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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content. » User review

Completely lost in an unrealistic ideal world

  • Oct 5, 2010
  • by
Pros: Decent background story makes it a little more 'human'

Cons: Too many played out concepts, no fresh concepts, simply bad ideas.

The Bottom Line: While I feel the author had good intentions, this book is definitely far more damaging for the average person than helpful.

I have been a long time reader of self help, motivational, and sales related books for as far back as I can remember, including parts of even middle school.  The reason that I read them isn't always so much for the message, but for the inspiration.  I find that sometimes if you look to those ideas of others, no matter how outlandish they may be, you could possibly generate your own modified versions of those ideas that could better work for your situation.  This is of course how I was led to read The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.

The Concept
The basic concept of the 4 Hour Work Week is that the typical American spends far too much time working harder rather than smarter.  Ferriss explains that if we were to do a better job at thinking about the situation that we have in front of us and realizing what we can do to make that job easier we could accomplish substantially more, do less work, and take home an even larger pay check in the process. 

In general, Ferriss writes that we assume that our workload is OUR workload, but in reality that workload could be pushed off to others through a variety of means.  The major idea for pushing off the workload is through outsourcing.  By having others do time consuming tasks for you, free time will be immediately available, giving more time to relax or even work on other projects to generate even more income with your given time. 

The Major Problem
While there are numerous problems with the approach that Ferriss has to life and business in general, there are a couple of key issues that I think really stand out. 

The very first issue is of course with outsourcing.  While this is a great idea and can conceptually lead to far greater productivity and enhanced profitability it could also pose major problems as well.  Outsourcing isn't as simple as deciding that you are going to outsource and doing it.  One of the major issues with outsourcing is that while in theory it is brilliant, often times it can become a major headache.  For example, I work in sales, I hire someone to set my appointments for me.  This was a job that I once did on my own.  While doing it on my own, I had incentive for these appointments to be of higher quality.  While I elimated a major time consuming portion of my job, I now have lower quality appointments and my sales have dropped because of it.  So, one really has to consider the opportunity cost of outsourcing as well and I don't think the author adequately prepares readers for the potential drawbacks.

Another issue that I have is that the author makes it appear as if running your business is as simple as opening a few emails and letting everyone else handle everything for you.  While it would be great to allow the outsourcing system to work for you in this manner, the reality is that you really have to stay on top of all those components of the puzzle otherwise it could mean a major mess for you down the road.  A good example would be my girlfriend's business.  She does a coupon book.  In her book she could hire people to sell her ads, hire a company to distribute, get a printer to print it, and get someone to do collections.  Now, lets say that the salespeople don't get the ads to graphic artist on time or they don't get the proofs approved this could be a major issue.  Lets assume that the printer is late by a day and now distribution is placed way behind because the deadline is missed to get those books to the distributor.  The reality is that the more pieces of the puzzle you have outsourced, the more opportunity for one to fail.  I look at it like a car, if I have 10 parts to worry about, I only have 10 potential parts that could fail at any time but if I have 1 million parts, I have 1 million potential parts that could fail.  Sure the less on my plate the better the majority of the time, but those times when things fall through could cost me my business.

And my last real major concern is that the author really sort of points to overused concepts and ideas in order to generate income and create a prosperous business.  Sure email marketing was effective 10 years ago but now very few people read the junk mail before they delete it.  The same is becoming true with virtually all mass marketing and it is because of this that marketing has become increasingly complicated.  It is one thing to throw ideas around but to push overused ideas that aren't even working in the current market is simply pushing ideas for the sake of pushing ideas.

Final Thoughts
While the book is decently written and has some good background information about the author that is somewhat uplifting and motivating there aren't any real ideas brought forth in the book. The author acts as if his concepts are all new, fresh ideas, but in reality they are the same stale ideas brought about in a slightly differen manner.  He did nothing more than regift those ideas for his own profit and I really don't blame him for that. 

If you really hope to gain something from a book of this nature, then I wouldn't recommend this one.  While there are benefits to reading it in terms of motivation, I really think many of the concepts within the covers are self defeating and possibly destructive especially for an established business or newly starting business.  There are far better options out there that will benefit you much more for your money.


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review by . April 06, 2010
This book funny on two levels. Level 1 is the author's wit. Level 2 is well, lets put it this way. Its nice to know that I have more on the ball than some of the people who let their publisists stick their names on this book as though it were the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. (Whew you missed that bullet Stephen Covey, or maybe you actually read the book and declined the rec?)      As John McEnroe used to say, "ARE YOU SEEERRRIOOUUS?"      …
review by . October 21, 2009
Any book that tells you not to quit your day job, but lie to your employer after getting them to let you work from home, while you are on a beach on the company's dime, is borderline criminal.    Work a full day like everyone else. If you can get above average work done for your employer in 8 hours, do it and demand compensation. If you can do an average day's work in 2 hours, you have not earned the right to steal from the company and slack off for 6 hours a day.    Most …
review by . October 03, 2007
This review may be a lot shorter than many of those I've posted for other books, because frankly I'm still not quite sure what I think of "The 4-Hour Workweek." Certainly, it has given me a tremendous amount to think about -- not quite to the level of career-crisis-inducing life angst, but definitely enough to make me wonder about what I ought be doing, or am capable of doing, differently.    Perhaps the biggest obstacle to someone achieving the enviable lifestyle Tim Ferriss …
review by . August 04, 2007
At least in the blogging circles I follow, it's been nearly impossible to not notice the book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. It's gotten a ton of airplay online, so of course I had to read it for myself. There are some interesting ideas and options presented, but if you play the full program out to the logical conclusion, it breaks down at some point.    Contents:  First and Foremost: FAQ - Doubters Read This; …
review by . May 05, 2007
Comes with warning, Do not read this book unless you want to quit your job! On first reading this book , I realized that this 29 yr old had written up all my secrets and more! But it took me 40 yrs of working to find it out! Very enjoyable book and I recommend it to young and old, unless you are one of those bosses that expect employees to tattoo the Co. logo on their butt. (Those type of bosses breathe life into the ideas of Karl Marx!) Of course this book is another part of the author's building …
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About this book


"It's about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge."
—Jack Canfield, Co-creator ofChicken Soup for the Soul®, 100+ million copies sold

"This is a whole new ball game.  Highly recommended."
—Dr. Stewart D. Friedman, Director of the Work/Life Integration Project, The Wharton School

"Stunning and amazing. From mini-retirements to outsourcing your life,
it's all here. Whether you're a wage slave or a Fortune 500 CEO, this
book will change your life!"
—Phil Town, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author ofRule #1

"The 4-Hour Workweek is a new way of solving a very old problem: just how can we work to live and prevent our lives from being all about work?  A world of infinite options awaits those who would read this book and be inspired by it!"  
—Michael E. Gerber, Founder & Chairman of E-Myth Worldwide and the World's #1 Small Business Guru

“Timothy has packed more lives into his 29 years than Steve Jobs has in his 51.”
—Tom Foremski, Journalist and Publisher of SiliconValleyWatcher.com

“Thanks to Tim Ferriss, I have more time in my life to travel, spend time with family and write book blurbs. This is a dazzling and highly useful
—A.J. Jacobs, Editor-at-Large, Esquire Magazine, Author ofThe Know-It-All

"If you want to live life...
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ISBN-10: 0307465357
ISBN-13: 978-0307465351
Author: Timothy Ferriss
Genre: Business & Investing, Health, Mind & Body, Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Crown Archetype
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