‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ Tim Ferriss

How the new rich live, or so we are to believe.

I gave a presentation on Friday and quoted The 4-Hour Work Week, so clearly it had an impact on me. Like all self-help style books, you kind of hope that it will give you a fit of inspiration and your life will change forever. Unfortunately, I’m still the ever-procrastinating person that I always was although, to be fair, in my day job I have used principals from within to make us all more productive. This is what you should regard the book as more than anything: a productivity book. Combined with The 4-Hour Body, which is also worth a read, you can cut all of the fat out of your life if you follow everything down to a tee.

Tim Ferriss made his millions and got a better body and life and all the accouterments that come along with it with this strategy. He started up BrainQuicken which he was then able to largely automise and then go off travelling the world and living life to the max.

I enjoy reading self-help books largely because I like reading how people live their lives. This probably explains why I went on to do History to a postgraduate level. Reading about how Ferriss freed up his time and some of his round-the-world adventures was quite interesting. Less interesting to me was the nitty gritty of how to keep the wheels turning in your absence. This book is largely aimed at entrepreneurs, and there is some very practical advice here about how to keep the business ticking on the cheap, for example by best utilising apps such as Evernote – which I do use but clearly haven’t managed to get the best out of it yet – and by hiring an assistant from Pakistan or elsewhere on the cheap. Saying this, there are also tips for employees, and if you do take his advice you’ll see that your productivity does increase. Once I’ve got over my procrastination, this definitely is the case for me.

The main takeaways are as follows:

  • Make a note of every task that you do. This will make you aware of what takes up a lot of time but isn’t worth doing, and what you do that results in the highest profit.
  • Work out how much you need to earn per month to live the lifestyle that you would like to have. Do this by experiences rather than material goods. How much would it cost for you to travel and take lessons, for instance. If you’re purely searching for material goods, the struggle will never end. However, do also out aside money for material goods and, you know, the general cost of living in your budget.
  • From these two steps, work out your hourly wage. Any spare cash earned after your “ideal money/life” equation, reinvest back into the business. This can be in terms of expansion or just hiring an assistant to help out with tasks below your station.
  • Cut out bad clients. The time that you spend with them will outweigh the profits that you will receive in the end. Stick to the hourly equation.

Solid advice, and advice that I have given to my bosses who own their own business which has, combined with one of them also reading a business book, resulted in their highest monthly turnover ever last month. No easy feat.

Similarly, The 4-Hour Body looks at how to improve your physical and psychological life as efficiently as possible. Efficiency is so important that in the introduction, Ferriss outlines that you only really need to read 200 or so pages of the 700 page book at a time in order to achieve the areas of improvement that you are after.

I think Ferriss really is onto something. Moving forward, people are more interested in being time rich than cash rich, as long as they are cash comfortable at least. This is why it isn’t overly applicable to me: I’m still searching for a job that means I don’t have to worry about covering rent. The perils of living in your early 20s, I guess. Nonetheless, the principals within the book are definitely there to live by and I have seen that if they are stuck to, you will definitely reap the rewards.

I’d like to read a version aimed specifically at creative people, as it seems here that it’s mostly aimed at business-types who then may want to pursue their creative dreams on the side. Writing this out, maybe this is the way that I should approach my life actually. Hm.

Of course, as with every self-help style book, you need to take it with a pinch of salt and adapt it to your own situations. But self-improvement is always worthwhile.



n.b. the first draft of this (read: the title) was saved on 22nd May and it is now 13th July. Procrastination abound! It’s only taken me 15 minutes to write. Awful. 

Worth a read. 


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