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Did you know that if the trends of the last two centuries hold, everyone's workweek will be four hours by 2407? What will people do with all that free time? It's a good question that this book recommends you consider.

Mr. Ferriss does a favor for those who hate their jobs but cannot find work they like by explaining how you can still draw a salary while working very few hours (by hiding from the boss and using the 80/20 rule -- 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts). His method is deliberately manipulative (possibly fraudulent is another possible description that comes to mind), so you'll have to watch out that you don't get caught or you might have to repay some of that salary.

What do you do while you are hiding from the boss? Mr. Ferriss recommends starting a highly profitable online retail business that's so highly automated it can be operated in only four hours a week. You'll find details of how to do this that matches what I receive in lots of spam e-mails every week.

After you've got half a million a year rolling in by selling expensive items at a high profit margin, Mr. Ferriss provides lots of advice on how to take six-month miniretirements in cheap places around the world (Argentina and Berlin are his favorites). I'm still puzzled by why Berlin can be a cheap place to live. The rest of Germany when I've visited certainly isn't.

The book's come-on explains how Mr. Ferriss has accomplished all kinds of world-class things to boost his credibility. Unfortunately, you'll find that it isn't always classy how Mr. Ferriss does this. For example, he won the Gold Medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championships in 1999. He dehydrated himself more than the other competitors did the day before the competitions for the weigh in so that he could compete against men much smaller and lighter than he was, and he then simply used his quickly regained weight the next day to push competitors off the platform (three times off the platform and you are disqualified).

I find several problems with this book:

1. There's almost nothing original in it. You're just reading summaries that might have been written by a $5 an hour researcher in India. And much of what he draws on isn't acknowledged. For instance, he uses some of Dr. Stephen Covey's seven habits as chapter subtitles . . . but never references or credits Dr. Covey once in the book.

2. He provides so little information on each aspect of his ideas that I doubt that very many readers can really implement what he recommends.

3. There's no moral center to the book. Mr. Ferriss comes across as a con man in several ways.

4. He achieves a 4-hour workweek by simply skimming the cream of a business model that any one of two billion literate people can implement at some level. Are we to believe this business model will be highly profitable for the next several years? I doubt it.

5. I've met very few small business people who simply wanted to retail something on the Internet so they could work only four hours a week. Usually, small business people see their businesses and work as a creative activity that energizes them.

I do admire the book's title. It's a real grabber. It's too bad that there's not more substance to go with it.

If you want to learn how to make breakthroughs in personal and organizational productivity that allow you to live the life you want, there are better resources out there such as The E-Myth Manager by Michael E. Gerber, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer, How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein, and Photoreading by Paul R. Scheele.
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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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on July 1, 2011
What a great read... in a nutshell: "Do what you love to do; outsource the rest."

Ferriss is an inspiring persona and provides us real-life tools of how he was able to attain utopia--a four-hour work week (4HWW). However, my passion does not resemble a product that I developed or redesigned, that could be converted into a mailorder business... unless I start re-packaging my favorite whole bean coffee from the Okanagan Valley, brand it organic, fair-trade and bird-friendly.

Alas, for those of us in middle to upper management in a traditional organizations, a 4HWW is not readily attainable. For many of us in these roles, we have at least 6 persons reporting to us and you, in turn, report to another person (or maybe more in a matrix responsibility organization)... and they have at least 4 or 5 peers. The normal command and control organization, where work is done in teams, meetings and in person does not lend itself to a 4HWW.

We are then left with three options:

1) Muster all of your formal, informal, political influence and combine with a bunch of emotional fortitude (all guts; no fear)... and start a mini-revolution to redesign the way you work with your team and your boss(es).
2) Quit your job and engineer that new iPad app that doubles up on "Angry Birds"
3) Take pieces of Ferriss' techniques and apply them to your current job (take the "act first, prove it, ask forgiveness later" approach)

I elected to pusue #3 (with some forwarning) and have undertaken to implement or have already implemented several of the below. So far, my productivity has risen dramatically, OT hours dropped and more time devoted to family and personal hobbies.

- Virtual Executive Assistant (DONE! Best $13/hr I've spent with BrickworkIndia)
- Speed reading/learning (DONE! I thought I was fast before... 20% better now)
- EverNote (DONE! Way better than MS-OneNote... cloud computing taken to the next level, with interfaces to everyone of my devices: PC work; PC home; Blackberry; iPad)
- Batching email reading and writing (DONE... well almost; I have a poor habit that needs breaking)
- "Puppy Dog Salesmanship" = "Take them home for a day or week. Bring them back if you're not comfortable or satisfied." --> ditto for trying new things at work. Test, experiment, pilot... if it doesn't work for you or your manager, it can always revert back to the old paradigm
- Voicemail to Email via PhoneTag (TESTING right now)
- Google Calendar/AutoSync/TimeDriver - send an email with "Schedule Now" button to allow users to book into your open time slots (STARTED, but IT network won't allow me to install AutoSync on PC work; but I figured out a workaround using my iPad. TESTING right now)
- Xobni (inbox spelled backwards) - batching and hotspot email periods (haven't tried yet, but would force me to break the bad email habit of processing all the time)
- Virtual conceirge (haven't tried yet, but as the errands pile up, it may be worth a try at $10/hr)
- Virtual freelance services - define the scope of work; post it; answer Q&A to redefine scope; the service "bids" out the work; get quotes back; select the freelancer; get the work done (Haven't tried yet, but the first SQL or Oracle programming issue I uncover, I am all over it)

"Here are two trusims to keep in mind: (1) doing something unimportant well does not make it important; (2) requiring a lot of time does not make a task important"

"How to read 200% faster in 10 minutes" (really, a must read section)

"The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what's going on so they can do a lot more than they've done in the past." - Bill Gates

"Income Autopilot" - for those who don't want to run a business, but rather for those who want to OWN a business

"Fewer than 5% of the 200,000 books published each year sell more than 5,000 copies" {So much for getting rich being an author}

Ferriss does get a bit scrambled at the end of his book... you can tell he wanted to add so much more of what he has learned. Check out [...].
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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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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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on September 4, 2013
This is not a lazy-man's guide to business, although that is the way it talks to get people to read it. This book is a "reality hammer" for people to wake up, open their eyes, and see the business world as it really is, full of higher tech allowing better work, smarter work, and above all, the elimination of wasted time.

I own successful businesses & this book was totally different from the snooze-fest that most business books have become ... it challenges the ordered business structures completely and challenges the person.

It tells you to wake up and smell the coffee, to look at your work and get objective. Further, it tells you to look at yourself in the mirror and get objective. I read it once ... then read it again a week later. Literally standing in my office looking at my desk with the piles of projects and assorted work for different companies I put the content of this book to work for me.

Virtual assistant: a Godsend. If you are a businessman without a virtual assistant you are an idiot. That said, I was an idiot putting off what technology gives us today, a smart, hardworking, tech-savvy assistant that goes through work like a chainsaw. There is no project that cannot be done better by a good virtual assistant. Examples: Organize all your photos including your business photos (personal), suggest additions to your LinkedIn community by researching peers (business), build up research your genealogy & family tree (personal), suggest books and ebooks to read for an upcoming lecture (business), collate and organize that book you have always wanted to write (personal), coordinate your calendar (business), organize birthdays w ecards for same (business + personal) ... the list is endless ... all at $13 per hour though I pay a little more.

This book is a welcome wake up call.
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on November 27, 2007
As the author of the international bestseller "The Joy of Not Working" (over 225,000 copies sold) and "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" (over 75,000 copies sold) I follow the principles in my books. Indeed, I have a great lifestyle. I work only 4 to 5 hours a day and make a comfortable living. In my books I advocate that people leave corporate life as soon as possible and work less than half the hours of the average working stiff.

I always considered that the paradigm that I operate with is much different than that of the average working person. But after reading "The 4-Hour Workweek", I realize that my paradigm is much closer to that of the average working person than that of Tim Ferris. I now want to operate closer to the level of Tim Ferris.

I love this book. I disagree with most of the negative comments made by certain reviewers. There is a lot of valuable material in this classic that we all can use although we may never get to the point of working only 4 hours a week. We may be able to work only two hours a day, however, and still make a great living.

Some of the most important principles in this book are:

1. Get unrealistic.
2. Practice the art of nonfinishing.
3. Cultivate selective ignorance.
4. Do not multi-task.
5. Outsource as much of your life as you can.
6. Being busy is a form of laziness - lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
7. Forget about time management.

This book is written for ordinary people who want to accomplish extraordinary things with minimal time involved.

Here are five of several favorite quotes from "The 4-Hour Workweek" that I intend to place on The Joy of Not Working Website ( [...] )

1. If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

2. The blind quest for cash is a fool's errand.

3. It's lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for "realistic" goals, paradoxically making them the most time-consuming and energy consuming. It is easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.

4. The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone is aiming for base hits.

5. Tens of thousands of people, most of them less capable than you, leave their jobs every day. It's neither uncommon nor fatal.

In short, "The 4-Hour Workweek" can set you on a new course in life where you have a lot more leisure time and a lot more money at the same time. In fact, the material in this book, as in Richard Koch's "Living the 80/20 Way", can be much more valuable than an MBA if you would like to get what you want out of life without killing yourself for it.

But you will have to take risks and give up some of your most treasured beliefs. No doubt most people will read "The 4-Hour Workweek" and not consider making any major changes to get out of their stale, boring jobs. As Timothy Ferris states, "Pure hell forces action, but anything less can be endured with enough clever rationalization."

If you would like to be one of the few who enjoy a life filled with a lot of freedom and leisure, however, then read this book and adopt the principles that resonate with you. Follow these principles religiously and your life will likely change dramatically for the better.
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on February 5, 2014
But actioning some/most of it seems a bit far fetched.

Would recommend only if you had $10,000 or more for initial startup with the overseas companies - and could afford to loose same.
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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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on April 16, 2015
Tim Ferriss is a very creative guy. He wasn't content with the status quo and decided to do something about it and create a life on his own terms.

The book is a great and easy read. It is valuable because it shows that there are many solutions that are easily achievable but may not be "obvious". Yet they are obvious to others, to Tim Ferriss. This books shows you those creative options and for that it gets three stars.

The reason why I do not give it more stars is that it "promises" a life of easy riches. It plays on the basic human emotion, the desire to become rich quickly and stop working so hard! If we all worked 4 hours a week, would our economy still function? Or is there a chance that the author is promoting some method that would get quick riches on the backs of those other people? Like your uncle who didn't see this book and was dull enough to work 20 years hard labour... The methods used and proposed in the book fail to have a moral compass.

It also fails to discuss the difference between what people think will make them happy and what actually does make people happy. I would recommend reading "FLOW" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to get an answer to that question.

Overall it is a useful book for those who want to start a small business, get some ideas, I would recommend it just don't get carried away in the hype. The title is just an attention grabber...
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