- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 1 minute
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: December 18, 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0031KN6T8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) Audiobook – Unabridged
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First of all, when I picked up the book, I didn't expect that he was literally working only four hours a week. I thought he was just talking about ways to spend less time working, but that "The 4-Hour" just sounded good (since he now has a whole line of books with titles that start that way). Nope. Turns out he really only worked four hours every week for a few years. I hate him. Now, with his series of books and everything, that's not true so much, so I hate him less. Now his job is much more similar to what I actually want to do.
As I said, Ferriss has some great ways of eliminating clutter and busywork, including things you don't even think of as busywork. I've already started implementing some of these tips at work, and they've come in pretty handy so far. I keep meaning to get rid of a bunch of my physical clutter, but my laziness keeps getting in the way of that. I'll get around to it in the next few weeks.
I also appreciated his philosophy of taking mini-retirements throughout life, rather than one long retirement at the end of life. I never did understand the point of retirement, so Ferriss's plan sounds much more appealing to me. As he put it, retirement should be nothing more than a fail-safe in case something happens and you are physically (or mentally) incapable of working. My thoughts exactly.
My main problem with his philosophy is that it really only works if you have a product that you are not actually making, but that you can sell. For example, even if I were to quit my day job and write all day every day, I would still be working a lot. Granted, that would make my job a whole lot more portable, but I could never get away with only working four hours per week (at least not until after I sell that bestselling novel, which is such a realistic plan!) In order to do it his way, I would need to have something that is already produced, or that someone else is making (clothes, dietary supplement, etc.) where all I have to do is collect the money that comes in from those sales.
Of course, that's a lot harder than it sounds. His ways of eliminating the useless from his life are really quite impressive, and not to be underestimated, but I still wonder if someone in their twenties, who is just starting out in life, can really make his plan work? Some of his success stories include people negotiating working remotely, because they have built up value in their company. Someone who has only been working at their current job for a year or two does not have the kind of leverage necessary to do that.
Additionally, he talks about the trick to getting out of your job so you can go have that great once-in-a-lifetime adventure. He mentions considering the worst-case scenario and the fact that worst-case is not necessarily all that bad. One of his points he brings up is that, if he loses his job, he can get another one fairly easily. Well, great for him, but the original book was written before the job market collapsed, followed by this lovely "jobless recovery". I was recently unemployed for eight months and it was not fun. I, too, thought I could get another job within a few months, but that did not turn out to be the case. So, if I go spend all my money on a mini-retirement now, and then come back only to find that I can't get a job for another year, I'll be screwed. Yes, even that worst-case scenario isn't that bad. I could always move back in with my parents, but I'd really rather not. I love them, but they have enough to deal with right now, and the last thing I want to do is burden the people around me because I decided to go globe-trotting for a few months. Timothy Ferriss told me it would be fine!
1. Pretend you're an expert on... anything. He specifically explains that it doesn't even matter what you might or might not actually know. You do this by repackaging the works of others and selling "your" ideas on-line -- to the gullible masses. Seriously, he begins by admitting he first made his fortune selling (allegedly) nutritional supplements that cost almost nothing to make and weren't based on science, but were then hyped to the point the uninformed public was paying through the nose to get it. This gave him ideas on how to further hype his message to an even larger audience, without bothering to sell anything tangible. Just tell them how they, too, can get rich quick by pretending to actually know something. He then gives advice about "paraphrasing and combining points from several books," borrowing from the public domain, and/or compensating some other "expert." This way, you don't need to be bothered to actually learn anything, which brings me to step #2.
2. Stay uneducated. This is in the chapter entitled "The Low Information Diet." He admits he doesn't bother staying abreast on the news or any other kinds of current events -- even to the point that, during election seasons, he simply asks his more educated friends about whom will win their votes and then votes for those candidates. Not kidding. He justifies this by saying how the time it takes to, you know, LEARN THINGS, is time that could be spent running a business on autopilot or having fun. Apparently, not knowing a damn thing is a virtue he calls "Cultivating Selective Ignorance." I prefer to call it, "The Suicide of Democracy." If having an educated and well-informed populace is fundamental to having a flourishing democracy, this is how we'll end up with a plutocracy where the stupidest few prey on the desperate and stupid masses, while outsourcing all the jobs they might create. This brings me to point #3.
3. Outsource everything -- including your brain -- to a 3rd World Country: He hires virtual assistants in various 3rd World Countries, especially India, who are then given fabulous access to all of his personal information to the point they can pretend to be him and make all of his personal and business decisions. They send all of his correspondence, including e-mails and anything of an official nature (which causes me to assume they wrote this book for him. They certainly wrote many of the excellent reviews). Personal business which can be done remotely are always done by them. As he states he can't be bothered to think for himself, it shouldn't be surprising he isn't interested in working for himself, either. Hey, what could possibly go wrong by hiring complete strangers and giving them all information about you in order to think for you, do your work and run your errands? Finally, point #4:
4. Avoid those who want knowledge: If you can't be bothered knowing anything, why should they? Whether it's your boss or your client, do everything in your power to avoid those people because of how they drain your time. The boss wants you to attend a meeting? Just tell him you're too busy and further kill morale by then asking those other suckers - aka, co-workers - for a quick breakdown of what happened. Clients? Don't get back to them right away, if ever. If they demand to actually know something, have those remote virtual assistants send them just enough to get them to shut up.
There are a couple, minuscule, points the author makes that are reasonably valid, such as: It's good to streamline your many processes and it's good to have solid goals. Also, I could say that the book begins by being very motivational. If I were critiquing this on just the first few pages it would likely have 4 stars. As it's written, the unethical, stupid and lazy b.s. kills any chance of this even getting 2 stars.
I wish I hadn't bought this on Kindle.
I wish I had read the bad reviews, first.
The key is prioritize your life and I do like the idea of setting up your life with phases of intense productivity and a few phases of semi-retirement while you're still young enough to enjoy it.
As a project manager, I found the lazy project manager a better book for my career path.