How Blogs Helped The Four Hour Work Week Become a Best Seller – The Timothy Ferriss Interview

The full program

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A few lessons from this program

I’m sick of the usual interviews with Tim Ferriss, which waste time arguing over whether it’s possible to work four hours a week. What I want to know is how Tim got so many people to talk about him and his book, The Four Hour Work Week, and how he made his book into a New York Times Best Seller.

So I called him up and did my own interview. Here’s what I learned.

Blogs and radio

Before he published his book, Tim called successful authors to find out how they promoted their books. He discovered that the two most effective tools were blogs and radio–and radio was losing its influence. So he pursued bloggers

Least crowded channel

All the methods of connecting with bloggers were loud and crowded. Email is the most crowded. (Maybe because most people haven’t listened to my interview with Mark Hurst.) In-person, he says, is the least crowded channel. So he went to events that let him connect with bloggers face-to-face.

The messenger, not the message

Tim realized that building connections was about getting people to care about him, not his message. So he didn’t promote himself. He just got to know people by asking questions.

Robert has a mob around him

Blogging celebrities like Robert Scoble have mobs of people around them at events. (Here’s why.) Tim didn’t push his way in. Instead, he got to know the people around the celebrities–like Robert’s wife.

Being “trendy”

Alana Semuels, tech writer at the LA Times, taught this at the Mixergy PR Forum. She said that reporters don’t care about your company nearly as much as they care about trends. So when you want publicity, pitch a trend that includes your company. When Tim tapped into his blogging connections to promote his book, he didn’t pitch the book directly. Instead, he pitched a trend–people are outsourcing more and working less–and said that his book explains it.

  • http://Intent.com Olivia Kuhn-Lloyd

    Great synopsis and solid answers to the other important question that surrounds Tim and the book. I get so much great info from these interviews and the forums. I feel like I need a cheat sheet of ideas that I can continually implement and build on. I guess that’s my job. You harvest the ‘pearls of wisdom’–I need to implement.

  • http://www.freshome.com M!hai @ Freshome

    Tim is an internet artist, I’ve followed his evolution on the internet and I really appreciate what he has done.

  • http://blog.renaissancecms.com/ Rob Chant

    Ah, okay, smart guy. I’ve just read through the key points, and working out how best to approach people based on finding the least crowded channel is one of those very obvious but somehow very cunning moves.

  • Andrew Warner

    Rob: Thanks for the comment.

    Going for the least crowded channel, in person, seems obvious, but isn’t it overlooked? Also, even if others do discover it, I think they’ll be too lazy pursue it. It’s too much work.

  • http://blog.renaissancecms.com/ Rob Chant

    @Andrew — no problem, thanks for the reply.

    That’s what I meant really; it’s one of those really simple but brilliant ideas that everyone thinks they can have, but very few people actually do.

    I’ve still not watched the actual interview, but from the key points, what impressed me more than the idea itself was the way Tim approached the problem of getting his work out there. It seems as if he just completely ignored the status quo, cut away all the rubbish and just applied the simplest, most logical solution to each problem (with a good bit of lateral thinking thrown in I guess). That’s what’s really rare, and really smart. Or am I reading too much into it?

  • Andrew Warner

    @Rob – Tim is probably the biggest systematizer I ever interviewed. Everything he does seems to have a clear blueprint in his head.

    Actually, Mark Hurst is like that too. If you listen to my interview with him, you’ll see he has systems for speeding the most basic tasks.

  • http://blog.renaissancecms.com/ Rob Chant

    @Andrew, thanks for pointing that out, I’ll have a look.

    Systemising is really important, but I think that really clear thinking and ignoring accepted ways of doing things is more son.

  • http://physocal.net Curtis Ludlow

    Wow.

    Great advice! Thank you!

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  • http://josephsherman.typepad.com/ Joseph Sherman

    “In person is the least crowded channel.” It is also the most effective. In person builds a connection. A brief person to person meeting can be much more powerful than a million ads or impersonal blog posts. It is a question of quality verses quantity. Small firms often cannot afford quantity, the costs for a mass media add may be more than the annual budget. They usually cannot afford to pass on quality, well ran person to person connections that take time and effort within budget.

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  • http://www.subvertmagazine.com PaulMagee

    I love that about Tim, his outlook is that you can deconstruct or model anything, but you have to give the process the respect it deserves.

    Most people wildly copy what they see on the surface, instead of asking – what are the most important pieces that make this process a success.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I don't think anyone else I interviewed was as good as Tim at breaking down
    what they did into a series of steps.

    I love that about him.

  • http://super-trainer.com/ Kaiser

    Loved the interview Andrew –

    You got some excellent info out of Tim –

    A lot of which should be common sense social etiquette – but unfortunately we all forget how it's done sometimes –

    Hearing Tim breakdown the way he socially created the outlets for his book to get exposure just reinforced the present but sometime dormant little control center I have for networking in my own head –

    So thanks for exposing me to this info -

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I'm glad it'll help you Kaiser. Please stay in touch so I can hear how
    you're progressing.

  • http://twitter.com/CIKN Chris N.

    Idea: Might sound cliche but you should have some theme music to go along with your brand.. Nothing too goofy and not to serious but something that makes it seem like an event im about to witness or something

  • http://twitter.com/Sharonhps Sharonhps

    Excellent interview, great advice.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks Chris. I know it'll add a lot to have music, but I'm so uncreative
    that way. I spent several days going through the audio sites looking for a
    sound that felt like me, but couldn't find one.

    It's frustrating because I know that a little thing like that could have a
    huge impact on the perception of the programs. Just as Pallian Creatvie's
    makeover of my site's design changed its perception.

  • http://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks!

  • ChrisNwakalo

    Yeah i like to think im creative in that artistic (music or design) way too but i end up spending too much time on it so it ends up not how i intended it, then i end up getting a friend to help me with it.. Thats probably the right thing to do, just like how you outsourced the website upgrade.. Have you viewed the grasshopper.com entrepreneur video? Carly Comando was the composer of the background music, which pretty much makes the video what it is. Maybe if you reach out to people like her or maybe even Jun Loayza, who i think does his own intro music for all his stuff, then you will have some luck

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  • http://www.moneymonk.com/ Marie Joseph

    I love the etiquette that he talks about. I myself will dismiss emails pitching me something. I learned also if you work for free for someone it's easier for them to do things for you.

  • http://www.moneymonk.net/ Marie Joseph

    I love the etiquette that he talks about. I myself will dismiss emails pitching me something. I learned also if you work for free for someone it's easier for them to do things for you.

  • cuban pete

    I still say Tim Ferriss is a shady snake-oil dealer

  • scheungyyz

    I like this interview the best.
    as other said, the conversation was broken down in small chunk, step by step; very clear
    can take away a lot to implement
    .. I also have written a book (physical book, but not taken off)

  • dalebotha

    Hi Andrew

    I'd love to get this in iTunes. Is it in the iTunes store? I've given my email address a few times and it feels unneccessary to give it yeet again because I really want to download this mp3. Is it possible to login, if so, I can't see my status and can't find where the login form is.

    Love your work. I appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication. Keep these amazing interviews coming!

    Warm Regards, Dale

  • HG

    Hi Andrew,

    I cam across your site today and I find it very useful. Thanks!!!

    Wanted to ask what techniques you use to line up interviews with such famous/busy/.. people especially the ones that you do not know. Anything that was not mentioned by Tim?

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  • http://www.furryfashionist.com/ Trish

    Very interesting! Thank you for the tips!

  • mattybearsolidmanguy

    Oi Tim Ferriss you ginger nut, get out you sket

  • mattybearsolidmanguy

    Oi Tim you gingernut, get out you sket

  • matty

    Oi Tim you ginger nut, get out you sket

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  • Shanz

    Thanks for the back end reasons for 4 hr work week

  • http://www.solardave.com Dugdale

    I want to listen to this on my iphone, but I can't seem to find it in the itunes store. What is it called in Itunes? (I just downloaded 5 of your other podcasts from itunes just fine).

  • http://ricardodsanchez.com Ricardo

    Thanks for sharing this, it is useful info!

  • http://ricardodsanchez.com Ricardo

    Good info! thanks for sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisducker Chris C. Ducker

    Great interview, Andrew. Tim's book is a great inspiration to many of us. I believe that the 4HWW is only REALLY just beginning to create the lifestyle changes to people worldwide – amazing, considering that it's been 'out there' for 3 years almost! Thanks for the continued good work here on Mixergy!

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  • http://twitter.com/elainebuckland elaine buckland

    Thanks for making such a clear and concise review of the reasons behind Tim's success, I have only recently read this book and whilst the four hour work week is still a little way off for me actually learning how to promote a product or service is much more useful in the short term.

  • http://www.secpoint.com/ Victor Christiansenn

    great guy!
    Changed my way of working

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  • http://www.stronico.com Steve French

    Any idea who wrote the “Confidential” book Tim mentions?

  • http://www.stronico.com Steve French

    Any idea who wrote the “Confidential” book Tim mentions?

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