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Dude, My Testosterone’s Pushing 1290. How About Yours?

Ferriss speaking at the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival in Austin, Tex.
Ferriss speaking at the 2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival in Austin, Tex.Photograph by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to abiding unusual pre-conditions to secure interviews. Blindfolds and undisclosed locations, for instance, were required to visit Salman Rushdie (then under a fatwa), and to meet the Billboard Liberation Front (a group that scaled buildings to “improve” outdoor advertising in the foggy dark of San Francisco nights). TV survivalist Bear Grylls suddenly whipped off his pants and insisted we go running in a frigid Central Park. He’d tell me whatever I wanted to know—if I had the breath to ask. Actor Viggo Mortenson had me personally sign a contract that the magazine I was working for would not, under any circumstances, retouch our photos of him. His scars were his scars.

But I confess I was taken aback when Tim Ferriss asked me to fast for 10 hours before we met—and to be prepared to give blood. Ferriss, if you know the name, but can’t quite place it, is the Four-Hour Guy. He’s written an expansive self-help trilogy: The 4-Hour Work Week (418 pages), 4-Hour Body (592 pages), and the 4-Hour Chef (672 pages). Still, if you were pressed to list his occupation, professional guinea pig might be most accurate.