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 🙂

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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175 Replies to “The 4-Hour Chef – The First Chapter and a Publishing First”

  1. I’ve had the book on pre-order for ages Tim – you have a lot of fans who will buy from overseas as well (I’m in the UK so the B&N boycott won’t make any difference).

    On the promo at the back of every book, as independent (self-published) authors, we have control over this and everyone is doing as you are – including list signups for the next book, sample chapters and also cross-promoting with other authors in the same genre. The indie world is full of internet marketing best practices 🙂

    Looking forward to the 4HChef! Thanks, Joanna

  2. Great read. I just updated the kindle version of the 4HWW and I’m starting to read the 4 Hour Chef. I wish you the best of luck. You have plenty of us wishing you success! We’ve got your back! Keep up the good work Tim.

  3. Not only does updating the Kindle version give you access to the first chapter of the 4 Hour Chef, it also takes advantage of the new Kindle text rendering. So the entire book looks way better!

  4. Don’t have or want a Kindle. So having bonuses only for Kindlers? Means I just lost interest and am now off to cancel my pre-order.

  5. Tim–I have a lot to say in response to your post, but will keep it short. I am one of the “armies of booksellers” that you mention. We do NOT wish you to fail! I have handsold many copies of your other books to my customers. And even though my store may not carry 4HC on the shelves (a decision made far above my paygrade), a customer can order it shipped to them at home, and pay for it in the store. We would never tell a customer, “No, I won’t sell you that book.” Best wishes!

  6. Errr…what about previewing chapter to all on Amazon with ‘Look Inside’ feature? Then you don’t ostracize print fans at the expense of Kindle?

  7. Hey Tim – I love your work and you are a mentor to me! I pre-ordered the 4 hour chef when you first advertised it. Luck has nothing to do with it so I won’t wish it too you, however, GO GET ‘EM! Smash the “Big boys”!!!



  8. Hi Tim,

    What an absolute disgrace!!

    Wishing you all the very best and sincere wishes from the Emerald Isle of Ireland that you achieve your goals despite the bookstores best efforts to hamper you. For my part I’ll certainly be picking up a few copies for myself and family and friends for Christmas.

    Delighted to see the poor showmanship of others isn’t going to break your spirit.I have both your previous books on my bed side table and dip into both regularly. Although I haven’t embark on dramatic life changing journeys – a read of your books has made me re-look and frequently alter my ways of working, thinking, interacting with others and living generally.

    Here’s to your continued success and hoping to see this and your next literary adventures result in top numbers in the national best sellers list.

    Happy Christmas (don’t laugh – it’s nearly the middle of November so I’m allowed)

    Susan, Dublin

  9. I have no doubts you will achieve everything you set out to do! That is one thing I admire about you- if some says you cannot do it or shouldn’t, you find a way to do it and you do it better than anyone could imagine! And, you are always encouraging and helping others. Looking forward to your new book and wishing you great success! Janet

  10. Tim/Others

    I have Kindle for Android version application on my tab. I’m having a heck of a time getting the updated electronic version of the 4-Hour Body. I really want the first chapter of the 4-hour Chef.

    The steps above don’t really reflect the application.


  11. Hi Tim,

    Quick question on behalf of international readers – is the sample still available to us? I cant see any link to download it on the manage my kindle page.



  12. Time, you are an inspiration! Looking forward to your health tips in the new book. And I shall boycott Barnes and Nobles and let all my peeps know to do the same.

  13. Figured out the updating problem.

    You need to go to and sign in to your account. Then, go to Kindle portion where you can click on the link “manage your kindle”.

    This need to be done on a web browser at Amazon portal not the kindle device.

      1. Same here. I don’t see an update at the “manage your kindle” page. I have the updated 4HWW. I’m in the US.

  14. Hi Tim,

    i just love your book and have a Kindle and a Kindle Fire HD – will the update of 4HWW be available for uk readers? Can’t wait to see the 4 hr chef in HD


  15. I think what you’re doing is awesome. Can’t wait for the book to come out. Next up- 4Hour Survivalist, I think it would be huge. How to hunt, grow food, build a home, sustain oneself off the land and thrive off the grid.

    1. Thanks, Ben! Funny you should say that, as The 4-Hour Chef actually includes almost all of that 🙂 It is, first and foremost, a book on self-reliance. Hope you enjoy!

  16. Am I understanding correctly that in digital form the book will be only on Kindle store?

    I have been purchasing my reading material via the iBookstore purely cause I love the app but this may be a deal breaker.

  17. Hi Tim,

    Look forward to the new book!

    I remember with your first book you gave readers access to extra chapters by entering a certain word on a certain page. Would this not be a way in regard to this chapter? I am a print reader and was ecstatic about the prospect of seeing the first chapter of your new book-and harrumphed when I saw it was for Kindle-heads only.

    If the issue is that the passphrase would get “distributed”, perhaps changing the required passphrase, daily, hourly (by your man in Bangalore) would solve that issue.

    In the absence of that, is there any place to see table of content or part of intro?

    Kind regards,


  18. I don’t know how you do what you do, much less find the time to write about it, but thank you for doing it!

    Looking forward to your talk at JCC after Thanksgiving!

  19. Hi Tim,

    Huge fan of your last two books. I am excited about the 4HC. Is there any chance of you selling it through iBooks? Amazon publishing would still make additional profit and sell more copies to people who aren’t looking to get a kindle but already have an iPad. It is expanding to a new user base, not cannibalizing their current base.



  20. Tim,

    Your marketing is (again) innovative, and will probably be a huge hit. I’m looking forward to reading the 4HC, and putting it in to practice.

    That said, despite buying almost all of my books on Amazon Kindle, and most of the rest via, Amazon’s print on demand model poses real threats to quality book publishers. It makes me a bit sympathetic to the boycotters. I’m not concerned, as Business Week seems to be, about whether B&N can keep its business model. I am concerned that Amazon is using its muscle to drive high quality small presses and university presses to accept low quality print-on-demand instead of trade quality publishing, and that Amazon puts out low quality Kindle versions of books without allowing Kindle versions to be reviewed separately from the print versions.

  21. Hi Tim,

    Great book! But the kindle version is missing LOTS of pictures from the hardcover version. Is it suppose to be that way? Or did the Amazon didn’t have the book properly edited?

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thank you for the comment. I didn’t notice this, but I’ll check on it immediately. Any images in particular that I can mention to the ebook team? Certainly a high priority to investigate.

      All the best and very much appreciated,


  22. Another vote here for an epub version of the book. I exclusively read my ebooks on my iPad with iBooks. If Amazon does not want to sell the book on the iBook store, it would be great if we could at least purchase an epub version so that we can add it into iBooks manually.

    I cannot wait to read this. Thanks Tim.

  23. 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…