Home > Downtime Projects > Review: The 4-Hour Work Week – by Tim Ferriss

Review: The 4-Hour Work Week – by Tim Ferriss

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I’ve just finished this book, after about 2 weeks of reading in bed before going to sleep.  To be honest its probably not the best time to read this kind of book, but that’s my reading time, to its tough!  The reason being in bed isn’t good, is because the book has so many resources (urls, names etc) that I wanted to look at them or write them down to look at later.

So why did I read this book?  I work location-free currently, for a long period in ‘mega-corp’.  I love travel and plan to live overseas for an extended time period, and I love learning.  So from what I know about Tim (blog, twitter, videos) he seems to be speaking right to me. As such, I finally got around to reading his book. I wont bore you with a full book review, but just give me take on it, under a few key areas:

  1. Application to Me
    I am still wrestling with this a bit. Its always going to be hard to please everyone and there is of course the danger of pleasing no-one. I know Tim has tried to cover everyone (employees, business-owners, families and singletons) and I don’t want to be too harsh, however I come away with the feeling this was an ‘instructional’ type of a book, and didn’t really lend itself well to trying to hit such a wide audience. If it was a set of 3 or 4 smaller books, with specific audiences in mind, that would have been better for me (although am sure the publishers disagree).
  2. A Personal Focus
    At the end Tim mentions sharing experiences, however inevitably this book has a very personal focus (my dreams and goals). As such the first step (unless alone) on the road must be learning to share dreams and goals, and working out a joint plan that all parties are more than satisfied with.
  3. Timing
    Personally I think I simply read this book about 4 years too late. Having just started a family, and all the trimmings that go with it (minimum savings, high financial commitments), I really kept thinking ‘yeah would be nice but..’. Obviously that’s my fault for buying/reading an unsuitable book, however I plan to re-read it in about 2yrs time, and then things should be a bit more practical.
  4. Money
    To really start actioning anything like this you need a stable financial base to start from (minimal commitments, and either disposable savings or an income process that only requires management). Tim’s experience (and most of the book) is focused around existing business owners who can automate the business process so their income still comes in without the need for day-to-day personal management.
    This seemed to require a commodity-type product/business. If you need to personally be involved (e.g. service business) then the first step is looking at how to move to a commodity type business, or somehow replace yourself and still turn a profit. This is where the real skill lies for many people and Tim’s examples of how to remove yourself from management are inspirational. Extending this to the other business functions needs some clever case-by-case solutions.
    There were also nice examples of wage earners taking the plunge, but I noticed these all seemed to be people with successful jobs for a number of years, and the financial backing to action their dreams.
  5. Format
    I liked the FAQ sections to help give things a reality-check, although reading one-after-another got a bit dull.  I liked how it was filled with real experiences and examples, it helped me really understand how it can work and how this could be a reality. I also like the way the website (http://www.forhourworkweek.com) supports and extends the book, a real value-add (I am trying to speed-reading, language tips etc).

I am a fan of Tims generally, the way he has taken hold of his life is an inspiration to all, and I will try to get people I know who are in a suitable place to read his book.

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