the four hour work week by tim ferriss | book review

Is Tim Ferriss worth it?

The Four Hour Work Week is worth your time and your $20. My summary first, how I use it second.

Summary of the Four Hour Work Week

1. Low Information Diet– You are taking in more information that you have to. Stop. Decide what makes you the most money, using the 80/20 rule, and then cut the extra information out of your life.

2. Do only what is most important and outsource everything else. Market research to bill paying, Tim goes through the dos and dont’s of outsourcing and delegation. There is very little you have to do yourself- do that and nothing else.

3. Work less and get more done because you don’t do any meaningless crap and don’t waste your time on things someone else could be doing for you.

4. Tim also talks about how to start an information business. Yes, you can do it, and maybe you should, and if you want to you should read this section.

Happy Worker Bees:

For people like me who have jobs and want to keep working at them, here is how I am using the book.

1. Low information diet (Page 82): I read Tim’s book and then deleted 80% of my blog feeds. Well, no, I read Brian’s post about trimming the attention sails and then I deleted the extra feeds. (Brian’s post was inspired by The Four Hour Work Week)

The point is, do I really really need to read those extra blogs? What happens if I don’t? I get back a few minutes of my life each day.

I already don’t read the news much, but now that I have deleted Google News and Wikinews from my feedreader, I will be reading even less. If something important happens, I will see it in the headlines of some blog. Tim’s approach is to glance at the newspaper headlines in vending machines. Same approach.

2. 80/20 your work (Page 68): Tim has an 80/20 fetish, and it serves us all well. He applies it a few ways, one of them being, 20% of your work is creating 80% of the results. So, identify that 20%, and then stop doing the rest, and do that 20% really well. Part of this is also limiting the time you are at work, so you actually get work done. Why a 4 hour work week? So you can’t screw around doing stuff that doesn’t matter!

The way I use this is I take my Open Loops sheet, where I have one piece of paper that has all my projets and next actions on it (a la Getting Things Done), and highlight the 2 or 3 things that have to happen that day for that day to be a success (a la page 79).

First, I get to work before most anybody else, so I am not distracted. Then, I don’t check email (Tim has plenty to say on this as well). Then I do my one or two most important things for the day.

By the time 8am roles around and people start getting to work, I have at least one critical task done.

By 9am, when people start needing my attention, I probably have 2 or 3 critical things done. The other day, I had all of my work done by 10:59.

So figure out what the 20% is that gets results, and then do it first thing before you get distracted. IIRC, Tim says before 11am- works for me, as I am a morning person.

3. Train your boss to appreciate results, not hours at the office (Page 207): If your boss expects you to be at the office a certain number of hours per day, instead of creating a Results Oriented Work Environment, then Tim has some tips for you. As in, a fairly detailed plan for how to get out of the office more over a few months.

In my role as account manager, my job was to manage people and projects, so being available for questions from staff and clients was crucial. As I move in to a sales role at my company, I expect I will be in the office less and less, so Tim’s advice doesn’t apply so much to me, but for engineering types or people who can do their work in relative isolation, you should read this.


And I wanted to write sections for self-employed, business owners, and students, but I am done writing for now, so maybe later. Oh, and Tim has great info on outsourcing, which I will be trying shortly for the market research side of my job.

Thank you Tim for such a great book- a good balance of “well duh” principles and “oh THAT’S how you do it!” insider information. Too bad for my friends who are asking to borrow it, I will be rereading it shortly.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime go here and buy the book.

3 Responses to “the four hour work week by tim ferriss | book review”

  1. 1 Luna May 10, 2007 at 10:22 am

    I think there is one item missing from his list. In theory, it might go under bullet 3, but… I think it is important enough to need its own bullet:

    Streamline and Automate. Find more efficient ways of doing everything. If you send out regular emails instructing customers on how to do a task, can a template or online article work better? Is there software that can help you do some repetitive task? If you group certain kinds of tasks together, would it eliminate repetition of some preliminary task?

    There is probably some magic ROI formula, involving the time spent per time the task is done, the number of times per timeperiod the task is done, and the one-time length of time it would take to automate or streamline the task.

  2. 2 Dr. Letitia Wright April 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    I am glad he cleared up the email thing. Many people were misunderstanding what he meant.

  1. 1 Four Hour Work Week | Quarter Life Crisis Trackback on February 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

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At Red Beard Consulting I work on internet marketing primarily for speakers. I also work with Infusionsoft.

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