Reading Notes: The 4 Hour Workweek

Author:  Timothy Ferriss

Format: Audible

Subject:  Lifestyle Management

Rating: 4/10


The title “The 4 Hour Workweek” instantly signals the skeptic in me.  So But I chose to take a chance on this book since it had so many raving reviews.  It is written in a semi-instructional / semi-narrative format and is theoretically based on Ferriss’s own experiences.

I enjoyed the concept of lifestyle management and  “having freedom of time and location,” when it comes work.  There were also a few other nuggets of knowledge buried throughout the first half of the book.

However, the second half of The 4 Hour Workweek is a half-baked mix of getting “Newly Rich” quick schemes scattered in between boastful tales of Ferriss’s adventures in life and business.

To be fair, maybe I just didn’t get the message Ferriss was pushing in the later parts of the book.  After all, early on in the book he aptly advises the readers to not waste their time reading information that doesn’t add any value to their lives.  I failed to heed his warning and wasted several more hours of my life listening to the author ramble on about nothing of any serious value.

What I liked Most About the Book:  The 4 Hour Workweek is the first book I have read on lifestyle management.

What I liked Least About the Book:  In theory the author’s experiences should make him a well-rounded and very interesting person.  However, after listening to his many tales of adventure he comes across as pretty much a shell of a real person without any real substance.

Knowledge Nuggets:

  • Apply the Pareto Principle (80% of results come from 20% of the effort) to as much of your life as possible.
  • Master the art of “Not Finishing.”  As soon as you determine that any particular activity is wasting your time, stop doing it.  This advice makes a ton of sense, but sort of goes against the way most of us were taught to behave.
    • Side Note:  I wish I would have applied the art of “Not Finishing” to this book, but I digress.
  • Become fanatical about delegating unimportant tasks, empowering subordinates, and eliminating anything that is not a key in driving results.
  • It is smarter to Ask for Forgiveness, then to Ask for Permission.  I have been applying this mentality for years.
  • Focus on increasing your expertise in certain areas as opposed to overcoming your weaknesses.

Terrible Tip:

  • Ferriss advocates a “Low-information Diet,” which he applies to pretty much all information.  I agree that much of the information that most of us consume is pretty meaningless.  But, knowledge is power.  And new information is critical to our continued growth as well-rounded people.

Small Changes Ripple Outward

Do the following for 21 days:

3 Gratitudes  (Emmons & McCullough, 2003) – write down 3 things you are grateful for each day

Journaling (Slatcher & Pennebaker 2006) -about one positive experience that occurred over past 24 hours

Exercise (Babyak et al. 2000)  – Teaches brain that behavior matters.

Meditate (Dweck, 2007) – allows focus.  Thwarts ADHD

Random Acts of Kindness (Lyubomirksy, 2005) – Write one positive email or text to social network everyday.