The Four Hour Work Week - Exaggeration?


The 4-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss - Crown Publishing 2007

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 work.

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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Every Way to Make Money | The Four Hour Work Week - Exaggeration?