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Episode #13

Interview with Best Selling Author of 4 Hour Work Week and 4 Hour Chef, Tim Ferriss

Episode 013:

  • Tim starts out with a World Exclusive announcement
  • Dean and Joe get Tim’s definition of marketing
  • How often is the right amount to blog?
  • PLUS: Tim shares the MOST important thing to practice
Transcript
 

Dean: Hey everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.

Joe: And Joe Polish. What’s up?

Dean: What’s up? We’ve got a very special guest tonight, don’t we?

Joe: Yes, we do. We do. We have a very, very special guest, a person that is one of the most incredible writers in the world, in my opinion, and just a very smart, brilliant dude. He’s also a friend of mine, and yours, Dean, so we can goof around here. But his name is Mr. Tim Ferriss, the best-selling author of 2 fantastic books.

Dean: I was just going to say 2-time. Don’t sell him short there, 2 times.

Joe: New York Times bestseller and everything else best-seller, Mr. Tim Ferriss, who’s somewhere in some hotel, on a cell phone, hopefully going to sound really high-quality for all of us. Tim, first off, thanks for joining us. Where are you? What are you doing?

Tim: I am outside, in Palm Springs, on my iPhone. And yes, you heard me correctly, Joe, I actually purchased my first iPhone about 10 days ago. My first Smart Phone.

Dean: Alert the media!

Tim: Compared to my Flintstone’s clamshell phone that I had prior to this. It’s nice to be here.

Joe: Thank you. Thank you. And by the way, you wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, and your latest book, The 4-Hour Body, which are both fantastic. We’ll talk about those a little bit, but we’re going to really ask you about marketing. But going to your phone, your Smart Phone, I remember having a conversation with you, not too long ago, about them actually being called “dumb phones,” because of the way that they control most people’s lives. And I think one of your methodologies for not just getting invaded by; I don’t know, maybe technology emails or whatever was to purposely not have a Smart Phone. Was that your reason for it, or what?

Tim: That was one of several reasons. I didn’t feel like I had the discipline, quite frankly, and the self-control, at that point, if I had email in my pocket, to not check it constantly. I realized a few things – not to dwell on this subject with the iPhone – 1) it’s actually not terribly convenient to type on the iPhone, which is almost self-correcting, in a way, because it’s such a pain in the ass that I want to minimize the typing I do; 2) I have not set email up on the iPhone. I’ve also limited the number of apps that I’ve downloaded and the type of apps that I’ve downloaded.

So far, it’s actually been much more helpful than harmful, and it is on Verizon also, which to my knowledge, does a very poor job of transmitting calls overseas. So, that was another concern of mine. I didn’t want to have an international phone when I travelled, and I just came back from 4 weeks in Columbia, Panama and Jordan, where I had no computer, no phone and no calendar, which was fantastic. But that’s my piece on my new adoption of a Smart Phone.

Dean: Wow! Is that an exclusive. Is that a world premier announcement?

Tim: That is a world exclusive, absolutely.

Joe: Everyone, you heard it here first, at ILoveMarketing.com. Okay, let me say to everyone listening, if you’re listening from iTunes, you can actually get the complete transcript of this conversation on ILoveMarketing.com. And I’ve done a really great interview with Tim on The 4-Hour Body for Genius Network, and I’m going to post the link for free, for people to listen to my interview with Tim on his book, The 4-Hour Body, about fitness and female orgasms and all kinds of crazy stuff. You can also buy that interview on Amazon, if you want the money to go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, because we do that also, if you want to make a donation. So, just wanted to give everyone that. And then, Tim, let’s talk about what I Love Marketing is all about, which is marketing. What’s your definition of marketing? What’s do you think of when you hear the word “marketing?”

Tim: I think marketing is very frequently confused with selling. I think it’s also confused with PR. Marketing, to me, is very simple. It is identifying and understanding a group of people, and matching a product or service to those people. And that product or service doesn’t need to be a paid product or service. It could be a book; it could be a blog post, it could be a message, it could be propaganda, it could be political viewpoints, it could be a car, it could an iPhone app, it could be any number of things. But ultimately, it is identifying and understanding a group of people well enough, so that you can match what they need to them. And I think that the article that most reflects how I feel about marketing is one called “1,000 True Fans,” which was written by Kevin Kelly, who was the founding editor of Wired magazine.

The point he makes is that if you are able to identify and reach your 1,000 true fans, the 1,000 people who are most likely to be your early evangelists, early adopters and proselytizers, then your marketing job is done and you can focus on other things, like improving your product. And I think that’s very true, certainly in a digital age. There’s never been a time when that has been more true. So, that would be my definition of marketing.

Dean: Very nice.

Joe: I like it.

Tim: Finding the right people, and then fitting the right product would be a simple way to put that.

Dean: That’s very interesting, because it’s a lot of what Joe and I have been talking about on the first several episodes of I Love Marketing, is talking about finding the need that your audience has, understanding it more than they do. We’ve been talking about The Robert Collier Letter Book, and he phrases it that you want to enter a conversation that’s already going on in the prospect’s mind. And that’s kind of what you’re just saying, right? Understanding what people want and being able to match either your service or somebody else’s service to them.

Tim: Yeah. And understanding what people need, also. I think there’s often a big difference between what people want and what people need. And I’ll give you a very clear example of that related to The 4-Hour Body. I observed, very early on, that in terms of behavioral change, getting people to make substantial changes in diet, exercise, medication, whatever it might be, that they did not respond to health. It was too long-term, it was too far off, it was too nebulous.

So, I appealed, instead, to vanity and performance, oftentimes looking at sex, etc. And to optimize something like sex, it would naturally lead to “take this blood test to identify deficiencies of these various types,” and in the process, the side effect was health. So, I gave them what they needed in terms of health improvement, but I did it via what they wanted, and that’s what I sold them, which was the appearance and performance. So, I think that you need to understand both of those 2 things, and they are sometimes overlapping and sometimes completely non-overlapping.

Dean: My favorite banner of the year was “Eat like Santa, Look Like Jesus.”

Tim: Right. That was the top performer of the banners that we tested.

Dean: That’s brilliant, though. That sums it right up.

Joe: Let me ask you about that, though. First off, a couple things, based on what you said. I love to always think of the term “sell people what they want, give them what they need.” And a lot of times, it’s, I guess, in a lot of ways, the Flintstone vitamin, probably not maybe the best vitamin in the world, but the concept of make it taste sweet, so the kids will eat it. Give them what they want, which is something that tastes good. But hopefully, what’s in it is what they need, blah, blah, blah.

Well, the same way with information or leading people into things. We’ve had to figure out how to do that. After all, I’ve taught carpet and upholstery cleaners how to market a service that nobody wants to buy. And Dean does it with real estate. So, in a lot of ways, you believe that, as it relates to health and fitness, that the things that they need the most are the hardest for them to sell or to accept. And that’s why marketing and great copy and these roundabout ways to actually get people to pay attention is so important. Or how do you think about that?

Tim: I think that the marketing piece is identifying the group. I think that the second phase is identifying the need and the want. And the third phase is then crafting the message to match those 3 effectively. And the crafting of the message, I consider the selling portion, to differentiate it from the marketing. But equally important skills, of course, it does you no good to know exactly what someone needs and then fumble over your words and never get anywhere when it comes time to verbalize it. I think that good selling, good copywriting let’s say, deconstructs a problem effectively. So, to be a very good copywriter, you have to understand behavioral psychology.

What that means is if someone says, “I want to be successful,” that is a terrible goal. It is undefined; there’s no timeline, there’s no clear next step. How will you know when that has been realized? You won’t, because it’s so poorly defined. And in the copywriter’s head, they will use questions for very well-defined characteristics – prerequisites, perhaps – of success in the copy itself, to then sell whatever product or service will provide what that person needs. There’s certainly unethical markets who will sell crap that doesn’t do anything for anybody. And I’m assuming that we’re dealing with ethical people. So, I think that really understanding what motivates people and what results in change and action is understanding human nature, behavioral psychology, and that you need to translate that to the written word, or whatever medium you choose.

Joe: First off, great. I want to ask you about – you just said – ethical marketing. I just want to get your perspective. This may seem like an aside, but I think it’s a really important thing. How would you define ethical marketing, versus unethical? And let me set this up as an example. Whenever you become very famous, you really have contrarian thoughts, or you just put any sort of how-to information out into the world, you’re clearly going to attract, I think, a lot of either envious, jealous, crazy people that start attacking you.

You’ve got this gigantic new book called The 4-Hour Body. It’s over 500 pages. For the price point, I can’t imagine where anyone could compile that level of information, even if they don’t agree with everything in it. It’s a hell of a deal. It’s some of the best money someone could ever spend on some of the most cutting-edge information on whatever, vanity, performance, exercise, health, fitness, orgasms; you name it. And you’ll still have people who will be like, “All he’s trying to do is sell a book. He’s just a marketer.” How do you respond to that, when you read those sorts of things?

Tim: To those, I don’t respond. If someone has a legitimate correction or criticism meaning, from my perspective, people can dislike you, and they will, regardless of what you do, given enough exposure. But they shouldn’t misunderstand you. So, your message should be clear, and it should be honest. That’s perfectly fine. If someone misunderstands me, however, if they say, “Hey, you said this, but then later in the book, you said this, and the 2 seem to conflict,” that need to address, and I will address. But for the people who start their one-star Amazon review with, “I haven’t read the book, but…” I don’t spend too much time worrying about those people.

Coming back to the original question of what’s ethical and what isn’t, I think that ethical is identifying, rather than manufacturing a need. And then, providing a solution, as opposed to an extensive product that generates revenue solely for the marketer. There’s an anecdote that I think illustrates what would be unethical. This is an anecdote related to a very famous infomercial person. All of you would know the name. I’m not going to give his name. But he told a story in a pitch meeting, at one point, for a new product. It was a long story about how this can of tuna fish was sold from one person to the next, for $1. And this story starts to develop about the tuna fish, and how amazing it was and how rare it was, and how the other cans had been sold. And then, it was sold for $5, and then $20, and all the way up until it was $500 a can.

Finally, somebody said to himself, “My god, I need to eat this tuna fish. It must be amazing.” And he opens it, and it’s completely spoiled and rotten. The moral of the story, from the standpoint of this infomercial marketer, was the tuna fish isn’t for eating, it’s for selling.

Joe: Totally.

Tim: Sadly, there are a lot of unethical marketers out there. And there are a lot of unethical people. It’s not the domain of marketers alone, certainly. I think that identifying a legitimate need and satisfying that need with a product that delivers as promised, is ethical. And anything that deviates far from that, or even only a few degrees from that, is unethical.

Joe: Totally. My thoughts on it, too, because I have to throw in my 2¢ on this, is if you’re in the information/education/how-to sort of business. I think as long as what you’re putting out into the world gives people, at a bare minimum, a reasonable to an absolute guaranteed possibility of success if they follow your advice, use your product, use your service, then you’re operating in an ethical manner. For instance with carpet cleaners, as an example, this may sound weird but I think it applies to every part of business, if I sell a marketing course to an carpet and upholstery cleaner, be it a seminar, DVD’s, online, whatever, and just templates, “Here, use this sales letter, use this offer,” and they don’t use it, they’ll be like, “Well, this marketing stuff doesn’t work.”

But these same sort of individuals would not go to their Ford or Chevy dealer and say, “I bought a van to carry my carpet cleaning equipment around, and I don’t have any business, and it’s your fault.” They don’t blame like the equipment manufacturer, but they always blame the how-to person. And it’s kind of like I join a gym, I go into the gym, I look at the equipment, I never lift the weights, but gyms don’t work. They just don’t work. But I see a lot of information purchasers tending to have this opinion of the efficacy of something when they haven’t even tried it. And that’s the part that always frustrates those of us that are in the advice-giving business.

Tim: Oh, sure. It’s similar, almost, to acting as a physician. You can prescribe medication, but if they don’t take the pills and then they call you back and say, “The prescription didn’t work,” it wasn’t an issue with the prescription, it was an issue with following the prescription. Just to perhaps point out another perspective on that, which is why I think it’s extremely important for people who deliver any type of how-to content to realize, that the perfect program, the perfect solution is the best solution that will have the highest compliance rate. And for that reason, it’s exceptionally important for people to, I believe, test their prescriptions on as large a data set of people as possible – that could only be 10, it would preferably be 100 or 1,000 or what have you – to ensure that the abandonment rate is as low as possible.

On the other hand, just to play devil’s advocate, I remember taking a writing class with a Pulitzer Prize winner and John McPhee, who’s a staff writer at The New Yorker, and we were talking about background knowledge necessary to understand a given story. So, if you write a piece about let’s say a sailing trip, how much explanation do you provide for someone who has never been sailing? You go into great detail to explain what every single piece of equipment does, etc. The question that he raised was does it matter if there are people who don’t get this? And I’ve come to the conclusion that not always. It’s perfectly fine, and this is something that I do in my book, I’ll throw in inside jokes that only 5 people on the planet are going to get. So, it doesn’t always matter if a percentage of your readers don’t get a piece, provided that it’s not a critical ingredient in the prescription that you’re providing.

Joe: Right. Right. Yeah. Also, in today’s day and age of massive amounts of data available, thrown at people, conflicting things, I remember this overhead I used to use. And when I say overhead, literally on an overhead projector, that it said, “Get through with an offer that is so interruptive, that it keeps on interrupting until action is taken.” Because there’s so much clutter that is out there.

I guess one of the tools of your trade, and the tools of the trade of any great marketer is words. It is copy. You mentioned copywriting earlier, and I wanted to get your perspective, and then I’ll shut the hell up and let Dean ask some questions here, your perspective on copy. Because you are not just a good writer, you are a fantastic writer, and you communicate very well. And people always talk about how great your books are and how great your blog is. You’re just a wordsmith. But you learned how to do it. And we talked, in the very beginning, of I Love Marketing, we talked about the absolute importance of words, of copy, be it video, be it audio, or be it written. And I wanted to have you talk about that, because you are one of the best writers of the last decade, in terms of best-selling books and communication.

Tim: Very kind of you, first of all, to say. What I’d like to emphasize to anyone out there who’s a copywriter, an editor, an aspiring writer or aspiring to be a better communicator, for that matter, that it is a learned skill. And, in my case, very early on, I read all of the Dan Kennedy books, I read the John Caple’s books, I read Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins, if I’m not mistaken, and really made a study of wordsmithing – in this particular case, for the purposes of selling product – but continued to train myself as a writer. What you find is that writing practice and having someone to correct your writing and pull out the superfluous words, the unnecessary filler, the unnecessary redundancy and repetition, etc., improves your thinking. Words are a reflection of thinking.

If you can elicit a certain set of words or questions in a prospect’s mind, that is as close to thought control as you will probably ever come. And it is your responsibility, therefore, to use it for good, as opposed to evil. Certainly, it can be used for evil, and I think that Gobels, who is the propaganda minister for the Nazi regime would be a very good example of that. Exceptional wordsmith, exceptional communicator, but he used it for extremely malevolent purposes. It is exceptionally valuable, at the very least, to take a writing course. It does not need to be a copywriting course. My suggestion would be to find the best teacher you can find, regardless of genre of writing. And, if possible, take a seminar or hire them to correct your writing. And they will give you assignments. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction. It doesn’t matter if it’s journalism or investigative journalism.

To give you an example, when I was doing my undergraduate work in school, I took this class with John McPhee. And within the span of about 4 weeks, all of my grades in every other class jumped. And it was because of a more precise thinking that was produced from this writing class. It was extremely clear to see. So, I really view few things as more important than practicing writing. No matter how painful it is for you, no matter how bad you may believe yourself to be, it is one of the few ways to capture thought and edit and improve your thought available to anyone.

So, I’m a huge believer. And to that end, beyond the copywriting books, there are 2 books I would recommend. One is called On Writing Well, and it’s by Zinsser. Something along those lines. They just published a 25th-anniversary edition. Fantastic book on writing, and therefore sought, as well as a book called Bird By Bird, which I think for anyone in any type of creative endeavor and certainly, I think, good marketing is within that umbrella, it covers a lot of the emotional, psychological challenges that such people go through. And Bird By Bird is written by Anne Lamott, who’s a fantastic writer and has saved a number of my friends, and me, from imminent nervous breakdowns when finishing manuscripts. I’ve given it to 2 friends, and both of their books have gone on to become New York Times best-sellers. Not to say it was responsible, but their books were very close to being abandoned, effectively, as was my first book, certainly, because of the pressure and ambiguity of deadlines and so forth and so on. So, those would be 2 recommendations.

Joe: In the book On Writing Well, I just pulled it up here, and it is by William Zinsser. Yeah, you’ve got to love technology. I have On Writing Well, because you recommended that to me before. But Bird By Bird, I never have, and I just ordered it.

Dean: You’re saying your study of all the great marketing writers, and I think that really helps in being able to shift somebody’s mind. And I don’t think it’s an accident that I think it’s James Patterson was a copywriter before becoming a writer. He’s the guy that’s written all the… How many books has he written?

Tim: Sells bazillions of copies?

Dean: Yeah, that’s the guy.

Tim: The magic maker? Yeah, he’s the magic maker.

Dean: Do you know that that’s true, that he was a copywriter?

Tim: I didn’t know that story. But I could provide a similar parallel, and perhaps some people listening to this may not realize, but I was the CEO of a direct response-based company that sold sports nutrition products for quite a few years, and have spent how many millions of dollars on direct response. It started with that type of testing. I do think there are a few suggestions I might make. In those early days, what I found very useful – in many cases, more useful than reading the how-to books on copywriting – was I created what is referred to sometimes as a swipe file. And every time I bought something and that purchase was elicited by an advertisement, if it was print or if it were radio, if it were television, I would make a copy and put it into the swipe file, this collection of ads that caused me to buy or to call for more information, or to sign up as lead gen, or whatever it might have been.

Then, I would practice. And I wouldn’t necessarily use these ads, and you certainly don’t want to violate anyone’s copyright, and so forth and so on, I would practice mimicking these ads. And then, I might mimic let’s say 3 or 4 ads, and this was just drafts on a piece of paper for my own print advertising, in this particular case. And I did a lot of big print, all the way up to big ads in USA Today and so forth. And then, I would try to combine my favorite elements of those ads into one ad that was original to me, and I would use that. I do think finding the examples that inspire you, whether that’s inspiring you to call a phone number, go to a website, place a purchase, or to change your behavior, to go somewhere else. What are the words that persuade you? And keep a file of these things. It’s really valuable, and it’s also fun to look back at the things that have influenced you.

Dean: Yeah, to see what persuaded you.

Joe: You know, I have to echo what you just said about the swipe file, because it’s one of the first things I learned early on from Gary Halbert. Gary was a brilliant copywriter, and me and Dean both studied Gary. That’s what actually led to me pretty much being in this business, what led me to Dan Kennedy. Which, by the way, we made an announcement on the last I Love Marketing podcast, that Dan Kennedy, who’s not spoken at one of my events in quite a few years, is actually speaking at our first-ever I Love Marketing event in September, which is super-cool.

Tim: Very cool.

Joe: Yeah. And he’ll be a guest in probably a few weeks, here on I Love Marketing. But Gary said he would have people come to him and say, “I wish I could write world-class copy like you. I wish I could do it.” And Gary would say, “You want to write? You want to be a world-class copywriter? You want to write ads like this?” And people would be like, “Yeah.” “Okay, here’s some ads.” He had a swipe file. “Go ahead and write these, word- for-word, until it’s just in your subconscious. He literally would train people that way. He’d give them a sales letter, he’d give them an ad, and he’d like write it, and by writing it and modeling it and looking at it. So, I think every serious marketer, or even not-so-serious marketer, should have a swipe file. I have a huge swipe file at my office, and it’s been worth millions to me.

Tim: It pays dividends to imitate. Also, I would recommend, when possible, emulate people that you would like to be like, also. There can be unintended consequences of modeling someone’s thought process. You can, to some degree, become that person. So, you have to be careful. Sounds weird, but it’s very true. You certainly see that with employees surrounded by bosses. They take on the personalities of their leaders. That leader doesn’t need to be present; they can be through the printed page, for example. What I would say, just to provide another example, is that when I was writing The 4-Hour Workweek, I wrote several chapters, 4 or 5, and then ended up throwing them away because I couldn’t find my voice. And the way that I fixed that, I would go from this extremely pompous Princetonian, ridiculous, long word prose, which was horrible, then I’d flip to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and do 3 Stooges slapstick prose, which was equally bad. I could not solve the problem. I just couldn’t take my personality as-is and put it on the page. It didn’t work. I wasn’t able to do it.

The way that I got around that was by imitating writing I felt I admired, that I wanted to emulate on some level, that included Neil Strauss, at the time. So, portions of the game, and he’s since become a very good friend. I included some travel writers, Peco Ayer and a few others, Ralph Potts. And I practiced writing as close as I could to their voice. And what I found is that took my mind off of my own preoccupation, number one, but it also allowed me to find a certain degree of balance, meaning equilibrium and confidence in the flow of my writing, so I was less concerned about getting stuck with writer’s block. I was just copying someone. So, how intimidating is that? It wasn’t. And as a result, I was able to jump that hurdle and ultimately find my own voice, which was literally just a rediscovering of my own voice and feeling comfortable using that voice. And then, the book came from there. So, I hit the same problem and used my own version of a swipe file, in the form of the books that had most influenced my thought process and my writing style, to get me out of that rut.

Joe: Yeah, I like it. I like it. There’s a huge lesson, and I hope everyone really picked up on the importance of that and just not, “Ah, that sounds like a good idea.” Because a lot of people will hear something like that, but truly, all the great copywriters and great marketers, they learn from the giants. And I’ve never considered junk mail. Before the Internet was ever created, my biggest marketing lessons came from promotions I would get all the time, because they wouldn’t keep sending it to you if someone wasn’t giving them money, because that stuff costs money to put in the mail. And people think of junk mail as junk, when in some cases it could be the best marketing lesson delivered to your doorstep for free, that you can look at and say, “Hmm, what’s going on here? What are they saying? Why are people responding to that sort of thing?

Tim: Yeah. I used to buy products off of television, radio, just to see how they would follow-up, just to see how they shipped, to see which fulfillment centers they came from, to call back and see where I was routed to, to cancel and see if there was a cross-sell or an upsell. The best education I could have ever purchased.

Dean: We used to do that same thing, respond to all the direct response things that offered free reports, that offered free books or free anything, like lead generation, to see how people followed-up with it.

Tim: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Joe: It really pissed me off, Dean, because you were calling my office every week, under a fake name…

Dean: Yeah, every week.

Joe: …back before the Internet, and I’d have to spend all this postage just to send you my promotions, for you to blatantly rip off. It was really uncool.

Tim: Just to search/replace and put “Dean” instead of “Joe.”

Dean: Exactly.

Tim: Brilliant. What a fantastic vault of free R&D. What I was going to say, also, is that I haven’t stopped doing that. I have a repository of copy that I like, website design that I like. I happen to use Evernote to clip all of it off of the Web, so I can look at it offline as well. Photographs of packaging. I also use Evernote to capture that. And full disclosure. I’m an advisor, but I used the product before I ever became an advisor. And that’s now my swipe file. It’s just a hell of a lot easier to organize than a big 3-ring binder.

Joe: I like it. Dean, and I’d like to get your perspective on this, Dean created, in the real estate industry originally, this model, which applies to any business, called “before, during and after;” what to do before the sale, what to do during the sale, what to do after the sale. And I’d love to have you talk about your book. You’ve got 2 gigantic bestsellers, and there’s a lot of people in the fitness world that they’re just pissed because they think they have the greatest thing in the world and they’re like, “Tim Ferriss, he’s got this #1-selling book!” Most people think it’s amazing.

You also have a lot of people that are just kicking themselves because they can’t figure out what the hell you’re doing. So, there’s stuff that you did before you launch a book, what you do during, and what you do after. I’d like to get your perspective on it, and with full disclosure. Dean came up with that model, so I want to give him credit because it’s a great, simple way of looking at the stages of the business.

Tim: I would say there are a few things. It’s very common for people moving into any new area, whether that’s real estate, whether that’s writing, whether that’s fitness and exercise, etc., they view their qualifications, background, lack of qualifications, predisposition, resume, whatever it might be, as a weakness. I do think that not only can you position your weaknesses and strengths, but in many cases your weaknesses are strengths. It’s not a misrepresentation. So, in my case, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to, and I never wanted to, I never had the desire, never thought it was necessary, to compete with the other fitness and diet books out there. I wanted this book to be so completely different, that it wouldn’t even be compared to these other books.

To a large extent, I think that’s been accomplished extremely well. To give an example, leading into the before. In the before, I would view the before as the introduction to the book. Let’s just look at it that way. In the introduction to the book, I say very clearly, “I’m not an MD, I’m not a PhD, but there are a few ways you should look at that lack of qualification. Number one is I don’t have an academic career or a product line to protect. I do not have any set, fixed opinion to sell to you. And at the same time, I’m a meticulous data cruncher with access – due to the first book – to many of the best doctors, scientists, athletes, coaches in the world. So, I have better data, period.”

Ultimately, if anyone tells you, “You should do 3 reps of 12 or eat X number of grams of bananas or protein or whatever it might be, you need to ask them why that’s the case. And in most answers, they will not have good evidence. So, I was able to point out my differences, and be very frank about some of my real weaknesses, perhaps. So, I stated very clearly upfront, and I do think that this is extremely powerful in a world where people can fact-check everything you say within milliseconds, on Google. I said, “I’m not going to get everything right. I’m exceptionally competent in the how-to, but the why-to, the mechanisms, etc., no doubt, just as we laughed at people who made conclusions 50 years ago in various areas of science, I will make mistakes. I’ll join in the laugh with you, and then I will fix these errors and improve the book, with your feedback.”

So, I think that the framing is very, very important. In terms of during the sale, we talked about marketing. And the way I defined it, my most valuable readers, let’s just call them my customers, are not the people who read one-third of the book and then put it down. For someone to really endorse a book, the requisite steps are they read the book – and this is a 600-page book. They don’t have to read it all, certainly, but they need to get through the entire thing, take action, show some type of result, and then tell people about it. That’s actually asking a lot of someone. It’s really a lot to ask. To get people through that meat of the book, I also broke it down into very concrete, small steps, and I reiterated those steps multiple times, to make it as low resistance as possible. But I would say from a launch standpoint; I really focused on relationships over transactions. That’s very clichéd, and a lot of people say it without meaning it, but if you look at the allies I had for this particular launch, Joe, how long have we known each other?

Joe: Oh god, probably…

Tim: About 4 or 5 years?

Joe: Yeah. Yeah.

Tim: And if you look at the friends that I made in the process of learning about publishing and book launches, and so forth, for The 4-Hour Workweek, I’m still friends with those people. I think there’s a lesson to be drawn from that, which is it’s one thing to seek out the people who can most help you, and it’s quite something different to find the people who are the best at what they do, with whom you also share a lot of common DNA. Because the people in the latter categories are going to be fun to spend time with, you will have a very high likelihood of becoming long-term or lifelong friends of these people.

And, assuming that you also meet their ante and try to be the best that you can do, and don’t produce bullshit and then try to force it upon them, they will be willing to help, if it makes sense. And it’s not I scratch your back, you scratch mine. It’s if it makes sense. And this comes back to the marketing. So, I’ll give you an example. I did quite a lot with Gizmodo, which is an enormous, enormous tech blog for the launch of The 4-Hour Body. At first glance, The 4-Hour Body has nothing to do with Gizmodo at all. In reality, when I was writing the book, I thought to myself, “What could I do that would be awesome for Brian, the editor at Gizmodo, to introduce to his readers?” And it wasn’t the sole determining factor in my content, but I said, “Alright, here’s 3 or 4 things I could do. I’m equally excited about all of them. Which one would be awesome for him to unveil to his readers?”

So, I looked at implanting a continuous glucose monitor into my side, to look at my blood sugar 24/7. That’s perfect for his audience. And I thought about it extremely early on. Then, when I spoke to Brian, this is true for everybody I spoke to, I said, “Look, I think this could be really cool for your audience, but absolutely no pressure at all. If you say no, I won’t take I it personally. And believe me, that’s the case. Let me know what you think. And if there’s anything that I can customize, if there’s anything else I can provide, let me know. But if it’s not a fit, I won’t take it personally.”

That was the vantage point from which I tried to set things up. But these are all now good friends of mine. They happen to be extremely good at what they do. So, that was a bit of a rambling answer, but I think that the setup is not just for a launch, it’s for a very good relationship with all of the different parts that constitute a good relationship. In any case, I think that if people spent more time going an inch wide and 5 miles deep with 10 people, they would get much further in life and have a more pleasing life than trying to accumulate the largest rolodex possible, so they can spam everybody one week before they have something drop, which is what almost everybody does.

Dean: And that’s the perfect transition into the after unit of this, which would be the relationship that you build with the audience that you end up developing because of this. So, I’d really like to hear your perspective, because we’ve kind of introduced, when we were talking to you earlier, we had Gary Vaynerchuk on last week, and we were talking about how he’s got a very hard-to-model approach to communicating with people, with a daily video, with his 14-hour-a-day tweeting and the one-to-one kind of relationship with that.

And you’ve kind of built a great relationship with your audience, but not on that frequent of a basis. And I know that you made a conscious choice to not have a blog that posted 5 times a day and to have a blog that posted once or twice a week. Maybe you can share a little bit about your perspective on that.

Tim: Absolutely. It was a very conscious decision. The first was, and this was not completely accidental, I knew that if I wrote a book called The 4-Hour Workweek, that it was an insurance plan, of sorts, against slipping back into my old behaviors. So, right off the bat, if people are a fan of the philosophies in your writing, they should insist, on some level, that I follow my own advice. So, I think that I bought myself a certain level of permission by doing that, first and foremost. Secondly, I think it’s very helpful for people to, at times, take a step back and realize that Mark Twain was wiser than many would give him credit for. He said that – I’m paraphrasing – whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

I think that the most common or most highly-recognized, accepted path to doing just about anything, is typically neither the most effective nor the most efficient, and to look for the outliers. So, in terms of frequent communication, I haven’t, for some time, seen Steve Jobs asking for feedback on his Facebook fan page or on Twitter. It’s not necessary for all people. And you need to have a very clear inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and decide where that tool fits into your toolbox, if at all. But it’s like a crayon versus watercolor, versus marker, versus something else. These are tools. In my particular case, what I promised my readers is I will never give them half-assed material. I will never do a mediocre job of creating the best possible content and doing the most in-depth research that I can. That is my promise to my readers.

I don’t promise that I’m going to baby-sit them. That’s the last thing I want. And I’ve said that before. In fact, I’ve said, “I do not want to be your guru, because that implies that you’re dependent on me for answers. And I’m training you to be dependent on nothing but yourself. Therefore, think for yourself.” I give tough love in that respect. I don’t pat people on the head and say, “Everything’s going to be alright,” if they’re not following the rules. And some people get upset about that, but ultimately I think that the vast majority – and, again, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, it matters how many people do get it. So, if you hit 90% of your audience, even if you whittle that down to the most loyal 1,000, you’ll never have to worry about finances ever again. So, stick to your principles.

As an example, I said, “If you can’t provide me with 2 days of meal plans, exact meal plans, and you can’t show me your blood work, and you haven’t done the diet for 4 weeks exactly as described, do not put a post here saying, “What am I doing wrong? I don’t understand. The diet doesn’t work. Because you say you’re doing it to a T, but you’re eating bananas and doing all sorts of other stuff that has no place on the diet. So, here’s the guidelines. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.” And I do that. I do that. Some people laugh, some people get upset. The vast majority are like, “Okay, good point. Fair enough.”

To my readers, I do interact with my readers, but I also set expectations. And I think this is where people get very confused about what they should or shouldn’t do as follow-up, whether it’s with a product or with anything else – content, blog, etc. – is I set the expectations very clearly that, when I reply, I will take it seriously and I will reply. But don’t expect me to reply all the time, partially because I’ve built a community here of intelligent people who can provide as much, if not more valuable feedback than I can. So far, that’s worked. It’s worked very well. According to a couple of different analyses, I have the highest comment quality score of any tech blog out there, which I’m very, very proud of.

This is very closely related. I allow people to criticize. I allow people to attack me, in some cases, if there’s actually a lesson to be taken from it. And that lesson may just be my other readers seeing how I respond to the attack. But I do not allow readers to attack one another. Criticism’s fine; attacks are not. That is because of the broken window theory, which was discussed widely when New York really went through many of its improvements, particularly around Time Square and in the subway systems. They were trying to address violent crime, and they started with repairing broken windows and removing graffiti. And surprise, surprise, it actually decreased violent crime. The theory being if you allow one broken window to remain broken, people assume that it’s – on some level – permitted. More broken windows come about. Then the graffiti, then the petty crime, then the robberies, then the rapes, then the murders.

In blog environments and social environments, I think that’s also very true. So, if I allow people to attack one another, it will spiral out of control very quickly, and turn into an exceptionally inhospitable place. Now, in terms of follow-up and setting expectations, I just want to reiterate that point. Because whether you’re managing board meetings – I met with about 25 top CEO’s today and we were in a session talking about board meetings and board members and how to manage that process, etc., and one of the key takeaways was you need to set expectations very, very clear, so that if you have a board meeting with investors, let’s say once every quarter, you don’t drop some bomb on their lap as a surprise on the day of the board meeting.

So, you might provide them with weekly or monthly metrics. You might meet with each one of those people for breakfast, individually, before you go to the board meeting. Similarly with a blog, if I put up a post and I say, “Guys, I’m detaching, I’m disappearing for 4 weeks. I’m not going to be on telephone, on computer or on a calendar. Have an awesome time while I’m gone, and I’ll see you when I get back,” that automatically ensures against the vast majority of complaints and issues that might come up if I suddenly just went into radio silence without having said that. So, I think that in the blogosphere, certainly, which is my main habitat, it’s exceptionally important to do that.

Joe: Can I ask you something, Tim? Because I’m not 100% sure on your blog. Me and Dean were just talking about this.

Dean: I was just going to say we were just talking about this.

Joe: We actually did a follow-up podcast, which was actually the last episode, which is kind of our thoughts on the Gary Vaynerchuk interview we did with him, and a lot of it we addressed comments that people had made anonymously. Do you allow anonymous comments, or does everyone have to identify themselves?

Dean: We actually only had the one person who was anonymous.

Joe: That’s where the most maybe, per se, negativity came from. But we still allowed it to be posted up there.

Tim: I allow anyone to submit a comment with an email address. That doesn’t prevent all spam, certainly. It doesn’t prevent all anonymous venom from being spewed at people. But it goes into moderation. So, I do have comment moderation. That’s important to me for maintaining the integrity and helpfulness and general ambience of the comment section of my blog. I view it as my living room. If some idiot comes to my house for a dinner party and gets ludicrously drunk and starts kicking tables off my counter, the guys off my counter, the guy’s going to go. And he’s not going to be invited back.

Joe: You would allow them to kick the bananas off, because it seems you have a very hurtful opinion about bananas.

Dean: He’s got a hurtful relationship with bananas.

Tim: I do. I was young; I needed the money. I don’t want to talk about bananas. Yes, you can kick the bananas outside of my house. So, I don’t invite negativity into my life unnecessarily. There’s plenty of that in the world already. That’s my general policy.

Joe: This is more so for myself but also, I think, our listeners are interested in it because we talk about this stuff. You take like Seth Godin. You introduced me to Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. A great guy. He spoke at one of my events, and I asked him about Seth Godin. And he’s like, “Well, Seth doesn’t use WordPress, but he has one of the biggest blogs out there. And I love his blog.” And he doesn’t allow comments on it, and you do. Pros and cons from your perspective?

Tim: Pros and cons. Let me give you the pros first, because someone might ask, “Well, whey the hell do you allow comments?” Because, quite frankly, I don’t know what my traffic would look like without comments. It might be higher. Maybe it would force people to comment on it elsewhere. There’s that possibility. I have spent the amount of time that I have interacting with my readers, cultivating my readers, banning the idiots because I have learned more through my readers, and most of them contact me through the blog, and made more fascinating connections and had more amazing experiences through my readers than I could possibly ever deliver to my readers. So, it’s something that it gives me tremendous enjoyment. That is the reason I provide comments, among other reasons. They also teach one another, and there are a host of other benefits.

On the con side, you do need to learn to brush off very harsh attacks. That is going to happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re blogging for Greenpeace or Save The Whales, or any number of things. You will get extremely hateful comments, and you need to learn to brush that aside. Or, you need to have somebody approve comments for you, and filter out the hatred, which is going to be directed at you personally, typically. And then, you can go into the blog and respond to those people kind. I handled moderation personally for years. Only up until about a month and a half ago, did I experiment with having someone else moderate the comments. I still see the comments that are moderated, but I don’t see the negative comments or the spam, etc., that come in. I shouldn’t say negative. There are plenty of negative comments that we approve; but if they’re hateful or spiteful or completely unproductive, then they don’t make it in.

It hasn’t really affected my mental state one way or another. When I was moderating my blogs, for those people who are using WordPress, I’ll give just a recommendation, because I can fly through moderating comments. I’m very, very fast at it. In WordPress, I can go through several hundred comments in 20 minutes, or like 30 minutes, I’d say. And the way that you do that is you would select for track-backs or ping-backs, and do a quick scan to see if there are any traffic sources that are of interest, then you can delete all of those because they’re just confusing, quite frankly, to people in the comment section, and don’t add much value. Then, I would go to the pending category and scan through, again, and you can establish a blacklist for words like fuck, asshole, etc., which will immediately put things either into spam or into moderation. And then, you scan through, and you look for certain things. I set my comment rules, so I have a blurb at the bottom of each post, above the comments, that says, “Alright, here are the comment rules: 1) Don’t put your business in your personal name field. Not allowed. Too spammy. 2) Don’t put your URL in the text box itself. Put it in the URL field.

So, I can scan very quickly and see if anyone violates those things, and they get removed immediately. Or, I might give them a warning. But at this point in my life, life’s too short, so I usually just delete them. Those would be a few guidelines, also, for moderating. But I find that the interaction with my readers is my reward for spending 3 years on each of my books. Honestly. It’s so awesome. I’ll give you an example. I put up a post on learning how to swim, which then later became, with some modification and a couple of additions, a chapter in The 4- Hour Body. I put this up during the Olympics, when Michael Phelps was competing. In the first 50 comments or so, maybe the first 100, there was a comment from an Olympic silver medalist, with suggestions for training, then there was a comment from the national team swimming coach, with suggestions, and so forth and so on. How can you possibly get that any other way? I can’t imagine how.

Dean: You would have missed out on that, if you didn’t have the ability for comments. I agree. I think there’s something to that.

Joe: That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. That’s kind of where I was going with it. Let me ask you, because we told our listeners that we would get your perspective on the Gary Vaynerchuk sort of method of social media and being out there all the time. There’s so much technology; there’s so many tools, there’s so many Facebooks and Twitters and just places where you can connect, LinkedIns, all that sort of stuff. There’s only so many hours in a day. I know you’re a Peter Drucker fan. There was a quote that I mentioned on the last one, one of my favorite ones from Peter Drucker, “There’s nothing more useless than doing really well that which need not be done at all.”

People can become an expert in a lot of things; but at the end of the day, does it lead to something? So, you have literally become one of the top identifiers of work that matters, having impact, the Pareto Principle. What would you advise to our listeners, about how to stay on the cutting edge and use technology, and not have it use you, as it relates to marketing?

Tim: Sure. I would say that effective use of any of these tools relies on extremely non-cutting-edge skills. So, you need to learn how to communicate with the written word or with the spoken word. And the best way to improve the spoken word is through the written word. Buying a shinier car when you don’t know how to drive is not going to help you. So, I would suggest a few things: 1) Gary loves the interaction that he has with his followers, for example, on Twitter. I enjoy it, but not as much as he does. So, he’ll do that 14 hours a day, and interact in these various ways. He really lives and breathes and loves that. So, I don’t find fault with it. If you’re enjoying what you do more than anything else you could be doing, in many cases, you’re not wasting time. It may not be productive in the literalist, Calvinist sense of the word, but I think life exists to be enjoyed, among other things.

From a practical, tactical standpoint, what I would say is choose one tool and get very, very good at using that tool. And then, that becomes the heartbeat, and you direct everything else back to that heartbeat. In my case, it’s my blog. That is the core nexus of my existence online. I do interact on Twitter; I do interact on Facebook; it’s typically sharing something that’s of value, some type of link or stat. It’s probably 80% useful links or polling and questions to get answers, and maybe 20% just a day in the life or a glance at the life of Tim Ferris, because people are interested in that. It all directs back to the blog. For other people, like a top YouTuber, for example, their home base is YouTube. And they’ll have a blog, but the purpose of the blog is to feed people back to YouTube. They’ll have a Twitter account, but the purpose of that Twitter account, at least on some level, is to drive people back to that YouTube page.

So, become very good at using one of those tools. Become expert. Become one of the best in the world, if you can. That might mean just within your niche; that’s fine. Then, you can expand your sphere. But if you’re mediocre at all of them, you could add 100 more tools, you could watch every article on TechCrunch and create a new account at every single new service, and it would not have any real lasting impact of any sort.

Dean: I think that’s great. It ties in with what Gary would say, “It’s about what your DNA is.” Gary’s DNA is wired to be engaging in dialog with people in any way possible – in person, on Twitter, on Facebook. Any way possible. For some people to see that, you can’t force yourself to be that, just because somebody else is. It comes completely naturally to him.

Tim: Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s just like executive management styles. If you look at Steve Jobs, he’s not Bill Gates. You look at Bill Gates; he’s certainly not Richard Branson. They have different styles, they like different things, and they have different strengths. It makes no sense to mimic, to a handicap, someone you are not. It makes sense to, in some cases, practice behaving as someone might, but then you need to assess how effective you’re being and how much you enjoy it. That’s going to be very, very individual.

Joe: Tim, we’ve only got a few minutes left here. All of us have one thing in common. We’re all very, very handsome. No. What I was going to say is the one thing we all have in common is that we’re all out there wanting to teach and share and educate people, and we’re very much the same ourselves. We all like learning really cool things, and useful things. So, with I Love Marketing, what we’re wanting to do is, me and Dean believe that marketers are saviors, when used in the right way. Nothing happens without marketing, and it brings to the world many, many valuable things.

You’re a teacher, you’re a writer, and you’re also really, really interested in education and learning. I know you do a tremendous amount of stuff in that space and use what you consider the cutting edge organizations that are helping children. What are your thoughts on learning? Everyone listening wants to learn, in this particular case of I Love Marketing, they want to learn about marketing. You really studied a lot about how to effectively learn and develop skills, and I wanted to get your perspective on just effective methods, strategies, techniques, mindsets, when it comes to learning a skill.

Tim: Yep. I would suggest a few things. These are very, to some level, subjective perspectives. I have my own approach to learning, but I have found it to be rather replicable. And so far, many of my readers have tried to model it, and certainly, I’ve borrowed from many, many people, like Michel Thomas and others, so I’m standing on the shoulders of giants as well. A few thoughts related to learning. The first is that you can learn for a purpose, you can learn for enjoyment, and you should strive, I think, to enjoy the learning process, even if there’s no lasting benefit. I know that sounds very odd, but that’s how you will enable yourself to practice learning the skill of skill acquisition. To give you a perfect example, I’ve spent time in Greece, I’ve spent time in Turkey __ (64:05). That sounds very romantic. And I spent a lot of time studying and practicing Greek and Turkish in both of those places.

Do I remember even 100 words of either language? Absolutely not. But I had a fantastic time while I was in the country, playing around with those languages, and getting people to open up, and making an ass of myself. I think learning without enjoyment is very hollow, in certain respects. In terms of the actual process of learning or acquiring a new skill, the first thing I’ll say is – just like anything else – I would suggest having a deadline, and a very specific goal. I was studying Arabic recently, and I was still continue to study Arabic. And the objective at the time, I wasn’t able to do this because I had to go to the Middle East for only one week as opposed to 4, was to come back and interview a friend of mine in Arabic, on my blog. That gave me a very specific objective. I could write out the questions that I wanted to ask in English, and then I knew exactly what I had to be able to pronounce properly in Arabic. It gave me a roadmap for accomplishing that.

Secondly is recognizing that, with any skill, it’s often what you learn that’s most important, not how you learn it. In language learning, as an example, there’s real obsession with methods. “Should I use Rosetta Stone?” “Should I use Berlitz?” I was a curriculum designer for Berlitz for a while, as a side note, in Japanese and English. “Should I use the Pimsleur method? Should I use this other method?” Whereas, the better question to ask is, “What are the 1,000 highest frequency words that I should learn to be functionally fluent in the shortest period of time possible?” Once you have the material identified, the method is of great secondary importance, applying the 80/20 principle to the language, whether that’s grammar or vocabulary.

I’ll give you an example. There are ways to cheat – not in an unethical way, but in a very practical way. If you want to learn a language like Spanish, for example, you should learn the verbs “to want,” “to need,” “to like,” “to dislike.” Once you learn those, rather than having to conjugate 100 different verbs, you can just say, “I need to eat.” “I want to this.” And you can just tag the infinitive on the end. There are ways to cheat. The other point I would make is that you want to look for anomalies. With any type of skill, let’s say it’s a long distance endurance running, so ultramarathons, I would seek out the best in the world or – which is easier – seek out someone who was the best in the world 5 years ago, something like that, so they’re no longer in the limelight. Seek out any type of training methodologies online, that they’ve written about or had described through other journalists. Develop, then, a list of questions.

For example, “Do you still train using this particular protocol? Have you trained anyone in the last few years? I’m not asking you to train me, but if you have trained people in the last few years, how has your training approach changed?” And then ask them, “Have you trained anyone who doesn’t look like a runner? Have you trained someone who is 5’10”, 230 pounds? If so, how did you train that person differently?” And I’d try to find a coach who can take people who are not genetically or otherwise predisposed to a specific skill and make them world-class, or very, very good. Then, I’d try to figure out the replicability of their method, and then I’d test it. I’d test it on myself. This approach, I think, is very effective for me, at least, because I’m playing detective, number one. I’m not just sitting down and memorizing flashcards – although that might be part of it. I’m trying to find a better mousetrap. I’m trying to find a better way.

And I think that curiosity bleeds over into better retention, better recall, more cues, from a mental standpoint, for all sorts of different mental operations and so forth. I can go on and on for hours and hours on this stuff because I’m so OCD about it, but the love of learning, I think, comes from experiencing that sense of wonder. I think that to experience wonder is really almost extinct in modern life. It’s sad. A friend of mine, a few years ago, a very, very smart guy named Josh Waitzkin, who is the chess master. Incredible. He is the basis for the movie “Searching For Bobby Fischer.” He said to me, “This year, I want to really focus on wonder.” I think one of the ways that you can rediscover wonder is by writing down a list of things that – let’s just say in a physical capacity, to keep it simple – you’re most insecure about. What are the things that you’ve decided you will never be good at? What are the things you have decided you can never change?

For me, one of those things was swimming. I couldn’t swim. I was completely incapable of staying afloat for more than a few minutes. Couldn’t swim 2 laps. Then, I set out on this process of discovery, to find the anomalies, to find the training methods, and eventually did find total immersion, and went from swimming 2 laps to swimming 40 laps per workout in the span of 7 to 10 days.

I remember a friend of mine, Chris, what Chris and I do every New Years Eve, is we set each other’s New Years Resolutions. His resolution for me was, “You have to swim a one kilometer open water race by the end of this year. And at that point, I couldn’t swim. So I said, “Okay, fine. If I’m going to do that, you have to go the entire year without having any stimulant stronger than green tea. No coffee, no espresso, nothing.” So, we both agreed. I remember later that year, in the summer on Long Island – I wasn’t able to get to a proper race because the closest one was in Bonaire, and I’d ride at 6:00 and have to race at 8:00. I was like, “Ugh, I think I’ll take a pass on that.” But what I did instead was I went to the ocean, on Long Island, and swam a little bit over a mile – which is like 1.6 kilometers, if I’m not mistaken, something like that – and got out of the water, was not tired, was not stressed, and just felt like the king of the world. That was a real moment of wonder. I had this glow, this complete afterglow effect for at least a week afterwards.

So, finding those moments, so that you associate learning and that entire process with these moments of serene bliss is how I would try to get people to become better learners. The only way you become a better learner is by trying to learn many different things. That’s the long answer to the short question. It’s a subject that I’m very, very fascinated by and passionate about.

Joe: I love it, and I wonder how anyone could possibly not love marketing. If you’re still wondering about it, you need to wonder about more until you get to the point where you manifest the deep love and appreciation that the whole subject deserves. That was not meant to be taken seriously.

Dean: I ought to give you an “amen!”

Tim: Yeah, right.

Joe: We’re ready to wrap up, Dean. Anything else you want to ask or say to Tim? And then, we will recommend the people read his blog and all of that stuff, because it’s fantastic. Anything else you want to ask him?

Dean: Absolutely. Tim, it’s been great. Thank you very much for sharing with us. I think especially the stuff about learning your models and the way that you approach it; I found that fascinating. Very valuable. Thank you.

Joe: I will say, Tim, you used to have the 4-hour blog, when The 4-Hour Workweek came out, and now you’ve incorporated The 4-Hour Body. What do people learn when they go to your blog? What’s point of it? I know there’s a lot of things, but what’s a way you could summarize what is your blog and Tim Ferris about? What do you represent? What do you do? What do they get there?

Dean: The title of the blog, I think, is actually still accurate, which is experiments and lifestyle design. That is very broad on purpose, which incorporates trying to find better ways to design an ideal lifestyle; trying to find better ways to improve your quality of life, which could be learning a language, it could be improving income, or profiling a company that has come out of The 4-Hour Workweek, for example. There are many, many out there. Looking at better ways of solving common problems. What are the best ways, the fastest way to get from point A to point B with the very, very common problems, or very, very common goals?

Fortunately, I have access to a lot of people and a lot of good resources, so I have the opportunity to play the guinea pig for things that other people may not have the access to test or may or may not have the funding to test. I’ll go out and do it, and then I’ll report back. If it sucked and it didn’t work, I’ll tell you, and I’ll tell you how I think it can be fixed. If it did work, like the last post that I just put up, which is on how to create a movie trailer for your products – I created a movie trailer for The 4-Hour Body, which took it from 150 on Amazon to 30, and then later took it partially to number one. It certainly contributed. I went through exactly how we produced, how we filmed, how we planned, how we storyboarded the entire trailer, so that people can go and do the same thing, if they so desire. The blog is about sharing learning experiences of those types.

Joe: It is really awesome, so if you’re not already a reader of Tim’s blog, we highly recommend you go there. Like I said earlier, I’ve done a couple of great interviews with Tim. I’m going to post it up for free on ILoveMarketing.com, my interview with you on The 4-Hour Body. We just really appreciate you talking about your perspectives on marketing, and you’ve put out some awesome stuff. So, thank you very much. Any famous last words – I mean who you like better, me or Dean – or anything you might wrap up with?

Tim: I dislike you both equally. I’ll give you another Mark Twain quote that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, which is something along these lines. I might mangle it a little bit. “What hurts us isn’t what we don’t know, it’s what we know that just ain’t so.” So, test assumptions. That’s what I spend a lot of my time on and really enjoy. And I think that also opens up the wonder factor. So, test those basic assumptions and the things you think you can’t do and things you think you shouldn’t do, obviously within the realms of ethics and law. Don’t be an idiot about it. Really, those constraints that you’ve set for yourself and that you believe to exist, test those. There are easy ways to do it. I’ll leave it at that.

Joe: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much, Tim. And to our listeners, give us your comments. Anything from you Dean, or are we done?

Dean: That’s perfect. Thanks, guys.

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