Book Review: The 4 hour Workweek

I have to admit that I’ve been obsessed with the book since I finished reading the first chapter. Tim Ferriss has taken a unique path in life and through this book he shares those things that he learned along the way.

Tim’s philosophy is what he calls Lifestyle Design. A process of determining first what you would like to have you life be, and then figuring out how to make it happen. The contrasting philosophy and one which most people in North America follow is what Tim refers to as the “Deferred Life Plan”, which entails going to school, then working for 20-30 years before retiring to the life you always wanted.

Mr. Ferriss decided at one point several years ago to escape his 7am-9pm work life in Silicon Valley and take a vacation in London. That trip turned into a 15 month rediscovery of life. Since that trip he has experimented with finding ways to life the life you’ve dreamed of now rather than waiting until retirement. What he discovered was a reproducible way that anyone can follow.

The plan is outlined by the acronym DEAL (or DELA for employees)

  • D – Definition — Start by outlining the “Dreamline” or vision of the life you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s a chateau in the south of France sipping wine from the local vineyard, being a full time ski bum, or restoring a vintage car and going on a long road trip. Once you have your vision find out how much it would cost to do. You may find it’s much cheaper than you thought. The cost determines your income goal needed to achieve your desired life.
  • E – Elimination — Everybody does things that maybe is not the best use of their time. Find those tasks that you do which could be eliminated altogether, batch tasks that would be more efficiently done all at once, and don’t try to multi-task. Remove distractions by only checking email twice per day, make use of your voice mail, so that you can focus on being productive and not on being accessible.
  • A – Automation — Once you’ve eliminated all those tasks that were not necessary and reduced the interruptions to increase your productivity of what was important it’s time to find ways to time ways to automate yourself out of work. Put a price on your time, and any work which can be outsourced for less should be outsourced. Consider finding people on sites like www.elance.com to work for you. Consider starting a business to pay for your ideal life. Tim Ferriss goes into depth with case studies as to how to do this.
  • L – Liberation — Before you can live that life in your dream location you need mobility from your work. Using software like GoToMyPC makes it easy to be at the office when you’re not. As an employee find ways to work from home, and convince you boss to let you try. As an entrepreneur empower others to make decisions on your behalf.

If you’ve accomplished these steps you will have reduced the time you need to work, given yourself freedom of location, and hopefully be making enough to afford that dream life you’ve always wanted.

Tim’s book makes it seem entirely possible, which is motivating, but also gives enough low level information to make it accessible to those who need step by step help.

This book left a big impression on me. I’ve already used some of the tips in the book to help my productivity at work. For that alone the book has been worth the purchase. Over the next few weeks I’m going attempt to test out Tim’s other ideas and see if I find any holes.

I give this book a 5/5 rating and highly recommend that you check it out for yourself.