Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The 4-Hour Workweek

I finally got around to reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss. I have to say it was an interesting read. The basic premise of the book was that there is a class of "new rich" who can do what millionaires do without having a million dollars. They do this by automating their work so that they don't need to be present in order for their businesses to run, and by taking advantages of currency differences.

Ferriss seems to strongly advocate owning your own business, in particular some kind of an internet-based business. In my opinion, this isn't practical for most people. If you're considering doing this, the book might be even more valuable to you.

I did think he had a few interesting ideas though. For one, he has a pretty good chapter called "E is for Elimination" where he focused on streamlining your work life and time managment. None of it is really new stuff (the 80/20 principle etc...), but it will definitely make you think twice about the things you spend your time on, which is something we all need to do from time to time.

He also suggests going on a "one week media fast" where you don't read any newspapers, magazines, websites, or watch any news shows for a week. I think this has both its pros and cons. The main pro is that I think we all waste too much time reading news that we can't use and can spend the time doing more productive things. The cons are that for some jobs, especially more creative, higher-level business jobs, it's important to stay current on the happenings in your field and sometimes the media is the best source of information.

The chapter that intrigued me the most, and the one that really pushed me towards recommending this book, is "Outsourcing Life." In this he suggests getting a "remote personal assistant" from a company in India or elsewhere. He mentions Brickwork and Your Man In India as two potential companies to use. He says you can get a well qualified assistant to do some of your work for you, freeing up your time to do other things. Best of all- they can do it fairly inexpensively and they can work while you sleep. I actually tried this out with pretty good success, and I will hopefully write a post about that sometime in the future.

For now though, I'd say if you're the kind of person who's always looking to improve the way you work, and can overlook the rather drastic premise of this book, I think this is definitely worth spending some of your time (and a little of your money) on.

Final thought- can you achieve the four hour workweek by reading this book? I'd say the odds are very slim. I do think it might help you cut a few hours out of your work week though.

1 comment:

Will said...

I agree that this is a great book. I'm working remotely from home doing software development and it's great. Lots of great stuff on being more efficient too - there are so many distractions at work with emails and phone calls, it's great to see a way out of the chaos. Getting away from time-based income would also be a great thing!