How Does a Bestseller Happen? A Case Study in Hitting #1 on the New York Times

Last Friday, the impossible happened and a lifelong dream came true: The 4-Hour Workweek hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list! Thank you all for your incredible encouragement and support.

More unbelievable, this week 4HWW is simultaneously #1 on the NY Times and #1 on the Wall Street Journal business bestseller lists.

How is this possible? How could a book from a first-time author — with no offline advertising or PR — hit both of these lists and stick for three months and counting?

The book was turned down by 13 of 14 editors, and the president of one large book wholesaler even sent me PDFs on historical stats to “reset my expectations”–it could never be a bestseller. The odds seem impossible: there are more than 200,000 books published each year in the US, and less than 5% ever sell more than 5,000 copies. On a given bestseller list, more than 5 spots could be occupied by unbeatable bestsellers like Good to Great or The Tipping Point, which have been on the lists for years.

On a related note, how could a blog that didn’t exist six months ago now be #2,835 on Technorati with 874 incoming links and an Alexa ranking of 9,615?

Is it all luck? I don’t think so. Luck and timing play a (sometimes big) part, but it seems to me that one can still analyze the game and tilt the odds in their favor. I don’t claim to have all of the answers–I still know very little about publishing–but I’ve done enough micro-testing in the last year to fill a lifetime.

The conclusion, in retrospect, is simple… It all came down to learning how to spread a “meme“, an idea virus that captures imaginations and takes on a life of its own.

First, let’s looks at how the bestseller status unfolded. Here are the stats and timing for all of the bestseller lists the 4HWW has hit since release date on April 24, 2007. Skip below the numbers to the how-to bits, if you like:

Barnes & Noble

Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

July 26, 2007 10

Aug. 2, 2007 7


Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

July 5, 2007 43

July 12, 2007 34

July 19, 2007 45

July 26, 2007 39

Aug. 2, 2007 24


Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

July 14, 2007 13

Aug. 4, 2007 12

New York Times

Hardcover Advice

List date #

May 13, 2007 15

May 20, 2007 8

May 27, 2007 10

June 3, 2007 12

June 10, 2007 10

June 17, 2007 4

June 24, 2007 6

July 1, 2007 9

July 8, 2007 5

July 15, 2007 5

July 22, 2007 5

July 29, 2007 7

Aug. 5, 2007 5

Aug. 12, 2007 5

New York Times

Hardcover Business

List date #

July 2007 2

August 2007 1

Publishers Weekly

Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

June 11, 2007 15

July 9, 2007 14

July 16, 2007 13

Aug. 6, 2007 12

San Francisco Chronicle

Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

July 15, 2007 6

USA Today


List date #

May 10, 2007 126

May 17, 2007 134

May 24, 2007 136

May 31, 2007 115

June 7, 2007 102

June 14, 2007 123

June 21, 2007 144

June 28, 2007 134

July 5, 2007 100

July 12, 2007 114

July 19, 2007 99

July 26, 2007 96

Aug. 2, 2007 63

Wall Street Journal


List date #

May 4, 2007 9

May 11, 2007 3

May 18, 2007 7

May 25, 2007 12

June 1, 2007 7

June 8, 2007 1

June 15, 2007 3

June 22, 2007 5

June 29, 2007 3

July 6, 2007 1

July 13, 2007 1

July 20, 2007 3

July 27, 2007 4

Aug. 3, 2007 1

Wall Street Journal

Hardcover Non-fiction

List date #

June 8, 2007 9

June 29, 2007 14

July 6, 2007 9

July 13, 2007 11

July 20, 2007 14

July 27, 2007 7

Aug. 3, 2007 8

Those of you who have been here for a while know that I’m fanatical about analytics and imitating good models (in the business sense, not the Naomi Campbell sense).

Before I began writing 4HWW (I sold it before I wrote it, which I explain here), I cold-contacted and interviewed close to a dozen best-writing authors about their writing processes, followed by close to a dozen best-selling authors about their marketing and PR campaigns.

I asked several questions of the latter group, but one of the assumption-busting homeruns was:

“What were the 1-3 biggest wastes of time and money?”

This led me to create a “not-to-do” list. Number one was no book touring or bookstore signings whatsoever. Not a one. All of the best-selling authors warned against this author rite of passage. I instead focused on the most efficient word-of-mouth networks in the world at the time–blogs. The path to seeding the ideas of 4HWW was then straight-forward:

* Go where bloggers go

* Be there with a message and a story that will appeal to their interests, not yours

* Build and maintain those relationships through your own blog too

These three observations are from PR pundit Steve Rubel’s excellent summary of the 4HWW launch on Micro-Persuasion, titled “The 4-Hour Workweek – Behind the Meme.” Interested to know which events I chose and what the Amazon and Technorati numbers looked like at each step? Check it all out here.

For a good take on my blogging approaches, both as a book author and blog writer, see my multi-part interviews with Darren Rowse over at

Part 1 – from the day prior to the official publication date (good for seeing how I prepped the market)

Part 2 – from about one weeks ago, after hitting the big lists (good for learning how I’ve built traffic)

4HWW created enough noise online that it was then picked up by offline media ranging from Wired and Outside magazines to Martha Stewart radio and The Today Show. To create a fast-acting meme, I’ve come to believe that you need to do a few things well. Here are the highlights, ordered to recreate the familiar acronym PPC with a certain Don King-esque flavor:

1. Phenomenize:

Identify and name a legitimate societal shift or new phenomenon. To best spread a message or product, sell around it by discussing larger issues surrounding its creation: the person (me in this case), the changing social landscape, and emerging trends. No one cares about your new software, but the reasons it needs to exist might make for a great TV segment on 20/20. Naturally, the software would be mentioned. Mission accomplished without the hard sell.

2. Polarize:

Good stories and trend-spotting, told unapologetically, will create both supporters (“That’s the solution!”) and attackers (“It’s a fraud!”). The battle and ongoing debate this generates is the fuel needed for word-of-mouth wildfire. Don’t piss people off for the sake of offending, but don’t sacrifice the edge of your message to avoid offending. My discussion of personal outsourcing, as one example, gets people hot and bothered. Good. I just want as many people as possible asking the important questions I believe can change the world. Love me or hate me, I just want a strong unadulterated response.

3. Communitize:

Help create base camps for believers. Organic communities grow fastest when natural leaders are identified and encouraged to become leaders. I fostered reader-only communities on the forums of the official book site, but I also encouraged readers (see the bottom of the post here) to create their own tribes on the social networking site Ning. This is how more than 22 demographic tribes (I call them “demotribes”) came to be, including “4HWW for Programmers,” “4HWW for Families,” and “4HWW for Students.”

Do you want to create your own bestseller, whether a book or a product? Here are a few closing thoughts:

1. To make a bestseller, there are more customers than just your customers:

Selling to the end-user is just one piece of the puzzle. In my case, I needed to first sell myself to the publisher to get marketing support and national retail distribution. I then learned that a mention from an A-list blogger might sell thrice as much on Amazon as a national TV appearance, but the latter is what drives book chains to purchase more books and give better placement.

2. Distribution can make you a juggernaut… or it can kill the best product:

The more books there are on shelves, the more will be sold. Once you get to the level of The Secret and have 40-100 copies in many stores, managers have almost no choice but to put them in prime real estate like front-of-store, end caps, or front window. If the top chains increase prime placement of 4HWW this month, I can virtually guarantee that sales will at least double in the next 3 months (especially with some of the crazier things I have planned). No exaggeration. For my next book, if I write one, I’ll spend much more time strategizing distribution and placement upfront. Could you offer an exclusive to the 800-lb. gorilla distributor in your industry in exchange for favorable payment terms, prime placement nationwide, and in-store merchandising?

3. Marketing can grab customers, but product multiplies them:

Clever marketing and PR stunts can get customers… but only for so long. It’s the product that will create long-term word-of-mouth and the groundswell needed for a global phenomenon. Don’t save your best for volume two. I asked myself the following while writing the 4HWW: “If I were hit by a bus the day after I turned in the manuscript, would I be happy with this as my legacy?” I held nothing back and spared no details. I’m no Tolstoy, but I did my best. The manuscript was cut from about 420 pages to the 300 in the final product. One editor who turned the book down looked at the planned table of contents and said “You have five books here. Why not split it up?” Because of the bus. Have a focus, but don’t save the best for later. There is only one chance to make a publishing first impression. Remember: marketing might be important, but product is ultimately king.


Last but not least, remember: Just because they say it can’t be done doesn’t make it so. Just because it’s labeled “impossible” doesn’t make it even remotely impossible. Do your homework, micro-test like a mother, and trust your conclusions. You could be wrong, and you often will be, but… what if you’re right?


But what if you’re right?

[Want more insider stories and guerrilla how-to? Please take 10 seconds and vote for this post 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.

Leave a Reply

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.)

197 Replies to “How Does a Bestseller Happen? A Case Study in Hitting #1 on the New York Times”

  1. Phenomenal Tim. Hats off to you on achieving your goal!

    I expect some will accuse you of gaming the system but as we know, the system is a game – you played a blinder. 😉

    Well done – you deserve it!

  2. “what if you’re right?”

    Then you get to hang out with cool chicks and write about how you made it and inspire others that they can do it too.


  3. I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100% regarding poetry, but it’s just my opinion, which could be wrong 🙂

    1. You are right and you have right to express your disagree. But I still support publisher to share. Thumb up for him.

  4. Tim,

    Congrats. I’m glad to have been a part of this recent accomplishment, as I convinced four of my friends to get themselves a copy, and I feel that my contribution really pushed you over the top.


  5. If I could only choose one, I would choose … wait … where’s the option for … love?

    As in: I love my unique and distinctive bark. As in: I love being right! As in: I love my best-selling book! 😉

    Ay to go, Tim!


    Hey Chris,

    I hope I didn’t come off sounding like that! I do love being right, but I love getting the desired outcome more (this is especially important for working with large bureaucracies). I’m also not overly in love with 4HWW — I’m happy with having conquered my own writing demons, but I have a lot to learn as a writer and thinker.

    Here’s to unique barks all the same 😉


  6. Congrats. I’ve read a lot of books in this genre. You’re book is simply the best. Like so many people here I’ve done my best to spread the news 😉

    Personally, I’ve bought 7 copies to give as gifts 😉

  7. Tim:

    Congratulations. Just finished the book myself last week and it has helped reawaken parts of me that’d been dormant for way too long. My life’s been a flurry of doing stuff since then and I can’t remember being happier.

    QUESTION. Why did the authors you contacted advise skipping the in-store signing/book tour stuff? Also, you say blogs were the most efficient word-of-mouth engine “at the time.” What about now?


    Hi Ian,

    The bookstore signings take a ton of time and money, and you might sell 20-30 books if you’re well known. It’s just not worth the flights or hotels, etc. I can drive people to specific stores with the blog if I have to.

    As for blogs being the most efficient “at the time”, other tools are coming into the game, like Twitter,, and tons of others. I think blogs will still be a big piece of the puzzle, but their uber-dominance will balance out more over the next 1-2 years.



  8. Congrats Tim!!

    I bought this book at the end of April when I was searching for a book on a new career since I don’t like the job i’m working at now. I didn’t realize it was a new release at the time but almost didn’t buy it because I was actually a bit turned off by the title!! But a few days later after my another day at the office that pissed me off I went back and picked up the 4HWW and sat down in a chair and read the first chapter in the store, immediately bought it, took it home and started reading.

    Like most people I started telling other people to buy it because the book just made so much sense and actually kind of talked about ideas that I already had but other people told me was “impossible” or that “most people don’t like their jobs” but those answers didnt satisfy me!!

    Fast forward a few months, I am about a 6 weeks away from launching my first product and a lot of people I’ve talked to say I have a great product so we’ll see! Also, my gf and I are planning a mini-retirement to europe next summer.

    I keep the 4HWW next to my bed haha and read a chapter or 2 if I start having doubts or get off track, so I don’t become the old guy in the red BMW…

    It must be incredible to write a book that so many people say has changed them!!!

  9. I just ordered your book from Amazon yesterday, didn’t realize it was this high on the bestseller list. What convinced me to buy it was your blog, which I started readin just 2 weeks ago, the comments on Amazon (the negatives as well) and the recommendation of a friend I trust for books in this area – so obviously you did your PR very well. Congratulations on your achievement.

  10. Tim,

    First let me congratulate you on your book sales. I must admit that I love hearing about people who break the mold.

    As to choosing what I would desire most in your latest poll. I would like to add another choice.


    Being a student of the Bible I find in 1 Kings 3:1-14 ( that Solomon asked for and received wisdom, this pleased the Lord and he received all the other things as a bonus.

    Once again, congratulations on your accomplishments and I look forward to applying some of the “wisdom� you share now and in the future to help me realize my dream also!

  11. Awesome — thanks so much for sharing this. Perfect timing.

    And congratulations on hitting #1. That has to feel really, really damn good.

    Nice lemon, by the way.

  12. Tim,

    Nicely done. You encourage everyone out there to listen to the spirit self and know that Dreams come true. So if we never give up and work 4 hours a week we will reap a harvest. I am not much into “luck” since I believe God ordains all things but I think I know what you are saying.

    Thanks for all the great information and creating a map for us to follow.


    PS HI Adam! LOL

  13. Hi Tim,

    Congrats on #1! I bought the book while I was at the store looking for someone else’s book when I read the inside cover. I still bought the other book, but have not read it yet; while yours has been read 3 times, and I sent 3 people a copy when I heard you were shooting for #1 🙂

    My younger brother has not been able to read his copy yet, it seems that our father grabbed it while he was at work.

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiring book… Keep it coming!

  14. Tim,

    You are the man!!! Congrats bro. Yet again you have proven that you can and do accomplish anything you set your mind to. I especially appreciate the fact that you take the time to write and teach the rest of us how to do the same.


  15. Tim,

    Great job! It is really inspiring to see someone do the “impossible”! I am on my first product launch with help from your book. Thanks, Carol

  16. Tim, you rock! I love it when someone does the “impossible” and proves naysayers wrong! You deserve the top spot, and I’m sure we’ll see you there again.

    I also love that you didn’t spread your material out in five books, which you clearly could have. Thanks for giving us all the goods up front!

  17. Congratulations Tim!

    I will be giving copies of 4HWW as birthday presents for a while!

    I’d love to purchase a copy of 4HWW from you with an autograph, and maybe a second one to give out on my blog.

  18. How is this possible? How could a book from a first-time author — with no offline advertising or PR — hit both of these lists and stick for three months and counting?

    It is a remarkable achievement. You did everything right, from hitting SXSW to making sure it was available in multiple forms at once.

    I bought the audiobook from on the recommendation of Ramit Sethi (I Will Teach You To Be Rich) — and the fact that 2 or 3 other blogs I read praised the book on the same day. It took me a while to get around to listening to it, but when I did I found it was A) much better written than I had any reason to expect, B) full of more pragmatic and specific suggestions than I’d expected, and C) full of “ideas that stick.”

    After listening to the audiobook, I bought the hardcover from so I could reference it more easily. And, as my friends and girlfriend have noticed, I can’t stop talking about it.

    So it’s no surprise to me that it’s at #1. Congrats!

  19. Great post – and worthy of writing a “How to Make the NY Times Best Seller List” book in itself.

    Just want to comment on the poll – money is good, prestige is good …fame – some want it and I can understand why …but power can get you all of the above.

  20. Tim,

    Great job on getting to the top of the charts. Anyone who has read the book understands why. I have 2 questions for you. I do not believe I have found the answers in the book or your site.

    1. How do you handle your book keeping? Do you outsource it (Im sure you do)…and if so…how do you actually go about with bank statements, receipts, etc.

    2. In order to maintain a paperless life…what do you do with actual printed items you need to keep…such as forms, receipts, etc. Do you scan them in and itemize?

    Any help you could offer on these two points would be awesome!



    Hi SPT!

    1. I send all of my online bank statements to accountants in the midwest (cheaper for the same quality). All of my IRS-related documents are mailed directly to them.

    2. I don’t generally save receipts, as I use credit cards for nearly everything.

    I hope that helps!


  21. maith thú (well done in Irish) Tim, well deserved. I picked up one of the first copies and have read it a few times now. Very well written, no fat at all. Enjoy the blast!

  22. the president of one large book wholesaler even sent me PDFs on historical stats to “reset my expectations�–it could never be a bestseller.

    Sounds like this guy is working too much. Maybe he should read your book 🙂

    Thanks for the great how-to list on marketing. I’m still working at my day-gig while planning my venture, but two concepts from 4HWW, geographic independence and automation, are now key ingredients of my business plan.

  23. Timothy,

    I love the book, “The 4- Hour Workweek”. You have included some very interesting concepts~ all of which have started my thinking to change dramatically. We are working on a medical invention that will transform the way hospital, nursing homes, and extended bed-rest situations will function. YOU said yourself in your book that you are best at development and marketing. Call us!

  24. Congrats on reaching your goals. The power of the internet is amazing if you know who to contact.

    And as Adam said above… “Perfect timing” on this article. I look forward to reading your book next week on my holiday.

  25. I’ve seen the book transform from the obscure email request to spread the word forwarded from our mutual friend before launch, straight through to the flash flood of white and gold covers at my local Barnes and Noble. I’m amazing, inspired and elated that your 4 hrs a week through the last few months has finally paid off! 😉

  26. The poll is broken, I click money, then I go to click prestige and the black dot disappears from money. –oh, pick only one. That’s the problem. I hate those polls.

    Question: I discovered Warren Whitlock, the book promo guy. Do you agree with his theories? Is there a better educational program out there for this kind of thing?


    V. (122 members on our Ning group)

  27. Hi Tim,

    I have to agree with Ken Duncan above about adding “wisdom” to your poll. I didn’t see the one I wanted, so couldn’t vote. I’d give all money, fame, etc. to have wisdom. 🙂

    I’ve really enjoyed your success, by the way! Thanks for being so generous in sharing your story.


  28. Tim!

    Thanks for sharing the saga of your phenomenal success. There is so much in here to assist me along the way to making my ‘baby’ the next bestseller.

    I love the, “If I were hit by a bus what would my legacy be?” That is an excellent way to make sure you put the very best of YOU out to the world.

    My book is coming out November 2007, and it is all of me. At times, this scares me, but I know that I am giving something special to the world, that my readers will grow from!

    Again, thank you for a great blog with great advice!


    PS: I saw you on the ‘Today Show’in July. Did that appearance increase your book sales significantly?

  29. Hi Tim,

    Congratulations on a fantastic achievement. Yours is a life-changing book so you deserve all the acclaim, riches and dream stuff that you can handle!

    Directly as a result of reading your book I’m working on creating a “muse” that will dig me out of my professional cul-de-sac and will allow me to start living the life I’ve always wanted.

    Have you had any thoughts about whether you would want to write a follow up to the book or is it still too early to say? I for one would like to see the 120 pages left on the cutting room floor 🙂


    Hi Andrew!

    I’m considering doing a second book, but I’m not sure it will have anything to do with the 4HWW. I am really excited about a few ideas that I think can be MUCH bigger than 4HWW, but I can’t divulge them yet 😉

    For the pages that got left on the cutting room floor, don’t miss the original manuscript that I’m auctioning on eBay. 100% of the proceeds go to, and the winning bidder gets 30 minutes with me on the phone:

    Have a killer week!


  30. Congrats on the good news, Tim.

    I’ve bought 2 copies so far…giving one to a frazzled friend.

    I’ve just faced my fears and put in an offer on a cashflowing investment property. It’s taken me 11 years to finally get up the nerve and do it, but I am finally on my way to a 4HWW!

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  31. Congratulations Tim! And thanks for sharing your strategies. Since reading your book, I have implemented many of your techniques and they are now beginning to pay off. I just had guy contact me to do an exercise DVD.

    On a side note…I’m going up to Big John McCarthy’s MMA gym in Valencia, where I’ll be getting my CrossFit Trainer certification.



  32. Loved 4HWW… bought several copies for friends, and they repeated the process. Refreshing clear thinking.

    —> Question for anyone here (or any of the 4HWW team?):

    What ‘back-end’ system does this blog run? I love the look and feel of the 4HWW blog, and would like to use a similar (but not identical) one for my commercial and music sites.

    Anyway, if anyone knows and can tell me (‘it’s hugely modified WordPress’, or whatever, I’d appreciate it.


    PS – Don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, but after 4HWW’s success Your Man In India was over-taxed – slow to respond to new customer inquiries, confused-seeming. I think they had real problems handling the surge in interest (understandably). I ended up using a much smaller outsourcing firm in the Philippines, and they’ve been great.


    Hi Karl!

    I’m using WordPress. I love it. This is a personally-designed theme. I drew this blog layout by hand, then had a good WP designer code it into existence. Thanks for the kind words! My tips: have one dominant element (in my blog, the photo), then design around that element to lead the eye naturally where you want you want it.

    Rock on,


  33. Hi All!

    Thank you so, so much for the kind words!

    Victory, I don’t know Warren Whitlock, but I’m a big fan of Rick Frishman’s book PR. He works for Planned Television Arts (PTA) in NYC.

    Coop, you’re a nut! CrossFit is a killer program. I’ve trained with them in CA, and it’s a favorite among fighters. Watch out for the wall ball circuit. Bring a bucket.

    As for adding “wisdom” or “love” to the poll… that would make it a tad bit too easy, would it not? I want these questions to make you ask yourself hard questions. That’s how your brain gets big and strong 😉



  34. Congrats. By the way, I am sure reader and fans out there are curious to find out what are you working on now? Care to share?

  35. Tim,

    Always trying to make me think! You are correct that is how the brain gets big and strong. On a side note Adword testing begins on “The Muse� next week. I guess the tough part will be the 5 days of waiting for clicks to see if my idea will make the cut!


  36. I’ve used both Yahoo! and Gmail. But i’ve converted to BigString. Check it out.

    Here’s some info if your interested:

    BigString (, the new free webmail program, offers revolutionary features. When you send mail from your BigString account, you are protected. BigString is like an automatic shredder for your email. You can self-destruct or change an email that’s already been sent or read. Don’t leave your messages sitting in peoples’ inbox forever.

  37. Tim, I’m surprised to read your statement that writing books is not a good way to make a living. I’m making a very fine living from writing books, and they’re not even bestsellers in the conventional sense — but the key is to self-publish. Though my sales figures are modest, I make half or more of the list price as pure profit.

    You can’t do that through traditional self-publishing, though. I’ll be glad to send you a copy of my book “Aiming at Amazon” if you want to know the details — including how to distribute the books without ever touching them yourself.


  38. Tim,

    Outstanding…..Downloaded from audible and purchased book at B&N….Recommended to at least 10 people and they look at me like i’m crazy….Some people’s lives must be to complicated to simplify…Your book opens so many ideas in the mind and makes you feel the real worth in lifestyle…That’s wealth not status….


  39. Tim, a long while back you said you were going to post regarding supplements to complete the trifecta with working out, and nutrition? That still in the works?


    Hi Lexi,

    Go to the supersite at and search for my name, “Ferriss”. You’ll find a detailed routine description that includes supplements. I also discuss supplements somewhere in the comments on the blog. Search for “policosanol” and you should find something.



  40. Tim,

    Your story is such an inspiration. I love seeing people come out on top when others say “it can’t be done”, “We’ve tried that before”, “it will never work”. Great job and thank you for the great insight into how to break success down to what it means for the individual. The universe will move to what you want and demand. You gotta want it, believe it, and receive it.

  41. Pingback: Genuine Curiosity
  42. Hey Broha,

    On second reading this sounds like it could be a farewell post; now you’ve aced this goal does this mean you are going to move on to the next one and shut this down as you intimated in your chat with Jack? or will you utilise this new platform for future stuff?

    Also, according to childrens’ author/artist Maurice Sendak he regards a legacy as the time he is here to the time he dies. Now, in your book you ask us to consider what do we want to do if this is the only chance we get (a healthy thing to do). If this is your belief, what do you mean by a ‘legacy’?

    I really hope you never get hit by a bus dude, afterall – you’ve done such a good job of getting us all on board!

    Ven Vida!

  43. Congratulations on both #1 spots!

    Blogs have a way of rocketing up and then back down, and IME, Technorati ratings are often inaccurate. When I had a blog, I often noticed incoming links on my stats page that Technorati never recognized.

  44. Hi Tim,

    Great book, awesome job.

    I had a question about the conferences you attended.

    What are some of the major blog/tech conferences you would recommend?

  45. Hi Dan,

    This is no farewell post! The book is just the beginning, and this blog will hopefully be much bigger. Cool experiments are on the way…

    As for “legacy”, I view it as the lasting contribution you leave behind. This can take many forms, including simply mentoring a single child or student.

    Hope that helps!


  46. Hi Tim,

    One thing I cannot seem to find on your site: In the book you tell about the dehydration technique you used in China, and that you posted before and after pictures on this site. I cannot seem to find them?

    thanks dude!

  47. Tim,

    First and foremost I want to thank you and congratulate you for your mission accomplishment.

    A friend of mine, whom I have thanked over and over, bought me your book and sent it to me from California! I would do anything to get you to call him or email him to thank him for me! On my behalf?! What do you say? Come on! I am going to use your book to get to you to speak with me or he and I on the phone or email…if you are abroad. Just a quick few words Tim.


    What happened here with me Tim is this man. I walked out of my corporate job 6-7 years ago. Office was smothering me. I am an Entrepreneur by design, build, blood, guts and desire. I live and eat it. So, I do not have to convince a boss to get me out. I am already out! I need to unravel a monster I am creating is all….. easy right?

    Your book was way down my alley Tim. I am not kissing Butt here…it really was what I needed. I got married two years ago…wife is 8 weeks pregnant. I was getting scared that I would be trapped (not marriage..she is great…no baby…I am excited….but people’s excuses on why they need to do what other sheep are doing)!

    This came right when I was starting to freak. You talked me down from the ledge. I am now perring over a sheer ice shelf into the wide world of possibilities and it is beautiful!

    Time to sell the Plasma on the wall And Mini retire to the village of Oia on the Island of Santorini, Greece for 4 months. See where it goes. My wife would do it. I am looking for the plan to get out.

    Sorry for the life story but this book hit me. I need you to help me thank my friend Tim. I have spread the word on your book. It is my road map….my GPS… new business plan!

    I am the new Santorini Deal Maker!

    Thanks Tim…I hope to meet you somrwhere for coffee…tell me where and when and I will be there!



    Hi Carl!

    You’ll LOVE Santorini. For thanking your friend, let me do it right here and right now: THANK YOU! I’m jumping around at the moment and hard to pin down, but I’m thrilled that you’re seeing new options. Have some pasta and fish for me! Use plenty of olive oil 😉

    All the best,


  48. Hi Tim / Group –

    What are your thoughts on the relative benefits of

    a) finding an ‘adequate’ Virtual Assistant and investing a lot in training that person to become a *Super VA*, or

    b) spending a lot of time (and opportunity cost) filtering VAs to get the ideal one?

    I’ve seen problems with both approaches – overinvesting in a person that turns out to be unable to rise to the level one wants, and wasting time looking for the ‘perfect’ VA and thereby miss out on the good work that a ‘mostly-good’ VA could have done.

    Wait – this is exactly like dating!

    – Karl

    PS – thanks for the info re WP.

  49. Tim,

    Congrats!! I love it!! You are certainly a model for me to review. You have mentioned asking 3 questions to famous people. What types of questions get answered?

    Thanks and keep the tips coming!


  50. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate!

    You deserve every punch, slap, kick, high five, number one book ranking and kiss on the cheek that you get.

    In the time I have known you, and regardless of the temptation, you have never taken the sights off your goal of delivering the best product possible with the 4HWW.

    Well done mate, it is an awesome effort. Those of us from the land of sheep love, good rugby players and weird accents salute you.


  51. Tim, this is fantastic news! I just finished your book tonight and plan to tell all of my clients and friends to order it. I have already outsourced my worst nightmare (compiling 600 client names/addresses/emails from various documents into an easy-to-use contact database management system) to a nice guy in India, via eLance for all of $165 (and I got bids as low as $50)! And at the end of August I’m heading to China for an entire month of unplugged adventure. Thanks for being such inspiration – I wish you continued success. (BTW, as a professional product namer, I give your book title an A .)

  52. Not to mention you already have a Google page rank of 5-not too shabby for the first 6 months.

    Congrats on the book & site!

  53. You deserve it man. Your book was sincere and diligent. Unlike so many people today, you clearly believe what you said – and you walk the talk – and you provided true value-for-money. Such ‘fair-dinkum’ effort (lol as we say in Australia!) deserves commensurate reward! Let’s hope you’ve started a societal movement!

  54. Congratulations. I came across your blog about a month ago and was really interested in what you had to say – especially because I’m transitioning into working less hours, but getting more out of those hours. Good on ya – this is inspirational, especially for those like me who are into the Do It Yourself approach. Keep up the good work!

  55. Tim,

    Congrats! Thank you for writing this fantastic book and being an inspiration to myself and so many others. I wish you continued success!

    As for your poll, which did you choose, Tim? You did take it, right? 😉



    Hi Jason!

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I did take the poll and voted for “I have enough”. My lifestyle actually costs very little 🙂

    Pura vida,


  56. Hi Tim.

    Congrads on having a best seller.

    I have a profound appreciation to your uncompromising efforts to do the required HW and to stick to the great plan. It proves to get the results.

    Having read your post, breaking the process into smaller steps, working every step at a time, inspired me that others (as well as myself) can do the same.

    I have took the permission to add a link to your story at my blog, open after I read about your success. (hope its ok)

  57. Tim,

    I really enjoy how you integrate many links in your blog posts. It’s been about 15 minutes and I’ve been to many of the other articles you link to. Read them all.

    It comes down to having a ton of value and you definately do that. Just wanted to say thanks for all the great posts.

    Hey, I’m still here and this is my 2nd post.

    Always a pleasure,

    Chris Brisson

  58. [Note from Tim: Readers should check this out. It’s a great pitch letter.]


    Hi Tim,

    Well done.

    Loved the book. Especially the tone. You help people remember that the coolest life is the life filled with freedom.

    I also enjoyed this post very much and will spend a while taking in all the information you provided. The information is timely because my first book is under review.

    I am a first time author too, and I am waiting to hear from the 14th editor. She’s told me that having a couple blurbs would really please the folks in the sales and marketing department. I have a good one already, but I need another.

    Get ready for it…


    ….and this brings me to true reason for my post. I’d like for you to consider being one of those blurbs. Sorry to do it like this in front of the whole interweb and all, but I need to ask.

    I’ve spent my life coaching people how to remove the emotional barriers that keep them from living a very cool life and, like you, I have something valuable to share with the world.

    If you have 4 minutes, you can get a flavor of my writing and message by visiting

    If you resonate with my stuff and are feeling the desire to make someone’s day (and then some), perhaps you’d be willing to do me this great service.

    And even if you do not, I will continue to recommend your book (I’ve sold at least a dozen so far) and follow your progress.

    Your new pal,


  59. Hi…Your book is totally awesome!! I’m a psychotherapist in Los Angeles and am in a “service” business. Do you have an ideas how I can apply your ideas to my business? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!

    Mike Ames

    Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  60. About this guy Drew from post 74, I’ve been reading him for about 4 years. He always reminds me that life can be fun and not so serious. Check him out.

  61. Hi Tim,

    To be honest I’m here in connection to post #74. I’m posting this because I want to give you another reason to take a look at Drew Rozell’s writing. I’m a bit bias because I have been reading his newsletters and blog for a few years now and he coached me as well. So I know his philosophy and I LOVE his writing. Please take a few minutes from your time and check him out!

    Zsuzsa Morgan, Cardiff, Ca

  62. Wow Tim, congratulations! I remember about a week or two before your book launched you hosted a lunch with around 10 Stanford business school students (myself included) to tell us about the experience of writing a book and some of the ideas behind 4HWW. At that time launching a successful book was still a dream and now its a reality, truly a remarkable achievement made possible by a lot of hard work and ingenuity.

    – Julio

    Experience Project

  63. Hi Tim,

    May I ask if you are planning to publish this book in chinese soon? I finished your book and all I can say is, you just changed my life! How smart your life-hacking ideas are! And I can’t wait to share this with my friends in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, so I really hope the publisher will translate it in chinese, especially because you are an actor in HK. If you haven’t translated it yet, maybe I can help =)

    Thank you once again!



    Hi Tim!

    Yes, the book has been sold into China and Taiwan, so it will be published in the next 18 months or so in both traditional and simplified characters. I can’t wait!

    Hui tou jian ba 😉


  64. Pingback: Ted
  65. On Drew’s recommendation I will def get your book. I hope you give him a blurb for his book. His stuff has helped me clear my head for a few years now also.

  66. Tim:

    Great stuff-I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am dissecting it page by page. As a fellow author (The Surfer’s Guide to Stock Investing) I learned much about imbuing passion into your writing which you certainly did and I hope to help promote your book ongoingly. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    Paul Lemal

  67. Tim —

    I heard a lot of buzz about your book, but it wasn’t until Drew (comment #74) recommended it to me that I took the plunge.

    All I can say is “WOW!” It’s an incredible work; I’m so ready to turn my life around and your book is going to be a part of what gets me there.

    With Drew’s help, and now your book, I’m learning how to live a very cool life. Go ahead — blurb for him. It’s great karma!

  68. Hey Tim,

    Just wanted to say congratulations; I’ve been following your successes since we met earlier this year at SXSW, and it’s no surprise to me that you’ve done so well. Hope to run into you again soon!

  69. Hey Tim,

    Congrats on your most recent success! I just downloaded the audio mp3 version and Wow, this stuff kicks ass.

    I read about you in The Success Principles and then heard your interview w/John Assaraf(just so you know how I found out about you).

    I was a Judo player in college myself and fortunately wandered around Europe for a little over 3 months following a fantastic divorce. I have considered picking up heavy things and throwing them but have decided to leave it up to you and the Gracies of the world.

    If I never get the chance to say it in person, I would like to thank you for helping reignite the fire to do what brings me most excitement. Great book, great research and great message. Anyone can benefit from your book, it just depends to what degree they are willing to stray from conformity. You have an open invite to stay at my hostel in Europe when the time comes and ideally I can buy you a pint over some MMA/Opportunity Cost discussions.

    Way to go on everything you have done and all the things you will do.



  70. Hi Tim,

    Did you use a writing software? Can you recommend a great one for me? I would also like to know how did you get your blog read-how did you drive people to your site?

  71. Hi Tim,

    This was a great post, and I mentioned it in my blog.

    Wanted to mention that in Dan Kennedy’s August newsletter, he gives you kudos for your book title, even though he is totally against a 4-hr work week.

    Also, I was wondering how you get all of these blog entries done within your 4-hr work week. Do you outsource some or all of it?


    Hi Margie,

    LOL… Oh, that Dan. He’s a smart one, and he has some strong opinions. Smart all the same.

    For the blog, I write it all myself because… I really enjoy it. We get to the “work” definition again, but remember: the goal is to spend time the way you want to. That is exactly what I’m doing. This blog is the ultimate laboratory for me — I’m testing dozens of variables and behind-the-scenes stuff all the time. I love it. As soon as that changes, I’ll start outsourcing more.

    Thanks for the comment!


  72. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for responding. I feel the same way about blogging. Although I write a weekly newsletter and write constantly in my business, I only full express my personality and vulnerabilities through blogging.

    PS – Nice plugs for the best book publicist in the world, my friend Rick Frishman.



  73. Yo Tim….what up man? Just started reading the book for the second time. That is the way I want to spend my time. Reading it twice. It is 9:38 AM and all the people that have not read your book are sitting cubicles or in traffic.

    Anyhow…I am new to the blogging world. I know, I know…I am behind in that. Anyhow….great stuff tim. When does the book “2 hours work week come out”. I am sure after you have refined all of this a bit more we can cut out a few more hours.

    My best friend just got promoted to Regional Manager at a huge Insurance company….thus…he got promoted to more spreadsheets, hours and less time with his 1.5 year old son. I made him swear over a Guinness that he woudl read your book that I bought him.

    Thanks Man!


  74. Timmmmm,

    How are you today? I am still awaiting your answer, when you can-luv ya!!!!



    Below written 8/18/07

    Hi Tim,

    Did you use a writing software? Can you recommend a great one for me? I would also like to know how did you get your blog read-how did you drive people to your site?


  75. Great article. I really appreciate the ‘leaving nothing out’ commitment. So many authors (thinking of 2 in particular) have positioned themselves as a guru and write a book about one idea and have the nerve to advertise their next book in the pages too.