The 4 Hour Workweek
I finally got around to listening to The 4 Hour Workweek after hearing mixed reviews about it and I have to say I have mixed thoughts as well. Not for the quality of the book itself or the usefulness of it, because it certainly has that, but the style and attitude that is portrayed. I find that Ferriss encourages his avoid work attitude in his own personal way which clearly works for him, but I’m afraid it’s not going to work for other personality types. There are certainly many wise and useful pieces of advice throughout the book and you can definitely look to apply some of those in practical ways as he gives step by step instructions and guides for many of these. However, I found his delivery of them to be far too heavy on the self promoting, “look what I did” kind of attitude there where many times I had to laugh past his ego to try to get to his point. The book is like a great big long rant about stupid people and I think Ferriss highly exaggerates his points about general workplace, people and how easy everything is if you just make it happen. Now, I am certainly not one to doubt anyone with that kind of ambition and desire, but that is exactly what the book is lacking, a way to help provide some practical steps to the less confident, less forceful person. If you have a “who cares what anyone else thinks kind” of attitude and can be proud of becoming a reseller of someone else’s products and have no fears and experience traveling on dollars a day with zero security in your life, then the Ferriss lifestyle is something to follow and his guide provides clear steps how.
If that is not your ideal of a 4 hour work week, then the book still has a lot of great advice to be gained but you will have to look past the Ferriss style and it likely won’t take you anywhere near the same level of living that Ferriss can enjoy with a 4 hour work week. Still, there are useful ways to free up time and he looks heavily at outsourcing, not just outsourcing your work tasks, but everyday life management as well. This is something that highly intrigues me and is something I need to look more seriously at. One important point that Ferriss makes throughout the book is that you need to give up the idea of having everything to make you happy and start thinking like the “new rich”. This is to start thinking that living simple is all you need and that your excess is what makes you rich and enables you to do the things that only rich people do. It’s all about the experiences you have and not the possessions you own. There are things to do, places to see and events to attend that money enables you to do, so put your money into that, not the things that tie you down to one location or job. This I can certainly agree with he gives great advice and practical steps to achieving this.
Clarity and Content
The one thing that is incredible about the book is simply how clearly things are written with specific guides and steps in many many areas of life. There is a single page (or 3 minute) guide to speed reading that will double your reading speed in about 15-30 minutes of practise and while this seems crazy, I found his advice to be right on par with any speed reading lessons I’ve already done and he really misses nothing of significance. He adds his own thoughts and hugely clarified process of learning to speed read with only a few steps each taking a few minutes to complete. He leaves that by saying now you are done, you’ve doubled your reading speed, time to move on to your next problem you have and kill it. He does this over and over with all the things you could use to challenge him from a boss’s reaction to working at home, to coming up with your own audacious goals and plans in life. It’s entertaining to see his simplistic view of these problems and left me feeling like I was on the edge of a balance between amusing and egotistical.
I think his ideas on email, phone usage and eliminating distractions are easily worth it on their own. Ferriss takes batching these processes to the extreme and shows ways to actually train others how to communicate with you by customizing your auto responders and voice mail. These among others are all great productivity tipes and ways to get the right things done, which I’m a BIG advocate of.
One thing I found quite odd in the audio version (and obviously since it was unabridged) is that there were nearly hundreds of URL links read out loud to endlessly bore you in the audio version. I mean, really, who on earth is going to go back to these and sit there replaying them from their device in order to type in the exact URL. A single website reference is all that is needed to Ferriss’ site and all that character reading could have been eliminated, it was in no way helpful in the audio book. Other than that gripe and just the attitude by Ferriss in book, I think it is definitely worth reading and take what you can from it. There is a lot of concise information and enough to last anyone quite some time learning to really implement.
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