Book Review: The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

I must have spent almost 2 hours just tonite procrastinating and being busy checking email and LinkedIn and a myriad of other sites (no Facebook funnily enough…yet – I probably will midway thru this post) – so it’s tough for me to imagine the changes that will have to place if I plan on ever being able to “work” 4 hours a week and make enough coin to pay the bills and the odd night out at The Burgundy Lion.

Tim Ferriss goes a long way to describing how you might go about it though in his book The 4-Hour Workweek (on sale at Indigo for 17$ plus free shipping in Canada for orders over 25$ – better than 12$ Amazon price because of shipping costs – no disclaimer necessary – I’m just? trying to be helpful), and for what it’s worth I did take quite a bit from it, namely the parts about how he insists one shouldn’t be saving up for retirement to do the things they want, but to do them now as part of what he calls “mini-retirements”.

One of the main topics which he continually references are this new breed of “rich” that he’s labeled the New Rich. People he describes, whether single or with a family unit depending on them, who are taking advantage of all the technological advances at our disposal to travel, work for themselves as little or as much as they want, from where they want, and for whom they want (others or themselves). BUT, who aren’t necessarily rich in the normal sense of the word. That is, they’re not millionaires or billionaires per se. They’re time rich. Choice rich. Freedom to do what they want rich. And while some believe that money so can too buy you these forms of rich, I’m not sure it can – and so, I spent the time in reading the book twice before pumping out this review just to make sure that Ferriss was in fact onto something.

The book has got me asking myself a lot more “why not’s?” before simply chalking something up as to being impossible or for “down the road”. That, and I’m a sucker for great quotes of which he shares many. Here are but a few…add some of your favorites in the comments if you feel compelled. I’ll surely draw inspiration (or have a laugh) from/at some of them:

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination” – Oscar Wilde

Yoda – Jedi Master

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” YODA – The Empire Strikes Back

The testimonials and letters he’s received and printed in the revised edition of the book that I have tell tales of how individuals from across the globe (the book is now sold in 35 countries or more..) have dramatically changed their lives due to the principles that Tim has preached, which include defining what would make you rich, eliminating all that prevents you (people and things like email for example) from efficiently and intelligently attaining your goals, automating as much of your affairs as possible (especially income) to free up time to do things you want, and finally liberation; this is where he introduces the concepts of mini-retirements, escaping the boss and/or the cubicle as well as encourages mobility – be it within your own town or around the globe.

The book, like a lot of self-empowerment rah-rah Tony Robbins stuff tries to do, plays out like a bit of an activity book where at certain junctures you’re encouraged to stop, make a list, sit on it, revise it, read a bit more and do another activity and so on…I’m not the type to put the book down and do such things. Call me lazy, call it the reason why I’ll never be able to work 4 hours a week and make a decent living, call it whatever you want. The fact of the matter is I’ve taken what I’ve had to from the book, be it the opportunity to review here on our blog or some neat references.

Ferriss is heavy into the outsourcing, and makes a case for virtual assistants and offshore help probably better than anyone I’ve heard harp about these services before. I’ve gone so far as to test this practice with things like data entry and data mining/research for some of our ongoing projects, and you know what? The results were actually better than expected, and far more detailed than I could have imagined. Tim talks about how performing such an exercise strengthens ones communicating skills as the need for preciseness and clarity are ever present. And boy does it. If anything, it’s made me realize that what sounds simple (to a foreigner or my neighbor) may not be. So I’ve learned to do a better job of explaining things (not condescendingly) and it’s definitely proving helpful.

Penolope Trunk doesn’t seem to think much of Tim Ferriss, and I doubt his ideas and theories sit well with everyone. Especially those bankers and financiers plugging away 80 hours a week at the expense of (he claims) their health and family, or that brash young lawyer looking to make partner. He talks of passion, but doesn’t seem to realize that these people are following theirs. In some cases they are blinded by it sure, and “waste” precious time only to regret it later, but these dudes (ettes) are smart. Deep down they’ve gotta’ know what they are giving up if in fact they see it like that at all.

If I took away anything from the book (aside from the quotes), it was the multitude of references and tips and tricks that Ferriss includes and for which he provides just enough detail for the reader to make a decision as to whether or not the site/book/whatever is noteworthy. I’ve accessed several and have in fact bought a book on negotiating that he recommended which I might have otherwise never thought to purchase. Chalk one up for the Word-of-Mouth machine!

The 4-Hour Workweek will help you take stock of your current situation. Maybe even breathe life into shelved dreams or travel plans, and if just for a few minutes (if you’re like me and refuse to do these crazy list/tasks suggested by books like these) could change your outlook on certain things. Change is but the result of a few minutes though oftentimes, so maybe that’s a good thing. Worth a read.

Thanks as usual to Luis for reading. And maybe Fabrice? hahah…

Ferriss blogs here and other places most likely.

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