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  • MALE SPEAKER: So about five years ago, I had the pleasure

  • of introducing a new author to an Authors at Google talk.

  • And this author's name was Tim Ferriss.

  • He had a new book that had just come out called "The

  • 4-Hour Workweek." It was a surprise hit.

  • And it spent about four years on the bestseller list.

  • Not too long after, he had a second book called "The 4-Hour

  • Body," which was a little bit more about hacking the body,

  • weight loss, nutrition.

  • A lot of people I know here at Google have

  • lost a bunch of weight.

  • I myself have lost about 20 pounds doing that.

  • So I'm very excited to have Tim here for his new book,

  • "The 4-Hour Chef." It's a book that starts with cooking and

  • then goes into food in general.

  • It's also a bit of a primer on approaching any topic and

  • learning it and learning it towards mastery.

  • And Tim's here to talk about the book, but

  • also about other topics.

  • And we'll have a lot of time for Q&A.

  • And so I'm very excited to have Tim here today.

  • Please join me in welcoming him.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • TIMOTHY FERRISS: Thank you, kind sir.

  • Trevor was subjected to some of my experimentation also

  • throughout this book with respect to food, which in the

  • beginning was not very pleasant at all.

  • MALE SPEAKER: [INAUDIBLE]

  • TIMOTHY FERRISS: So it's been fun to visit Google as many

  • times as I have.

  • And certainly in the first visit, I had a lot more hair

  • and many fewer book sales.

  • But this book is perhaps the most exciting

  • to me of all three.

  • So I'll start off with a very dramatic trailer that I think

  • gives a basic sort of overview.

  • And then we'll jump into the presentation, which I'll try

  • to keep really short, or as short as I can.

  • And then a bunch of Q&A, because that's when I

  • have the most fun.

  • So let's do the trailer first.

  • [VIDEO PLAYBACK]

  • TIMOTHY FERRISS: All right.

  • So the presentation's all downhill from here.

  • That was courtesy of Adam Patch.

  • Adam Patch directed and did the post on that.

  • There are a few things that came up in that video that

  • will reappear through the presentation.

  • It was all filmed in Seattle, at Delve Kitchen.

  • So if anyone's interested in molecular gastronomy, things

  • like that, Chris Young, who used to run the experimental

  • kitchen for The Fat Duck in London when it became number

  • one ranked in the world, helped with all of that, as

  • well as with the science section.

  • But let's start at the beginning.

  • So "The 4-Hour Chef, Accelerated Learning for

  • Accelerated Times--" this book of the three has the most

  • confusing title and subtitle combination, I think.

  • And that is because for the last four or five years, my

  • readers have been asking me for a book on accelerated

  • learning, mostly because of my talk about smart drugs and

  • language acquisition and things like that.

  • The problem is, writing a book on learning without a good

  • context is really boring to read and even

  • more boring to write.

  • So I ultimately chanced upon thinking of

  • cooking for a few reasons.

  • The first was it was a skill that I had

  • quit many times before.

  • I had failed at it many, many times before, despite trying,

  • much like swimming, which was covered in "The 4-Hour Body."

  • Secondly was--

  • I think as many people feel these days in a digital

  • world-- there's a certain sense of angst that I felt

  • every time I closed my laptop.

  • I'd accomplished a lot of work, but I had nothing

  • physical to show for it.

  • And I really wanted to reclaim my manual literacy and build

  • physical things.

  • And I thought that would be woodworking.

  • But there's always an excuse not to go to Oakland to do it.

  • And I didn't want some crappy bird house in my

  • living room, anyway.

  • And I saw my girlfriend cooking one night, and I said,

  • that can be my dojo.

  • That can be where I learn to use my thumbs for something

  • besides the space bar.

  • And it turned out to be really life-altering for me to

  • reclaim that part of myself.

  • And lastly, because food involves all five senses, you

  • can really use it to create sort of a Spidey sense in all

  • of those senses, which is pretty wild.

  • And it transfers to almost everything else.

  • And this shot, this opening shot here that you guys can

  • see, it's two pictures, identical pictures.

  • This is the entranceway to Alinea Restaurant in Chicago,

  • which at the time I wrote the book was number one

  • ranked in the US.

  • And I spent three days there.

  • And in Alinea Restaurant, they test every assumption

  • possible, every convention possible.

  • You get menus at the end instead of at the beginning.

  • When you walk in, no one greets you.

  • It's this red hallway, completely soundproof.

  • Until you get to the end, nothing happens.

  • Then motion sensors open a hidden door, and people greet

  • you by name.

  • Everything's been tested, including the business model.

  • And I encourage people to look at Next Restaurant for how

  • they sell out their entire season for the restaurant in,

  • in some cases, 10 to 30 seconds online.

  • It's very, very cool.

  • The guiding tenet when looking at sports performance, when

  • looking at work performance, when looking at learning

  • performance is this.

  • So "whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,

  • it's time to pause and reflect." And my job over the

  • last five years, but certainly something I've obsessed on for

  • 15-plus years, is finding the anomalies, finding the

  • freaks-- you know, the people who are really good at what

  • they do despite having poor raw materials or very informal

  • training or no training at all.

  • [VIDEO PLAYBACK]

  • This is to give people-- how many people have seen this

  • video before?

  • A handful.

  • OK.

  • This is in South Africa.

  • This is just to give you an idea of what I do to myself in

  • the name of experimentation.

  • I had been effectively told-- this is the

  • side of my right leg.

  • I'm recording this with a Flip camera, in Cape Town at one of

  • the top sports science institutes.

  • And I had been told, in effect, through Navigenics and

  • other types of DNA testing that I lacked the ability to

  • produce fast twitch muscle fiber properly.

  • So this genetic determinism was very depressing.

  • But that didn't square with my experience

  • in sports, for instance.

  • I'd been an All-American in high school in wrestling.

  • So I decided to skip all of the theory and just remove

  • samples from my leg.

  • And the way it works with a biopsy is they insert a hollow

  • tube, slightly larger than a pen, into your leg, apply

  • suction, pull the tissue in, and then rotate

  • it to cut it out.

  • And I'm not going to run this for very much longer.

  • But last time I showed this, I actually did it at a lunch

  • meeting, which was my Long Island

  • sophistication coming out.

  • In any case, I'm not going to go too deep

  • into the results here.

  • -All right.

  • Who wants to sign up?

  • TIMOTHY FERRISS: All right.

  • I'll come to this in a second.

  • The punch line to that is that something along the lines of

  • more than 40% of my muscle fiber was in fact fast twitch

  • muscle fiber, type IIa, which is fully trainable.

  • So the raw materials you start with, perhaps the skills that

  • you've put on the shelf because you couldn't master

  • them or couldn't even get started learning them, do not

  • seal your fate.

  • And the way you get around that fate, the way you sort of

  • head-fake what you think are your limitations, is by

  • testing assumptions.

  • This is another shot from Alinea Restaurant.

  • And this is one of the last courses.

  • This has been plated by Grant Achatz.

  • So chef Grant Achatz, A-C-H-A-T-Z, is really worth

  • taking a look at.

  • And I look at him very closely in the Professional

  • section of the book.

  • But when Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who's a very,

  • very, very world-class chef, who runs many restaurants

  • including ABC Kitchen in New York City, was asked, who do

  • you fear among your colleagues, it didn't take him

  • more than a split second to say Grant Achatz.

  • He does things I can't understand.

  • I don't understand how he creates the things he creates.

  • For instance, they wanted to test plating.

  • Why don't we have bigger plates?

  • Well, they couldn't fit a 4-foot-diameter plate through

  • the doorways to and from the kitchen.

  • So instead, they found a special, effectively

  • food-grade latex from a sex shop in Paris and imported it

  • to create tablecloths where they could use the entire

  • table as a plate.

  • And on the right-hand side, you see a dark chocolate

  • pinata that is shattered on the table and releases all

  • this liquid nitrogen and crazy stuff, which is just awesome.

  • And it tasted good.

  • A lot of these food-as-theater shows end up producing really

  • crappy food.

  • But Alinea does not have crappy food.

  • This is an example of transfer.

  • When you start to think creatively about food--

  • because I was an anti-cook my entire life.

  • Even a few weeks prior to starting research for this

  • book, I had two friends who are very good cooks come over

  • to help cook dinner.

  • They said, grab the wine and we'll talk about

  • business, catch up.

  • They came over, and I had mustard and white wine in my

  • fridge, including some, like, biohazard unidentifiable food.

  • And they asked me where my olive oil was.

  • And I said, olive oil.

  • Olive oil.

  • Oh, it's in the freezer.

  • It's in the freezer.

  • Why is your olive oil in the freezer?

  • I really was starting from ground zero.

  • And when you start to think about food creatively,

  • anything creatively, it transfers.

  • So this was about halfway through my meal at Alinea.

  • We had been stuck in design gridlock on the cover.

  • And it just came to me after one of their more inventive

  • dishes that the cover could be something like this on the

  • left, which I sketched out.

  • And then it turned into the final cover.

  • So even if you hate cooking, hopefully you love food.

  • And taking even a week to experiment with all of those

  • senses in the kitchen, even if you stop after that week, will

  • take a lot of your life that is currently in black and

  • white and turn it into high def, which is a really cool

  • effect that is persistent.

  • This is something you saw in the trailer.

  • This is one of my old friends when I inhaled something

  • through nasal inhalation.

  • This is vasopressin, which is an antidiuretic hormone.

  • It's prescribed as desmopressin to kids in some

  • cases who bed-wet past a certain age.

  • I used it starting freshman year in college to ace Chinese

  • character quizzes.

  • And it has very interesting applications

  • to short-term memory.

  • So I would take two shots and flip through a book almost as

  • quickly as I could turn the pages and score a 95 to 100%.

  • It was pretty cool.

  • Now, as you might imagine, snorting antidiuretic hormone

  • is not the best long-term strategy.

  • And pretty quickly thereafter, headaches set in and all sorts

  • of issues, because I was testing a whole slew of other

  • drugs at the same time.

  • And I started to focus on method.

  • I didn't continue with-- well, that's not entirely true.

  • I'm still interested in the drugs.

  • We can get to that if you guys want.

  • But the point being there are actual methods, recipes, that

  • the world's fastest learners use to learn what they learn,