When Tim Ferriss‘ book The 4-Four Hour Workweek originally hit the airport bookstores in 2007, I must admit I scoffed at the ridiculous title and thought the author and content would also be ridiculous. I was not alone in my opinion, as his methods and advice have been controversial.
After hearing so much about the book, I did finally buy and read it, and I was pleasantly surprised! I just read it again on a recent trip to Rio (they do practice the 4 hour workweek in Brazil!) and thought I’d write a couple of Blog posts on the subject. While there are a lot of contrarian and unusual ideas in the book, Ferriss DOES render some excellent advice on a variety of matters including how to create or design a lifestyle. He does it in a very motivating “I did it so you can do it too” manner.
His basic themes are:
1. You CAN enjoy the lifestyle you want, and you can do it now
2. Simpify to create space and create attention (attention is more important than time because time without attention is useless) to apply to other things
3. Focus on what’s important in your life and that which makes you happy and fulfilled.
4. His 4-step “DEAL” formula: Defininition, Eliminate, Automate, and Liberate
Tim Ferris’ DEAL:
Definition – Define the life you want and how much it will cost for you to achieve it (in short, define your Goals)
Elimination – Eliminate stuff that’s not critical to your achieving your goals. Practice the 80/20 rule and focus on what will get you closer to your ideal lifestyle.
Automation – Outsource noncritical and basic functions. Find and build a business which generates maximum revenue with minimal time/attention. The key is to minimize your own personal involvement to free yourself up to do the things YOU WANT.
Liberation – Free yourself from a particular geographic location. The idea is to be able to travel, or work from anywhere. Mobility is a hallmark of what Ferris refers to as the “NR,” or “New Rich.”
Tim’s “Muse,” an income machine: Ferriss urges the reader to find his or her “muse” (a calling or business), and then go for it. Ferriss lays out a blueprint for starting your own business which can essentially run on autopilot. Apparently, he had done this himself and built a business that generated cash flow to pay the living expenses, while requiring a fraction of the time and effort. While I believe him, he makes it all sound too easy.
The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
1. Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake (W4W)
2. Micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time
3. Handling problems your outsourcers or-co-workers can handle
4. Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with noncrisis problems
5. Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits
6. Answering e-mail that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by a FAQ or auto-responder
7. Working where you live, sleep, or should relax
8. Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life
9. Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, whether in your personal or professional life
10. Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work
11. Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work
12. Viewing one product, job, or prospect as the end-all and be-all of your existence
13. Ignoring the social rewards of life
In summary, I believe this is a book worth reading, as it contains a lot of useful and highly applicable tips and advice, while proffering some proven scenarios whereby you can unchain yourself from a job or mundane lifestyle, in order to design and pursue immediately a life of your dreams.
Featured image courtesy of benjyfeen licensed via creative commons.
I have been meaning to read this book, but figured I wouldn’t really be able to follow the same pattern. Though, it certainly sounds appealing to work from anywhere and travel around the globe. Something to continue striving for in the future or help my kids figure it out.
It’s a quick read, and you can take little tips and nuggets from it. While the overall theme of the book is not for everyone, he does offer up some great tips and advice… All the best!
I highly recommend Tim’s 4-Hour Body book as well. It has helped me lose over 25 lbs of fat this past year and gain 30lbs of muscle. 2011 changed my life. I’m really looking forward to 2012!
That’s great, Derek! Have an awesome 2012!!
I saw a guy reding this on a plane trip a few years ago and got up to
ask him if it was any good. He replied that he found a lot of good ideas, especially outsourcing. I’ll pick up a copy and check it out.
Thanks for the suggestion
Thanks Joseph! Good luck!!
Tien, I also enjoyed this book – not because I ever expect to achieve a 40 hour work week, but because the principles can help shorten a 60 hour workweek into 40, or make a 40 hour workweek so much more effective. I use the title in some of our ad campaigns for Intelligent Office, as we provide some of the services that Ferris outsources to his Virtual Assistant. Our virtual receptionist services have changed the lives of many of our clients, and its fun to see that happen.
Thanks for the Comment, Matt. The title of the book is definitely radical, and probably done to sell more copies. But the book does contain some excellent and useful content.
I too was hesitant about Tim’s concepts before reading the book but I found great value in the first three quarters of the book. I found particular value in the concepts of outsourcing the non-essential, business choice and practical tips on email and voicemail communication. I lost interest in all the free time and travel, my preference is to free up time to increase my, and my organization’s, capacity not to find idle time (other than family or fitness pursuits).
Have you read the four hour body yet? I have it sitting on my desk but haven’t opened it.
Thanks Debby! I have not yet read the 4-Hour Body, but it’s on my list! I am sure there are some great health tips in there.
Tien: Funny you chose this book to comment on. I too had been wondering about the title for several years and just last week finally bought a copy. Your encouragement will help me now find the time to actually open (and hopefully read) it. Thanks.
P.S. Maybe with all the time you have learned to save – you can now consider Tiger21?
Thanks for the Comment, Cal. Hope you like the book. We can discuss Tiger in the New Year, ok? All the best!
Good stuff tien. Thx.
Thanks much, Dave!!