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He drew legions of fans, many of them younger men like himself trapped in punishing Silicon Valley startup jobs who were ready to hear Ferriss' solution: Work less by working smarter, outsourcing work to virtual assistants, checking e-mail only once a day, and dropping needy, time-wasting clients, thus freeing up time to travel the world and bring more balance to life.The book was translated into 35 languages, and elevated the former nutritional supplements company owner to messiah status, complete with stalker fans, death threats, and invitations to speak at Princeton and TED conferences.It didn't take off until he rebranded it Body QUICK and targeted athletes.He went from making ,000 a year at the startup job to ,000 a month running his own company."I couldn't match other students based on SAT scores, but I could be ," he said. Next Ferriss tried hosting speed-reading seminars on campus, and although he made 3 an hour teaching, he quit because he found it unfulfilling.His exchange trip to Japan was transformative, showing him for the first time how cultural rules are arbitrary. He took a leave from Princeton and went to Taiwan, where he tried and failed to start a chain of gyms.He now sits on the faculty of Singularity University, a global technology think tank at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.He followed with "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman," which offered a quick route to six-pack abs and 15-minute female orgasms. "I think it's a compliment, actually," said Ferriss, sinking into the cushions of his living room chair, covered by the deerskin of his first hunting expedition, under the tutelage of Steven Rinella ("Meat Eater: Adventures From the Life of an American Hunter"). If you are going to make fun of me, at least be witty while doing it." One of the best lines he ever read about himself was from New York Times Book Critic Dwight Garner: "The 4-Hour Body reads as if The New England Journal of Medicine had been hijacked by the editors of the Sky Mall catalog.

When asked what qualifies him to write about food, Ferriss answers, "Absolutely nothing. So I thought it would be interesting to apply that to something I'm crappy at." Even as a teenager, Ferriss was obsessed with learning more efficient ways to do things, said John Buxton, his former wrestling coach at St.Timothy Ferriss, the 35-year-old self-help guru whose "4-Hour" lifestyle makeover books have dominated best-seller lists since the last Bush administration, seeks perfection in everything, even his morning cup of coffee.In his rented San Francisco apartment in Glen Park, where he lives when he isn't hunting caribou in Alaska or scuba diving in Panama, he uses a scale and probe thermometer to mix exactly 12 grams of coffee with 200 grams of water at 180 degrees into a contraption that looks like part of a hamster tunnel system. " he says, holding up an interlocking plastic tube gizmo with the thinnest micro-filter available, developed by a mechanical engineer who lectures at Stanford University. The recipe is in his recently released third book: "The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life." Following the principle that he can teach himself to do anything, whether it's how to set a Guinness World Record for tango spinning, to become a national Chinese kickboxing champion, or to work less and quadruple his income, Ferriss uses himself as a guinea pig to sell millions of books to readers looking for a shortcut out of the "9-to-5 retirement prison." In "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich," he posited that there's no need to wait for retirement to have the life you've always wanted.My girlfriend made a sign for my desk that said, 'Business hours end at 5 p.m.' Soon after that, she broke up with me." Just like he had temporarily quit Princeton, Ferriss packed up again, this time for London, to wander the streets and figure out how to save his life.His stay become indefinite, as he started an experiment to remove himself from his company, limiting e-mail to an hour each Monday, farming out smaller tasks to virtual assistants, and letting time-consuming clients go. "The 4-Hour Workweek" did so well, he sold Body QUICK two years later.

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