“The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss 2007
First, I want to let you know how I really feel about this book right upfront so that there is no ambiguity or vagueness.
I love this book. You must read it, and re-read it with a highlighter. It is a game changer. And, it is not for everybody.
I got this book when it first came out because the title intrigued me – I was pleasantly surprised to find that the content lived up to the title, and it delivered much more and perfectly fit my frame of mind at that moment. For me, it was the right book at the right time.
In a nutshell, Timothy Ferriss outlines his personal experience in throwing away the conventions of work-tied-to-location, sacrifice-for-advancement, money-for-hours, and work-30-years-to-retire. He tells his story, and the philosophy behind it, and then offers step-by-step instructions on how you and I can do the same thing.
To use an overused phrase, this book truly outlines a “paradigm shift” in how to think about your lifestyle and how to pay for the things that are important to you.
There are three key concepts in the book, which I won’t describe in detail because I want you to read and internalize the book for yourself. But here’s a taste of what he is talking about:
1) Lifestyle Design - a core premise of the book is for you to figure out what you really want out of life and to go build your life around it. Don’t settle for doing the things you love solely on the weekends or on the rare vacation, but every day. Imagine your life centered on your passions and dreams and then earning a living, not the other way around. If you want to live at the beach, then go do it. If you want to spend your time on cause related issues, then go do it. The money will follow if you put your true desires first.
2) Outsource the Mundane - let someone else handle the details of day-to-day living, and even the larger aspects of your business and personal life. Tim outlines his use of “virtual assistants” to reclaim hours every day of his life to respond to emails, set appointments, pay bills and so on. And in the more advanced concept of building self-operating and self-sustaining businesses, he describes how to leverage technology, empowerment, and classic outsourcing to simplify the process. All with the goal of creating income streams, and putting time back in your life.
3) The Real Value of Time and Money - do you know what you’re time is really worth? Tim shows you how to look beyond your “hourly rate” and figure out what your time is really worth, and what your leisure time is worth. He demonstrates how 80% of your results can be achieved in 20% of the time – a difficult concept for many folks to implement because our culture tends to value “personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.” (One of my favorite quotes in the book!) This section of the book may be the biggest eye-opener for most people, and one that can inspire you to make a change in your thinking.
Beyond the philosophy of the book, Tim does a very nice job detailing the “how to” of his concepts. For those not familiar with internet businesses and the underlying technologies, this section may be too technical and geeky – but I recommend reading it to understand the underpinnings of how to do things differently. And this is really the key to the book I like best – it forces you to think differently about work, life, and leisure and your current approach to all three.
The Takeaway for Marketers: There are several. First, the book is just about a how-to primer on how to build an e-commerce internet marketing company from customer acquisition to fulfillment. Second, there are very practical, hands-on tips on how to leverage tools in the marketplace to do direct consumer research quickly and cheaply. Third, the wildfire success of this book is a marketing lesson in itself. Lastly, there is truly a new breed of entrepreneur which he calls the “New Rich” – these good folks will become a very loyal base to those who figure out how to speak their language, provide amazing service, and make their lives easy.
Buy this book. Buy it now. Don’t stop reading it until you do something different. Then go buy another copy and give it to someone who needs it.