The Four Pillar Plan – Rangan Chatterjee Book Summary

The Four Pillar Plan – Rangan Chatterjee | Free Book Summary

The Four Pillar Plan – Rangan Chatterjee

A progressive approach to managing your lifestyle

Doctors should stop focusing on symptoms and start looking at the body as a whole.

Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)

Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!


Doctors should also take into account how all parts of the body work together to maintain health. This is called progressive medicine.

Free book, podcast summaries

Maintaining a healthy body: the four pillars

The four pillars are relaxation, food, movement, and sleep.

Many of us recognise the importance of food and movement, but sleep and relaxation are very much undervalued.

A lot of people’s diet and movement aren’t too bad, and rather than trying to become perfect in those areas or get a 5% improvement, they’re much better off if they focus on the other pillars.


Most people underestimate the importance of relaxing and fail to do so regularly. In fact, relaxing is essential for your health because not doing so can cause serious damage.

When we’re stressed, our body produces cortisol. This is the body’s way of dealing with stress. But in today’s world, where stress is always present, we produce too much cortisol.

A daily practice of stillness

This is just a moment in the day when you press the pause button. Try starting with just two minutes of meditation a day. That daily practice will start to have a massive impact on your overall health.

You can mindfully listen to your favorite music on your phone through headphones, for example, as long as you’re not scrolling social media at the same time.

You can also try 3-4-5 breathing, in which you breathe in for three, hold for four, and breathe out for five. When our outbreath is longer than our inbreath, we activate the relaxation part of our nervous system.


There is no one-size-fits-all diet that will work for everyone.

Instead, try to focus on general changes you can make, which include eating five portions of different vegetables every day and drinking eight glasses of water.

The 12-hour window

You don’t actually need to change what you eat, just when you eat. In our modern culture, we eat all the time. When we’re eating late in the evening, we’re generally just a bit bored. We’ve got what I call an itchy mouth. It’s just something to do.

When you restrict your eating window, a huge amount of benefits kick in to the body. You can get better control of your blood sugar and your weight, and your immune system functions better. Your mitochondria, which are the energy factories of your body, also work more efficiently.

Less sugar

One thing all doctors can agree on with every diet is that we consume far too much sugar. 

You may think you’re good at avoiding sugar. Unfortunately, its normalized nature in our lives makes this hard to do. Our breakfast cereals, granola bars, sports drinks, and just about everything you love to eat is riddled with the stuff. To fight back, we each need to denormalize sugar. 

This starts with knowing what’s in the foods you already eat. Check the labels before you buy. Be careful to learn about and watch out for the many different words that companies use to disguise sugar.


A problem that many of us have is that we either exercise excessively or not enough. So most of us stress out over not having enough time to do our workouts, or we give up because we just can’t fit it in. 

A better way is to focus on movement each day rather than exercise. The easiest option is to incorporate more walking. Additionally, trying some simple strength-training exercises can help. These don’t have to be strenuous or time-consuming. They can be as easy as doing a few lunges, push-ups, or squats on your break at work.


Most people who are having trouble with sleep are doing something in their everyday lives that’s affecting their ability to sleep.

Make sure you have a period without tech  – ideally 90 minutes but as long as you can manage if not – before bed.

The quality of rest

Improving the quality of our sleep is as simple as evaluating it against three standards:

Do you feel refreshed when you wake up?

Do you wake up at around the same time each day without an alarm?

Can you fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying in bed?

We’re all familiar with the idea that lifestyle can be the cause of disease. What’s not common knowledge is that a change in lifestyle can also be the treatment and prevent us from getting sick in the first place.

Get the book!

Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

The smartest newsletter, partly written by AI.

Download, the short news app for busy professionals