The Four Hour Work Week - Exaggeration?
By Steve Gillman
The 4-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss - Crown
If you want to make money online an so live wherever you like
and work as little or as much as you like, you can skip the rest
of this review and just go buy the book. I loved it, it helped
me grow our business, and it is one of the few books I keep around
(I read constantly, but I usually pass the books on to friends
when I'm done.)
(Flickr photo by Nick Perla)
Ferriss presents as much a new way of life as a business plan.
This is hinted at in the subtitle, "Escape 9-5, live Anywhere,
and Join the New Rich." Notice that it says the "new"
rich. The old way is to work hard and get rich so you can work
hard to maintain your wealth. Ferriss suggests working smarter
instead, and certainly working to live rather than living to
More than anything you'll get new perspective in The Four
Hour Work Week. Chapter Two, for example, doesn't tell you
how to "win the game," like the average business book.
It tells you how to beat the game by not playing it. It explains
the flaws in the usual concept of retirement, introduces the
idea of "mini-retirements" throughout life, and suggests
as a general approach to life that you "ask for forgiveness,
not permission." Ferriss also writes about the importance
of "relative income" versus absolute income. Provided
you have enough to meet your goals, you are twice as rich making
$80,000 per year working just 400 hours than a man who makes
$200,000, but works the usual 2,000 hours to do that, because
he makes only $100 per hour for his time while you make $200.
New thinking like that is found throughout the book. We are
told how and why to get rid of some customers for our own purposes
and the health of our businesses, why traditional time management
gets it wrong, and why doing the seemingly impossible is sometimes
easier than going the usual route. I won't keep you in suspense
on that last one: It is because there is very little competition
for goals that seem most difficult.
The chapters on automating your business and outsourcing are
some of the most useful--and crucial to the promise of the title.
I definitely used the information from this part of the book.
I might not have a personal assistant in India sending out birthday
cards to family for me yet, and I would always choose to work
more than four hours weekly because I enjoy my work, but I am
learning to outsource.
I accidentally bought the audio version of he book originally,
and I liked it enough to get the hardcover later. I recommend
the hardcover. It is great to listen to the whole thing while
driving--very efficient--but there are so many good resources
presented, primarily in the form of website URLs, and you won't
be able to write them all down while listening. Get the paper
version just to have those readily available.
I almost forgot to mention the personal stories that Ferriss
includes in the book--always interesting and sometimes hilarious.
Complaints? Nothing serious. I doubt that one in a thousand
could actually get their work week down to four hours and still
join the "new rich," but some could (and I know from
experience that if you do the necessary the work up front you
can essentially leave your online business unattended
for a month at a time without serious damage). Also, Ferriss
does seem to assume, like most money-book authors do, that what
he has done can be replicated relatively easily by anyone who
is bright and applies the lessons presented. But business, like
life, is still as much an art as a science, so I'm sure smarter
people than Ferriss could do everything he suggests and have
lesser results. Still, this doesn't diminish the value of what's
in the book.
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