How Peter Bregman taught me to breathe… to deal with life.

My thoughts on Four Seconds by Peter Bregman

Peter is a fun writer and I enjoyed this book. Actually I read about 39% of this book in Barnes and Noble, then sat up and bought it right then and there. I finished it within a few days. It’s not a long book and it’s a very easy read.

The reason the book is called Four Seconds is because that’s how long, on average, it takes you to take a deep breathe. Not super deep, but deep enough. Try it. But also, it ties in a littler deeper to the things Peter has applied to his life through meditation and understanding life in a quest towards happiness and better relationships. Peter has kids and a wife. He also runs a leadership consulting business at

There are 51 chapters in this book, yes fifty one. But they’re bite size. This book, although organized, seems jumbled, but, with every book, you enter the mind of the writer. I bet Peter would be a fun guy to hang out with because I’m pretty much all over the place myself when it comes to most things. I think Albert Einstein might have said that a creative mind is never tidy… or whoever said that… they were right! I actually had a girl say to me once after looking at my desk at work that I must be “really smart” because my desk was in utter disarray, as usual. But what is it to be smart these days?… Anyway, let’s move on.

The 51 chapters of this pretty short read are split into 3 parts. Part 1 is Change Your Mental Defaults, Part 2 is Strengthen Your Relationships, and Part 3 is Optimize Your Work Habits. I pick this book up every now and then and read a random chapter, but I will admit, I tried a few of Peter’s ideas or philosophies and I didn’t really like them, but others, as a matter of fact most of them, I did like.

From an entrepreneurial standpoint, this book should definitely be in your collection. Reasons are because it touches on a lot of fundamental knowledge one should apply to their life that matter in business, and being a leader. Although I can’t find an exact quote, each chapter somewhat talks briefly on letting go of something, like your ego, or the need to be right when arguing . In the beginning, Peter tells us a story about his kids flooding the kitchen by leaving the sink running. Instead of him flipping out, he pauses (for 4 seconds) and then responds. As you can probably already tell, this can be huge, and we’ve all been in situations, probably every single day, where people blurt out emotionally at us without taking even a second to think about what they might say. (I’m currently picturing myself driving in traffic.)

Now, I’d like to point out one thing about this book. This isn’t a book I’d put in the business section of the book store. It certainly belongs in the self improvement section or even the psychology section. This book probably wasn’t written with the intent to help entrepreneurs, but to instead help all people. The anecdotes Peter uses are all within the realm of every-day life. The anecdotes range from Peter dealing with a disgruntled neighbor, his kids, comforting the babysitter, how to deal with people at work, and how to shift mindset in stressful situations (like going white water rafting), and how to take criticism the right way, and much more, including work hes done for some companies.

This book is an easy and fun read with some great insights on living a happier life. Take a deep breath and and dive into this book if you:

      • Are an entrepreneur
      • Want to live an easier life
      • Enjoy reading books related to mediation and mindfulness
      • Want some insight on bettering your relationships at work and in life in general
      • Work in a position where you manage others
      • Are looking for ways to increase productivity
      • Need an enjoyable book to read

One comment

  1. […] and exhale hard enough that someone next to you would hear you breathing. A good way to measure is 4 seconds in, 4 seconds out. Then after a minute or so, exhale and close your eyes, returning your breathe to […]


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