Final Thoughts of The 4-Hour Workweek

I finally finished “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris.  This book was quite the emotional journey. 

Before I even read it I was both skeptical and encouraged at the same time.  I then came across an interesting concept called the Parkinson’s Law which intrigued me.  Then I entered a phase in the book that began to really annoy me.  Finally, the book ended sort of flat as Ferriss began to get all philosophical and pretty much lost me as his philosophy on life is, well, very different than mine.

So here are some parting thoughts on the book which, for the record, I recommend you pick up at your local library when it becomes available if you are interested in reading it.

What I liked

To be sure, Ferriss can write.  The book flows well and his use of quotes and relevant stories does make it an easy read.  He also makes a lot of sense when speaking about how we often spend too much time on things that matter little.  He ties this in with the Pareto Principle nicely. 

One interesting example he offers is how he “fired” a large percentage of his customers (yes, customers) since they did very little business with him.  Instead of focusing on the trivial many, he focused more on the vital few customers that did lots of business with him.  He claims this worked well for him.  I am not so sure I buy into this completely but will take him for his word.

What I didn’t like

Ah, where to start.  Ferriss is sold on things like batching and outsourcing pretty much every aspect of your life – you know pretty much opposite of everything people like Taiichi Ohno taught us.

He also wants you to “automate” things empowering others to do all the hard work for you which allows you to check your email once a week (or less).  Sounds great for the “New Rich” (NR) but what about the people in India working for next to nothing running his virtual business.  I guess they don’t get to live a 4-Hour Workweek like him.

Also, Ferriss is trying to sell this idea that having all this money and time will make you happy.  It’s as if the family that makes $35,000 per year can’t live a happy life.  I have news for Mr. Ferriss, I have seen some of the poorest people in all the world… and guess what?  They are some of the happiest people I know. 

I also know some super wealthy people.  You know the kind where the “stay at home” wife drops the kids off at daycare everyday so she can “play” with her friends.  These people, in my opinion, seem to be some of the unhappiest people I know.

My definition of rich

I am not poor nor rich.  I have been blessed with a career that I love and do well.  You see I subscribe to the old saying, “Find a job you love, and never work a day in your life.”  And since I get to teach people about lean and six sigma everyday I am like a kid in a candy store with endless aisles.

I also have a family I love more than anything money can buy.  And the smiles on my kids faces when I walk in the door each night makes me feel like the richest man on earth already.  And, no, Mr. Ferriss I am not interested in outsourcing any of it.

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4 Comments

  1. Rob

    July 18, 2007 - 11:32 pm

    Ron – great review of “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris. This book was quite the emotional journey. The biggest problem I had with the book was the guy himself. If you do a bit of research on him, he flew to Japan to learn sword-fencing, then he flew here, and there, became a champion dancer, gained muscle, etc and basically it’s one long list of brags and boasts. I don’t want to be like that! I’d rather do a bit of blogging, some exercise, and see the family. Boring I know. Perhaps I can outsource some of it? 🙂

  2. Ron Pereira

    July 19, 2007 - 5:41 am

    Yeah, I got a little tired of hearing how amazing he was too.

  3. Henley

    November 8, 2008 - 7:17 pm

    You forget.. these guys from India? They’re not FORCED to work on your outsourced projects, in fact they signed up for it. They had a choice, and they decided it was worth getting paid X amount. So in actuality, it actually benefits everyone. You gain more efficiency, and they gain money. Sure they might get the 4-hour work week, but they gain satisfaction as well.