- 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) Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
The concept of diversifying your income is a great one - you just have to make it your own. I first read this book several years ago, while I was still in the service, and realized that I had the possibility to apply his advice. I had bought a house, and decided I would pay it off as soon as I could so that when I transitioned out of the military it wouldn't be a liability. Instead, it's an income. It's paid off, and I rent it out. It's not enough to live on entirely, but that's not the point. It enables me to work part time and still pay my bills, while going to school for a career change. If I hadn't done that, I would have to work full time, which would leave me no time for relationships and other life-balancing things. It's not about making the big bucks, it's about making enough to enable the life you want to live. And that's a really cool idea.
I read a lot of the negative reviews and many of them miss the point: he is not trying to tell you how to get rich quick or even easily; he is telling you how to make the best use of your time by using technology to make money efficiently. Along the way, he makes some interesting philosophical points, mainly about how we (mis)use our time on the planet. He is not telling you that you have to live part-time in Thailand...he is making the point that you don't need to be chained to a desk in the information age. You could play more golf or spend time with your kids or contemplate your navel...whatever.
No single book is going to change your life or make you rich or make you loved or whatever it is you are looking for. You have to selectively use the information from a variety of sources and your brains and energy to make that happen. I have not used any of these techniques yet so I cannot say whether they are effective or not, but I am more than prepared to believe that there are many honest folks out there that do and make money much more efficiently than I do.
Along those lines, it's interesting that some people cite Bill Gates or Warren Buffett as examples of the hard work, nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic that makes America great. Hey, those guys are the world's best at using technology to multiply their efforts (i.e. earn money efficiently) which is exactly what he is talking about in this book! If those guys chose to take mini-vacations instead of working hard (and I have no idea how hard they really work), I promise you that they would produce much more in 1 hour than most of us do in a month.
It is also interesting how many folks talk about how "nothing is produced" or "it's bad for America." Those people need to take a crash-course in how capitalism works. Here it is in a nutshell "sell things for more than you buy them for." What do you think that every corporation in America exists to do?
Tim does use a few examples of bending the rules to make his points and I'm sure that is what throws some folks off and make them distrustful of him and his techniques (literal thinking at it's best). But I don't see many of the negative reviews saying "I gave some of these concepts a try and they just don't work." I intend to give it a try before I say that he is full of it. I suspect that like everything else worthwhile that I'll have to work hard to learn the ropes, I'll have to have courage to actually "do something" and time will tell whether the payout is worth it.
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