The Four Hour Workweek Book Review and Giveaway

Posted: August 03, 2009 Comments(17)

My fiancée Carrie and I returned from our first ‘official’ vacation in about three years this past Friday. It was fantastic attempting to simply forget about everything that has to do with anything. Regular readers may have noticed that I’ve missed a few publications over recent months, and I feel that has to do with a bit of burn out coming on. What better time to have a vacation kick in!

I decided that I was going to do my best to truly unplug for the week, and although I did a decent job, I must admit that I did check email from time to time (a true curse). That said, I’ve had a few non-Web books to read that were long overdue, and I decided that the vacation would be the perfect time.

I’ve always had an underlying interest in business. I really enjoy reading about business strategy alongside best practices and my business law courses in college were probably some of my favorite. That’s not to say I consider myself anywhere knowledgeable of business, simply intrigued. I think it ties closely with my pursuit of process and personal productivity on a very low level.

This generic interest in business and personal productivity, alongside an abundance of chatter, lead me to snag a copy of The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. It’s one of those books you’ve heard mentioned often, and can’t help but give a bit more attention. To be honest, however, my first reaction to the title and brief summaries included a blend of the following:

  • … huh
  • Get rich quick scam
  • SPAM
  • Yeah right.
  • pfffffffft

I summary, I was turned off by the one-liners describing what you’ll get from the book. I tend to be skeptical when it comes to just about anything, until I’m proven otherwise. I don’t consider myself a pessimist, simply thorough. When it comes to The Four Hour Workweek it came down to consistently hearing good things about the book from friends (not press) and seeing references to Timothy Ferriss on a fairly consistent basis. The book sat in my case for months, but I’ve finally had a chance to read it cover to cover.

About The Four Hour Workweek

The Four Hour Work Week Book Cover

The Four Hour Workweek is labeled as a self-help, personal productivity, business, lifestyle book. I haven’t read too many self-help books, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with something labeled as such. Timothy Ferriss describes what inspired him to turn his life upside down and go completely against the grain of the “old rich”, instead taking cues from the New Rich.

The New Rich (NR) are identified as such based on three key factors: time, income, and mobility. Naturally, income is unavoidable when it comes to classification, but I was interested to see that both time and mobility were included as well. After all, what good is making lots of money if you can never go anywhere or have time to do anything? Living a luxurious lifestyle that consists of working from the time you wake until you go to bed doesn’t sound very enthralling.

The book goes into great detail outlining what Timothy did to escape a life he discovered undesirable. He describes starting his own business, become overworked and burnt out with it, and what he did to step back and rework everything from the ground up. Much of the book focuses on the Pareto principle (the 80-20 rule), something I find to be more true every day. The rule states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This can be applied to life, business, finances, and just about any aspect of everything. As generic as it sounds, recognizing the principle and acting on it can really change things for yourself, specifically in business.

The Four Hour Workweek also focuses on task management, time management, empowerment, and effectiveness to name a few things. The entire premise of the book is to recognize what takes away from your “wealth” and focuses on the ways to remedy each of those causes (continually referencing the 80-20 rule).

What I liked about the book

Timothy Ferriss’ writing style is terribly easy to read. It’s as though he were sitting across the dinner table from you, dishing out the secrets to his success over the course of a few hours. I never tired of reading the book, and read it from cover to cover in just a few sittings as a result.

The book goes into an extraordinary amount of detail. At the end of each chapter, Timothy gives a summary of points discussed by providing links, addresses, phone numbers, or other associated contact information for companies/people/websites referenced in the current chapter. It’s very conclusive and helpful should you be so inspired to take action straight away.

Timothy does a great job of explaining what he learned from changing many aspects of his life, and why it worked. He takes you through his life journey, and the realizations he found along the way. It’s as much a story as it is a learning experience, and I think that helps to convey his message in a more effective way.

What I didn’t like about the book

From a very high level, this book is geared toward a very specific person. Someone who simply isn’t happy with their current work situation, looking for big changes because of that unhappiness. I, on the other hand, am very happy with my job, and I’m not looking to flip things upside down because of my unhappiness.

With this book, I had to put that aside and take the advice for what it’s worth; and that’s when I began soaking things in. Unless you’re really looking for something different, you’ll need to abstract yourself when reading the book to get any advice from it, else you’ll be telling yourself “this doesn’t apply to me in the least” many times while reading the book.

Additionally, to really get a lot from the book, in essence you need to have the same goals as Timothy. That includes consistent travel, mobility to do so, and a fairly specific lifestyle. I, on the other hand, find comfort in different things and have different end goals, but do recognize the value in a new way of living described in The Four Hour Workweek.

It’s an absolute personal opinion, and I have no idea whether or not you’ll find the note useful, but it’s the only negative I found from the book.

Conclusion and giveaway details

Overall, I’m very glad to have read The Four Hour Workweek. I’ve been meaning to read the book for months and I’m glad I finally took the time to do so. I definitely got a few reminders from Timothy Ferriss as well as a number of new ideas to kick around. I can definitely see why he’s getting so much press and praise for the publication, as it definitely shakes things up a bit. The book isn’t for everyone though, and I can see many people pushing it aside as an impossible feat or otherwise. However, if you follow Timothy Ferriss through his many postings, appearances, and otherwise, you’ll see that he does in fact live his life quite a bit differently than ‘the norm’.

While I’m not looking to “get rich” and travel the world as a lifestyle, I am looking to get the most out of what I can, and this book does indeed offer tips to accomplish such a task, even if your goals don’t run completely parallel with Timothy’s. The biggest take home message I got from the book was to stop working for some sort of unattainable goal to be reached in 45 years. Instead, giving yourself periodic shorter term goals with associated personal rewards attached to each. I can completely understand the lack of stability in working your entire life for a single gargantuan, globally completing goal.

The advice given in the book, while eccentric, has some backing, and I really enjoy reading about people approaching things differently, and documenting both their successes and failures throughout.

I liked the way things turned out with the last giveaway so I’m going for it again with The Four Hour Workweek! If you’ve been a bit skeptical on this book, enough so to prevent you from forking over the cash, leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for my copy. Good luck!

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Comments

  1. A 4 hour work “week”? Hmm… Seems like I get a 4 hour work “hour”. I wish I could even get it down to a 4 hour work “day”. Yes, please count me in. I could use that time to spend with family. 🙂

  2. I’d love to win a copy of this book! I’m trying to make my way through some major life decisions at the moment, and am trying to wade through as much advice as I can get. Glad you got something out of it.

  3. I’ve been hearing about this book for a while, but had the same reaction as you. Still, I’m curious. An opportunity to get a copy without paying sounds about right…

  4. I thought this book wasn’t for me until I read your review. Now I’m pretty curious. Would love to read a copy.

  5. Don’t need the book, read it already, but I was more than a little surprised by the book, not as worthless as I expected it to be, some good advice and resources listed.

    Don’t know if that makes it a good book or just a sign of how my expectations where to begin with 🙂

  6. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, I’ve heard good things about it and your review confirmed it.

    Thanks for putting in the time for book reviews, it’s always hard to get a trustworthy opinion and we seem to have a similar taste in books!

    I’ve got a vacation of my own coming up in a month and this book seems like just the right type of vacation reading 😉

    Ines

  7. I’ve heard podcasts of Tim speaking about this book and read a lot around it, but haven’t actually read the book. I like your review – I know I have the same reservations about what he says (I like my work and enjoy putting in the hours and producing stuff – don’t want to outsource it all) but I definitely think there are things to be gained from the concept – a new perspective on life and productivity in general.

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