The 4-Hour Work Week By Tim Ferriss: Book Review

the 4-hour work week by tim ferriss
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss proposes that anybody can escape the 9 to 5, live anywhere and join the new rich (NR). But the book’s central theme is lifestyle design, which Tim has been largely responsible for shining the spotlight on in the last decade or so. The NR as he refers to them are defined as unrestricted by time and mobility, rather than cash wealthy. As Tim says in the book, “to enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense. But you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be”. According to Tim, most people don’t want to be millionaires. The real fantasy is the experiences that millions can offer us and the “lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows”. In other words, lifestyle design. 

Disclaimer: This book is not a how-to guide to only working 4 hours per week

Just how realistic is the concept of working four hours a week? Is there any useful advice here? Or is it all just hype? Well it depends on how literally you take the suggestion of a 4-Hour Work Week. And if I’m honest, I avoided reading it until recently because I thought the title was silly and totally unrealistic. Once I started to read the book, it immediately became clear that a 4-hour work week was not literal. It’s actually a metaphor for leveraging your time and money (nobody Tim respects works 4 hours per week). The key message here is working smarter not harder:

the 4-hour work week formula

The 4-Hour Work Week: Concept

Despite the title referring to four hours, the reality is that this book is primarily aimed at helping you to work less but achieve more. Moreover, it’s a discourse on the concept of lifestyle design and making you think twice about your current approach to work-life balance. When the 4-Hour Work Week was published back in the noughties, it shattered the illusory and flawed concept of the work-life balance. Working for decades until you can finally do the things you want to do with your life as you’ll have the time and freedom. Tim coined this the deferred life plan (retirement to you and me). In fact, Tim Ferriss blew the traditional concept of retirement out of the water. But now more than ever in the digital age, it’s relevant. Arguably more relevant than when it was first published.  Can you apply everything he says? No, at least not in the beginning. However, that was never the point. The point is to use your time better and find hacks and ways to live a more fulfilled and purposeful life.
“Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.”

The 4-Hour Work Week: Practical Tips

So what are the practical tips that Tim shares in the book? There is no reinventing the wheel here when it comes to productivity tips, more how you choose to frame them and apply them to your own life. Outsourcing to virtual assistants, automating your work, being more effective with your email/communications. Cutting down on interruptions, and using your time to actually achieve something meaningful.
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. 

The 4-Hour Work Week is packed to the rafters with practical and resources for anybody who wants to live the life they choose. To not trade your time for money. If you do that, you’re limited in how much you can make by the number of hours you can work in a day. Tim also introduces the concept of asking for ‘forgiveness not permission’ for instance, which will reframe the way you think about time off or travelling. In other words, changing your mindset.
“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
He raises awareness about how to gain control of our own lives and live them to the fullest in whatever way that means to us. To claim personal freedom. Ideas, options, resources and tools to escape the 9 to 5 and live anywhere. To gain control of our working lives in order to better enjoy the one life we’ve been given. 

The 4-Hour Work Week: Main Takeaways

The 4-Hour Work Week caused me to really reflect on the value of my time and how to use it better, in a way that I haven’t done before. It also gave me some much-needed validation that the path I’m on is the right one. The path towards a life of financial freedom and location independence. And I have since taken big action and published some eBooks, started a blog and outsourced tasks which were costing too much of my time for a fraction of my own monetary output.   In this book, Tim Ferriss also shows us how to build a “muse”, i.e. an online business. In other words, automating online systems to generate passive income. I have an online affiliate marketing business. With unlimited, fully-automated sales and a global customer base, Affiliate marketing enables you to generate income even when you’re asleep. And therefore the quantity of products you can sell is unlimited, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Automation is the salesman that never sleeps.
My final takeaway concerns Tim’s ‘fear setting’ tool. This tool helps you to identify what’s holding you back from the lifestyle you want and destroy it.

Tim Ferriss Fear-Setting Tool

If you are nervous about making the jump or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown, here is your antidote. Write down your answers to these questions. Write and do not edit – aim for volume. Spend a few minutes on each answer:
  1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering
  2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
  3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probably scenarios?
  4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
  5. What are you putting off out of fear?
  6. What is it costing you – financially, emotionally, and physically – to postpone action?
  7. What are you waiting for?
[Tim Ferriss: The Four-Hour Work Week]

The 4-Hour Work Week: Final Thoughts

This book is a titan of productivity, self-improvement and time management. And I’ve lost count of the number of people who recommended it to me before I finally read it.  Think of The Four-Hour Work Week less as a blueprint and more the ‘why’ to inspire you to begin making changes in your life. In other words, beating the system. So take from it what’s relevant and that which you can apply to your own life. 
“The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” 

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