Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How to Become World-class at Anything: An Interview with Tim Ferriss

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We all want to feel more like directors in our lives and less like spectators. We want to be the boss, not the victim. What if a cookbook could help you do that, to take back control of your life?

I recently had the opportunity to interview best-selling author Tim Ferris, and we chatted about this very idea.

Tim Ferriss

Chef Tim

In this exclusive Q&A, Tim and I talk about his new book, The 4-Hour Chef, which is about a lot more than cooking.

Listen to the interview

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Click here to download the MP3.

About The 4-Hour Chef

This isn’t just another cookbook. It’s a guide to taking control of what matters most to you, a blueprint for becoming the jefe of your own story.

Spread throughout The 4-Hour Chef (in addition to the 1500+ photos and 500+ pages of content) is the idea of meta learning and the process by which someone becomes “world-class” at anything (including cooking).

Tim is renowned for cracking the code on seemingly complex processes and breaking them down. He did it with his previous two books (both NY Times Best Sellers) by tackling issues of time management and weight loss. And now, he’s teaching us how to cook.

But this is just another rodeo for Mr. Ferriss. Long before his success as an author, he was mastering Japanese by reading comic books, becoming a kickboxing champ in China, and going toe to toe with the world’s best tango dancers in Argentina.

Interview highlights

Here’s what we talked about:

  • How Tim approaches learning, cooking, writing, and other stuff
  • Why being born premature (and having other weaknesses) has helped him become who he is
  • What his greatest flaws are, how he’s not superhuman, and why failure is no excuse to quit
  • Why he doesn’t write for just one genre and what he’s learning from releasing a book only on Amazon
  • A bunch more stuff

The secret to becoming world class

Like I said before, this book is about a lot more than cooking. It’s about how we learn to do things we’ve never been good at, how we overcome insecurities and succeed at endeavors that have always intimidated us.

In The 4-Hour Chef, Tim breaks down his approach to rapid skill acquisition and shows how you can replicate the process for anything you want to learn.

So… what’s the secret to becoming world class at anything?

“The way that you become world-class is… by asking good questions.” —Tim Ferriss (Click here to tweet that.)

 The best way to master a craft is to be insatiably curious — at least that’s what works for Tim.

Access to an exclusive Q&A with Tim

Want to hear more from Tim? Here’s a cool opportunity he’s offering you just for listening to this interview. If you buy three hard copies of his new book (one for yourself and a couple for friends), you’ll get access to an exclusive Q&A with him after the book launch.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy three print copies of The 4-Hour Chef.
  2. Email the receipt to 3books(AT)4hourchef.com.
  3. You’ll then receive an invitation to an exclusive, two-hour, live Q&A with Tim Ferriss, where you can ask him anything you want.

Pretty cool, right? Of course, if you aren’t interested in the Q&A, you can just buy one copy of the book. It’s currently on sale in the Kindle store.

Whether or not you buy, I hope you enjoy the interview. Feel free to download it and share with friends. Here’s to you becoming world-class at your dream.

What’s something that you’d like to be world-class at? Share in the comments.

Disclosure: The above Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off of your purchase (at no extra cost to you). Please know that I only recommend products I believe in, and this is a simple way you can give back to the blog without it really costing you anything.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://christianokwena.wordpress.com/ christiano kwena

    Thanks for sharing the audio file.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Christiano!

  • http://twitter.com/sbhsbh Steve Hughes

    Why would someone need 3 copies of a book? Come on Jeff.

    • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

      You could use the other 2 as gifts or giveaways…

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        That’s right. If you listen to the interview, that’s exactly what Tim suggests. It is a cookbook, after all, and would make a great holiday gift. OR you can just buy the Kindle (only $5 today).

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I would like to be worldclass at public speaking, writing, and helping others.  Love the idea of the thought process behind this book.  “How do you take the same blueprint and learn…?”

    Enjoyed the interview – thanks Jeff & Tim!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    I love the random español in the middle of your post, Jeff. :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • Sandy King

    World class blah blah blah. Why not tell people who don’t have the same opportunities that they don’t matter, that they’ve failed? Not everyone has the same opportunities, or even the same talents. I don’t care if you’ve scaled Kilimanjaro on your hands and knees. Ever dealt with an autistic child in full meltdown mode? Ever been there for a friend who’s breaking in front of your eyes because they’ve been so badly abused and traumatised, and you know if you don’t help they’ll decide they’ve had enough of the world? Ever had to run away so your violent ex-husband can’t hurt you and your family?

    I have. Which is maybe why these kinds of posts don’t necessarily resonate… You don’t have to be ‘world class’ at anything to be an amazing human being. Sorry, Jeff. You’ve maybe caught me on a bad day. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Sandy, thanks for the comment. I would say you’re world-class at compassion, at empathy, at pure perseverance. Not everyone is as strong as you. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

      You don’t have to be world class to be amazing. I agree. But isn’t it rewarding to be world class ?

  • Ariane Trelaun

    Super grateful to you for this post and interview, Jeff!  Wrote down this one thing Tim said and will  be blogging about it later: “when something is a failure is determined by when you give up.”   So true and such a great way to think about the gifts of lifelong learning, trying things, experimenting, whether or not you become world class.  Thank you!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i love that.

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  • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

    Cool interview!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


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  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    I’ve followed Ferriss since the first days of 4HWW. He’s a lot of fun, and probably the best creative self-promoter I can think of. I appreciate that he shares his knowledge, and I’m hoping that he can beat the system by publishing on Amazon (solely) and still doing really well.

    cool interview.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It’ll be interesting to watch, Lisa. Thanks for the comment!

  • Pingback: Friend of Killer Tribes, Jeff Goins, Interviews Tim Ferriss | Killer Tribes

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    Jeff, great work prepping for this interview. It really showed and gave us a ton of benefit because you asked questions your readers were likely to ask (or wish they thought to ask).

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Aaron! It was a lot of fun.

  • darinlhammond

    I found, unlike Sandy, the interview fascinating. I love Tim Ferris, and it was informative to see another side of him. While Sandy has a point that you don’t have to be successful to be important or worthwhile, it does not follow that someone like Tim Ferriss shouldn’t be interviewed because he has advantages that others do not. He is an engaging author and enjoyable to listen to. 

    Dealing “with an autistic child in full meltdown mode” is certainly heroic, far beyond anything I merit. And, the best thing about the internet is that there is room for all of us. I can leave this page right now and learn more about people who have experience with autistic children, broken friends, disastrous marriages. We are all privileged if we look beneath us and all underprivileged if we look above us.

    Ferriss certainly merits “world class” status, and your interviewing skills are great. Press on and be kind! Hurting the feelings of another never elevates you.

    • http://multicolouredsmartypants.com/ Sandy King

      No, I would not want to hurt someone’s feelings – and I have no desire to elevate myself. I don’t want to look beneath me, or look above me. That was kind of my point; the words ‘world class’ create a barrier for the 99% of people who will never be world class, but that *not* being world class can be equally great, and worthy and admirable, if not more so. 

      My little rant won’t hurt the feelings of such a world class bloke as Tim Ferriss, and I doubt it’ll hurt Jeff’s either. He’s already getting on with being Jeff (whose blog I very much enjoy). Surely one doesn’t have to agree with everything one reads in order to comment? 

      • darinlhammond

        Well said Sandy. I wasn’t trying to suggest that your comment was inappropriate, just offering an alternate viewpoint. You are correct in that I’m sure feelings weren’t hurt. Sorry if I came off as too aggressive.  

        I really appreciated your viewpoint because it caused me to step back and look at the article anew. “World class” promotes the post at the expense of creating a barrier. Just wanted Jeff to know that I supported his decision. Thanks for the dialogue, Sandy. Disagreement is constructive, especially if it aims to include the marginalized as was the intent (I believe) of your post.

        • http://multicolouredsmartypants.com/ Sandy King


          God bless, Darin.

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  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Grrr! Something dark in me really wants to hate Tim Ferriss, but I just can’t do it. The guy is so damn likable and gung-ho creative that I can’t help wishing we could share a cold beer at a pub and chat it up. Damn you 4-hour guru. :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Finally had a chance to listen to this today, Jeff. Pretty amazing interview.
    I thought it was brilliant what he said about looking at the outliers that are contrarian – the runners that don’t have the typical runner body type. For some reason, the wisdom of that really struck me.
    And it was also interesting hearing that his success came from learning and adapting to his failures and weaknesses. Makes me look at my own a little differently.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I liked that, too. 

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you. I just downloaded it and will transfer it to my phone to listen to it.

    K, bye

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins


  • http://www.perakoto.com/ Joel

    Hi Jeff, I’d have to say your interview went very well. I heard Pat Flynn’s and Leo Babauta’s and I liked their interviews also. But your’s is the best. Your questions were great and just the way you steered the conversation is very good. I hope I can learn how to do that.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks, Joel! I really appreciate that.

  • http://www.wwjw.com/ Shopping Directory

    Jeff, great work prepping for this interview. It really showed and gave us a ton of benefit because you asked questions your readers were likely to ask (or wish they thought to ask).

  • http://www.love-laugh-learn.com/ Deanna

     “The best way to master a craft is to be insatiably curious…”  from one preemie to another, I completely agree!! 

  • Eric ANderton

    Nice job on the interview Jeff, you have a nice low key style…

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