I have recently read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. The main concept of the book is pretty staggering when you think about it. Working for just 4 hours a week seems impossible so it must be a bit of a get rich quick style sales strategy. At least that was my initial thoughts when I first heard the name of the book branded about…
The basic premise is that you can set up a business and after a certain amount of time you can whittle the amount of your time required to maintain the business down to about 4 hours per week. Explained this way it already seems a bit more obtainable.
Anyway I thought I might as well give a quick review of the book that has inspired the use of the term Lifestyle Design all over the internet.
What’s The Book About
The main thread of the book is about simplifying everything you do. If you have a task that you spend far too long completing on a regular basis then do something about it. Whether that be to pass it on to someone else to do instead, to simply find ways of improving the process or best of all remove the requirement for the task altogether.
I think the best way to explain the mindset of the book is to include a few quotes:
“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.
The book is not just aimed at people who work for themselves but also people working within a company:
Don’t underestimate how much your company needs you. Perform well and ask for what you want. If you don’t get it over time, leave. It’s too big a world to spend most of life in a cubicle.
And lastly here are a couple of definitions:
Career definition – Doing the same thing for 8+ hours per day until you break down or have enough cash to permanently stop.
Laziness definition – To endure a non-ideal existence, to let circumstance or others decide life for you, or to amass a fortune while passing through life a spectator from an office window.
The book talks a lot about improving your life outside of work as well. There is examples of how to enjoy a millionaires lifestyle on minimal amount of money. The trick is focusing on what you really want and pursue it with a passion. Whether it be travelling the world, driving a fancy car or even living in a mansion all of these can be easily achieved even if only for a short time…
If you are thinking about setting up shop then there are some useful websites mentioned and plenty of tips too.
Some of the processes recommended in the book may be a bit extreme, I for one do not fancy outsourcing every little task to someone in another country, but just knowing that it’s possible opened me up to a whole new way of looking at things.
The book started off great and I got really excited about it. Unfortunately by the end the excitement had worn down a bit as a lot of the ideas didn’t really fit well with me.
I would still recommend reading The 4-Hour Work Week even though I still don’t think the actual processes in the book are right for everyone. The main takeaway I got from the book was the realisation that it may actually be possible to reach just 4 hours per week to maintain a business. I now realise that it must be possible to make improvements in my system to reduce the amount of time I spend on busy work and have already started making some.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Robert Frost which was my favourite external quote in the book:
By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours per day.
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