this very topic – stopping junk mail – I was glad to have found some new tips here. Still, the advertisers always figure away to get to you eventually!

  20. I spent the past week trying to work with SpamArrest to get their service to work properly. I have a heavy IT background and still had difficulty with it. I found that their service doesn’t start right when you have a ton of e-mail to still clean up in your inbox. Easy – I just move it all out at once anyway as I get ready to be more efficient with my e-mail. The search feature will work fine in Outlook should I really need it. Second, their support is only by e-mail and takes over a day to respond. They give you all sorts of BS as to why you cannot call for support nor expect a decent response time even if things stop working.

    Third, I have achieved close enough results for free by simply taking advantage of my online Exchange e-mail account (only $6 per month for the Exchange features which are much better than any imap or pop service). I setup two rules with my Exchange service for e-mail flow to forward all e-mail to a gmail account where the spam protection is excellent. Then, I have my gmail account forward the filtered e-mail right back to the inbox on my service. Whether I use web access, my iPhone, or my Outlook software, I get filtered e-mail. I receive about 200 spam messages a day, but I now only have to delete one or two out of my inbox and don’t have good e-mail getting snagged by the gmail filter. If I want to (I don’t need to), I can always check the deleted folder in gmail with automatically clears out in 30 days. I also use the 80/20 concept of the most important e-mail addresses and domains which were imported in my contact lists for both the Exchange and gmail accounts – they both treat them as whitelists.

    As a side note, I do have a rule that uses a short blacklist which immediately deletes a message and auto-replies to the sender that their e-mail will be immediately deleted and rejected. I only use this blacklist for special annoying persistent salespeople, etc. that may keep getting through the filter (I only have a few addresses so far on this list).

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    Spammers don’t use their real email addresses, so some unaffiliated third party often gets the blowback from the service. In many cases, that person is me.