Title: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 to 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Author: Tim Ferriss
Genre: Work and Business
Trigger Warnings: Strong language, gendered slurs
What do you do? Tim Ferriss has trouble answering the question. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer: “I race motorcycles in Europe.” “I ski in the Andes.” “I scuba dive in Panama.” “I dance tango in Buenos Aires.” He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the “deferred-life plan” and instead mastered the new currencies-time and mobility-to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now. Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world.
Join Tim Ferriss as he teaches you:
– 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”
– What the crucial difference is between absolute and relative income
– How to train your boss to value performance over presence, or kill your job (or company) if it’s beyond repair
– What automated cash-flow “muses” are and how to create one in 2 to 4 weeks
– How to cultivate selective ignorance-and create time-with a low-information diet
– What the management secrets of Remote Control CEOs are
– How to get free housing worldwide and airfare at 50-80% off
– How to fill the void and create a meaningful life after removing work and the office
If you’ve ever heard of Tim Ferriss, you know he has a Thing. That Thing is doing something spectacular, writing about how he did it, and making grandiose claims about how everyone can become spectacularly wealthy/pro athlete-level fit/a pro chef/whatever with minimal effort by following these steps. Pretty much everything he says sounds too good to be true.
And yet I was curious. I tried reading his The 4-Hour Body and got overwhelmed about a quarter of the way through. I tried reading his The 4-Hour Chef on audiobook and stopped two CDs in because the audiobook cut out half of the content in favor of saying “refer to this in the print or ebook copy.” And then I found this as an audiobook and decided to give it a shot.
In the beginning, Tim says this book is about “lifestyle design” – freeing yourself up for independence so you can make conscious decisions about doing what you want, not just what you have to do to make money. It’s not really about lifestyle design. It’s really about two things: starting a business and extended travel. Oh, sure, there’s stuff in there about negotiating a remote work agreement with your boss and reducing unnecessary stuff and whatnot, but the bulk of the book is spent on entrepreneurship and long-term travel advice.
Was it good? Well, yeah. Besides the grandiose claims that Tim Ferriss makes, there was a lot of solid advice about starting a business, including a lot of resources for all types of businesses. I especially liked his idea of a “muse” product, and I’m probably going to implement some of the stuff he brings up in my business and in product creation. I don’t have a lot of experience with travel, so I can’t judge a lot of that advice, but it sounds reasonable and actionable. And it was also inspiring – I know that I’m not interested in travel for as long as Tim talks about (6 months or more), but I am interested in shorter-term travel and listening to this book made me want to travel more (and get more excited about an upcoming trip I have planned).
There are two main drawbacks to this book. One, Tim makes a lot of assumptions about his target audience – mainly, that they’re a lot like him. This book is not written for disabled people, blue-collar workers, or poor people. And Tim is a little out of touch with regards to what’s affordable – before he started his lifestyle design and travel stuff, he was making $70,000 per month (yes, there are 5 figures in that number, and yes, it is per month. That is more than I have made in my entire life combined in a single month).
Also, I would not recommend reading this as an audiobook, at least not if you want to reference the many, many resources that Tim recommends. The audiobook spends a lot of time reading URLs that don’t do much good if you are listening while driving, like I do, and can’t write them down.
Overall, this was a pretty good book. The business section had some great advice, and if you’re interested in long-term travel, there’s probably some good stuff there, too. But take what Tim says with a grain of salt – he makes grandiose claims, but it’s highly unlikely everything is as easy (or as affordable) as he says it is.