The 4-Hour Work Week

As the title suggests, this is a book about cutting you51OWc0PhNqL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgr working hours down. A lot. But it’s also about earning enough income to finance your “dream-lines”. Location independently. Or in other words, living how you really want to. This is a book which isn’t for everyone. To accept its premises is to think outside of the box. Indeed, most people would read it and shake their heads in non-acceptance – it poses too much questioning of settled reality. Much of it is radical even by my standards. However, I don’t argue that it’s not possible. I merely think it’s not as straightforward as he seems to see everything. The secret to that straightforward, pragmatic thinking can perhaps be found through this book also, though.
This is one of the key texts of the location independent lifestyle. And there’s no lifestyle I would rather have than a location independent one, hence why I decided to read the book. Although Timothy Ferriss seems to emphasise intermittent “mini-retirements” and dream-lines rather than the “purist” digital nomad lifestyle of indefinite travel. Vagabonding. Both of these are deeply appealing, however.
I believe that Ferriss essentially gives two different methods of financially achieving the “new rich” lifestyle:
1) A remote work agreement or some other sort of location independent employment
2) A muse: start-up venture that exists solely to generate maximum income with minimum time investment
Of these two methods, the first is more within the common sphere of reality. However, it is also much more time intensive and not scalable by nature. Admittedly, the second seems pretty far out to me but I suppose it would be more graspable if a viable idea itself was more graspable. To his credit he does lay out a method, however, you really do need to be able to offer value to a niche market. This I struggled to imagine and the book lost me a little bit. He provides tons of resources one you get going, though; many B2B services which I had never heard of and hopefully will one day revisit.
The main body of the book is structured into four “steps”:
1) Definition. This mostly included the beginning thought process, defining dream-lines and doing the start-up
2) Elimination. Where you significantly reduce your time spent working through various means
3) Automation. Ferriss is very big on outsourcing personal tasks to overseas “Virtual Assistants” who work relatively cheaply, but automating through a computer is even better (cheaper)
4) Liberation. Once you’ve defined, eliminated and automated you are then able to liberate yourself in terms of location and do the travel that you wanted to
This book has a certain ethos which seems very original to me and not really fitting well with any other philosophy that I’ve seen. I suppose that’s because a fundamentally different lifestyle initiates new values and lines of thinking. For example, he seems to be big on minimalism in all things. He has a very regimented attitude about what’s allowed to disturb his attention or take up his time. Leanness of enterprise and ruthlessness with personal resources such as energy – “be pound wise and penny foolish”. He’s super pragmatic and analyses things deeply with an uncommon clarity of thought. Thinking and acting outside the box. Being uncaring of what people think is a priority. It fits the humanist zeitgeist of maximising quality of life, and even takes it a step further than anything else, to its logical extreme. When you work the standard 9 to 5 this ethos appears pointless (I’ve tried) because then you’d just end up reducing your work hours and income. You relearn to just show up, trundle along for 8 hours and go along with company culture. If you’re location independent or an entrepreneur then this ethos becomes very relevant, though, because no one is looking over your shoulder and true effectiveness becomes imperative.
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