The 4-Hour Workweek


The 4-Hour Workweek
By Timothy Ferriss
ISBN : 978-0-307-35313-9

I first read this book in July 2007 and it has been very important to me.  In many ways it is not a great book.  It is not particularly well written.  But it is very easy to read, the ideas and information are very accessible.

The author, who now runs a great blog about lifestyle design is a bit like a seagull.  He does not gently introduce his concepts he jumps in front of you and squawks in your face.
The subtitle of the book “Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich” sets the scene.

The basic essence of Tim’s message is that we really need to rethink our current lifestyle paradigms.  The idea of 45 years  chained to the corporate desk and a Blackberry  is perhaps not what it is cracked up to be.

He correctly points out that many people fall into the trap of deferring enjoyment until some distant “retirement” and makes the point that for some people retirement will not be what they thought it would be.  I know myself from the experiences of friends and parents of friends that the idea of deferral does not look that great in retrospect if you suffer very significant [even terminal] illnesses soon after or even long before retirement.

Tim’s message is basically a call to action.  He suggest that we really need to review all aspects of our current life and think about what we really want.  He suggest that rather than trying to accumulate a pile of assets (so that we can live off of the passive income from those assets) we should instead figure out what it would cause us to have the experiences that we want to have.

Then figure out how to find a low time consuming method to generate that income.  He suggest the creation of a “muse business”, in particular a web-based business that can be easily administered from anywhere in the world and is structured so that all of the business processes are automated or outsourced.  As for the title of the book he suggest that if we are clever it is quite feasible to create one or more businesses that can generate an income while only demanding 4 hours per week of our attention.

Tim explains that to have the experiences that we want to have we do not necessarily need to own things, but rather to access things.  He takes us on a journey through low-cost travel destinations and explains that in some countries of the world it is possible to live like a rock star for about USD $35,000.  Through my own travel and business experiences in countries such as the Philippines and Thailand I know this to be true.

So someone who earned say USD$35,000 a year from a website that consumed little time and lived a mobile “rock-star” lifestyle somewhere in say Asia would be “New Rich”.
They would be “richer” than someone who had material wealth but no spare time and no fulfillment.

The book covers many self help ideas and personal efficiency tips.  And he boils it down to the following formula he calls

D is for definition.

Define what you want and your ideal lifestyle, incorporating what he describes as the New Rich Principles.
E is for elimination.
Extreme application of pareto principles [20% time for 80% impact].  Eliminate unproductive tasks, cultivate selective ignorance, develop a low information diet, ignore the unimportant. This creates the first of the 3 luxury ingredients; time.
A is for automation.
Create a “muse”.  It would enable to remotely manage, outsource business cash flow generation on autopilot.  Not make a fortune but enough to create the desired cashflow.  This creates the second of the 3 luxury ingredients; income.
L is for liberation.
A mobile manifesto for the globally inclined- including global remote control.  Breaking the bonds that confine you to a single location.  This creates the third and final ingredient for luxury lifestyle design; mobility.
In many ways this book clarified a personal philosophy of mine that had been emerging for a while. Some of the concepts that had been very important to me personally in which I will put into separate post are; Virtual Assistants, low information diet and mini retirements.  I highly recommend this book.  As I said earlier this is not a great work of art but it might be a smack around the head that you need to start thinking about alternative income generating methodologies and lifestyles.


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