The 4-Hour Work Week Book Review

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, And Join The New Rich - Timothy Ferriss

Purchased on 18-11-2015,

One of the few books I have read more than once. Timothy Feriss does an excellent job of explaining the lifestyle and methods of the new rich. Not only that, but he provides web addresses, phone numbers, and more for manufacturers, drop shippers, and mentors. This is a life changing book for any person involved or interested in business.

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I found this book on a recommendation from a good friend of mine who lives at Manila – Philippines, and if it wasn’t for that I might have put it down right away, because the tone is very markety, and the author makes a lot of big claims with little substance.

That being said, the author must be a smart guy because there is a lot of good stuff in this book.

Big Takeaways

1. Most of us have the idea that we are supposed to work until we are 60, then retire and live the good life. Tim does a great job pointing out how backwards that idea is, and gives lots of suggestions for how to change your life to accommodate. He calls those who have done so the “New Rich”, as they are rich in life – which is not related to being rich in dollars.

2. Take ‘mini-retirements’ throughout your life instead of planning to retire at the end of your life (which I probably wouldn’t do anyways). This means every 5 years take a year off to go on a big adventure. Tim’s point is you don’t need to be rich to do this, and gives a lot of advice on how to go about it. I don’t think he’ll convince too many people, but it does sound like he’s starting to have a following.

3. Be a business owner – not a business runner. One gives you lots of free time – the other consumes your life (which I can currently attest to 🙂

4. Time is your most valuable asset. Tim gives a lot of good tips for time management – which aren’t unique, but every time you read them helps you. The ones that stuck out for me were:
– only check email 3 times a day at set intervals
– outsource everything you can to 3rd parties (like a virtual concierge in India who works for $5/hr)
– batch activities like paying bills for max efficiency
– give employees autonomous rules/guidelines
– avoid meetings whenever possible – use emails instead (works wonders)

5. Try to start businesses that can be completely outsourced after you’ve set them up, so they run on auto-pilot. The author did it with a nutrient company – I’m dubious on this one though.

6. 80/20 rule. 80% of your revenue probably comes from 20% of your customers. You can save a lot of time and make more money by focusing where it matters – on the 20%. This applies to most things in life, and although I’ve read it before it was a good refresher.

7. Reach out to important people. Don’t be afraid to reach out to important/famous people for advice. They are often more accessible than you think. Tim had good tips for this – like always uses phone’s and not emails.

8. Avoid excessive information: too much information input can overload you, so avoid reading news on subjects that don’t relate to what you do. If something important happens in the world you will hear about it – or its good conversation when you meet with a friend (“whats new in the world?”)

Timothy Ferriss explains how he freed himself from the rat race and slashed his working hours by delegating, outsourcing, and automating his businesses. He spends his new free time living on his terms, which for him means traveling the world. He wants you to do the same, and provides the motivation and action steps to do so. The basic message of this book: take shortcuts.

In most cases, those shortcuts involve working smarter. In a few instances, however, Ferriss promotes what I would consider questionable or unethical behavior (such as telling “half-truths” to your boss or others, or taking advantage of loopholes in rules). Ferriss comes across as someone I could never fully trust, and thus wouldn’t want to emulate entirely.

Ferriss says that “Becoming a member of the NR [New Rich] is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.” Ferriss calls this system Income Autopilot. He says the path to wealth and freedom is to own, not run, a business. An owner has people and systems do the work, while someone running a business is another cog in the machine.

Ferriss advocates creating a product business that you can quickly scale through delegation and automation. He discourages service businesses because they’re not as easy to scale. He says that if you have a service business, you should convert it into a product business by turning your services into information products like ebooks, webinars, audio recordings, etc. I found this an interesting point, because my online t-shirt business, Punchy Store.com , is a service business, and I’m looking to maximize profits with the least effort.

One of Ferriss’ main ideas is that rather than postponing fun activities until retirement, you should take several mini-retirements that are weeks or months long, throughout your working life. This book was part of the reason that I quit my 9-5 job to start OptimWise. I wanted the freedom of working when and where I wanted, so that work fits around life, not vice versa. I really liked The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman referenced in this book.

I really liked Ferriss’ advice about going on an information diet. I’ve tried to follow his advice by frequently unsubscribing from email newsletters and RSS feeds. After reading this book the first time in 2008, I stopped reading the newspaper and news sites, and replaced them with NPR’s daily 5-minute news summary podcast.

Ferriss advocates effectiveness in place of efficiency. He says to eliminate all the unnecessary busyness that takes up most of our time, and focus on the tasks that actually matter.

Ferriss certainly presents an extreme example of the New Rich lifestyle. What if you love your job and have no desire to leave it? This book is still worth reading for the lessons about prioritization and time-management.

Notes
• DEAL: Define, Eliminate, Automate, Liberate.
• People don’t want to be millionaires. They want the millionaire lifestyle. You can have it without being a millionaire.
• Effectiveness is more important than efficiency; doing a few things effectively is better than doing many things efficiently.
• The seeming lack of time is actually a lack of prioritization. Focus on the important.
• Use the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law to limit the tasks you undertake.
• Consume information only when the need is immediate and obvious. Use “just-in-time” learning.

• Eliminate before you delegate.
• Don’t let people interrupt you. Force people to define their requests before you spend time on them. Empower others to act without interrupting you.
• Batch routine tasks. Check email and phone messages only at predetermined times.
• If you have a service business, sell information products (ebooks, audio, video, etc.) for $50-$200 (a price high enough to increase the perception of quality). (less)

What do you do? Tim Ferriss has trouble answering the question. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer: “I race motorcycles in Europe.” “I ski in the Andes.” “I scuba dive in Panama.” “I dance tango in Buenos Aires.” He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the “deferred-life plan” and instead mastered the new currencies-time and mobility-to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now. Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world.

Join Tim Ferriss as he teaches you:
– How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want?
– How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs?
– How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist?
– How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and freuent “mini-retirements”?
– What the crucial difference is between absolute and relative income?
– How to train your boss to value performance over presence, or kill your job (or company) if it’s beyond repair?
– What automated cash-flow “muses” are and how to create one in 2 to 4 weeks?
– How to cultivate selective ignorance-and create time-with a low-information diet?
– What the management secrets of Remote Control CEOs are?
– How to get free housing worldwide and airfare at 50-80% off?
– How to fill the void and create a meaningful life after removing work and the office

The Best Way to read this book is to highlight the paperback version

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