The 4-Hour Workweek Book Review
Product: 4-Hour Workweek Book
Where to buy: Amazon.com
What’s inside: A practical guide to changing your life, escaping the rat race, and living out the lifestyle you want and deserve.
My Rating: 1000/10
Escaping the 9-5 and finding your dreams-sound impossible?
The general assumption for people growing up in previous generations as well as mine is that living your dreams is very rare.The common theme is we go to school for 12 years, and then either enter the workforce right away or go to college for x number of years (more often than not working during this too) and then back to the workforce. What both of these routes have in common is that most people are expected to have a few promotions or raises over the course of their life, and maybe see this increase incrementally-usually nothing extreme though. This is the route of “slave⇒save⇒retire“. While this is the well-worn path and generally the safe route with known results, what if you want more?
Another route that is much riskier (and there are more than one) is to start your own business. Before the days of the internet, you needed a building, employees, a manufacturer if you had a product, starting capital, etc. Starting a business was extremely difficult, and yet people did it. Now with the internet, some of the load has been lifted, but the work over time still exists; for the first1-3 years, you can expect to see very little, if no results. The point is, whatever you wish to do in life, whether it is something you love or not, it is going to require a lot of work. Take your pick.
A 6 or so months ago, right after starting this blog, I picked up this book by Timothy Ferriss. It seemed arrogant, a hoax, and honestly bullshit. Largest lesson of life came into play here-don’t judge a book by its cover. This book has exponentially changed my life for the better. As you can see, the statements “Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the New Rich” are what originally turned me off, but after flipping to the back and the inside cover, I saw that Tim bulleted practical tips, and exactly what page to find them. This immediately changed my perspective, especially after I saw what they were. if you want the freedom of time and place to design your life the way you wish it was (who doesn’t want that?) this book is for you.
When you read this Tim, you’ll find I paraphrased a lot from your book. Practicality on the back cover is what peaked my interest, and hopefully, it will help you see the magic of this book as well.
Define what you want in life; as well as what you do not.
The 4-Hour Workweek is cleverly broken into four main parts, which is the acronym, D.E.A.L. This stands for Define, Eliminate, Automate, Liberate. The first chapter outlines what can happen to the life you would like to avoid- losing a million in a night at Vegas, spending 30 years with people you don’t like to buy things you don’t need. He outlines what the New Rich is characterized by, which is options, vs. those who saved it all for the end, only to realize “life passed them by”. The regular desires to be the boss instead of the employee, the New Rich is neither the boss or employee, but the owner. “Own the trains and have someone else ensure they run on time.” Tim throws out cautions and comparisons, quotes from famous authors and figures, and real-life case studies from his own and others lives.
Tim throws out cautions and comparisons, quotes from famous authors and figures, and real-life case studies from his own and others lives. In 1999 he won the gold medal at Chinese Kickboxing (Sanshou) National Championships. He had 4 weeks to prepare. This chapter outlines challenging the well-beaten path, the status quo, using a quote from Herbert Bayard Swope, who said this: “I can’t give you a surefire formula for success. but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” Other clips from this chapter include “The timing is never right” and “Ask for forgiveness, not permission.” “Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses.”
This chapter will help you define your fears, find the optimism within said fears, and how to move through them and be the definition of success that you create. He has this deep phobia of being the “fat bald man in the BMW”, meaning that he saw people 15-20 years ahead of him who were on the same track he was. Depressed, miserable, just shuffling papers around. No real purpose at all. He has created a Dreamline, (with a sample) so that you can create your own plan of getting to where you want to be, figuring in actual actions, steps, costs, and results. It really works. You can also find this on his blog. Defining your dreams and wants in life isn’t as hard as it seems, it just takes courage.
Eliminate what isn’t necessary-it’s more than you think.
Forget about time management-be productive instead of busy. Many of us believe in the “results-by-volume” technique which means filling every second with stuff trying to get as much done as possible. It doesn’t work. He states that if the instructions of this chapter are followed, you can increase your productivity by 100-500%. He breaks down tips in this book by those who are employees and those who are entrepreneurs. He insists that you read the book as D.E.A.L., but employees implement the process as D.E.L.A. This depends on what environment you are in.
“Doing something unimportant well does not make the task important.” “Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.” The biggest aspect of this chapter is Pareto’s 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of the wealth in society is created and owned by 20% of the population. This rule can be applied to anything in life, and it is surprisingly accurate. 80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes. 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time. I have since implemented this rule heavily into a conversation, and it has helped me cut back on saying a lot of unnecessary things.
Probably my favorite part of this chapter is the part of “low-information diet” where he teaches you how to read 200% faster in 10 minutes. Seriously, this book doesn’t mess around. He also talks about going on a media fast, in order to get perspective on what you really need, and what you waste time on. This chapter teaches you to be difficult when it matters, as well as knowing when to quit something. Batching email, getting through meetings and phone calls quicker, (not rudely, simply to get to the bottom line) and limiting access to your time, making others get to their point faster, as well as figure out minor issues on their own. Helping others think for themselves helps you save time and energy.
Automate your cash flow in order to pursue your desires.
This chapter is all about letting your money and others work for you. Outsourcing can be a big help once you can afford it, and Tim states that “Getting a remote personal assistant is a huge departure point and marks the moment that you learn how to give orders and be commander instead of being commanded. The details of this chapter get pretty in depth, but he runs through how exactly to find a virtual assistant, what to have them do, and help free up your time. This allows you to move on to bigger and better things, and leave the smaller work for your assistant.
This chapter then goes into automating your income, by creating your product, or “finding your muse” as he puts it. Find your niche, sum up the benefit of your product in one sentence, and it should cost $50-200. It should take no more than 3-4 weeks to manufacture. The biggest aspect of this chapter is taking action. This chapter also explains how to call superstar mentors, to work on courage, and quite possibly get a lead. He shows how to test your product, micro advertises, and see what works.Once this is accomplished, Tim teaches you how to manage your business without being there.
Liberate yourself from other’s messes.
This chapter is most useful for those who are working for someone else, whether it be a large international company or a local small business. He writes out templates to present to your boss or employer that will help liberate you from the office- work from home, have fewer days at the job site, or even travel around the world and work from your computer. He lists websites that allow you to visit your computer at home from anywhere, GoToMyPC.
The next alternative is killing your job. He goes through all of the excuses and fears you would have if you wish to quit your rat race. One store he talks about is a failed cheesecake production that ended up in him avoiding it for 4 years, and he relates this to how people “self-imposed suffering that can be avoided” by taking miserable jobs (what is miserable for me may not be for you). One of my favorite parts of this book is the tools and tricks he has at the end of each chapter, along with an applicable Q&A.
Mini-retirements can be very refreshing, but also very detrimental if they are not used correctly. He shows you how to not fall on your face right out of the gate. Permanently relocating? Websites to figure out taxes for your new income are here too. Need to find schools for your children? Maybe a new apartment, places to see, things to do? How to get 50-80% off airfare? It’s all here. Along with all of this, he helps you fill all of this time you have, and how to avoid depression of having freedom. He touches on service and improving life other than your own.
This book has changed my entire perspective on how to spend a life, and I am extremely thankful that I did not turn away from it.
Not only has this book affected me profoundly, it has also changed the lives of many others as well. The last hundred or so pages details testimonials of many others and their unique lifestyles, as well as what he has learned throughout implementing this life.
Although I am a huge fan of reading, the notion of turning books down simply by what they look like has happened several times. Had I turned this book down, I would not be as efficient or content with where I am in life. I am very glad I did not. Tim Ferriss does a wonderful job of practically outlining the steps it takes to create the life you want and deserve. If you are tired of your job, would like to become financially independent, or would simply like to be more productive, this book is for you. We all have the same 24 hours, what will you make of it?