The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Dreaming of Less Work? Read The 4-Hour Workweek

Does The 4-Hour Workweek seem like a gimmicky name and an impossible goal for life?

I thought so too until I read the book.

To make things worse it’s subtitled, Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.

If you’re thinking, yeah, right, please bear with me. I was equally sceptical until I actually laid my hot little paws on this excellent tome.

Yes, despite the hype, I confess to being hugely impressed by this book. In fact, I totally recommend it as essential reading for people who’re dreaming of a better life.

Not only will The 4-Hour Workweek inspire you to aim high but it’s full of practical tips on how to get there.

So if you’d like to work for yourself, earn a decent income or even create a passive income so you have time to enjoy your  new found wealth, then you should definitely read this book.

The Author

Author, Tim Ferriss, is something of a hero in the business, publishing and blogging circles.

He launched his book and blog at the same time and they both shot to success, with the book sitting on the New York Times bestseller list for two years and being translated into over 35 languages, while the blog quickly established him as an a-list blogger.

I know I’m a bit late coming to the party on this one – The 4-Hour Workweek was published in 2007 – but it’s a classic book for both business and personal development so if you haven’t already read it, there’s no time like the present.

The Blurb

On the back of the book there’s a stern warning:

Do not read this book unless you want to give up your job

The blurb continues:

Forget the old concept of retirement and saving for the future – there is no need to wait and every reason not to. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing first-class world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with no management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

Yes, it’s a bit hard sell but there are definitely concepts here that will prove useful to anyone.

Best Bits

Here’s an overview of some of the information that I found most enlightening.

1. The timing is never right

When it comes to change there will always be resistance, but knowing that the timing’s never right should give you courage to do it anyway.

2. Some stress is good

Ferriss introduces the concept of eustress, describing it as:

“Stress that is healthful and the stimulus of growth.”

It certainly sounds more appealing than the daily stress of a working in a job you don’t like, with people who don’t appreciate you and for hours which don’t let you have a life outside of work. That’s the kind of stress that gradually wears you down, saps your creativity, kills your joie de vivre and makes you an unhappy, unhealthy human being. That’s the type of stress none of us need.

But embracing the good stress can help us go places though.

3. Risks aren’t as scary when you take them

If you’ve ever taken a risk you’ll  know the truth of this. Thinking about jumping out of a plane on your first parachute jump may be terrifying, but actually doing it is more likely to be exhilarating, life-affirming and a major confidence boost. The same goes for most fears, be it public speaking, quitting your job or moving overseas. I’ve written about Giving Fear the Finger myself if you want fear fighting incentives and tips.

Ferriss notes that people choose unhappiness over uncertainly, a statement that should give most people a kick up the arse and convince them that a life of unhappiness is not a life at all. To sum up courage to take a risk he recommends asking:

“What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

There, it’s not that bad is it?

4. Control the Internet, don’t let it eat up your life

No web surfing unless you need information that very day.

Yes, need! Needing information is different from web surfing to fill the time or for fun. Who surfs the Internet for fun anyway? Not me. When I want fun I hit the Pacific Ocean with my surf board, hop on my bike or meet friends.

The Internet should mainly be a tool for you to get the information you need. It’s brilliant for that, but limit it to information gathering. Nothing  more and nothing less.

That’s why I keep my blog writing:

  • Relevant to your goals
  • Fast to read
  • Actionable
  • Uplifting and inspirational

5. Make decisions easily

Never sit on the fence about decisions by saying things like:

“I don’t mind.” or “Whatever you want.”

Use expressions like “I propose” or “I suggest” to do what you want to do when you want to do it and eliminate living in limbo.

6. Outsource your life

Ferriss recommends using personal or business services in India, or elsewhere, to do menial, irritating or time-consuming jobs for a reasonable cost, so you can free up your time for the important stuff.

Check out Ask Sunday if you’d like to have your life simplified. They’re even offering a free personal assistant for one week. I’m going to take advantage of it soon, so I’ll let you know how I get on.

Otherwise  look for a personal assistant on Elance or run with Indian help such as B2kcorp for business, or Your Man in India, for personal and business services.

Dream Big, Start Small

I do recommend you read this book to keep your dream alive and help you get there. You can buy it on Amazon now for yourself, or as a gift for a friend who’s stuck in a rut.

If you think the 4-hour workweek’s not possible think again.

Ferriss’s model may be an ambitious one, but wannabe business owners know that their dream is not impossible.

I may not be working a 4 hour week quite yet, but I’m working from home, at the hours that suit me and in my nightgown, which is a pretty good start. Thanks to Ferriss, I now have more tools and tips at my disposal to keep me striving for more. Or maybe that should be less…

I might get dressed soon and go for a walk on the beach. It’s all part of the creative process.

What are you doing to stay on track with your dreams?

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Thanks for Reading

A warm welcome to all my new subscribers and welcome back to the old faithfuls – it’s great to connect with you. Many thanks also to Jeroen Bennick for use of the photo.

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Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Randall February 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

It is an excellent book. Probably one of the first I read on lifestyle design. I was a little like you at first. I picked up the book and read half of it in the bookstore! I wanted to get an idea before I bought it. I don’t know if I will ever reach the four hour work week but I have definatley learned to think in a new way since his book. It is necessary reading for anyone who wants to really change their life!

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Gordie February 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Hi Annabel,
I read the original version about a year ago and also found it excellent. It’s one of those books one should aim to read every year. It was the book that inspired me to focus my blog on lifestyle design.

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Desertgirl February 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I look forward to reading how you go with Ferris’ plan. I like the idea but I’m not conivinced the aims are suitable or achievable for the majority of us. Be nice if they were.

From Ferris’ book I ended up at The Joy of Not Working whose aims are very achievable.

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Cate February 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Mmm… I’ve heard of this book before (haven’t actually seen it though, so I’ll reserve judgement) but the one thing that bothers me is that if it was at the top of the NY bestseller list for two years (Ie a lot of people bought it) why are so many of us still working 9 to 5ers? :)
Love your tid bits, though. Thanks for the precis.

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Quinn February 4, 2010 at 12:49 am

This is one of those books that pops up so often in places like this i feel i must read it at some point. I think this may be the review that pushed me over the top from should read to must read.

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Nancy Burcham February 4, 2010 at 4:19 am

Great you discovered this book too, Annabel. We read it a few years ago, and keep going back to it. Now it is “required reading” for our entrepreneurial kids. The best things about this book are: 1. Ferris gives oodles of real resources (contact info, etc) listed throughout the book. He doesn’t just say “do XXX.” He tells you how, and who to contact to get it done; 2. it has a bit of the “visualizing and attracting” themes, along with really practical action steps; 3. just the fact that Ferris is so young and has created so much success – in multiple industries and competitions- through his own methods, is inspiring. He’s truly a modern renaissance man. So the model is still what we are going for, even it may seem “pie in the sky” to many others. Glad to know we’ll continue to be headed in the same direction!
Great review, Annabel!

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CoralM February 4, 2010 at 8:43 am

Hi Annabel
We read this book a few years ago too and it is now sitting on a bedside table (alongside “The Secret”!!)
Tim’s got some interesting ideas which work. We now have indian accountants (who we visited in Bangalore recently) and they do a good job with our tax returns for a fraction of price it would cost to have our books done here or in the USA. It is easy to keep in contact with them on Skype.
Our partner has an indian PA who he finds very proficient.
Interested to know how you get on.
Thanks for the post!

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Annabel Candy February 4, 2010 at 10:01 am

Thanks for all these comments.

Randall – I wish I’d coined the phrase “lifestyle design”! I’ve been doing it my whole adult life – working to travel not vice versa:)

Gordie – If only I’d read it earlier I’d have called my blog a lifestyle design blog – so much sexier than personal development though I believe they are two sides to the same coin – the quest for a happy and fulfilled life.

Desertgirl – Ha, the joy of not working! This is my husband’s dream too and what a worthy one it is. I think my main problem with the book is that it’s driven by the quest to make money and travel first class. People need to know that they can still travel, be happy and lead an interesting lifestyle even if they have a boring job and a mediocre income. It’s all about attitude and how you choose to spend your hard earned cash. Realistically I don’t suppose that I’ll get too far in working towards the 4-hour work week but I did get some great tips out of it. Now, if only I could check my email just twice a day that would be a great start…

Cate – It’s not for everyone:) As I said, it’s an ambitious plan but the book has great ideas on productivity and a winning mindset. I’m sure most of us could learn something from it.

Quinn – I think you’ll be glad you read it. I wish I’d read it sooner. Sometimes you have to find out what all the fuss is about and its popularity gives you a good indication of what people want in life.

Nancy – It’s definitely motivational and inspiring reading. Now I just have to action the bits that are achievable for me:)

CoralM – Great to hear from people who are using the personal and business services. I think it helps to hear about real people who are using them and loving them. I need to think up a big to do list then sign up for the trial week and write all about it.

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Fida February 5, 2010 at 3:11 am

You made me curious, and I will get the book. # 4. “Control the Internet, don’t let it eat up your life” especially interests me;) I am already doing what I love, and funnily enough, I don’t mind to work long hours since I am doing it for me and the results are rewarding. But I definitely could use some good tips on how to achieve the same with less hours:) Time management is not my forte:)

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J.D. Meier February 8, 2010 at 5:40 am

Nice, tight, insightful write up.

I found the book to be more practical than I expected and I liked the stories and data.

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QwkDrw February 10, 2010 at 2:50 am

“No web surfing [ !? … ] unless you need information that very day.”

Good post here, interesting introduction and overview of a book that may appeal to many people … trying to squeeze their 40 – 60 hour work week into 4 hours. Maybe even 4 days — casual Fridays, Thursday is the new Friday, etc.

Seriously, though. The internet has become omnipresent and necessary in daily work and life; similar to transportation, television, cell phones, analog to digital, and other life changers. You point out a valuable life skill: “Control the internet [in your life]”.

If you’ll excuse me, must leave now. Checking several social networking websites all day and later meeting up for some epic online gaming (wink)

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Pablo Edronkin February 11, 2010 at 4:12 am

I actually live that sort of life. It’s great! But you will soon be bored and tired of doing nothing… The difference is that whatever you find to spend your time with it will be much better than your original, plain-vanilla desk job. You will end “working” more than four hors a week, but it is always a pleasure. However, be forewarned that even the seemingly laziest lifestyle requires planning and could require years to be fulfilled. You will have to persist and think very carefully.

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Annabel Candy February 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Fida – The Internet’s a blessing and a curse. Trying to get it under control here and making some progress!

QwkDrw – Yep, we’ve got to control it but it’s hard. Luckily I steer well clear of computer games after writing an MA paper about what makes them so addictive:)

Pablo – It does sound lovely. But I guess the 4 hours is just the boring stuff like accouting of course we do have to do something. I have to say that me and my husband are probably quite rare in that we can do nothing (I mean no work) for extended periods of time without getting bored. Quite a skill:)

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QwkDrw February 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Not in conflict with what I assume to be the analytically superior findings of your MA paper about what makes computer games addictive, I wrote in 2007 about a possible synergy between ‘Social Networking Websites’ and video games … and an imagined concern about a potential discontinuation of the human species. For the entertainment, read this older post (12/11/2007) on my blog

..

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Annabel Candy February 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for assuming my findings were superior. I don’t want to disillusion you:)

Haha, I tracked your post down and checked it out. I suppose I am addicted to computers in some way – not games though but learning about the stuff we can do with them and learning on the Internet.

When you see adds for Xboxes and the like they sometimes show couples playing together. Just buying into the male fantasy probably – I for one would certainly prefer a nice chat over a cup of tea, a game of backgammon or even hittling a tennis ball around.

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Jacinta Dean February 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Hi Annabel,

Sounds like a great book to read. I picked up a book for the first time in over a year last week. I am reading Robert Kiyosaki’s “Conspiracy Of The Rich” I am only half way through and already my eyes have opened.

I will put “The 4 Hour Work Week” on my list to read. Thank you for the review.

Cheers

Jacinta :)

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Do Self Hypnosis February 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm

nice article. I really enjoyed it.

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Limantina Sihaloho July 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Hi Annabel,

Thanks!

I listened to Timothy Perriss at TED talk several months ago; he talked quickly and full of energy…

I hope to find his book here in Indonesia, I think they even already translated it too.

I myself don’t like to work only 4 hours; I can work even 8-10 hours a day for any work I like so much. :)

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