The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek

A rather unconventional personal improvement book, the 4-hour workweek aims to give you back control over your time and mobility; the two characteristics that the author, Guinness-record holding, Princeton lecturer Tim Ferriss argues are the hallmark of the ‘New Rich.’

The central idea

Ferriss proposes a new way of living, which is practiced by who he calls the ‘New rich,’ wherein the want of money isn’t as important as doing the right things with the money you have.

We are often too bound by comparing ourselves to people we see living monotonous lives around us and idealizing that rote life as an aim.

The author argues that this is wrong. The new rich are not about making money for the post-60 bliss.

It’s about making your life so happening that it won’t need retiring from.

Things like using the money you have smartly, figuring out the way to make money effectively, performing tasks that create real value that’ll make you truly rich, etc., are emphasized in the book.

Key ideas

  1. The strategy to being part of the new rich is called DEAL :
    1. Definition
    2. Elimination
    3. Automation
    4. Liberation
  2. Definition - The new rich don’t save up for retirement. Instead, they make their life such that it doesn’t need retirement. They have adventures interwoven with work. The 4-hour workweek is about making more money while working less but working meaningfully.
  3. Elimination - The focus for the new rich should be based on the Pareto principle.
    1. 80% of output results from 20% of input. Figure out the actions that carry the most meaning for you, and eliminate the rest.
    2. We all live in an information overload. Retain only information that is needed immediately, and eliminate the rest.
    3. Learn when to stop absorbing. Do not continue reading a poorly written article. Avoid overdosing on news and social media.
    4. Interrupting interruptions to make sure they are infrequent and short-lived. Also, it is essential to have predefined rules so that you don’t spend hours making small decisions.
  4. Automation - Learn to replace yourself within a system, never automate something that could be eliminated, and never delegate something that could be automated. First, evaluate each task that needs to be done, remove ones that can be avoided, check if you can automate the rest, and delegate only the stuff which cannot be automated.
  5. Liberation - Taking steps to make sure you could work a job and yet have moments of freedom like the new rich.
    1. When given a chance to work remotely, kill it and show the employers you can be trusted with working on your own.
    2. Instead of a post 60 requirement, use mini-retirements and spread them out across your everyday life. It is cheaper to live in villas on islands than to manage rent in the US.
  6. If you’re working on a product, here are some tips from the book:
    1. Always validate your business ideas. Before building a product or service, make sure you know people will pay money for it. It’ll be much worse if you invest time and money in it and then have to call it quits.
    2. When marketing a product, target high-paying clients. Instead of a large number of clients who’ll pay pennies, find a small number niche who’ll pay top dollar for your product or service.

Conclusion

While the book sometimes goes into a utopian ideal of a work-life, parts of the book are worth considering and finding ways to implement in our everyday lives.

The ideas discussed around delegation and automation are interesting. The journey of How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week is inspirational.

If you are interested in reading this book, we would strongly recommend the expanded version of it, where there are real-life examples of families and individuals who have put some of these principles into action and reaped some rewards. Overall, it is a decent read.

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