Thursday, May 14, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

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ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
  • How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”
The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
  • More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points, and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
  • Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
  • How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
  • The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either

MY REVIEW:

First things first -- I want to make it clear that I didn't totally know what this book was about before I started reading it.  I swear. 

I don't remember how I first discovered Tim Ferriss, but I think I had read an article or blog post by him a couple years ago about delegating work to a virtual assistant.  I thought this book would be similar - a business book about working smarter and delegating.  When I received the book, however, there was a sentence on the back cover that said something like "Do not read this book unless you want to quit your job." [I've already returned the book to the library, so I'm not sure if that was the exact quote, but it was something like that.]  I was immediately embarrassed that I was going to be writing this review and you all would think I was having a mid-life crisis.  Rest assured I am not. And, despite that sentence on the back cover, this book is actually what I thought it was about in the first place.

In the first portion of the book I started to get the feeling that Tim Ferriss is a genius and at the same time must be completely off his rocker.  He begins by telling us that we can all live an exciting life of adventure and travel right now and we don't have to put everything off until retirement when it might be too late.  In order to do this, we must give up the idea that we need to do the daily 9-5 grind for 40 years with the house and the cars and all of the stuff that ties us down in the process. Ferriss explains how travelling the world is much less expensive than people think and how anyone can do it, even those of us with children.  Totally crazy idea, right? But genius from a marketing perspective (who wouldn't want to buy that book?) - cha-ching for Ferriss!

I almost stopped reading, but I kept on and I'm glad I did.  This book is not about quitting your job (or delegating 90% of it), selling everything you own and travelling the world.  Unless you actually want to do those things, then I guess it is.  But to me this book was about learning to work smarter, focusing on the things (i.e. customers) that are most profitable for you, firing those customers who drain your time and energy (and, therefore, are not profitable for you), and delegating the work that can be done by others.  Ferris reminded me to think about work with this perspective: "Am I being productive or just active? Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?"

Sure, he's probably sold a lot of books because his marketing tactics are brilliant, but this is definitely one worth buying (or just get it from the library like I did!).