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. 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 take an in-depth look and find out.
Despite the title referring to four hours, the reality is that this book is more generally aimed at helping you to work less however much 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 digital nomads or just place more emphasis on jobs that help them design their lifestyle and this could largely be seen as the doing of Tim Ferriss!
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 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 definitely better reads out there. For those who are employed he discusses how to get more flexible hours – but it’s likely that a lot of employers would simply turn your request down flat.
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 travelling. 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.
In conclusion then, this is definitely a book worth reading and it’s a book we should all be glad was written. It is deserving (on the whole) of all the praise it has received and it’s definitely 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. This is more about the ‘why’ and about lighting the fire under you to motivate some change.