The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

“Take risks and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.”

The top 1% often succeed despite how they train, not because of it. Superior genetics, or a luxurious full-time schedule, make up for a lot”

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it is time to pause and reflect” — Mark Twain

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture, it is because we dare not venture that they are difficult” — Seneca



What are the minimal learnable units, the Lego blocks, I should be starting with?

  • Reducing
    • How can you break down whatever it is into easy learnable units? Like the poster of all japanese characters, and then the aspects that make up each character
  • Interviewing
    • First, make a list of people to interview
      • Find out who was the best in the world a while ago so they’re out of the limelight and more likely to respond
    • Make first contact and provide context
      • The best way is to contact them with something to offer, such as doing an interview for a blog or newspaper that you can freelance write for
    • Last, ask your questions
  • Reversal: building better fires
    • The method is simplicity itself: do the exact opposite of the teepee method
    • Sometimes, the path of least resistance is as easy as googling “backward” or “reverse” plus whatever it is you want to learn
  • Translating
    • Deconstruction dozen: using these twelve sentences gives you insight into almost all of the grammar of most langauges:
      • The apple is red
      • It is john’s apple
      • I give john the apple
      • We give him the apple
      • He gives it to John
      • She gives it to him
      • Is the apple red?
      • The apples are red
      • I must give it to him
      • I want to give it to her
      • I’m going to know tomorrow
      • I have eaten the apple
      • I can’t eat the apple
    • Helper verbs and infinitives
      • By memorizing a few verbs in a few tenses, you gain access to nearly all verbs.
      • Example:
        • I must eat: Ho bisogno di mangiare
        • I want to eat: Voglio mangiare
        • I’m going to eat tomorrow: Vado a mangiare domani
        • I can’t eat: Non posso mangiare


Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcomes I want? Simple works. Complex fails.

  • Fat loss MED: 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up
  • Female weight loss plateaus: MED = 5 minutes of kettlebell swings three times per week
  • 10-30 lbs of lean tissue in one month: MED = 90-120 seconds of tension for most muscles w/ slow cadence lifting
  • Master conversational fluency in any language: MED = learn 1,200 words, focusing on highest frequency
    • 100 well-selected words give you 50% of the practical usage of 171,000 words
  • Marketing MED: Read Kevin Kelley’s article:


In what order should I learn the blocks?

It’s the burden on working memory that makes something easy or hard.

  • What are the commonalities among the best in the world?
  • Which of these are not being taught in most classes/lessons
  • Which neglected skill can I get the best at quickly?


How do I set up stakes, create real consequences, and guarantee I follow the program?

  • Can you create an Odysseus contract to ensure you follow your decision?
  • A goal without consequences is wishful thinking. Good follow-through doesn’t depend on the right intentions. It depends on the right incentives



Can I encapsulate the most important 20% into an easily graspable one-pager?

Making effective decisions and learning effectively requires massive elimination and removal of options

The easiest way to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to put up walls that dramatically restrict whatever it is that you’re trying to do

In the world of work, a task will swell in complexity to fill the time you allot it, a phenomenon often referred to as Parkinson’s law

Two different types of one-pagers:

  • Prescriptive One-Pager: principles that help you generate real-world examples. Basically “here are the rules”
  • Practice One-Pager: real world examples to practice that indirectly teach the rules

ABC — Always Be Compressing


How frequently should I practice? Can I cram, and what should my schedule look like? What growing pains can I predict? What is the minimum effective dose for volume?

It is possible to vastly compress learning. It is possible to do something in 1-10 months that normally takes 1-10 years.

The more you compress things, the more that physical limiters become a bottleneck. All learning is physically limited.

The more extreme your ambitions, the more you need performance enhancement via unusual schedules, diets, drugs, etc.

Most important: due to the bipolar nature of the learning process, you can forecast setbacks


Pick your world-class (top 5%) objective, and set your timeline. For this example: Spanish in 28 days.

Use deconstruction, everything in META-LEARNING to nail your materials, determine your sequence, and map out your calendar.

To forecast your milestones, work backwards from your total allotted time of 28 days.

First, divide your total time units by 8. In this case, that makes a “progress unit” 3.5 days.

Next, apply it to the learning curve:

  • Sugar High @ 1 unit, so expect a sugar high at around the day 4 mark
  • Drop and Low Point @ 2 units, so around day 7
  • Rapid Progress then Plateau around 3 units, so day 10.5 or 11
  • Inflection or “takeoff” point @ 6 units, so day 21
  • Fluency @ 8 units, so day 28

5-10 Minute Breaks: The Serial Position Effect refers to improved recall that is observed at the beginning and ends of lists. These are called the “primary” and “recency” effects separately. Memorizing a 20 word list, your recall will be best of 1 & 20, then of 2 & 19, so on. If you spent 90 minutes on it, you can dramatically improve recall by splitting that 90 minutes into 2 45 minute sessions, since there will now be two U-shaped graphs of recall, making your recall of 1 & 20 strong, but also of 10 & 11, since they were the first and last of the break. This significantly reduces the “dip” in the total learning curve. immersion

Von Restorff Effect

The Von Restorff effect, also called the novel popout effect, correlates unique items in a list to better recall. For example, if the fifth item in a word list uses a unique color or a larger font size, it will be better remembered than others.

Let’s assume we have a list of 100 plain-Jane, high-frequency words, split into 50 words per 45-minute session. The recall will look just as it did in the primacy and recency effect graph. Now we spike the punch in the middle of each 45-minute session, injecting 2– 4 idiomatic phrases that are sexually related from minutes 20– 25. There are two content changes: the sexual content and, almost as important, the word-to-phrase shift. In my experience, the memory curves can then morph into the above graph. Instead of averaging out at 60%– 70% recall over a week, say, we can get well over 80%. Furthermore, it’s a more sustainable and pleasant learning approach. This is the approach I used with the Linkword method to achieve more than 85% retention of 350 Italian words 72 hours after cramming them into 12 hours.


How do I anchor the new material tow hat I already know for rapid recall? Acronyms like DiSSS and CaFE are examples of this encoding