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

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Four Hour Work WeekThe 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss (2011 Ed)

If you like the idea of working much less and earning much more, all from the location of your choice, then this is the book for you. The Four Hour Work Week will take you step by step through some amazing processes to stop you trading your time for money and instead put processes in place to automate your income for you.

One of my favourite indicators of a good book is one that makes you stop reading and think. I had plans to read the 4HWW in a month but it actually took me two! I must have stopped at each and every page to write notes, come up with ideas, de-clutter my life/work/side-hustles and design a lifestyle that is much more suited to our interests here at Budget Breakaway – Travel! The content within these mere 380 pages is so powerful, actionable and inspiring that I could happily turn the book back over and start again right now…

Key Concepts

The underlying theme of the Four Hour Work Week is to break free of society’s concept of working for 80% of your life so that you can retire and enjoy the last 20% of it. Tim rightly illustrates that there is so much to experience in our wonderful world that we should be able to spend much more of our time enjoying it whilst we are young and healthy. His message in short; don’t mistake retirement for the goal – instead design a lifestyle that allows you to live and earn at the same time.

There are four key topics that stood out to me whilst reading:

1. Time Management and the Art of Elimination

Time management is often a dull topic partly because time diaries and batching will only ever take you so far. To be truly be productive we know we should focus on more of the bigger tasks and let the lower priorities take care of themselves. Ferriss takes a brutally efficient stand on this and confidently ‘lets the small problems happen’ whilst he focuses on taking care of the bigger picture. So that he can pursue his travel addiction, Tim has an amazing approach to outsourcing his work & chores to VAs to take on some daily tasks that I could never even dream of outsourcing without his guidance. He also has some fantastic advice on deflecting any unnecessary distractions from co-workers and customers to ensure you’re not dragged into pointless and unproductive tasks/email chains.

2. Negotiating Remote Work with Your Employer

An almost instant project to take on if you wish to join Tim and pursue lifestyle design is to negotiate remote work with your employer. For the disciplined employee, remote work can save you time & money on commuting, increase productivity, reduce distractions and of course allow you to enjoy the delights of any country/location that you wish to work from! The trivial task of negotiating this position appears almost too easy with the process detailed in the 4HWW; I’d elaborate more here but Tim will do a much better job of taking you to the next level if you read it for yourself!

3. Automated and Profitable Business Design

The most common way that people try to escape the rat race is to build a business of their own. The clinch, Tim explains is that often these businesses are not designed to operate without the input of the business owner and therefore provide very little freedom, still leaving the entrepreneur in the dreaded position – trading time for money.

By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.Robert Frost

Tim suggests that if you’re looking for more time and freedom you should design your business so that it can operate almost entirely without you. He has some fantastic models to help automate your sales, marketing and customer support with very little input required on your end. This isn’t a quick fix, get rich quick scheme; there’s a lot of work behind Tim’s concepts, but I can certainly see how the principles laid out in this book have helped Tim and many others take control of their time.

As the book has been recently updated it has an extensive list of resources for you to pick and choose from. Whether you need to test a business idea, set up an auto-responder for your email or find people in a different country that share similar interests, there will certainly be a number of references that strike gold with you in here.

4. Filling the Void – What to do Once Your Free

What would be the point in helping you to escape the rat race and gain all of this time without giving some insight into what you should be doing with it all? Well there are countless possibilities but Tim presents some interesting ideas from binge travelling to being charitable to taking multiple mini-retirements in cheap and exotic locations. This chapter alone could have been published as a guide for any aspiring adventurer.

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labour by taking up another.Anatole France

 

How as the 4HWW Inspired Me?

Reading the Four Hour Work Week inspired me look to deep into the current activities I pursue and evaluate what I can cut out in order to focus down on what truly matters. This process of repeat brain-vomiting hasn’t been easy but I’ve certainly emerged with a much stronger idea of what I want to do and what has been holding me back in the past. Here are some decisions that I’ve made as a result of reading the Four Hour Work Week:

1. I hired my first freelancer – One chapter of this book was timed almost perfectly to a situation that could have cost me hours of headache – instead I outsourced the work to a freelancer, had the work completed in 18 hours and profited from the experience

2. Replacing reading time with working time for the next 3 months – I’m a huge fan of education and this year I set out to read and review one book every month; I’ve also been listening to two podcasts per day during my commute relating to finance/online business. Thanks to this I’m fueled with knowledge and inspired by content but by the end of the day I’m very short on time to take action! This is why I’m taking a break from reading and replacing the same time with working on my side-hustles!

3. Prioritising almost everything with the 80/20 rule – Life is insanely busy for almost all of us, but being busy is easy, being smart however is tough. I’ve always considered the value of time but recently I’ve decided to get strict with my tasks at home, at work and during my lunch breaks. Rather than serving my endless to-do list, I have decided to lay out just one expectation for the morning, the afternoon and the evening. I will work at this until it is acheived which certainly puts the pressure on!

I now keep track of my to-do list  through Google Calendar and I get reminders of these events through the Sunrise iPhone app just in case I get distracted! So far, so good!

4. Thinking deeply about business/product ideas – The past two months I’ve been kept awake thinking of 100s of product and business ideas that I could implement; I’ve had so many but so far nothing solid that I want to pursue. I have a great idea of how I’d like it to operate but the product concept is still very hazy. Wish me luck in my search!

Overview

Since being published in 2007 this book has changed the lives of many; I’m amazed to see how much coverage the book still gets on a daily basis in major publications. If you happen to pick up the latest edition you’ll find a number of fantastic case studies from those that have practiced what is preached here and seen the benefits. Even if travel and/or lifestyle design isn’t for you, this book still provides an amazing resource to help you double your productivity at home, at work and in your business.

Available from £4.50 on Amazon!

Please note: Some of the links in the above post are affiliate links; I have searched for the most cost-effective option for you on the web and only promote items that I have experience with and believe in. This is at no additional cost to you but if you do decide to purchase I will earn a very small commission.

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I have a burning passion for generating big results - FAST. Fascinated with personal finance, entrepreneurship and high performance in the workplace.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this review, this book is on my reading list but I’m yet to find time to read it. I can see where Tim is coming from by concentrating on the bigger picture tasks and outsourcing the smaller jobs. Sometimes we get bogged down in tasks that aren’t actually doing anything to make us money. Outsourcing can be well worth the expense providing the person who is doing the work can be trusted to deliver to a high standard.

    • Hey Hayley,
      Thanks for stopping by, such a great book, highly recommend this one! It’s a simple concept but so impressive to see how far Tim actually takes the idea and apply it to his projects. Yes, well worth it, my experience with outsourcing has been very good so far and I hope to use it more frequently moving forward!

  2. Been waiting for this review for a while and you’ve done a great job. I will definitely be reading it soon!

    I’ve read a lot about the pareto principle 80/20 rule but I can’t see how it can work very practically for my life and/or job so it will be interesting to read the actionable ideas around this. Hopefully some will be applicable to my situation!

    • Looking forward to hearing what you think!
      80/20 is used all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever utilised the concept well enough. My recent method of setting one goal for the AM, PM and Evening is working very well though as I have to be strict with what I focus on 🙂

  3. […] Read and Review the Four Hour Work Week – Complete! The Four Hour Work Week was an amazing read, so much so that I am already considering reading it again! The book really motivated in my search for a business concept that I can pursue and although I do quite have an idea yet, I do know what it looks like from a structural business perspective so am just waiting for it to hit me (after some more research of course). The Four Hour Work Week inspired me to de-clutter some of the projects and tasks that weren’t providing me with value – I even hired my first freelancer to help me! To find out more, you can read the review here. […]

  4. Joe – great to see that you put the book’s ideas into action (e.g. hiring a freelancer). I’m currently evaluating proposals over on Elance.com.

    I’m currently running a survey of readers of “The 4-Hour Work Week” (just 10 questions). I’m only seeking to survey readers of the book so don’t want to post a public link. What’s the best address to email it to you?

    • It’s been a great experience, I’m certainly more confident in outsourcing in the future and am excited to try it out again!

      Sure I’ll happily take this on, you can contact me at joe[at]budgetbreak.wpengine.com

  5. I just finished it 3 days ago! Using that 80/20 rule has really freed up my time. I’ve stopped scraping out yogurt containers for 20 seconds after most of the yogurt has been devoured lol. But seriously, the book is life-changing as long as its readers DO SOMETIHNG.

    • Ha, that’s an awesome example! Would be interested to see what else you change over the coming days!
      I love all of the chapters but there’s one in particular that I’ve been thinking about recently – “High-performers make a huge number of decisions per day, the actual decision itself isn’t always crucial as you’re often torn between something that’s 80% correct and something that’s 100% correct. The defining factor is actually the length of time that you spend making the decision”. I’ve been applying this in my career recently so you’re certainly right, the readers of this book do actually do something!

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