May 23, 2024

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The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – Book Review

Title and Author: The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – Book Review

Synopsis of Content:

The overriding theme of what Ferriss calls T4HWW (The 4 Hour Workweek) is the idea that we have it all wrong in killing ourselves by working 50+ hours a week and only taking two weeks’ vacation a year, if any, and saving all the good times for “retirement” to occur at some uncertain time in old age. Ferriss argues that with some work and lifestyle adjustments it is entirely possible to reduce work hours significantly, take frequent “mini-retirements” of three to six months or more, and enjoy life thoroughly before any thought of old age sets in.

To that end he offers various tips and techniques for working from home, automating your business or your work through over-seas outsourcing and software and stopping the accumulation of a lot of “stuff” and replace that with a lot of really interesting and enriching experiences.

For example rather than work all week to pay for toys like boats and campers and fancy cars you can rent an apartment in Berlin, enjoy their local culture, learn their language and have many European adventures. Or you could rent a place in a South American city and do the same. You could just as easily choose from Asian options. You can move from one to the other. The opportunities are endless and they often cost less than living in the US.

Although this book is primarily aimed at Americans it could apply to people from any nation. The book operates on two levels. On one level it offers a kind of vagabond life with few strings or connections that might appeal to a young single person but may not appeal at all to families with children. On another level he offers many tips, tricks and techniques for reducing your work load and enjoying your own time.

His work reduction ideas can work well for people in information businesses like writers and designers. It may also be adaptable to certain professionals who do not need to see their customers to serve them.

For people who are in brick and mortar retail businesses or are professionals who serve a clientele who expects personal contact most of Ferriss’ ideas just do not work. Most medical providers, government employees and retail workers could not reduce their hours on the job because they are paid in part for the face time they spend “at the job”. You can only do so much with automated systems and from a laptop at a coffee shop.

At best this book will challenge you to think outside the box about your career and how you spend your time. It offers many tips and ideas that many can use to improve their work and personal lives. It offers ideas that make international travel more feasible than many may think it is. On the negative side adopting the Ferriss model entirely would be highly disruptive to most people and deprive families of the stability and connectedness to a home neighborhood that so many value very highly.

And the 4 hour work week – well some could pull that off using nearly all his techniques. But for most of us it is an illusion. Because it is technically possible and apparently Ferriss has lived it I cannot call it totally misleading – but for many the changes needed to get there would be at too high a cost.

Readability/Writing Quality:

The writing style is very good. It is easy to read. It is well organized and uses real life examples of how others have adopted his ideas. Ferriss is also very funny and will make you laugh at least once in each chapter.

Notes on Author:

Tim Ferriss is a writer and entrepreneur who has written for a number of newspapers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal and Business Week. He is also a guest lecturer and runs his own multinational firm since 2003.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. To the extent that you can take extended working vacations or mini retirements you can enrich your life and avoid burn out in a job.

2. Most of us do not make major lifestyle changes or travel extensively because we do not understand how to and because of fear. With adequate planning and proper technique we can lead far more interesting lives and travel the world unless we choose to stay in jobs that forbid it.

3. You can liberate yourself from many mundane tasks from reviewing email to paying your bills by outsourcing it either to trusted sources in the US or more affordably to companies in India and Asia. Ferriss explains how to do this and how not to.

Publication Information:

The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, copyright 2007, 2009 by Tim Ferriss. Published by Crown Publishing, a division of Random House.

Rating for this Book

Overall Rating for Book: Very Good

Writing Style: Easy to read and understand.

Usefulness: Parts of the book will be useful to almost anyone. Other parts of the book may be of limited usefulness depending on one’s limitations and choices.