Saturday, October 06, 2007

The 4-Hour Workweek

I finally got around to reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. I had been meaning to do so for awhile just because the title sounded catchy and I figured the author would have some good tips for making a living on the internet. I ended up reading part of the book at a local Barnes & Noble and found it interesting enough to buy. I am glad I did because it contains a lot of good information about how to structure work, live a fun life and get yourself out of the rat race of 9-5.

In a chapter entitled "Chronology of a Pathology," I learned that the author, Tim Ferriss, had problems with authority since day one; I can relate, having cursed at my first grade teacher for giving what I thought was too much homework and realizing early in life that with my personality, I would need to become an entrepreneur and work for myself if I wanted to make a decent living. The 4-Hour Workweek teaches you to do just that, more or less.

Ferris starts by telling the reader to make a "System Reset" and he offers platitudes such as "Doing the Unrealistic Is Easier Than Doing the Realistic." He explains this by stating "Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel." He helps the reader figure out which unrealistic goals are worth pursuing and has one draw up a "sample dreamline" to calculate the cost per month for each of one's dreams. He then launches into time management and gives great tips such as "the key to having more time is doing less" and "do not multitask."

You'll then learn how to escape the office, embrace mini-retirements without having a nervous breakdown and learn to avoid the Top 13 New Rich Mistakes. Some of these mistakes include micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time, striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, and blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work.

Do I think if you follow the steps in this book, you can become rich by working four hours a week? Probably not, but it's worth a try. My concerns about the book are that the things he has people doing to make money do depend on having the right product, the right advertising and enough people who will buy it to make it plausible. However, I learned a lot about how to go about doing those things in a better and more efficient manner, had some good laughs and imagined myself swinging from a hammock in the Caribbean while millions accumulated in my bank account. For that alone, the book is worth the purchase price.



Blogger Mad William Flint said...

I quite happily came across that book a couple weeks ago, blasted through it in about 3 hours and am now going over it again and working through a fair amount of the questions, exercises, etc.

I think he snuck the central the point that "being rich isn't being rich" in there very well, which I'm surprised you didn't touch on.

It put me in a weird spot because I really quite enjoy my job, yet I found myself half heartedly wishing I didn't just to try out some more of the things in there than are practical for me.

11:11 AM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

I'm confused, am I supposed to be worrying about amassing great financial wealth? Ugh oh! I guess I went down the wrong path yet again.

11:15 AM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Dale B said...

I've always found the whole work for yourself, be your own boss thing a bit silly. Unless you're a mountain man living off the land, you are working for someone. Specifically, you're working for whoever is giving you money.

Usually the people who give you money expect something in return. If you don't produce something that someone else wants, they won't give you any money. Everyone who gets money works for someone, except for the trust fund babies.

What is different in the various work situations is who is giving work direction. For the self employed, they are doing their own work direction. Even then they are doing so in response to the needs of the money giver. The only difference from conventional employment is that for the self employed there is more flexibility, maybe.

For myself, I've always worked for large organizations and I pretty much have to do that in order to do want I want to do. I'm an engineer and I need millions of dollars worth of equipment and facilities to do my job. This is not the sort of thing that you can do in your garage or home office.

Not only do I need a large organization for support, I actually like working in that environment. I get all sorts of really neat and very expensive toys to play with. Toys that someone else buys for me. I use these toys to solve some interesting problems and I do this with all sorts of very interesting people from all over the world. On top of that, I actually get paid to do it. How cool is that?

Most self employed jobs are in some sort of services or sales. For that sort of job, self employment is often a good fit. Not everyone can do that sort of work. I don't mean that not everyone is suited to that sort of work but rather that the economy would collapse if that's all anyone did. At the base of society there has to be stuff produced somewhere.

Stuff is real things. Things that you can hold in your hand. Stuff is things like food, tires, concrete, electronic gismos, 2x4's and much more. Even software, which is only somewhat like stuff, still needs a computer in order to perform its function. Stuff comes from collective human activity and none of that activity can be done in a home office.

Society cannot exist if everyone is counseling and selling each other insurance.

11:59 AM, October 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my point of view, things change as one ages and / or the health fades - in a manner that I would have concentrated more heavily on making money when the drive and capability of younger days were there. Not for the cumulative wealth (or possibility of such) but for the ability to retire at such an age as I can still enjoy life, with the financial where with all to go places and do things that interest me. I did the fun stuff up front, with little to no thought about the magic of time and compound interest, as Einstein put so elegantly. There was simply, always tomorrow.

If not thought through, one can crap in one hand, and have their regrets in the other - and the regret hand can actually be more full.

It is not about money, not about accumulation of "toys". For me, it is having the least amount of worry, the greatest amount of peace of mind. Sad, and almost too late.
Chastise me if you wish. Just don't make the same mistakes.

12:01 PM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I'm adding this to my list of books to purchase and read over my fall break. It sounds like it's a good time-management read, if nothing else.

12:38 PM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have read the book twice in the last week. I have been building a business model i want to follow.

The real point of the book is to find where you are most effective. Cut out the time wasting activities . Then Outsource tasks to people who are better at them than you .

You suffer from a common employee problem. Your one of the lucky 20 percent in a job you enjoy .

There are plenty of things only large companies can do. But that list gets smaller and smaller. One third of the U.s workforce is already working for themselves.

2:58 PM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Joe said...

I used to read an peruse books like this until I realized they were all geared toward extroverted sales types with an over bloated view of themselves and their own abilities and who were, to put it kindly, ethically challenged.

At a more fundamental level, one mistake made by authors of this genre of books and seminars is that the authors make the classical mistake of looking back at their life and assuming it was more planned than it really was. Above all, they forget all the serendipitous moments.

12:43 AM, October 08, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

I suspect that freeing 36+ hours of one's week would allow for much more serendipity to come through the clutter.

Look, what are you working for, anyway? Loads of startlingly knee-jerk reactions in the little list above suggest things a psychologist would be better at explaining than I, but even I can observe, "Touchy, are we?" Are you working for money? Does Filthy Lucre (TM) actually run your life and make it over-cluttered and under-enjoyed? Or are you doing what you do because you want to do it? No, really. I'm asking.

Like the Book says, you can only serve 1 master. If you're working for money, that's who you're working for. Me, I would rather work for the joy of it, free of the need to or the schedule it crams me into. Though I am no sales type by any stretch, perhaps I should have a look at this book.

10:32 AM, October 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One word: Plastics.

11:53 AM, October 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geeez, bugs. "Plastics" is so "fifties". Isn't it "information" now-a-days?

10:12 PM, October 09, 2007  
Blogger Jan Tincher said...

Some think that retirement isn't tough at all. You just slide into it. I think that retirement takes lots of planning, or before you know it, you end up with lots of regrets.

9:00 PM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jan tincher

Being able to retire at a pre-conceived time (40 years prior to the actual date, say) would be a good plan, rarely achieved. College educations were thought through, but not at an average of 11% or more in tuition increases annually.
Gasoline was .33 a gallon when I first started saving money. Who knew there? Catastrophic illness, not of the physical type, and the incredible expenses involved with that, and court drama afterwards, etc. Now my own expensive illness.

After the realization I am not invulnerable took place, as much luck, or fate, as planning, paved the road ahead. At least for me,
"stupid" compounds as well as interest, it seems.

6:27 AM, October 15, 2007  
Blogger Kaya said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:51 PM, December 30, 2007  
Blogger Kaya said...

I love the way how all of you can make comment’s, I just don’t have that skill nor can I read for a long period of time, but 3 years ago I started to listen to audio books, and it has been wonderful, as a matter of fact I now have an audio book site and it is doing very well, after reading your comments I will download the book and listen to it. I hope I will learn to reduce my working hours. Thanks for the review.

7:54 PM, December 30, 2007  
Blogger Dandapinda said...

i guess something like striving for perfection is a matter of personal choice , it may seem unnecessary to the author because he is unable to relate to it . the whole point of people telling others to follow guidelines and create a cookie cutter happiness process seems futile.

4:47 PM, March 28, 2008  
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