Review: 4 Hour Workweek By Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Work Week
Author: Timothy Ferriss
Self-Help/Business; 299 Pages

The 4-Hour Workweek made the Bestseller list almost immediately, has glowing editorial reviews, and has been the topic of thousands of mini-discussions around the web.

Timothy Ferriss coined the term "The New Rich" and his book is the blueprint to show anyone how they can achieve this elite status. From business owner to employee to single mother, his step-by-step to luxury lifestyle is 'for everyone'...

I should say upfront that this is a very candid review and I realize that some will agree with my thoughts on the book, and some will not. Considering the buzz around this particular book, that's completely understandable...

Feel free to leave your comments below.
~ Lynn

I am a firm believer in the concepts of "The New Rich". I have taught some of these same ideas through my sites and lists for the last 3 years: work smart -not hard, work less & make more, passive income, etc. I have achieved a level of financial & time freedom in my own life, which is why I expected I would enjoy Timothy Ferriss' views on the topic.

I cracked open The 4-Hour Workweek with these great expectations, but I must admit I was fairly disappointed through the first 100 pages.

Fortunately Timothy offered a tip for How to Read 200% Faster in 10 Minutes on page 85... which helped me through the rest of the book. By the time I reached the 85th page, I was grateful for this tip ;)

A combination of the writing style and very aggressive concepts with too little 'proof' would be the primary reason that it took me well over a month to work through this book. Personally I found it a bit of a chew. Not having the cant-put-it-down factor I get from most books that I have purchased.

Taking into consideration that Timothy Ferriss himself was 'miserable and overworked' just 3 years ago (p. 233), and the well-done marketing strategy that snowballed the buzz for this piece of work... it felt obvious to me that this book was nothing more than another of the author's many 'product launches'.

If you've read the book and have a feel for the authors morals and ethics, the idea of that takes the flavor right out of it.

That said, I did gain a few valuable ideas and resources from The 4-Hour Workweek and even some inspiration. The first actionable goal that I took from this book was to 'tame my inbox'. He shared some very good tips on creating an FAQ and being more efficient with communications and correspondence.

Another piece I particularly liked was the Lose-Win Guarantee (p. 195). This was one of the better tips in my opinion. The Tools and Tricks lists throughout Section 3 (chapters 9, 10 & 11) contained exceptional resources as well.

While I wouldnt recommend this book to someone who is already inspired, self-motivated and goal-oriented... if you already own a copy of the book I would advise that you pluck the gems that are valuable to you, and apply the rest cautiously.

If you are miserable at your job, The 4-Hour Workweek may very well inspire you to take positive action. If you are genuinely happy with the current direction of your life (not to be mistaken for 'complacent'), this book just may offend you.

The author states (p. 241) that he is 'convinced that people use their children as an excuse to stay in their comfort zones'. Having no children of his own, he obviously doesnt realize that is complete BS.

I have two children myself and I can tell you firsthand that if anything my children have inspired me to be more, do more and stretch every boundary under the sun. I started my first business with a desire to be more involved in my childrens' lives. I moved to a home office and internet-based business model to take care of my oldest child while he was ill for almost 2 years. I homeschooled my two children and traveled with them for several years.

I also took care of my grandmother during her last two years, around the clock. Those are experiences that were invaluable, and they were options that I had because I chose to create a flexible lifestyle. Something I never would have considered or even thought of if I wasnt a single mother to two beautiful children.

News flash, Ferris - there is no "comfort zone" once you bring children into the world ;)

I'm not alone in my feelings on this book. Just see the customer reviews on Amazon. Here are excerpts from some of the reviews I agreed with:

"but is "The 4-Hour Work Week" as good as all the positive reviews would have you believe? Not by a longshot."

"and even if we could, we would not necessarily wish to emulate the author's morally questionable net-based pursuits and their accompanying baggage"

"we're not all in the same place in life. I didn't notice any mention whatsoever of children in this book. (Oops, there is mention of how to travel with them, but what I was trying to say was that this book wasn't written from a parents point of view. Some things you just can't outsource.)"

"about a third of this book was self-congratulatory, a third was filled with genuinely useful information, and a third was filler"

"I don't fully agree with some of the author's solutions (especially his concepts of outsourcing), but there's enough solid theory to have made the purchase worthwhile."

"But I wonder what his suggestions would be to someone who feels their mission IS the business they're in... and doesn't want to spend months away."

Personally I feel the book was over-hyped through the marketing buzz and that it is a tangible example of the values of the author.

In Jim Carrey style, I must say... I've read better.

Best,

p.s. I wasnt quite sure if the misspelling of the word "English" in Chapter 14 (p. 262 "Engrish") was a typo... or dry humor?

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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Teli Adlam says:

    I agree wholeheartedly that this book wasn't written with parents in mind. In fact, I believe this book is targeted to a very specific audience (young adults between 18-40 without children).

    That's also a reason I believe that his style worked well on me and many others like me -- I'm in the same young adult/no children mindset and prefer jet-setting to staying local.

    Funny, I had the opposite problem as you while reading it, though. I whizzed through the first couple hundred pages, then felt myself struggling to finish it.

    Overall, I picked a few nuggets (attention management), and as expected, some of his turn of phrases made me furrow my brow and gnash my teeth. That aside, the book does contain useful information.

    As you say, pick out what works for you, leave the rest. :)

    Now you've inspired me to finish reading it and actually give it a proper review -- something I've been putting off for a coupla months.

    ~ Teli

  2. Sounds like I'll take a pass on the book. Thanks for your honest review Lynn.

  3. > prefer jet-setting to staying local

    Obviously we are not all at the same place in our lives, and dont all hold the same goals and values. I can totally understand the desire to travel the world and experience a variety of things in life. I enjoy travel myself like most. But as a single mother, I value roots and stability and I very much enjoy creating a happy home life.

    But that point alone is far from the primary reason this book just didnt set well with me. I particularly disliked the authors suggestions regarding work ethic and quality in various areas. In both his references to 9-5 and entrepreneurism.

    As one of the reviewers at Amazon stated, some people have a strong passion for their chosen work. Some people only work to fund other passions. This is just not "the blueprint" for everyone to find their definition of success.

    Ferriss could have just as easily titled this book "How to become a vagabond" and the title would have been just as appropriate (if not more so).

  4. Thanks for the review Lynn... are there any other books you would recommend, which may be more motivational perhaps?

  5. Quite a few actually - but it depends on which topics you are most interested in. General motivational types or more specific. I'll post a list here at ClickNewz and be sure to leave a comment here with the link to that ;)

  6. Lynn I agree with many of your thoughts about the book, it's one of the few I've ever digged into at Barnes and Noble without buying. ;)

    But there were some good points in it. I have to say that I think many parents *do* use their kids as an excuse...I have seen and heard this quite q bit. But we net marketing Moms are a different breed. I feel as you do, my kids are my motivation. I want to teach them how to have a 4 hour workweek via the Internet.

    Have you heard of Rhea Perry? She's a big inspiration and one of my favorite moms online.

    Also - where did you get the Tip script? I have thought of installing one myself.

  7. Here is the link: Tip Jar Plugin

    I am not opposed to the 4 hour workweek at all, obviously - the concept, that is. I'm a huge fan of passive income and of creating your lifestyle instead of being a slave to it.

    I've heard quite a bit about Rhea Perry but I dont know her personally. From what I understand, she is an inspiration to many!

  8. Thanks Lynn :)

  9. I always thought if I wanted to get really motivated and accomplish a whole lot I'd just get my girlfriend pregnant and that would force me to achieve at the highest level possible.

    Can't imagine having kids and being in a comfort zone.

  10. @CoachDeb says:

    Did Timothy Ferriss REALLY coin the term “The New Rich”?

    Really? cuz I thought I heard that term way back when during my college years in Palm Beach... hmmm...

    guess they coined the "french" version? perhaps?

    Anyhoo

    Thanks for being a voice in the darkness on this book - when sooooo many just blindly joined the bandwagon on this in their quest to promote for their own profit by doing so :(

    I really could go on about how Book Titles like this purely focused on "marketing" to fool the masses that it's ACTUALLY possible - but I'll refrain... cuz I think my four hours are already UP for the week - and it's only Tuesday!

  11. I could be wrong on that Deb, and if so I stand corrected. I disliked this book on so many points, but I think the biggest being that it lacked any real proof or examples and smelled of just another 'scheme' to fund his travels.

  12. @CoachDeb says:

    hmmm... never even thought about it like that - good insight you've got!

    I just hate when the public buys into the Hype & Hope only to be dismayed & discouraged.

    Ya know?

    That's the biggest killer for real entrepreneurship which - like it or not - takes a lot of hard work.

    I just wish sometimes people would be honest about that simple fact.

    Sure - my life gets easier & better w/ every new system I implement in my business & with ever new VA hired to take on some of the burdens.

    But in order to get to that point - esp if you're self-funded ... it-takes-a-lot-of-blood-sweat-n-tears!

    There!
    Isaid it!
    It's out there now for all to know.

  13. Agreed. Any business venture takes an upfront investment - and that investment is going to come in one of two forms: time or money (if not both).

    The ROI is sweet though! This is my 12th year in business, and while the start-up years were a little "rough & scary"... these days I blog from my back deck and have a pretty laid back lifestyle. People who know me now think I "have it easy" and think I can show them how to "be like me" as if it can be done with the tap of a wand.

    Most people arent willing to take the risk ;)

  14. Good review, Terry! Ferris embodies some of the least attractive aspects of the "entitled" narcissistic elements of our society. It does not lack elements of sociopathy as well, quite frankly.

  15. I'm always finding little things on your blog that I've missed! I didn't realize you had reviewed this book. I agree that I've read better, and the comment about using kids as an excuse really irked me. Definitely not something someone with no kids should say to people with kids!

  16. Hi Lynne, I appreciated reading this review after hearing so much about the book over the course of the last year, I just ordered it from Amazon yesterday.

    While I am looking forward to reading it, I already had the 'feeling' it would likely be hit and miss in some parts and not applicable to the variety of lifestyles we all lead.

    I am a mom of two beautiful kids and also chose to work online full time because of my children. I had a very successful offline business prior and when my marriage went sideways, I made the "choice" to sell my shares to come home and raise my children rather than miss out on their growth. Like you, this choice was one I would have never made if I was not blessed with my babies!

    When you're not a parent... you have absolutely no cotton picking idea about what it's like to have children and I don't care who you are, or how smart you think you are.

    I'm still looking forward to receiving my book next week. I will do as you have suggested and make sure I highlight the useful parts and disregard the 'filler' :-)

    Thanks for you candid review.

    Jayne

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I wont deny that I love my lifestyle. There’s a lot of freedom, tons of flexibility, and plenty of time to pursue personal interests. I have no desire to be a vagabond or get caught up in material wealth just for the sake of having it. It’s all about figuring out what you want in life, and then doing whatever it takes to achieve it. Which is exactly where I’m at. [...]

  2. [...] The 4-Hour Workweek: Join the New Rich [...]

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