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The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

Posted by Dreamer

A business resource for the intrepid, The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss shows you step-by-step how to think big, create a virtually autopilot business, and live like a rock star (if you want) through smart business management and deliberate “lifestyle design.”

Only work four hours a week? Join the New Rich? Catchy title to be sure, but it sounded like the kind of El Dorado charlatanism that sends shivers down my spine. However, after reading some of the comments the book generated – ranging from the finding of a new religion to utter disdain – I decided to find out what all the fuss was about.

Timothy Ferriss maintains that you can organize your life so that you have the financial freedom and the time to do whatever you want. In a nutshell, The 4-Hour Work Week is about working smarter, not harder, and breaking the rules that keep us from what we want. The temptation to groan at the clichéd prospect dissipates, however, when Ferris compellingly shows us how to do it.

Ferriss excels at creating rational processes and limiting effort to necessary action – laudatory formulas that can be replicated. To be sure, some of the ways he puts them into practice are a bit reckless, but his overall emphasis on deliberateness, systems control, and getting what you want are quite clever. It’s not all about tricks though. 

One of the book’s simpler ideas is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one. What would you really desire if you were a millionaire, he challenges. Leisure, travel, sports, private tutors, a yacht, or what? He offers a “Dreamline” exercise to prove the point and help you calculate how much money you would need to live however you wanted or to own whatever you wanted if you didn’t have to work anymore and had lots of time. That was actually eye opening for me because the hard numbers for my dream lifestyle were a lot smaller than I would have thought. So if I’m able to make this happen using his advice, I’ll let you know. But what about everyone else?

The 4-Hour Work Week provides business and lifestyle theories as well as the detailed steps and processes to replicate Tim Ferris’s success. It’s even a New York Times bestseller, which brings to mind the question: why doesn’t everyone have four-hour weeks now? Why don’t we all spend our time jet-setting around the world and learning languages and martial arts? The simple answer is twofold: what Ferris proposes is either too radical for most people or they don’t have the skills or the right environment to put it into practice. I would guess that pretty much everyone on Earth would get behind the concept of working less and dedicating your time to doing the things that you enjoy and that fulfill you.

However, Ferris is a proponent of outsourcing everything. He talks about how to only check e-mail once a week. He advocates a low level of information consumption. He continually looks for the loopholes and the fine print and then uses them to his advantage. He challenges people to overcome their discomforts through tasks like nonchalantly lying down in the middle of a busy sidewalk. These are all things that have the potential to make someone rather uncomfortable. That’s no excuse to discount Ferriss’s message though.

The book maintains that your life and your dreams are yours for the taking and there’s no reason to settle for second best. Yet for the kind of people who are ready to lie down on the pavement, lifestyle design may just be the best invention since sliced bread.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. New York: Crown, 2007. 320 pages. Buy the book in Europe or buy the book in North America.


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A business resource for the intrepid, The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss shows you step-by-step how to think big, create a virtually autopilot business, and live like a rock star (if you want) through smart business management and deliberate “lifestyle design.”

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

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