Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: The Four Hour Work Week

Book Review: The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

This is a crazy book written by a crazy man. But I liked it.

There is outside of the box thinking and then there is really outside of the box thinking. Tim Ferris is beyond even that! His book is a slap to the American dream - a new dream for people who wish to experience life before retirement. Yes, he really does show you how some people can live like kings and only work four hours a week. For someone like myself I wouldn't be able to remain a counselor and only work 4 hours but I could certainly cut the amount of time I work down substantially by following his crazy principles. Speaking of which after I'd read the first 60 pages I was so in shock by the radicalness of his ideas that I wondered if I was open minded enough to accept that they could be possible! That does not happen often for me. Ferris teaches:

•How he went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week (yes he actually did this and shows you how).
•How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want (almost anyone can afford a virtual assistant - even me).
•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 (even the greatest skeptic in the world would benefit from his super radical time management techniques)
•How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements” (this is maybe the most amazing idea)

This is a guy who questions everything and does the opposite. His approach to life is simple and can be used by employees and entrepreneurs alike. Using the acronym D.E.A.L. he talks about:

(D)efinition: Figure out what you want, get over your fears, see past society’s “expectations”, and figure out what it will really cost to get to where you want. It can be surprisingly cheap, costing less than what you’re paying now.

(E)limination is about Time Management, or rather about NOT managing time. Instead, apply the 80/20 rule to focus only on those tasks that contribute the majority of benefit. Also apply it ruthlessly to all aspects of your life to eliminate the small minority of factors that waste 80% (or more) of your time. Forget time management, focus instead on getting the really important and results-producing tasks done. There’s a difference, Ferriss says, between efficiency and effectiveness - choose to be effective!

(A)utomation is all about building a sustainable, automatic source of income. This is a section that is, practically speaking, about Business and Business management. The trick is to avoid is building a business that requires your presence, because that just burns up all your time. Ferriss made that mistake once, generating lots of monthly revenue but ended up being chained to the machine to keep it working. Ferriss now has hundreds of people working on his behalf through multiple outsourced vendors, all operating under specific instructions that are designed to not create headaches for him while depositing those lovely monthly checks.

(L)iberation: Once you’ve successfully automated your lifestyle, liberate yourself from your geographical location and your job. It’s a lot easier than you think, once you’ve gotten through the previous three steps. With mobility comes the ability to leverage economic advantages across the world. Living in a tropical paradise and eating at 5-star restaurants everyday can be cheaper than watching TV in your house back.

I certainly don't agree with everything in this book but I plan to start using his principles for elimination starting next week and will try some of the other principles in the new year. The biggest thing I got out of this book was that "work hard for 40 years then retire and live off your savings" is not the best way to go about life. Time is more valuable then money. You don't have to be a millionaire to have freedom and flexibility in your life now. To enjoy those things now though I will have to not do what everyone else is and try something different. This realization is both incredibly freeing and a little scary as well (I'm pretty sure I terrified Jobina as I read selections from this book to her). This book is not for everyone and the author is occasionally a bit crude but it was absolutely fascinating and mind blowing. With that in mind, I rate it 4.6 ninja stars out of 5.


Anonymous said...

I was going to ask you about this book, as you mentioned it the other day and I saw it today i a book store. Thanks for the review. I give it 4.6 bottles of pirate grog out of 5. (your review that is, not the book, cuz I haven't read it yet)

Mark said...

Hey Mike, thanks for the review of my review - that's something I don't get too often!
P.S. You know that pirates are inferior to ninjas right?