A Review of Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Workweek

The Four-Hour Workweek is a book by Tim Ferriss and is arguably the title that initially brought so much attention to the concept of lifestyle design.  Phil and I both listened to the audio version of this book this year.  I must say, while it was an enjoyable read (listen?) it was also quite unexpected and surprising.  Which is what you would expect from a book with such a provocative title!  But just how realistic is the concept of working 4 hours a week?  Is there any useful advice here?  Or is it all just hype?  Let’s look and find out.

 

The Concept

Despite the title referring to four hours, the reality is that this book is more generally aimed at helping you to work less, however, many hours that may be.

Moreover, it’s about selling the concept of lifestyle design and making you think twice about your current approach to your work-life balance.  It’s in this regard that the book is an undoubted success.  Today, thousands of people are starting to place more emphasis on jobs that help them design their lifestyle and this could largely be the doing of this book!

It covers all areas of your life, looking at how to lose weight or working more efficiently.  I personally am not a fan of the diet outlined in the book.  It may result in too many nutritional deficiencies which may become detrimental to your health in the long run.

 

The Tips and Practice

So, what are the practical tips that Tim shares in the book?  There are many but very often they come down to simple productivity tips: ideas like outsourcing your work to virtual assistants or using apps that can help you organize your emails.  He talks about ways to reduce the ‘communication overhead’ that comes from countless meetings and he recommends cutting clients that cause more grief than help.

None of these tips are going to help you reduce your work to four hours a week, though – perhaps they’ll just help you be a little less stressed and possibly come home 30 minutes earlier.  Tim also describes a ‘muse’ business model that can generate passive income by using Pay per Click (PPC) to promote a sales page that sells an affiliate product.  This isn’t exactly ground-breaking and is a limited way of making money at best. If you want a book on making money online, there are better reads out there.  For those who are employed, he discusses how to get more flexible hours.

But there are a lot of good ideas here too, they just tend not to focus on the practical side.  Tim is at his best when he’s addressing higher-level concepts and the psychology and philosophy around his chosen lifestyle.  His advice of asking for ‘forgiveness not permission’ for instance can overturn the way you think about time off or traveling.  Best of all is his ‘fear setting’ which is a tool that helps you to identify what’s holding you back from the lifestyle you want – and to destroy it.

 

Conclusions

In conclusion, this is a book worth reading and it’s a theory that you can apply in your life.  It is deserving (overall) of all the praise it has received and it’s packed with a lot of useful information.  But don’t think of this as a blueprint and don’t think it’s going to show you how to achieve a four-hour work week.  This is more about the ‘why’ and about lighting the fire under you to motivate some change.