The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Publisher: Harmony
Published: 12/15/2009
More than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

Book Summary - The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Key Insights

Most people have written themselves off as destined for the 9 to 5 grind in exchange for relaxing weekends and an occasional vacation. Instead, Ferriss proposes we cut out all the things draining time and income without giving a sizeable return back.

Ferris used to work the 9-5 until 2004, when he decided to travel the world. He realized he can work anywhere and run a profitable business.

Most people are deferrers who postpone life. They work really hard for the idea of retirement. Instead of living life today, they work hard and put aside money for the future. They may save some money, but only having worked hard for a lifetime. For example, the author gives the example of Mark, who Ferris met when he flew to Las Vegas. Mark spent his life managing casinos and gas stations and convenience stores. Though he was rich, he was dead instead. He enjoyed none of his jobs and suffered through 30 years of hateful employment.

According to Ferris, you don’t have to be a millionaire to live like a millionaire. Having more freedom and free time can be achieved without being a millionaire.

Key Points

In absolute income, a person making $150,000 is richer than a person making $30,000. However, in relative income, the person making $30,000 may have more buying power...especially if that same person is geographically-independent and only works four hours a week, whereas the former works eighty hours a week to afford urban living. Great things happen when you earn in dollars and spend in pesos; in other words, learn to extend your earning potential reach through earning online revenue, residual income, and international business transactions. Outsource work you dread or that consumes your time to maximize your return reward.

Steps to Escape the Rat Race

Step 1: Process of Elimination

Consider Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 principle): quantify the 20% of activities that produce 80% of desired incomes.

Determine the 20% of people and activities consuming 80% of your time

The purpose of this is to figure out and eliminate your inefficiencies as well as multiply your strengths

Step 2: Cultivating Selective Ignorance

To save time and work less, only hold meetings when it makes senses and when there is an important decision needed to be made. When it comes to business conversations, try to replace “How are you doing?” with “What can I do for you?” or starting with “Unfortunately, I only have one minute to share" to save time.

Try to do as much as possible in as little time as possible while tackling projects that help you achieve your personal goals.

Catch up on information as needed, not when it comes to you

An example of this is email: it shouldn’t be a workspace, just a tool. Answer emails twice a day, once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Eventually, you might find yourself answering emails once a day.

Let your family know about your new habits by setting up an autoresponder saying you’re designating allotted times to check email and that you will respond accordingly. Urgent requests can be expressed on the phone or in face-to-face conversation.

This lets you focus on the current task at hand, reducing interruption.

Step 3: Outsourcing Your Life

Replace the metric of annual income with hourly income.

If you earn $50,000/year, outsourcing just one 8-hour workday to a Virtual Assistant charging $30/hour would potentially cost you $40 per week and generate a 400-500% ROI.

Setting a NOT-to-do list can help you maximize your productivity while reducing your workload.

How to Get a 4-Hour Workweek

Completely unplug and reset, take a step back and forget about what’s popular.

Closely examine what works and what is just eating up your time.

The four steps to a 4-Hour Workweek:

The “New Rich” increase the money they make and reduce the hours they work through these four steps:

Definition: define your ideal lifestyle.

This means redefining your approach to work. Most people want to work for years and save up for retirement. The New Rich think that it’s better to have intense phases of work and mini retirements such as brief vacations that are between two weeks and two months long. Ferris urges to set big “unrealistic” goals. Few people dare to think big so its easier to achieve the “unrealistic” than the “realistic.” Moreover, the perfect time to quit your job and join the New Rich will never come because you have to trust yourself and take the plunge.

Elimination: get rid of all of the static and noise interrupting you.

Focus on projects that help you achieve your personal goals. Important tasks should be finished before midday. Answer email twice a day in the afternoon and evening. Eventually, you might be able to handle email only once a week.

Automation: Take the few remaining tasks that are important but that are occupying your time and delegate, automate or outsource them.

Liberation: freedom in the form of options.

Once you’ve defined your goals and removed time-consuming activities, you’ve increased your effectivity and may want to liberate yourself from the office. The office wants you to put 40 hours per week; however, you’ve learned how to do more in less hours. To escape the office, and work less from anywhere you want, you can first increase your value to the company, increase your output when working remotely, propose a trial period, and spend more time working remotely. For example, Amy might take on more work and make herself important to the company. By doing this, she increases the value to her employer. She can then take a few sick days where she works from home to prove that she can be as indispensable working remotely. Eventually, she can ask her employer for a trial period to work remotely and produce the same amount of work or more. After all, working remotely means fewer commute hours and makes her more productive.

Amy's learned to work fewer hours per week and can now spend more time building her company on the side. She knows though that not every product will sell. So Amy decides to sell her product on eBay to see if there is demand before she takes it mainstream.

About the Author

Timothy Ferris is an American business owner and angel investor. He has served as an investor or advisor to many companies, including StumbleUpon, Evernote, Shopify, Uber, and TaskRabbit. CNN listed Ferris as one of the “planet’s leading angel investors”. He has written five books, including The 4-Hour Workweek. Each of his books has been featured on The New York Times Bestseller list.

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