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Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss Reviewed

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Tim Ferriss' Book 4-Hour Workweek has been around for some 2-3 years now... and yet, while it's right in the Lazy Man wheelhouse, I hadn't read it until recently. Why didn't I read it? Here are the two biggest excuses:

  • I Hate Books - I'd like to blame Ethan Frome for my hated of books, but the truth is that it probably started long before that. I have a pretty short attention span the Internet and blogs especially play to that. In fact, if you'd ask me what books are worth reading off the top of my head I'd go with How To Win Friends and Influence People, Everything by Malcolm Gladwell, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. This book joins that elite list.
  • I Cross the Frugal Line to Cheap Sometimes - I was waiting on this book through Paperback Swap since it came out. When a book is really good and is worth re-reading multiple times, people don't want to give it up. Finally, when I got close to the top of the list, my wife decided to just pay the $15 (or whatever it was) and get it for me for Christmas.

Having finished the book, one of the things I can say is "wow." It's where I was trying to take this website when I set out. The reason I created this website is that I realized that my girlfriend (and now my wife) was going to retire at age 44 due to 20 years of service with the military. At that time, she'd might want to enjoy life in way that a regular 9-5 worker couldn't. So I created this website to explore ideas on how to avoid the working the next 35 years. At the time, I had no idea that this website wasn't just the question on how to do that, but it may also evolve into the answer.

As you can imagine Tim Ferriss and his 4-hour Work Week strives to get to the same place... earn a very good income with limited "work", thus giving you the freedom to do the things you want to do. I found myself agreeing with Tim Ferriss on almost everything he said, except that he used the word "lazy" in a negative context almost every time. I like to think that he'd choose a different word if he was a software engineer (see lazy evaluation).

His book and this blog cover a number of similar things. (Before I get started on them I think this blog was started well before his book was published, but some of his ideas were published before this blog.) Here are some examples:

  • Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) - See my About Page. It's the first item I listed.
  • Parkinson's Law - While I mention time (as Mr. Ferriss does), and space, I also applied this to dealing with money - Are Your Resources Swallowed Up By Parkinson's Law?. You might have heard of it under the term "lifestyle inflation."
  • Wasting Time Trying to be Too Perfect - I covered that here: The Enemy of Good in Entrepreneurism. In reality it's the other 20/80 not covered in the Pareto Principle.
  • Speed Reading - The book gave some tips to read quickly (a great set of tips in about a single page). I need to re-read those tips and practice them as I named reading slow one of Three Reasons I Will Never Be Rich. I mentioned how slow I read again in my 2008 goals. I also put it on my short list of tips on How To Be Successful.
  • Hiring a Virtual Assistant - I mentioned How to Find a Virtual Assistant, and Why Hire a Virtual Assistant , previously. Tim Ferriss spends a chapter or two going in great detail.
  • How To Negotiate - Okay, I failed here, I have about 600 bookmarked websites on how to negotiate and from what I can tell I haven't written about it. I think it's because that's always been on my wish list to learn.

So you may be asking right now, "Why do I need to get 4-hour Work Week when I can read this blog?" The short answer is that Tim distills all that information (and much, much more) into a book that most people can read in a couple of days. I really can't do the book justice in just a few hundred words - . This blog rambles a lot about things you might not care about (i.e. my life). Though you may like this blog a bit more because it follows a person's journey to implement the ideas in the book (even if I didn't know the ideas were in the book).

Again, I recommend very, very few books, so if you have been on the fence on whether you should buy 4-Hour Workweek. I say, "do it!" I wish I had done so a couple of years ago.

Last updated on January 12, 2016.

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8 Responses to “Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss Reviewed”

  1. Craig/FFB says:

    Thanks for reminding me how good the book is. I rad it and lent it out a couple of years ago. I need to head to the ‘ole library and see if I can get the updated edition. I think its one of those books that are good to read a couple of times since you can’t absorb everything the first time.

  2. Jackie says:

    Oh yeah, that book is definitely a keeper. It’s inspiring, especially when you read about some of the things he’s done on his mini-retirements.

  3. Matt says:

    Damn I hated Ethan Frome! Stupid tree didn’t even do the job…

  4. Amthrax says:

    Did you read the second edition or the first? I read the first edition, but am interested in reading all of the case studies he includes in the second.

  5. Monevator says:

    I need to go back and re-read the chapter on defining the things you want in your life and what they will cost before you set out to look for the money to make them.

    I breezed past that bit to get to the ‘earning’ stuff, but I now think it was maybe the most radical and important section of the book of all, especially if you’re naturally a worker and saver rather than a dreamer and spender.

  6. Lazy Man says:

    Yeah, Amthrax I read the second edition first. That’s how long it took me to get on paperback swap. I’d give you my copy, but my dog chewed it up pretty bad (barely has any kind of cover on it).

  7. I read (and reviewed) Four Hour Work Week a few weeks ago, and came away from it with mixed feelings. It was very interesting, and had lots of resources provided to help make your four hour work week a success; but for me, it just didn’t seem to click, as some of the methods he recommended seemed a bit on the shady side (for example, his techniques for how to develop qualifications as an expert). I put my full review on my site back in February (warning: shameless plugging): http://www.theamateurfinancier.com/blog/book-review-the-4-hour-workweek/

    That said, (a) I still found many of his techniques and other suggestions helpful, (b) I was kind of suffering from a time crunch when I read it (pending GREs) and might have gotten a distorted view of the material, and (c) as with anything, one man’s opinion is hardly definitive. Definitely worth a read through or two.

  8. Barb says:

    Hi! I like your blog, and really agree with pareto principal and your avoiding perfectionism post! But, that said, I read Ferris’ book and enjoyed the book. Although, in reality, I think the idea of a “4 hour work week” is impossible! I don’t believe there is any way one can work only 4 hours per week and make a living. I know tons of successful people and not one of them works 4 hours/week. In fact, most of them don’t even work 40 hours/week.

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