Thoughts on the 4-Hour Workweek

I bought Tim Ferriss’s book years ago because the title reeled me in. (it was also a bestseller and I’m a sucker for bestsellers – amazingly, it’s still topping the charts up to now)

Really? 4 Hours of work? Sign me up now!

It’s a quick read which can be summarized in the acronym DEAL.

Basically, it says:

D – Definition (find out what you really want)

E – Elimination (applying the 80-20 Pareto principle on work hours, Tim concludes that you get 80% of the benefits through just 20% of what you actually do – so the solution? Find out what the useless 80% is comprised of and eliminate them)

A – Automation (building sustainable, automatic income using stuff like Google Adwords, automation, etc… and then using outsourced virtual assistants to free yourself from the day-to-day minutiae)

L – Liberation (the endgoal. this means you’ve freed yourself from the confines of set geography and time using E & A successfully)

Throughout the book, Tim talks about his fascinating travels and adventures (even becoming a kickboxing champ by thinking out of the box and bending rules). After reading the book, I remember feeling energized and telling myself, “I want to do that! I want to go around the world and just spend 4 hours on my job!”

After five years and one great entrepreneurial leap, I find myself saying, “No, I don’t want to do that anymore.”

I think the underlying assumption of the book is that you WANT to escape. That actual work is something demeaning – you have to escape it and minimize it as much as you can. Then you can go off and live out your adventure.

But what if I told you work CAN be your adventure? Would you still want to escape from it?

I remember reading in a Seth Godin book about this incident where he was in a resort on some island, and he got his laptop out and began to work on some stuff. He said some people were looking at him with faces saying, “Look at that poor guy, he can’t escape from his work.” Then Seth said something like, “You don’t understand, unlike you, I don’t have anything to escape from, I love what I’m doing!”

I think we ALL need something to work on, more specifically, something to BUILD. The problem isn’t work per se, but the type of work we are choosing (yes, choosing – no one’s forcing you to work on that zombie job) to do. Majority of us are just miscast. Find something you love. Find something you’d choose to do in a resort. (and yes, now, more than ever, working on a passion IS a practical choice)

Yes, it’s good to dream of going around the world, but let’s separate the desire to travel with the desire to escape.

Funny thing is, if you would look at Tim’s accomplishments now, you’d see he’s published multiple bestselling books, is an avid angel investor, and promotes his personal brand through different media.

I’d bet he’s having the time of his life working much, much more than 4 hours a week.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on the 4-Hour Workweek

  • I’m an avid of Tim Ferriss. People really take the “4 hours” literally. I think he uses the “4 hour” only as a branding or a marketing tool but the real essence of it is minimizing the unnecessary things – least amount of effort in producing the desired result (productivity). When he built his start up with BrainQuicken (can’t remember if this is the right one), he admitted that he spent endless nights operating it. I don’t see it as an escape. He wants other people to think outside the box and be more “productive”, free some of their time in order to do more things they’re passionate about. Just my 2 cents.

    • Thanks for chiming in bro! Different paradigms ALWAYS welcome – they make the conversation so much better.

      Hmmmm. What I do want to avoid is the idea that a “shortcut” can work. The book essentially advocates putting up a startup which you can run on “least amount of effort” – that gives me pause. Sounds like a shortcut. Why start something to get away from it anyway? Start something YOU’D WANT to spent a lot of time on. It is possible.

      What I’ve always admired Ferris is his mantra – YOU CAN BECOME AN EXPERT ON ANYTHING! He really lives that out. I think this is both essential and inspiring for entrepreneurs!

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