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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2008
Like many of these books you have to realize this isn't for everyone and it will not work for most. On the other hand there are many handy ideas on offloading work you shouldn't be doing anyway.

I know of other people who use for some of their copywriting and internet projects and the thought of having a personal assistant from India also sounds appealing. Since I am self employed this seems much more plausible than for an office worker to offload their work overseas and start taking more time out of the office.

I would recommend this for anyone self employed, looking to start their own business, or tired of their current grind. It will open your eyes to some opportunities, although I don't see it as the utltimate solution for everyone.
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108 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2007
I love and hate this book at the exact same time. The things I love about the book are the same things I hate about the book.

For those few people who are online and haven’t read the book, no matter how you understand the rest of this article - I am strongly recommending that you read the book.

To me, The Four Hour Work Week is two separate books in one. There is a philosophy of life that is described and a practical guide book to implementing the philosophy. The philosophy of life portion of the book is worth understanding but is greatly flawed. The guide book to implementing the philosophy is excellent and you can use it as the guide book to online wealth.

There is much I like about his philosophy and there is much I hate about his philosophy.

Tim’s overall philosophy is pretty straight forward.

Its all about getting as much as you can out of life with the smallest amount of effort. Which is pretty straight forward. The flaws are in how he gets there.

Whole Tim believes in short cuts and taking advantage of inconstancies that are part of history. de Bono called this “Thinking outside the box”.

The strength of Tim’s approach is self evident. There are many rules and rituals that have been in place and don’t need to be. These rules came into being in a different time and a different place and they should be challenged and changed. Until they are changed - they provide an opportunity.

Another part of the philosophy is to focus not on wealth but only on cash flow and time. Tim’s financial measure of success is hourly wage. The wage must be as high as possible - with the understanding there is a limit to the number of hours that the wage can be earned in. Its basic business, but by making it the focus of your business plan - it drives a number of other events, specifically the need to outsource everything.

To accomplish Tim’s vision - you need to be totally in sync with how and where you spend your time. Time becomes the most precious currency you have. Its not to be wasted or in any way abused. Time is certainly not to be used chasing a to do list that doesn’t move you closer to your goals.

Tim stresses a minimal existence focusing in on what you really need and want. A minimal existence doesn’t mean not having the best things it just means not owning them. Rent the Ferrari for a week, just don’t own it and pay insurance, maintenance or anything else. Tim believes that everything in the world can be yours if you can support the cost of leasing, renting, borrowing it, or making some compromise. Its just a matter of looking at it.

I love his idea that the world is a flat place and technology means that you can be anywhere you want and that you can employ people anywhere. Therefore the wealth of the west can be spent in the east.

His idea of not waiting to retire, but taking mini-retirements now is both great and flawed. He truly approaches the concept of time differently. He poses a solution to the philosophical question “Why is it when we are old we have the money to afford to enjoy ourselves but not the vigor to actually do it?”

Tim’s approach to personal wealth is to outsource everything and to make money on the creation of the supply chain. Simply put - find something people will buy and use everybody else to create and deliver the product. The entrepreneurs single task is creating the supply chain and making sure it keeps running. Which in his estimation - should take no more than “Four Hours A Week”. His simple version of the supply chain has the customer is at one end and the manufacturer is at the other end and a bunch of people in the middle moving things along.

He provides the sources for everything. So as a guide book to implementing his overall philosophy is a boon to everybody. I hope Tim has set up a affiliate program that matches no other.

These are just some of the reasons why I love the book and why it must be part of your library. Now lets think a bit about the flaws in the book.

The major flaw in the book is its written for a young healthy male who is smart and full of self confidence. If you don’t have all these attributes then much of the parts of the book won’t apply.

Tim talks a lot about taking advantage of the world by doing a lot of travel and living in expensive places. And he makes it sound so easy. But unfortunately much of the world can’t take advantage of this. Tim provides no alternatives.

Let me give you a few examples….

If you live in a wheel chair, use crutches or require regular hospital visits then a lot of the travel he talks about will be a challenge. If you anxiety issues or some form of nervousness then much of the living on the edge will be a challenge since there is a unstated requirement to be able to handle uncertainty. Things don’t go as planned. But if you are smart and confident don’t panic - it will always work out. But what if you have trouble making decisions or require time to think them through, then some of the situations that you may will find yourself in could be overwhelming.

People with allergies will have it even worse - because they need to monitor their food and what they eat. I happen to be an orthodox Jew, so being able to find kosher food is critical to my being able to eat. That effectively cuts out the parts of the world where there is no Jewish community, It certainly cuts out small towns and villages in most of the world. Further to the religious aspects - much of my lifestyle requires me to things in a community setting. There are other religions that have the similar requirements.

If you have children, you have a spouse, if you have elderly parents depending on you, much of the philosophy will create wishful thinking and unfortunately much of what is good in the book may be lost.

However, if you spend time contributing to the world around you - his approach will increase the time and money you can contribute. If you can generate the cash flow required.

Tim has limits and does not believe in theft of property or value. He is clear about providing value for money, but charging as much as you can for your product or service. This is business practice for luxury goods or in for pharmaceuticals. Luxury goods to this to keep the cache of the product, pharmaceuticals to this to finance the R&D of the drug.

This is fine and all very legal. But Tim he does not understand the concept of fairness or “Genavus Das”, the Jewish word for stealing thoughts from someone. A simple understanding is that if I setup a situation where I or you or Tim makes you think something that is false, I am stealing from you. Its an important concept for honest people who want to make the world a better place.

Most people understand the simple concept of fair play. Unfortunately Tim seems to have missed that lesson.

Let me explain with a couple of examples from his book.

One of his stories is about how he won a Kick Boxing title. In the story, he made the point that he found a rule in the book that says that if an opponent leaves the ring three times they are automatically disqualified. Tim learned and became expert at pushing people out of the ring. And using that technique he one the title. He makes a comment that he thinks the officials were upset with him.

He clearly followed the rules and did nothing illegal and he won and he can claim the title to the entire world - which he does on the cover of the book and any materials describing him.

Let’s now look at the story another way.

His opponents spent years studying and practicing techniques in kick boxing. Kickboxing was a very important part of their lives. His kick boxing opponent and their family probably sacrificed money, time, love, and who knows what else to be able to compete.

How about the officials. I imagine they love the sport. They give up their free time and their families also sacrificed for the sport.

What about the fans who pay good money to attend the event. They pay money, they give up time to attend.

All these people are dedicated to the sport - some more and some less. But all want to make the sport a success.

Tim comes along - finds a loophole in the rule which turns the event into a farce. So Tim won and he didn’t steal anything except the time and effort of all those people involved in the sport and the event he attended.

Can he ever return that to those people?

Another story in the book shows a simpler connection.

As part of the practical side of the book. Tim talks about testing products. He suggest setting up a website, testing the price, marketing the product, and even creating an google adwords marketing campaign.

But in the end it should all be fake - in the sense that people can’t actually purchase the product at the end of the sales process. [I want to be very very clear about something - he is VERY CLEAR NEVER TO SUGGEST taking money without delivering the product]

But imagine 10 year old Johnny is online with his father looking for a present for their mother’s birthday. They are new at being online so there searching skills are limited - but they find the perfect present on one of Tim’s test sites. They discuss the product, they decide its the perfect product for their mother. They figure out where the money is going to come from, etc. etc. Then at the very end - they see a note saying that the product is delayed and they but it will be available soon. So they wait and check the website daily. Since the only way to check is to go through the sales process. They do this everyday. They miss mommy’s birthday.

How is Tim every going to repay these people?

I heard an interview with Tim before I read the book. My impression was that he is sincere and a good fellow.

But I wonder after reading the book, if he understands what it means to be part of something bigger than himself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2010
Amazing book! And it was good to read it again as I purchase the first edition.
It wasn't clear to me what was added to this new version. It seemed exactly the same as the first edition, other than a few additions of some of Tim's Blog posts from his blog. I was expecting a bit more efforts to boost the revised edition with new material...
But again, it's still worth every penny!

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2007
While there certainly is a buffet of hype surrounding this title, I went ahead and bought it. A fair amount of it is over the top suggestions, and you have to learn to read past all the excessive patting of himself on the back. Few people have careers like the author who could follow his tools word for word. Having said that, he does give some really great advice on how to streamline your business and time wasted throughout the day and be more efficient, and have more time to do the hobbies. If the information is followed by the right career person, I could see it having a truly profound effect on one life. Very interesting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2007
The title alone is enough to catch your attention and make you think. I found out about The 4-Hour Work Week while posting a project on which featured a link to a YouTube video by author Timothy Ferriss . This book will make you challenge some of the assumptions that run your life, the assumptions about what is possible for your life, the assumptions about how you work, where you work and who you spend time with. It forced us to look at many of our habits and question their usefulness. We found the exercise to be very healthy.
You do not need to agree with everything Ferriss presents and suggests to get great value out of reading The 4-Hour Workweek. Reading it opens the door to possibilities for your life that you had not imagined or that you forgot as your work and life routines lost their initial purpose.
Particularly, Ferriss challenges our North American “workaholic-ism” with his 4 hour week claim. Whether it is real or not, aiming to work less and live more is a very healthy goal when we are so out of balance as a society. In doing so he asks us to consider dreams that are richer in time than things; and in our opinion, he is right to put more value in experiences and memories than bling.
Follow-up by watching a few of his talks that have been recorded and posted on YouTube.
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on May 12, 2013
I liked this book not because I think it is realistic to put these practices all into place, but because I praise the philosophy and principles behind them. I think you can put some of the ideas into practice into your life and use them to change your life to the one that you want -- i.e. less "work" and more time for yourself. Do we live to work or work to live?
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on December 18, 2013
Being a business owner, i wanted to find ways to be more efficient and productive. Was curious about the title. Yes, there are some interesting ideas to help you to become more efficient, but 4 hours work week is not realistic! Something like 15-20 hours work week, is the most i can go down to. Overall, an easy read and I would recommend it for all business owners.
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on March 5, 2014
So many simple solutions for the self employed....his guidelines around email usage are indispensable, just add discipline.
I will refer back to this book over and over. Another great one is call The Art of Time, can't recall the author but it's an older version of time management concepts that still apply today, highly recommended as well.
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on April 16, 2014
This book is a guide to freedom. If nothing else it will get you excited about the big picture, how to be more effecient and get more of what you want out of life, both professionally and personally. There is so much information that I need to read it again! Tim you are an inspiration, thank you for sharing your secrets to living life your way!
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on October 29, 2012
I enjoy Tim's writing style, I have found the book quite motivating but am only 1/2 way through it so far. Good book!
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