Today’s post is titled The 4-Hour Workweek Review and for good reason. I have wanted to write this post for some years now and I finally got down to do it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
On to my story!
How I Came Upon The 4-Hour Workweek
When I was still in high school (8-9 years ago), one day I was sitting through a really boring “computers and informatics” class (I have talked about this on the welcome page as well).
What we essentially did during those classes was pretty simple. We either did some boring and purposeless activity with our teacher or just played games on Miniclip.
I don’t want to judge our “informatics” teacher, she was a really well-intentioned woman. But when your teacher slaps the PC to make it work when it is stuck, you know something’s wrong.
Instead of wasting my minutes on Miniclip I decided to check my e-mails(what e-mails does a high school student get?). The self-help junkie that I was, I had recently subscribed to the mailing list of a popular Greek bookshop that occasionally sent suggestions of new self-help books.
And then the fated moment happened :P. I stumbled upon The 4-Hour Workweek. It immediately caught my eye. The claims it was making thrilled me.
Buying Options: I suggest Amazon. You can find the best prices on Kindle or paperback. Alternatively, use the Audible trial that gives you 2 audiobooks for free!
How was it even possible for me to make money automatically from my PC? How could the forgotten teachings of some Italian (Pareto) could me make me finish in an hour, the work that takes up 8 hours for others? I was hooked, to say the least.
I devoured the book in mere weeks. I was coming back home after school, did my homework as quickly as possible and then read the book or Tim Ferriss’s blog to pump me up, day in and day out.
Did it help me? Were the claims true? In today’s review of The 4-Hour Workweek, I’ll try to present my favorite takes from the book, as well as my criticisms of it.
The 4HWW and Tim Ferriss Widened My WorldView
The best thing that the 4-Hour Workweek and Tim Ferriss did was that they shifted my perspective. Tim with his book and blog widened my worldview in many different ways.
I never thought that it was actually possible for someone to make money from the internet. I never thought that it was possible to travel the world and experience the best life has to offer.
I was a guy who feared constantly and never even imagined the rules of conventional living could be hacked the way Tim had hacked them.
Back then, I was during the last year of my high school studies, which determines the University studies you’ll be embarking on later. It’s a really stressful year, during which full time studying is considered the norm.
Using Tim’s productivity teachings I managed to get into the University Department of my choice(Electrical and Computer Engineering, a really high-grade one) without killing myself from excessive studying.
The 4-Hour Workweek and Tim are what planted the seed of internet marketing in my mind.
I also started traveling every chance I got, despite being the guy that didn’t even go on many school trips because I was feeling ‘sick'(in retrospect, probably psychological).
The basic shift that happened in my mind was that Tim gave me permission to live my life. He made me feel okay with myself and the possibilities that unfolded before me.
I had the permission to slack, I had the permission to experience the best the world has to offer and I had a framework to follow that backed everything up.
The DEAL Process
Tim uses the DEAL acronym to teach a 4-step process that supposedly makes you a part of the New Rich(a term he also coined in the book, along with many others, my favorite being lifestyle design).
Step 1: Definition
Here Tim introduces some terms in order to define who the New Rich are and what lifestyle design means.
It may seem obsolete nowadays that those terms are popular, but remember that back then Tim was the one who introduced them to the main public and was, in fact, the man who made them popular.
I especially love two parts here. First of all, defining your fears.
It may seem counterintuitive but this is a process that helps with reducing your stress about a certain topic and overcoming the limiting beliefs that hold you back.
The other chapter I love is the dreamlining process. It is a kind of goal setting that lets you dream freely, without limiting yourself by any means, and also makes you prioritize the ones you want to pursue in the next 3-12 months.
It’s not something revolutionary. Not at all. But it is a nice process to help you feel pumped about your goals and makes you question the reason behind working and making money.
Makes you think about the end result and know what to do after work has been taken care of.
Here you answer the all-important question. What do you want to accomplish and why?
Step 2: Elimination
The best part of the book in my opinion. The distinction between effectiveness and efficiency is the flagship idea behind Tim’s productivity tips.
Are the tasks you are doing important? Then, and only then, apply efficiency to your tasks.
In other words, only do well what is actually important to do.
I also love the chapter on the low information diet. Stop diluting your focus by consuming irrelevant information. This is now more relevant than ever, with the vast majority of information that is available online.
I have written about the shiny object syndrome before and the low information diet is the perfect cure for it. Just shut yourself from the noise and focus on the task at hand. Only consume the information that is actionable for you at the moment.
Other chapters include limiting email and other time-consuming activities like meetings, supposing they don’t actually provide true value to you.
Step 3: Automation
This part left me with mixed feelings.
The idea behind it is sound. Build an online business, called a muse, to reach your target monthly income and automate it in order for you to live your dreamlines.
At the time, I loved the idea. In fact, the reason I’m into internet marketing is largely because of this chapter.
However, there are two problems with it.
The first being the method that Tim suggests. There are some marketing golden nuggets here, but the method is not optimal I believe for people starting out.
In fact, someone without a budget and/or some marketing and/or business background wouldn’t probably be able to pull it off. I couldn’t.
The best way I have found for someone starting out online is Wealthy Affiliate.
The other problem is the culture that this automation hype has created. Many people believe in quick riches and push-button schemes online.
I have to ruin the dream guys. They DON’T EXIST. These are just marketing gimmicks shady marketers use to take your money.
The automation that Tim talks about can happen. It’s important for you to work on your business, instead of in your business.
However, everything requires hard work and patience. Nothing comes easy or in an automated, sexy box.
I also want to say that automation sometimes may not be desirable at all. If someone loves their job, why eliminate it?
Moreover, if your job is part of your ideal life and your true purpose, there is nothing wrong to have it in your life.
I believe it’s foolish that many people say we shouldn’t hold a day job. If you love your day job or fulfill your creativity with it, be sure to keep it.
There is absolutely no reason for all people to become entrepreneurs or freelancers.
The important thing is to make your decisions about your life consciously and choose to pursue your endeavors because you want to and because there’s a meaning for you in them. Not because you feel like you have to pursue anything by default.
Finally, outsourcing is a tactic I couldn’t even imagine existed, and one that is widely used nowadays as well.
Step 4: Liberation
The last part of the book introduces another popular concept(now), location independence.
Negotiating a remote work agreement? Working from another continent?
Being a ninja business owner? Taking mini-retirements? Living in a different part of the world for each month and then relocating?
Everything is here. All those digital nomads, all those jet-set lifestylers, all those location rebels, they all were motivated by this chapter.
For me though, the best chapter here is the filling the void one. Tim talks about activities to fill the void that presents itself when work has been eliminated.
I also love Tim’s thoughts on the meaning of life. Many of us never confront those thoughts just because we are too busy. Is there an inherent meaning to life? Should there be?
What I Hate about the 4-Hour Workweek
I hate the culture that has been created as a result of the book. I don’t mean everyone. I simply don’t like the people who have taken the ideas of the book to the letter and don’t understand the value of being different.
It can’t be logical that the same life path is right for all of us. After all, lifestyle design at its core is living your life the way you consciously choose to.
It’s dumb to tell people that they must have an online business or that they must travel the world. For some people, their desired lifestyle will be to live in a certain city(I happen to like a steady base myself) and have a day job.
If that’s their conscious choice there is nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong is having a blog and a social media following just because that is what everybody else is doing nowadays, chasing a dreamy four-hour workweek.
Escapism and Individualism as Worldviews
Many people nowadays believe it’s good, maybe even mandatory, for us to live alone on the Himalayas with our satellite laptop, all while living the ultimate lifestyle.
However, whatever way we use to escape, at the end of the day we can’t escape reality.
Society and our communities are out there. Reality and world problems are out there.
We can’t just tend to for ourselves and pretend that everything is okay. We can’t just be consumed by our individualism and think this is sustainable.
Life is out there, society is out there, our families and friends too. Real problems are there and nothing will change at the end of the day if we just focus on our personal advancement alone.
The Missed Opportunity
For me, the Automation section of the book falls short. It could have been way better if it included parts on freelancing or starting a website from scratch with no capital.
I also don’t like the definition of muses. They are defined as a way to make money quickly and automate everything to others. This is a bad worldview as well.
First of all, why should others be working for you to start with? What would happen if all of the society decided to build muses? Sounds a bit like a joke. The world as we know it may not even be functioning properly.
There are ways to get close to whatever passive income means and there is merit in managing your business in ways that don’t drown you.
But the whole idea, the way it is presented, confuses people and loses the purpose it should have had. After all, Tim doesn’t even have a muse nowadays.
He just leverages his passion projects(blog, podcast, books) to maintain his highly successful personal brand.
Is The 4HWW Original?
Well, I must admit that most of the concepts are not exactly Tim’s original ideas.
The guinea pig he is(he has proclaimed himself as one :D), he has taken the best from many sources, experiments and experiences and created what came to be known as the 4-Hour Workweek.
In fact, many of the topics may individually be covered better in other resources.
However, Tim took them all, gave them names and popularized them.
More importantly, he got them all together. At the end of the day, whatever the flaws, I’m glad he wrote the 4-Hour Workweek. 🙂
All in All
All in all, I absolutely love the 4-Hour Workweek. It reminds me of a time when I had a really narrow worldview and got excited as it widened the more I read.
It was also a time when I was(childishly) thinking that the journey ahead would be easy. It wasn’t, but after all, that’s the beauty of it.
The best part was that it was a time when the whole make money online and lifestyle design community was in its infancy.
I’m not trying to be a hipster here but I really loved that time. There was a secret society vibe to the whole community and it wasn’t that badly influenced by the floods of wannabe digital nomads.
Before we wrap up, be sure to check the following animated review of The 4-Hour Workweek which I love.
My suggestion to you
If you want a book to hone your mindset, look no further than the 4-Hour Workweek. If you’d also like to witness where it all started, it’s one of the books that made many terms mainstream.
However, if you want a practical platform that helps real newbies actually start their online endeavors for free, look no further than Wealthy Affiliate.
I would love your ideas guys on my personal review of The 4-Hour Workweek. Have you read it? If yes, what do you love/hate about it? What do you think of Tim Ferriss? Share in the comments below.
Also, I would love it if you shared the post with your friends/on your favorite social media and give it a like below. Really appreciate it.