What's Your Lifestyle Quotient (LQ)?


If you thought washing your hands 32 times a day was fun, just try this! (Chicago O’Hare Airport)

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.

-Robert Frost, American Poet

I’ve long sought a measurement for lifestyle, something better than bank accounts or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). I was able to take the leap and redesign my own life only once I started asking myself difficult and uncommon questions such as:

How many hours do I work for each day of vacation?

What percentage of my life do I really spend working vs. doing something I want to be doing?

Enter the new world of the Lifestyle Quotient (LQ). If you want to see the real facts of your current work-life (im)balance, check out the world’s first LQ calculator here. The results will probably shock you.

What is your LQ?

What do you guesstimate your boss’s LQ to be?

What about your father or mother’s LQ compared to your own?

If you know someone who is a workaholic in denial, or who thinks an 80-hour workweek is a good way to spend their limited time on this planet, go for a lifestyle intervention and send them the LQ calculator. It might just wake them up faster than a triple-espresso frapuccino.


Other news and goodies:

Think you can’t outsource your love life? Well, I did it — I had groups around the world compete to set me dates. This just made it into the news, and you’ll be hearing much more about it soon!

If you’re interested in travel and languages, I was just interviewed on Gadling about both.

I know some of you have had trouble finding the ebook — I did too! Here is Powell’s page, the easiest I’ve found to use.

Want to learn what I think of using blogs to promote books, or just want a refresher on concepts in the book? Darren Rowse of Problogger.net put up a 3-part interview with me that was a blast to do.

Rohit Bhargava, the head of Interactive Marketing for Ogilvy PR worldwide, put a brief review of the book on his site, which is a must-read for anyone interested in social media.

SXSW presentation attendees! I found out what happened! The mailing house for the publisher (not the publisher themselves) screwed up and held onto your addresses for 10 DAYS before mailing them this past Monday. Your copies of the book should arrive any day, if they haven’t already, and I cannot apologize enough for the confusion. I had no idea this had happened and — had I known — would have put in my mouthpiece and gone to town breaking heads. Sorry about that!

How I Work: The 4-Hour Workweek


Be sure to check out this month’s issue (May 2007) of Fortune Small Business, where I am profiled in the “How I Work” section. It covers how I limit information intake, fire customers, control voicemail, and otherwise dodge bullets to do one of the things I enjoy most: MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) with professional UFC fighters.

Blame it on my mother, who put me in “kid wrestling” at age 8 to drain the hyperactivity out of me and avoid Tasmanian Devil action at home. It worked like a charm but forever gave me the neck thickness of a small cow.

Getting punched and thrown isn’t everyone’s idea of fun (for those fans out there, my favorite fighter of all-time is Kasushi Sakuraba), but fun is what you make of it. The one ingredient you cannot do without? Time. Learn how to create more of it and do what you want — take a glance at the digital version of this article for free (beginning on page 47).

Adriaaaaaan! 😉

How to Get a Book Deal with World's Largest Publisher… and Beat Harry Potter?!

Wow — what a day! The 4-Hour Workweek ended up at Amazon #10, as well as around #20 in Canada and #88 in the UK! In celebration, I decided to answer one of the most common questions I get these days: How on earth did you sell a book to Random House?

It’s not as straight-forward as you might think. Most assume that you should write a book and then pitch it to a publisher, which — especially with non-fiction — is total suicide. I created a mock-up cover for my book when we sent out my proposal to publishers, and one came back and asked point-blank: “Why is there a UPC code on this? Is it self-published or already written? We never buy either.”

So how did I get signed with the hottest imprint at the world’s largest publisher (Crown within Random House) as a first-time author? I followed a few simple steps that I explain on my friend Noah Kagan’s blog.

The New Challenge: Beat Harry Potter!

If I can break the top 5, huge things happen like foreign rights worldwide. The book will become an unstoppable force! The price has been reduced to $11.97 for unknown reasons, and I need a cluster of orders tomorrow and Thursday to make it all happen.

Please check out the book and consider it if you haven’t! Ignore “available May 1”, as they’ve temporarily sold out (!) but will receive more stock tomorrow.

Here’s what I suspect I’ll sound like if I beat Harry Potter

Marijuana Trumps Blackberries for Productivity… and Amazon Challenge


This guy gets more done than your CTO

(photo credit: Indian Gypsy)

My first article for Huffington Post made it onto the homepage today: Marijuana Trumps Blackberries for Productivity. Here is some food for thought:

Millions of Blackberry users in the US were left without their favorite drug from 8pm EST Tuesday to 6am EST Wednesday last week, when technical problems at service provider Research In Motion cut off wireless e-mail access. Some fumed, but others took a deep breath of relief. The brief escape was relished by a growing number of users who have realized that this digital leash often kills productivity instead of increasing it.

Not convinced? Let’s compare Blackberries to the top anti-productivity product of all-time: good old-fashioned marijuana.

In 2005, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London administered IQ tests to three groups: the first did nothing but perform the IQ test, the second was distracted by e-mail and ringing phones, and the third was stoned on marijuana. Not surprisingly, the first group did better than the other two by an average of 10 points. The e-mailers, on the other hands, did worse than the stoners by an average of 6 points.

In a digital world of infinite distraction, it is “single-tasking” — shutting out interruption instead of facilitating it — that will save us. What’s the alternative? Checking e-mail once every five minutes, then every minute, then every second? It’s not a scalable coping mechanism.

The world doesn’t hiccup, let alone end, if you check e-mail twice a day instead of twice an hour. If it does, it usually means that your work culture rewards overwork to counter its own ineffectiveness. This is predicated on burnout and not a game worth winning. The next time you get the Crackberry urge, consider the option of being productive instead of being busy. Or, if that’s too abstract, consider grabbing a joint instead — you’ll probably get more done.


AMAZON CHALLENGE: The 4-Hour Workweek has been hovering around #105 for four days on Amazon, and now it’s officially on-sale! Please help me break the #100 barrier — I can’t let The Official Guide for GMAT Review beat me! If you’re even remotely interested in automating and outsourcing your life, I guarantee you this book will open your eyes to some amazing new options: Please help me break the #100 barrier!

Get George Bush to Help You Skip Airport Lines

“And my concern, David, is several.”

-George W. Bush, to NBC’s David Gregory, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2007

Good ‘ol GW was kind enough, prior to starting WWIII, to grant me express service at airports nationwide. That’ll be helpful when the time comes to escape.

Five weeks ago, I applied for the controversial CLEAR registered traveler program. In a nutshell, I am now able to use exclusive check-in and security lines at select airports nationwide, which should cut my time to gate by at least 80%. This is particularly valuable at San Jose International, where the single-file lines of 300-400 people can wrap in up through three floors of parking levels. I kid you not. The dedicated CLEAR lane allows me to laugh like a smug jerk, side-step the line, and walk through security (with shoes on, I might add) in five minutes or less.


So what’s the catch?

To join this little club, you need to submit to a “Security Threat Assessment” — an extensive background check through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), including registering biometric information such as iris scans and multiple finger prints… Continue reading “Get George Bush to Help You Skip Airport Lines”

How to Firewall Attention and Reclaim Time

I am a strong proponent of “single-tasking” as the defining feature of top performers in a digital world. Social media expert Brian Oberkirch just posted a great list of rules he’s implemented for “firewalling attention”, to quote the inimitable Merlin Mann and Gina Trapani. Here are a few of my favorite picks:

* I’m checking email Dr. Pepper style, at 10, 2, and 4. Batching should help, and also making it a sprint to process my inbox within 10 to 15 minutes. “Reply to” stuff goes in that folder. Stuff I note and might want later goes to “Archive”. Stuff I never need again gets deleted. You can delete a ton of your email. Really. Process voice mails at the same time. (I’ll also do an RSS feed run at these times. I’ll reward myself with a flickr/twitter/mefi review if I’m a good boy.)

* No email review in the morning as I start my machine.

* Turned off all email notifications from social networking sites.

* Stop trying to accomodate a global work schedule. Again, unless it’s really mandatory or unavoidable, I work during my work hours, not those in other parts of the world.

* No answering emails on the weekends, unless absolutely necessary. One review per day on Sat/Sun.

* Dump new contacts immediately into Address Book so I never waste time looking up contact info.

* Make “no” the default answer for new project/app review/etc. requests. New things should earn their way into the attention field.

His full list can be found here. In light of the recent Blackberry blackout and all of the depressing interruption addiction it highlighted, I plan to lobby here in the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose, to have Father’s Day (Third Sunday of June) also officially made “E-mail Detox Day,” during which people attempt a 24-hour e-mail fast. The trick to stepping off of the gas pedal is proving to yourself that it can be done.

Anyone interested in helping me make that national (or international)? In the meantime, are there any former Crackberry addicts out there with tips for newbies trying to break the once-every-5-minutes e-mail habit?

Mastering the Low-Information Diet… and Pre-order Crisis!


Presenting “Mastering the Low-Information Diet” at the Web 2.0 Exposition in SF (Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon… Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google… Tim Ferriss?! Too surreal.

I presented last Sunday at the Ignite portion of the huge Web 2.0 Expo, where two groups of speakers each gave 5-minute presentations of 20 slides. Each slide was set to auto-advance after 15 seconds. There was free beer, it was fun, and — unbenownst to me — attendees voted on their favorite presentation in each group via cell phone using Mozes. I won the first heat and was informed that I would be speaking at the keynote today in front of 3,000 people! Other keynote presenters included Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt.

I’ll be covering “Mastering the Low-Information Diet” in great depth on May 9th, when my manifesto on the same topic will be published through Seth Godin’s ChangeThis. In the meantime, here is part of the Sunday video, which covers: batching e-mail, applying the 80/20 principle to time-consuming customers, outsourcing your life to overseas assistants, and scheduling life to prevent work from filling evenings and weekends.


I just learned that most bookstores in the CA bay area have understocked my book (which launches next Tues.), planning to have only 1 or 2 copies in stock! This is a disaster, as there is already demand and people will need to wait up a week for reorders to arrive, killing the book’s first week of sales.

This first week is CRITICAL for bestseller lists, both local and national. Pre-orders online are equally important, as all pre-orders count for the first week’s national sales.

If you are thinking of getting the book and are not in the CA bay area, please preorder on Amazon. If you are in the bay area, please call one of the below stores to preorder ASAP this week!

The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss (ISBN number 0307353133)

Stacey’s, 581 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94105. (415) 421-4687

Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. (415) 927-0960

Cody’s Books, 1730 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. (510) 559-9500

Kepler’s, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. (650) 324-4321

If you’re still wondering about the book, please check out the buzz and review and summary posted today by uberdesigner David Seah, whom I’ve never met.

Thanks to all for helping me with this! It’s my first book, and I put more than 2 years of sweat and tears into it. More big news to come soon.

How to Test Your Dream Job II (Case Study: Me as Kentucky Horserace Gambler)

“It’s been my experience that folks with no vices have very few virtues.”

-Abraham Lincoln


I never bet.

Well, usually not. I’ll never play craps or other games of chance, but I have bet on one type of sport in the past: UFC fights. And here’s the rub: I’ve never lost.

Late last week I traveled to the Bluegrass capital of the world — Kentucky — to hang out with Drew Curtis, CEO of Fark.com, and decided to test my luck on a different sport: horse racing. The difference here, of course, is that I know a lot about fighting and absolutely nothing about horse racing.

The rub? I won cash on every race I personally put money on. I’ll tell you how I did it, but let’s begin at the beginning of the story… Continue reading “How to Test Your Dream Job II (Case Study: Me as Kentucky Horserace Gambler)”

How to Test Your Dream Job (Case Study: Me as Monkey Trainer)

Ever had the desire to run off and join the circus? I have.

Two weeks ago, I finally decided: enough is enough. I need some monkeys. Who hasn’t? I’d dreamed of having a monkey on my shoulder ever since I first watched Indiana Jones. So, I called the San Francisco Zoo and asked if I could drop by and play with their monkeys — did they have capuchins? No and no, respectively; however, there was a famous trainer in Napa with baboons. They’d get back to me with his number.

And they did.

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon with the Jedi master of baboon trainers, Kevin Keith of Napa. He gets called when Hollywood needs monkeys to interact with Sandra Bullock without biting her face off. It was AWESOME. And, God save the queen, he had capuchins. AND spider monkeys, New Guinea singing dogs (the rarest breed in the world, by some accounts), Mandrille baboons, and much more.

For me, this was just the latest experiment in a long string of testing dream jobs — shark diver, tango dancer, MMA competitor, truffle maker, author, etc. — albeit a long-overdue one. Is it possible to just run off and test dreams jobs like this? Sure it is. Is it common? No, but it is very, very possible.

Ever thought of being a chef, chocolatier, dog sledder, astronaut, fashion designer, or sports team manager? There are companies that will pair you with mentors to give you just this experience. Continue reading “How to Test Your Dream Job (Case Study: Me as Monkey Trainer)”

How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise

Fat Loss via Better Science and Simplicity

It is possible to lose 20 lbs. of bodyfat in 30 days by optimizing any of three factors: exercise, diet, or drug/supplement regimen. I’ve seen the elite implementation of all three in working with professional athletes. In this post, we’ll explore what I refer to as the “slow-carb diet”.

In the last six weeks, I have cut from about 180 lbs. to 165 lbs., while adding about 10 lbs. of muscle, which means I’ve lost about 25 lbs. of fat. This is the only diet besides the rather extreme Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) that has produced veins across my abdomen, which is the last place I lose fat (damn you, Scandinavian genetics). Here are the four simple rules I followed… Continue reading “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise”