Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
I’m not sure about this book
”This guy is an idiot” ”This guy is a genius”. Those were the two first thoughts I had about the book and its author when I started reading this book. Mind you these were the first couple chapters where there is very little actual content, mostly backstory and hype. There were some golden nuggets in that hype and philosophy, but the overall feeling was of disappointment. My friend had recommended this book to me and while it wasn’t a book I had heard much about before, I took up reading it based pretty much solely on his recommendation. At the start the book felt like it was something of the ilk of “Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men – One message”, just fluff without any real content. Mind you I’ve read half of that book 10 years ago, but I thought it was worthless. Maybe I’ll pick it up again and maybe I will change my mind, but I digress.
I mentioned the duality I had for the start of the book and its author to the aforementioned friend. He mentioned having had similar thoughts at that point, and encouraged me to keep going, so I read on.
Hitting its stride
The book really starts to pick up after those couple of first chapters. Discussing how to change your work life so you can get more done in less time and how to move to working from your home instead of your office and the steps needed to take to get there. There are good guidelines and ideas on how to do this, and it’s highly actionable part of the book, the whole book is actually, which is a huge plus side of it. This advice is mostly targeted towards pretty highly paid specialists and as such will most likely miss most of the people, like it did me. However the ideas listed there; 80/20 thinking, avoiding disruptions in the workplace and many of these things are very applicable to other aspects of life and reading them quite helpful even though parts of it were aimed at a very particular set of people.
Don’t want to work all your life? Me neither
Now where the real meat of this book, at least to me, were in the last chapters where he describes to you the kinds of requirements a business, that doesn’t require your constant attention and time, has and how to start one. He provides examples, how to apply the ideas mentioned in the previous chapters to your own business, how to test the viability of it, and most importantly he provides you with resources. Tons and tons of web addresses to go to; where you can find products to dropship, where you can find info on different things, how to do this and that. This part of the book is extremely valuable to anyone dreaming of becoming self-employed and escaping the 9-5 grind. Many of the concepts and kinds of business you can start were familiar to me, but the book really drilled in the point of thinking ahead how to start a business that doesn’t take up a lot of your time. While it might be better to work for yourself than someone else, I think it’s infinitely better to not work at all if you can still reap the same benefits, and this book quite clearly shows you how to do it.
What do I think?
I can’t stress this point enough, but this book is very actionable. It doesn’t start by saying “I can’t tell you how to get rich, I can just tell you how to think like a rich man” which is a paraphrased quote from the “Why We Want You to be Rich”, but this book tells you what you can do, how you can do it, how to find info, where to go etc. Granted there is too much fluff around that for my liking, but certainly not an intolerable or excessive amount. I tend to be a pretty “no-nonsense” guy so this most likely is something I tend to notice way more than most people reading the book, so it probably won’t bother you. The fluff does help get you in the right mind set and is thought provoking so the fluff has its uses, perhaps I don’t see its full value and knock on it uselessly.
The book certainly gets my recommendation for anyone interested in either working from home at their current job and freeing up time for other activities and/or if you are interested in starting your own business, or want to earn a side income on top of your current job. I will say it again: it’s very actionable book. Many books of this kind aren’t and that’s their cardinal sin. You will see me talking about how actionable a book is in future reviews too because I personally think it’s a really big part of a book meant to improve you or your life is some way. There is value in books that change the way you think, it’s the very basis of self-improvement, but I think it needs to be supported by actions that consolidate those thoughts into your being.