Tips and tricks that can change your whole life

The 4-Hour Work Week - Timothy Ferris, Crown Publishing Group

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the new rich – Timothy Ferris

One word review that covers it well: superb.

Well… I was planning to leave it at that, but after careful consideration I want to dive a bit deeper into it. The 4-Hour Work Week is by no means a perfect book. However the reason why I find it brilliant is the amount of critique and conversations it seems to have sparked in the Internet.

I often find books that are accepted by general public to be a bit dull and boring. There is nothing more annoying than “generally accepted truth”. A good book should be a bit controversial. It should create heated discussion. It should shake your beliefs. Suggest some new ways of doing things. What is the most important, it should make you THINK. I believe this book does exactly that.

The book is based on the life and experiences of Tim Ferris. He is (or claims to be) former entrepreneur, angelic investor, national Chinese Kickboxing Champion, adviser to professional athletes and Olympians and holder of a Guinness Book of Records record in tango and so on… For a complete list, have a look at his blog. In his case I would truly say – he has lived like he teaches.

The 4-Hour Workweek is in essence a guide towards a life style desired by many, achieved by only the rare few. Ferris boldly defines these rare to be the New Rich. We work everyday in order to earn more and more money. Most of us do this in order to realize their dreams in the far distant future, at their retirement. This book questions the status quo. Everything starts from an excellent question – What are you actually working for?

Tim Ferris makes a fine point here – it is not the money we are after, but the lifestyle of the rich that most want for themselves. People want to travel, they want to experience things and express themselves. However it is important to understand that we don’t have to wait until the retirement to be able to live our dreams. We don’t need huge sums of money to do these things. What we need is time.

This is the essence of the book. It is basically about how to be more efficient in what you do in order to move towards having more time to do things that you actually want. Ferris outlines a model for this called DEAL (Definition – Elimination – Automation – Liberation).

The book is divided into chapters according to this model and each one of them should take one step more towards a new way of living. Each letter consists of tips and tricks that Ferris has found out to be useful in his own life.

These tips and tricks are for example about time management, virtual assistants, outsourcing and tips about traveling, living abroad and living your new life.  While most of the tips were interesting, this also leads us to the critique of the book. Having your book based on several different and separate tips is bound to have effect on the structure. So it has also in this case. The book feels more like a big bag of ideas instead of being a real coherent and consistent model.

It should be noted that these tips given in the book are by no means new. They seem to be a mix of different old ideas. However most of the “new ideas” are old ones reused anyway. Important thing is, are they combined to create something new? In my opinion, this is indeed the case with the 4 Hour Workweek.

In the interest of research and curiosity, I always try to check out bad reviews of a book. What I really love in this book is the reaction it gets from some people. For them the book really offends all they find holy and true. This is once again in my opinion a sign of a great book.

People seem to find the idea of trying to do less but still earn the same or more offending. Many found ideas presented in the book unethical. It is interesting how desire to do less but doing it smarter is so provocative idea in our days.

Some especially criticize outsourcing your own work to India or other places. On some basis I understand their concern. If everyone would outsource, who is there left to do the actual work? On the other hand, many of the companies source or outsource their work to places they can find best price/quality ratio. Isn’t outsourcing your own job just natural continuum to this development?

More so, isn’t this actually very entrepreneurial way of thinking? Your task evolves to be more supervising and managing one, in a sense you create a small company out of your own job.

This is a brilliant book; I can happily suggest it to others. I read the older, 2007 version of the book. There is new one with 60 pages more materials and cases, so if this books seems interesting to you, I would suggest the newer version.

The book is available for example from (new edition), (old edition) and (new edition). (If you buy the book trough this link bookstore pays small commission for the owner of this blog. This doesn’t cost you anything, but it supports the blog.)