The 4-Hour Work Week By Tim Ferriss Book Summary
Turned down by 26 out of 27 publishers, The 4-Hour Work Week nearly didn’t become the No.1 New York Times Bestseller it went on to be. Tim Ferriss wrote ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ for all those tired of postponing their life until retirement, who instead want to live life large and in the moment, right now.
In The 4-Hour Work Week, Ferriss promises a way to get all the rewards of working without having to wait until the end of your career. As a testament to his strategies, Ferriss has used them to become (amongst many other things):
- A guest lecturer at Princeton University
- The first America Guinness World Record holder in tango
- The advisor to over 30 world-record holders in both professional and Olympic sports
- A national Chinese kickboxing champion
- An MTV breakdancer in Taiwan
What is The 4-Hour Work Week about?
How ‘the 4-hour work week’ review is structured, rules that change the rules , dodging bullets, system reset, the low-information diet, interrupting interruption and the art of refusal, how to work 4 hours a week , beyond repair – killing your job, mini-retirements—embracing the mobile lifestyle, filling the void—adding life after subtracting work, the last chapter, want to learn more.
Start selling online now with Shopify
The 4-Hour Work Week aims to give you more time and more mobility. These are two of the defining attributes of what Ferriss refers to as the “New Rich.” The New Rich have abandoned the deferred-life plan to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now, and Ferriss argues that you can too.
Ferriss states that people don’t want to be millionaires; they want to experience what they think only millionaires can buy. The question, therefore, is how can you achieve the lifestyle of a millionaire, without having a million dollars in the bank? Over five years, Ferriss set out to answer this question and has laid out the key to separating income from time. Consequently, ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ is not about how to save, or about finding your dream job; it’s about how to free up the most time, and automate your income.
→ Click Here to Launch Your Online Business with Shopify
To become part of the New Rich, Ferriss puts forward a set of strategies to follow that spell out the acronym, DEAL. The book looks at each of the following in turn:
- D for ‘Definition:’ Turns misguided common sense on its head, and instead introduces new rules and objectives.
- E for ‘Elimination:’ This step argues for the elimination of the concept of time management.
- A for ‘Automation:’ Looks at putting your cash flow on autopilot.
- L for ‘Liberation:’ Liberation is not necessarily about cheap travel; it’s about being free from the binds that keep you tied to a single location.
The 4-Hour Work Week summary will look at each feature of Ferriss’ DEAL acronym, extracting the key points so that you can learn how to become a member of the New Rich.
Step 1: D is for Definition
Ferriss argues that the defining feature separating the New Rich from what he refers to as the ‘deferrers’ (i.e., those saving up all of their money for retirement), is their goals and their philosophies. He lists a few of the distinctions between these two modes of thinking as follows:
- Deferrer = I want to work for myself
- New Rich = I want to have others to work for me
- Deferrer = I want to work whenever I want to
- New Rich = I prevent work for work’s sake and do the minimum to get the maximum
- Deferrer = I want to retire young
- New Rich = I want to regularly distribute adventures and recovery periods throughout my life. Inactivity is not the goal, but doing what is exciting is
- Deferrer = I want to buy all the things I want
- New Rich = I want to do all the things I want to do
- Deferrer = I want to have a lot of money
- New Rich = I want to make a lot of money for specific reasons with defined dreams
- Deferrer = I want to have more
- New Rich = I want to have more quality and less clutter
Ferriss states that the deferrer’s desire to chase money blindly is foolish. If you can free up your time and your location, your money is automatically worth three to ten times more, as you are no longer paying rent. Ferriss chartered private planes over the Andes, enjoyed the finest wines in the world, and lived like a king in a private villa, which all cost less than paying rent in the U.S. Consequently, Ferriss states that money is multiplied in practical value according to the four W’s:
- What you do
- When you do it
- Where you do it
- Whom you do it with
This means that an investment banker making $500,000 a year for 80 hours a week, is less “powerful” than a member of the New Rich working 20 hours a week for $40,000, but who has complete freedom over the when, whom, where, and what of their lives. It’s the ability to choose that is our true power. The 4-Hour Work Week is all about identifying and creating these options so that you can make more money while working less.
When the world seems to be defining or solving a problem in a way that continuously creates subpar results, you need to ask yourself: What if you did the opposite? For example, when Ferriss was working in a sales department, he realized that most cold calls didn’t get through to their intended recipient. So, he decided to only call businesses between 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. By doing so, he avoided the secretaries. He also got twice as many meetings as his colleagues who were calling from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., for an eighth of the time.
To be a part of the New Rich, Ferriss offers ten rules that are fundamental to your success:
- Retirement is the worst-case-scenario insurance. It rests on the assumption that you are doing something you dislike for the ablest years of your life rather than enjoying those years now.
- Interest and energy are cyclical. Alternating between periods of rest and activity is essential. The New Rich distribute ‘mini-retirements’ throughout their life, instead of hoarding it all for retirement.
- Less is not laziness. Despite spending fewer hours in the office, the New Rich produce more meaningful results than a dozen deferrers combined.
- The timing is never right. Holding out for the perfect moment to make a decision will rarely come to fruition. Waiting for ‘someday’ means that you will take your dreams to the grave.
- Ask for forgiveness, not permission. People deny things according to their emotions, but they can learn to accept them after the fact.
- Emphasize strengths. Don’t fix weaknesses. By improving your strengths over your weaknesses, you focus on multiplying the results as opposed to incrementally fixing your flaws.
- When things are done to excess, they often take on the characteristics of their opposites. Too much and too often of what you want will soon become what you don’t want.
- Money alone is not the solution. We often use not having enough money as a scapegoat for not self-reflecting and working out what we want out of life.
- Relative income is more important than absolute income. Relative income looks at both money and time, whereas absolute income only looks at money. The former is how the New Rich assesses their current worth.
- Distress is bad, eustress is good. Distress refers to harmful stress that makes you weaker. Eustress refers to the type of stress that helps you grow. The New Rich seek out eustress and reject distress.
Uncertainty and the prospect of failure prevent people from trying new things. Most will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Ferriss suggests that if fear is preventing you from making a choice, imagine the worst-case scenario in detail. Then, work out how you could salvage your life if the worst came to pass.
This is a technique he used when he was unhappily working 15-hour days to run his company and was debating whether he could take a holiday or not. In the end, he realized that if the worst happened, it wouldn’t be fatal, he would survive, and he would be able to get back on track.
Ferriss offers seven questions to ask yourself to help you overcome your fears:
- What is your absolute worst-case scenario?
- What could you do to repair the damage if this came to pass?
- What are the temporary and permanent outcomes and benefits of more probable scenarios?
- If you were fired today, how could you take care of your finances?
- What are you putting off due to fear?
- What is the cost (emotionally, financially, and physically) of postponing action?
- What are you waiting for?
Ferriss states that doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic. As 99 percent of the world believes they are incapable of achieving greatness, they aim for a mediocre life. The problem? The level of competition is fiercest amongst those battling to achieve “realistic” goals. Therefore, there is less competition for bigger goals. The real challenge is to work out what you want.
However, the questions ‘what do you want?’ and ‘what are your goals?’ are flawed, they need to be rephrased. Ferriss argues that, generally, we make goals because we believe we are chasing happiness. He thinks this is wrong. Happiness has become ambiguous through overuse, and while most believe sadness to be the opposite of happiness, Ferriss posits that they are two sides of the same coin. The real antithesis to happiness is boredom. Consequently, Ferriss concludes that it’s excitement, which is a better synonym for happiness, and it’s an excitement that you should strive to chase.
Thus, the question shouldn’t be ‘what do you want?’ or ‘what are your goals?’ but ‘what excites you?’ To make what excites you your focus, follow this 3-fold process:
- Shift your goals from ambiguous wants to defined steps
- Make your goals unrealistic so that they can be effective
- Focus on activities to fill the vacuum of work once it’s removed, living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things, not just owning things
Step 2: E is for Elimination
Ferriss claims that we should forget about time management. It’s a trap. You shouldn’t be trying to fill every second with work. Now that you’ve thought about what you want to do with your time, you’ve got to find a way to create more free time while maintaining or increasing your income. The key is to remember that what you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. While efficiency is essential, it’s redundant unless it’s being applied to the right things.
Ferriss utilizes Pareto’s 80/20 Principle. The idea is that 80 percent of output will result from 20 percent of input. This can be applied everywhere, from wealth distribution in society to company profits relative to their products and customers. With this in mind, Ferriss suggests slowing down and remembering that often, being busy is a form of laziness as it prevents you from thinking.
Being selective in what you do, and even doing less is the path to being productive. By working out which 20 percent of your sources are causing 80 percent of your problems, and vice versa, you can adjust your life accordingly.
In addition to the 80/20 principle, Ferriss utilizes Parkinson’s Law. This states that the perceived importance of a task will increase in correlation with how much time has been allotted for its completion. Therefore, you should shorten your work time and limit your projects only to those that are important. How does this work in combination with the 80/20 Principle? By first identifying the few critical tasks that create the most income (80/20), and then scheduling them in with very short, clear deadlines (Parkinson’s Law).
Ferriss suggests that to move forward as part of the New Rich, you must learn to be selectively ignorant. It’s essential to ignore all information that is irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable. Most information is time-consuming and redundant. You should critically assess what you look at, read, or watch daily and establish whether it’s contributing to your goals.
Ferriss offers a 3-step procedure to help you eradicate useless information from your life:
- Go on a one-week media fast immediately. This means, no newspapers, magazines, news websites, television, non-fiction books, and unnecessary web surfing.
- Develop the habit of asking yourself if you will use this information for something that is both immediate and important.
- Learn when to stop absorbing. If you’re reading a poorly written article, don’t continue to read it.
Ferriss defines an interruption as anything that prevents the completion of a critical task, in which there are three principal offenders:
- Time wasters
- Time consumers
- Empowerment failures
To prevent interruption from these sources, consider taking the following steps:
- Create systems that limit your availability and deflect inappropriate interruptions. This could mean replacing a meeting with a concise email.
- Batch activities to limit costs and to create more time.
- Set autonomous rules with regular reviews of results. This prevents creating a decision bottleneck.
Step 3: A is for Automation
Some of the most critical skills necessary for becoming a member of the New Rich are learning how to communicate and to manage remotely. To get used to this idea, Ferriss suggests hiring a digital assistant to practice giving other people orders. An essential facet of being a member of the New Rich is learning how to replace yourself within a system.
However, Ferriss is also keen to highlight the dark side of delegation. Unless a task is well-defined and vital, he states that no one should do it. Eliminate before you delegate. This means never automating something that could otherwise be eliminated, and never delegate something that could be automated. To get to grips with the idea of automating your life, Ferriss suggests the following:
- Hire an assistant—even if you don’t need one
- Start small but think big. This means looking at what’s been on your to-do list for the longest time, examining what causes you the most frustration or boredom, and delegating these tasks
- Identify your five top time-consuming, non-work tasks, and five personal tasks you could assign, just for the fun of it
- Keep in sync by using scheduling and calendars
To only work 4 hours a week and to become a member of the New Rich, the key isn’t to run a business. It’s to own a business and spend no time on it. How to do that? Outsourcing. To get the ball rolling, Ferriss states that your business should adhere to the following:
– The target product can’t cost more than $500 to test
– It must be able to be automatized within four weeks
– When established, it can’t require more than one day per week of management
From here, Ferriss provides a step-by-step process for identifying a potential business model that could work for you:
- Pick an affordable niche market. Don’t create a product then go looking for your customers. First, find a market and identify your customers, then develop a product for them. To be successful, you should be a member of your target market. This makes the process significantly easier.
- Brainstorm (and don’t invest in) products. Choose two industries that you’re familiar with that both have their own magazines where a full-page advert costs $5000 or less. Now brainstorm ideas for products that could be effectively advertised in both these magazines. The product should cost between $50 and $200, shouldn’t take more than three to four weeks to produce, and should come accompanied with a thorough online FAQ. Then choose whether you want to either resell a product, license a product, or create a product.
- Then micro-test your products. Micro-testing uses cheap advertisements to test if there is a demand for your product before manufacturing it. Do this by assessing the competition and creating a more engaging offer than them. Then test the offer using short advertising campaigns before deciding which of your potential product ideas to back.
- Once you have a product that sells, it’s time to automate it. The architecture of your business needs to ensure that you’re out of the information flow, instead of at the top of it. To do this, contract outsourcing companies as opposed to freelancers and ensure that all of your outsourcers communicate with each other to solve problems.
- Assess the value of each customer. Identify those customers who spend the least and yet ask for the most (i.e., adhering to the 80/20 rule) and cut them out. They cost far more time than they are worth. Those customers you do keep on, treat well, as if they were in an exclusive club.
Step 4: L is for Liberation
If you are currently an employee for a company and you want to enjoy the unrestricted remote living of the New Rich, there are a few things you can do:
- Increase your employer’s investment in you. This could mean asking for the company to fund you through a training course. The psychology behind this is that the more a company invests in you, the greater the loss if you quit.
- Prove increased output when out of office. You could call in sick for two days but then work from home, doubling your work output and creating tangible proof of your efforts to show your employers how well you work when not in the office.
- Prepare the quantifiable business benefit. This means creating a bullet point list that showcases how much more you achieve when not in the office.
- Propose a remote working trial period. This could start at one-day-per-week.
- From here, gradually increase your remote working time. Do so by ensuring that your remote working days are your most productive then set a meeting with your employer to discuss the results.
Some jobs, however, are simply not worth salvaging. Just because you may have invested a lot of time into a job, doesn’t make it a worthwhile venture. However, as discussed earlier, it’s fear that prevents people from making the leap. Here are four of the most common fears when thinking about quitting a job, and Ferriss’ rebuff to each of them:
- Quitting is permanent: This is a lie. It’s always possible to pick up your chosen career path with a different company at a later date.
- I won’t be able to pay the bills: Yes, you will. If you can get a new stream of income before you quit your job, great, if you don’t, it isn’t hard to eliminate most of your expenses temporarily and live off your savings for a short while.
- Health insurance and retirement funds will cease if I quit: This is false. Do some research and transfer your 401(k) or similar to another company.
- It will ruin my resume: False. Just get creative with your CV. Plus, if you quit to do something interesting, this will often make you more attractive to employers in the long run.
After turning a three-month vacation into a 15-month trip, Ferriss asked himself, “why not take the usual 20-30 year retirement and redistribute it throughout life instead of saving it all for the end?” Consequently, Ferriss suggests that instead of engaging in binge travel (which most people working 40-hour a week jobs do when they get vacation time), that you go on several mini-retirements, which means relocating to another place for six months. By doing so, you will not escape your life as such but will re-examine it.
To get used to the idea of a mini-retirement, you first need to unshackle yourself from the materialism and comparative mindset that is integral to a speed- and size-obsessed culture. In his experience, Ferriss says that it takes around three months to unplug from these obsolete ways of thinking before becoming aware of just how much time is spent distracting yourself by being in constant motion.
When it comes to financing your mini-retirements, your level of luxury is limited only by your level of creativity. When you compare living expenses in a different country to the amount you are currently paying, like Ferriss, you may realize that living abroad could save you money. What’s more, before going away, it’s an excellent excuse to declutter your life from all its unnecessary belongings. This is the perfect time to use the 80/20 rule to ask yourself: What are the 20 percent of your belongings that you use 80 percent of the time, and vice versa? Then get rid of the excess.
It’s not uncommon that once you arrive on your mini-retirement, a gaping void engulfs you where you would otherwise have been busy distracting yourself with work. This frequently happens to those who retire, and it is what happened to Ferriss on his inaugural mini-retirement. The first thing to do is not to freak out as this is normal. The more goal-orientated you are, the more challenging this transition is going to be. In addition, you may also find yourself suffering from social-isolation.
In the absence of an external focus, the mind turns inwards and can create more problems to solve than necessary. However, if you find a focus or a goal, these problems can dissipate. If you find yourself mulling over existential questions without being able to get yourself out of a rut, Ferriss suggests asking yourself two things:
- Have you given each term in this question a specific definition and meaning?
- Will the answer to this question be acted upon to improve your life?
Consequently, if you can neither define it or act upon it, you should forget about it.
Overall, the most important things in life are to enjoy yourself and to feel good about yourself. While he cannot offer a single answer to the question of how to enjoy life and feel good about yourself, Ferriss does state that two components are fundamental to the New Rich: service and continual learning.
Ferriss suggests that one of the best things you can do when on a mini-retirement is to learn a language. According to him, it hones your clear thinking while allowing you to get to grips with the culture you are immersed in. Further, Ferriss defines service as doing something that improves life beyond your own. It’s an attitude, and it’s up to you to find the area that most appeals to you and to do your part.
To help you to prepare for your mini-retirement, Ferriss suggests the following:
- Revisit ground zero: Do nothing. You cannot escape your inner demons before you face them. Consider attending a short (three – seven day) silence retreat in which all media and speaking are prohibited.
- Anonymously donate to a service organization of your choice. This can help give you ideas of what type of service you’d like to contribute to in the world.
- Combine a learning mini-retirement with local volunteering. While on the trip, note any self-critical or negative self-talk in a journal, and if you get upset or anxious, ask yourself why.
- Revisit and reset your dream lines. Your mini-retirement may have given you a greater perspective on what you want to get out of life.
- Based on the results of steps one to four, consider trying out a new part- or full-time vocation. A vocation is different from work. A vocation is a true calling or a dream occupation.
Once you discover that life is not a problem to be solved or a game to be won, a real world of opportunities opens up. By mindlessly chasing an ideal of success, you miss out on all of the fun, especially when you recognize that the only rules and limits that exist are those that you set for yourself. You can recapture the magic of your childhood. Indeed, this is required. When you do so, you will realize that there are no more chains, or excuses, holding you back from living the exciting, fulfilling life you previously could only ever have dreamed of.
You can buy ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss on Amazon .
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- The Intelligent Investor Book Summary
- Good to Great Book Summary
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad Book Summary
- The Lean Startup Book Summary
15 of the Best Remote Jobs to Pursue in 2024
if you're on the search for remote work, look no further. We've compiled a list of 15 best remote jobs to pursue in 202…
30 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online in 2024
Here are 30 ways how you can make money online today from the comfort of your home. Just a laptop and internet connecti…
11 Best Side Hustle Ideas to Make an Extra $1,000 a Month (2024)
Money. Who couldn’t use a little bit more of it? Whether you’re saving for a down payment, planning a wedding, trying t…
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary
1-Sentence-Summary: The 4-Hour Workweek is the step-by-step blueprint to free yourself from the shackles of a corporate job, create a business to fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live life like a millionaire, without actually having to be one.
Favorite quote from the author:
Table of Contents
The 4-hour workweek review, audio summary, who would i recommend the 4-hour workweek summary to.
Was I late to the party because I read this book in 2013? Sure. About 6 years late, to be exact. But that didn’t make it any less of an eye-opener to me.
Tim Ferriss needs no introduction. He’s like a digital Indiana Jones, and this was the book that brought him on to our screens.
Written more out of frustration, much less than for the love of writing, this book is Tim’s documentation of how he removed himself from his own company, in order to do what he loves: learn and travel.
It’s almost impossible to pull out just 3 things from this book, but I’ll do it anyway:
- Be effective, not efficient.
- Validate all of your business ideas.
- Charge a premium to make your life easier.
Let’s dig a bit deeper.
If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.
Lesson 1: Be effective, not efficient.
If Tim’s life was designed around one rule, it would be the 80/20 rule or Pareto principle . Most people measure productivity by the time spent working , but that’s a bad indicator, because we waste so much time at work.
Tim suggests to spend your time effectively: on the 20% of things that get you 80% of the results, and not vice versa.
A famous quote of his is this: “Doing something unimportant well does not make it important” . So instead of focusing on doing as much as you can as best as you can, just focus on doing the few things that will lead to the biggest progress .
This is one of Tim’s major mantras in life and something you can adopt today that will make every single day of your life from here on out slightly better and easier.
Lesson 2: Always validate your business ideas.
Funny I mentioned him yesterday , but this lesson really sank in when I read Noah Kagan’s guest post on Tim’s blog . Before you go out and build any product or service, make sure people give you money for it.
Will your idea for knitted coffee cosies be a hit? I don’t know, so go ask people to buy from you! This is more of a comfort zone challenge than anything else, and it’s scary – which is a good indicator that it’s important .
2 personal examples from 2015: First, a friend approached me with an idea for a shoe business. We would solve the following problem: People have different sized feet. They need one shoe in one size, and the other in another size.
Our idea was to go to shoe manufacturers, collect all the leftovers in different sizes, pair them up and sell them for cheap. To validate, we asked all of our friends and family, who had this problem, whether they’d pay for odd-sized shoes.
What’s more, we went into 10+ shoe stores and asked them if people approach them with this problem.
The answer: no. No one cares, people just take the bigger pair and live with it, it’s not big enough of an issue .
Late in 2015 I wanted to create my first proper digital product. A course. So to test the idea, I created a landing page , held a webinar, and tried to pre-sell it. I sold 0 copies of the course, but that was no problem, because I hadn’t even built it yet .
Remember: ABV – always be validating!
Lesson 3: Charge a premium to need less clients and make your life easier.
Once you have validated your product and are set to start production, the next big question often is: Do I want to be high quality or the cheapest guy around?
Answer: You want to be high quality. Always.
Imagine you want to make $4,000/month, and are selling a nutritional supplement, like this one . If you charge $10 per bottle, you need to generate 400 sales per month.
If you charge $40 per bottle, you only have to make 100 sales. The hardest part of making a sale is moving people from not giving you money to giving you money .
The amount of money is very negotiable once they’ve made the decision to purchase from you. I bet you can find 100 people who are willing to give you 4x the money much faster than you can get an extra 300 people to buy from you in the first place.
Note: You can easily do this pricing math for any potential product with Neville Medhora’s cool pricing calculator.
That’s the first reason you should shoot for high quality and charge a premium. The second reason is that the people that are willing to pay a premium are low-hassle clients .
You will get a lot less complaints, returns and angry phone calls. Even if they don’t like it, chances are they won’t bother returning it, because they don’t have to turn every cent twice before spending it.
So promise high quality and deliver!
I read the entire book in a few sittings. I can’t believe someone compiled all the information in it in such an encompassing way back in 2007. That’s what has most shocked me about it.
Blinkist’s summary is crammed with insights, but is still only an excerpt of the plethora of great info in the book. Tim created a great step-by-step structure with lots of resources, links and tools, like the dreamline worksheet or the comfort challenges at the end of each chapter.
If you’ve entertained the idea of what your life could look like if you didn’t have to work, or could be a lot more picky about the projects you do take on, because you rest comfortably on a big, financial cushion, this is a must read.
Listen to the audio of this summary with a free reading.fm account:
The 17 year old who has a tough time to make up her mind about taking a year off before college to travel and explore, the 31 year old graduate who’s a few years into his corporate career and starts to question whether this is what he wanted, and anyone who’s ever tried to sell something that was a flop.
Last Updated on July 27, 2022
Niklas Göke is an author and writer whose work has attracted tens of millions of readers to date. He is also the founder and CEO of Four Minute Books, a collection of over 1,000 free book summaries teaching readers 3 valuable lessons in just 4 minutes each. Born and raised in Germany, Nik also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Engineering from KIT Karlsruhe and a Master’s Degree in Management & Technology from the Technical University of Munich. He lives in Munich and enjoys a great slice of salami pizza almost as much as reading — or writing — the next book — or book summary, of course!
*Four Minute Books participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising commissions by linking to Amazon. We also participate in other affiliate programs, such as Blinkist, MindValley, Audible, Audiobooks, Reading.FM, and others. Our referral links allow us to earn commissions (at no extra cost to you) and keep the site running. Thank you for your support.
Need some inspiration? 👀 Here are... The 365 Most Famous Quotes of All Time »
Plot Summary? We’re just getting started.
Add this title to our requested Study Guides list!
4-Hour Work Week
Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2007
Continue your reading experience
SuperSummary Plot Summaries provide a quick, full synopsis of a text. But SuperSummary Study Guides — available only to subscribers — provide so much more!
Join now to access our Study Guides library, which offers chapter-by-chapter summaries and comprehensive analysis on more than 5,000 literary works from novels to nonfiction to poetry.
See for yourself. Check out our sample guides:
Download Fiction Sample
David And Goliath
Download Nonfiction Sample
Whales Weep Not!
Download Poetry Sample
A SuperSummary Plot Summary provides a quick, full synopsis of a text.
A SuperSummary Study Guide — a modern alternative to Sparknotes & CliffsNotes — provides so much more, including chapter-by-chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and important quotes.
See the difference for yourself. Check out this sample Study Guide:
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss: Summary and Lessons
“The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
Related: The E-Myth Revisited , Zero to One , ReWork , Essentialism , Eat That Frog
Print | Ebook | Audiobook
Get all my book summaries here
Table of Contents
The 4 Hour Workweek Short Summary
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is the ultimate blueprint on lifestyle design. Follow a simple step-by-step process to reinvent yourself, work better, create a business, and live a luxury lifestyle that favors time and mobility.
The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles using time and mobility .
People don’t want to be millionaires—they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it allows.
So the question becomes: “How can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1,000,000?”
The step-by-step process you’ll use to reinvent yourself:
- D is for Definition. Introductions to the rules and objectives of the new game. This section explains the lifestyle design recipe and fundamentals .
- E is for Elimination. Kills the obsolete notion of time management once and for all. How to increase your per-hour results ten times or more by cultivating selective ignorance, developing a low-information diet, and ignoring the unimportant. This section provides the first of the three luxury lifestyle design ingredients: time .
- A is for Automation. Puts cash flow on autopilot using geographic arbitrage, outsourcing, and rules of nondecision. Provides the second ingredient of luxury lifestyle design: income .
- L is for Liberation. The mobile manifesto for the globally inclined. Covers how to break the bonds that confine you to a single location. This section delivers the third and final ingredient for luxury lifestyle design: mobility .
Step I: D is for Definition
Chapter 1 – cautions and comparisons: how to burn $1,000,000 a night.
The New Rich (NR) can be separated from the crowd based on their goals , which reflect very distinct priorities and life philosophies.
If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3–10 times as much.
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life:
- What you do
- When you do it
- Where you do it
- With whom you do it
To become a NR, you start by replacing assumptions.
Chapter 2 – Rules That Change the Rules: Everything Popular is Wrong
- Retirement Is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance. Retirement planning is like life insurance. Your retirement is not the goal.
- Interest and Energy Are Cyclical. Work only when you are most effective and life is both more productive and enjoyable .
- Less Is Not Laziness. Despite working fewer hours, the NR produce more meaningful results than other people. Focus on being productive instead of busy .
- The Timing Is Never Right. “ Someday ” is a disease that takes your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “ eventually ,” just do it and correct course along the way.
- Ask for Forgiveness, Not Permission. Try it and then justify it. Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you screw up.
- Emphasize Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.
- Things in Excess Become Their Opposite. Do what you want as opposed to what you feel obligated to do.
- Money Alone Is Not the Solution. The routine of the money wheel is a constant distraction that prevents you from seeing how pointless it is. The problem is more than money.
- Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income. Relative income is the real measurement of wealth for the New Rich.
- Distress Is Bad, Eustress Is Good. Eustress is the stimulus for growth. Be equally aggressive in removing distress and finding eustress.
Chapter 3 – Dodging Bullets: Fear-Setting and Escaping Paralysis
Most intelligent people in the world dress up fear as optimistic denial .
Define your fears by writing down your answer to each step:
- Define Your Fear. What’s the worst that could happen? What would be the permanent impact on a scale of 1–10? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?
- Damage Control. What steps could you take to repair the damage? How could you get things back under control?
- Consider the Upside. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?
- Repair the Missteps. If you were fired today, what would you do to get things under financial control? If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track?
- Define Action. What are you putting off out of fear? What we most fear doing is what we most need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.
- Know the Costs. What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action? Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue what excites you, where will you be in one year, five years, and ten years?
- Understand Your Fear. What are you waiting for? If you can only answer “timing” then you’re afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction and realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps. Finally, develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.
Chapter 4 – System Reset: Being Unreasonable and Unambiguous
99% of the people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things so they aim for the mediocre. So competition is fiercest for “realistic” goals.
Doing big things begins with asking for them properly.
Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness , and it is precisely what you should strive to chase.
The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
Boredom is the enemy, not failure.
Apply timelines to dreams by dreamlining (advanced goal-setting ):
- What would you do if there were no way you could fail? Create two timelines—6 months and 12 months—and list up to five things you dream of having, being, and doing, in that order.
- What does “being” entail doing? Convert each “being” into a “doing” to make it actionable. For example: Great cook = make Christmas dinner without help.
- What are the four dreams that would change it all? Highlight the four most exciting and/or important dreams.
- Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your Target Monthly Income (TMI) for both timelines. Think of income and expense as a monthly cash flow instead of grand totals. Calculate your Target Monthly Income for your dreamlines.
- Determine three steps for each of the four dreams in just the 6-month timeline and take the first step now. Set simple well-defined actions for now, tomorrow, and the day after. Once you have three steps for each of the four goals, complete the three actions in the “now” column. Each should be simple enough to do in five minutes or less. The best first step is finding someone who’s done it and asking for advice on how to do the same.
Step II: E is for Elimination
Chapter 5 – the end of time management: illusions and italians.
Don’t try to do more each day. Being busy is used as a guide for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
Two truisms to keep in mind:
- Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
- Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.
Pareto’s Law ( 80/20 Rule ): 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs
Parkinson’s Law : tasks will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion
To be productive:
- Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income (80/20)
- Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law)
3 times per day, at scheduled times, ask yourself:
- Am I being productive or just active?
- Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
How to have more time and do less:
- Define a to-do list
- Define a not-to-do list
How to 80/20 your work:
- If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do?
- If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?
- If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove ?
- What are the top 3 activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive?
- Who are the people who produce the most of your enjoyment and propel you forward, and which cause most of your depression, anger, and second-guessing?
- If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?
There should never be more than two mission-critical items to complete each day. Do them separately from start to finish without distraction.
Chapter 6 – The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating Selective Ignorance
Problems solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.
To be selectively ignorant , learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable.
Lifestyle design is based on massive action—output. Increased output necessitates decreased input.
Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence.
The Low-Information Diet:
- Go on an immediate one-week media fast. No newspapers, magazines, and audiobooks. Music is permitted at all times. No news websites whatsoever No television at all, except for one hour of pleasure viewing each evening. No web surfing at the desk unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day.
- Only consume information for something immediate and important . Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it. Focus on “just-in-time” information instead of “just-in-case” information.
- Practice the art of nonfinishing. Develop the habit of nonfinishing that which is boring or unproductive if a boss isn’t demanding it.
Chapter 7 – Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal
Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
An interruption is anything that prevents the start-to-finish completion of a critical task.
The 3 principal offenders:
- Time Wasters. Things that can be ignored with little or no consequence
- Time Consumers. Repetitive tasks or requests that need to be completed but often interrupt high-level work
- Empowerment Failures. When someone needs approval to make something small happen
How to Fix Interruptions
- Limit email consumption and production
- Never check email first thing in the morning
- Check email twice per day. Create an email autoresponse so people respect your new rule
- Screen incoming and limit outgoing phone calls
- Use two numbers: one office line (non-urgent) and one cellular (urgent). Answer the cell and let the office go to voicemail
- Don’t let people chitchat. Get them to the point immediately
- Avoid all meetings that do not have clear objectives
- If someone proposes a meeting, request an email instead and then use the phone as your fallback offer
- Respond to voicemail via email whenever possible. This trains people to be concise
- Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a predefined situation, not to define the problem. Ask people to send you an email with an agenda to define the purpose
- Have an end time for your meeting (aim for 30 minutes)
- Don’t permit casual visitors. Use headphones , even if you aren’t listening to anything
- Work smarter by batching tasks like email
- Empower others to act without interrupting you
- Force people to define their requests before spending time with them
- Use Evernote to capture information and make it findable
Step III: A is for Automation
Chapter 8 – outsourcing life: offloading the rest and a taste of geoarbitrage.
Get a remote personal assistant to learn how to give orders. It is small-scale training wheels for the most critical of NR skills: remote management and communication.
Eliminate before you delegate .
Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined.
Refine rules and processes before adding people. Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems.
Only delegate time-consuming and well-defined tasks .
To find the right assistant, you need to test with a trial. To improve your odds, hire a VA firm instead of a solo operator.
How to minimize damage and allow for fast repair:
- Never use debit cards for online transactions or with remote assistants
- If your VA will be accessing websites on your behalf, create a new unique login and password to be used on those sites
How to delegate:
- Request someone who has “excellent” English and indicate that phone calls will be required (even if not). Be fast to request a replacement if there are repeated communication issues
- Give precise directions. Ask VAs to rephrase tasks to confirm understanding before getting started
- Request a status update after a few hours of work on a task to ensure that the task is both understood and achievable. Some tasks are, after initial attempts, impossible
- Assign tasks that are to be completed within 24-72 hours. Break larger tasks into smaller milestones that can be completed in shorter time frames
- Send one task at a time whenever possible (and no more than two)
Chapter 9 – Income Autopilot I: Finding the Muse
The goal is to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.
It’s easier to fill demand than to create it. Find a market—define your customers—then find or develop a product for them.
How to find profitable niches:
- Which social, industry, and professional groups do you belong to, have you belonged to, or do you understand? Compile a list of all the groups, past and present, that you can associate yourself with.
- Which of the groups you identified have their own magazines? Narrow the groups from question 1 above to those that are reachable through one or two small magazines.
How to brainstorm products:
- The main benefit of your product should be explainable in one sentence or phrase
- It should cost $50–200 since that price range provides the most profit for the least customer service hassle. Price high and then justify
- It should take less than 4 weeks to manufacture
- It should be fully explainable in a good online FAQ
The 3 recommended options:
- Resell. The easiest route but also the least profitable. It is the fastest to set up but the fastest to die off due to price competition with other resellers
- License. Two options: invent and let someone else do the rest or manufacture and sell someone else’s idea
- Create. Information products are low-cost, fast to manufacture, and time-consuming for competitors to duplicate
3 options to create information products:
- Create the content yourself, often via paraphrasing and combining points from several books on a topic
- Repurpose content that is in the public domain and not subject to copyright protection
- License content or compensate an expert to help create content
Chapter 10 – Income Autopilot II: Testing the Muse
To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy— ask them to buy .
Micro-testing involves using inexpensive advertisements to test consumer response to a product prior to manufacturing.
Test your product ideas using PPC in five days for $500 or less.
The 3 parts of the basic test process:
- Best. Look at the competition and create a more-compelling offer on a basic 1-3 page website
- Test. Test your offer using PPC advertising campaigns
- Divest or Invest. Cut losses with losers and manufacture the winner(s) for sales rollout
Chapter 11 – Income Autopilot III: MBA-Management By Absence
Once you have a product that sells, it’s time to design a self-correcting business architecture that runs itself.
How to build a scalable business:
- Phase I: 0–50 Total Units of Product Shipped. Do it all yourself. Take customer calls to determine common questions that you will answer later in an online FAQ
- Phase II: >10 Units Shipped Per Week. Find local fulfillment companies
- Phase III: >20 Units Shipped Per Week. Find end-to-end fulfillment houses that handle it all—from order status to returns and refunds
The Art of Undecision: Fewer Options = More Revenue
How to reduce service overhead by 20–80%:
- Offer one or two purchase options
- Offer only one fast shipping method and charge a premium
- Do not offer overnight or expedited shipping
- Eliminate phone orders and direct prospects to online ordering
- Do not offer international shipments
The biggest time-saver of all is customer filtering .
Instead of dealing with problem customers, prevent them from ordering in the first place.
How to attract high-profit and low-maintenance customers:
- Do not accept payment via Western Union, checks, or money order
- Raise wholesale minimums to 12–100 units and require a tax ID number to qualify resellers
- Refer all potential resellers to an online order form that must be printed, filled out, and faxed in
- Offer low-priced products instead of free products to capture contact information for follow-up sales
- Offer a lose-win guarantee instead of free trials
- Do not accept orders from common mail fraud countries
How to look Fortune 500 in 45 minutes:
- Don’t be the CEO. Give yourself a mid-level title, such as VP or Director of Sales
- Put multiple emails and phone contacts on the website
- Set up an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) remote receptionist
Go forth and project professionalism with a well-designed image. Perceived size does matter.
Step IV: L is for Liberation
Chapter 12 – disappearing act: how to escape the office.
To escape the office:
- Increase Investment. Convince your company to invest in training so that the loss is greater if you quit
- Prove Increased Output Offsite. Call in sick for two days mid-week and double your work output on those days
- Prepare the Quantifiable Business Benefit. Create a bullet-point list of how much more you achieved outside the office with explanations
- Propose a Revocable Trial Period. Propose a one-day-per-week remote work trial period for two weeks
- Expand Remote Time. Make your remote working days the most productive to date. Up the ante to four days per week remote for a two-week trial
The hourglass approach:
- Use a pre-planned project or emergency and take two weeks out of the office
- Propose how you can work remotely
- Make those two weeks the most productive at work
- Show your boss the quantifiable results upon returning. Suggest two or three days at home per week as a trial for two weeks. Make them ultra-productive
- Suggest only one day in the office per week. Make those days the least productive of the week
- Suggest complete mobility
How to replace presence-based work with performance-based freedom:
- Practice environment-free productivity. Attempt to work for two hours in a café prior to proposing a remote trial
- Quantify current productivity. Document your work efforts
- Demonstrate remote work productivity. Rack up some proof that you can kick ass without constant supervision
- Practice the art of getting past “no”. “What would I need to do to [desired outcome]?”
- Put your employer on remote training wheels. Propose Monday or Friday at home
- Ask for more. Extend each successful trial period until you reach full-time or your desired level of mobility
Chapter 13 – Beyond Repair: Killing Your Job
Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner.
Rebuttals for the most common phobias of quitting:
- Quitting is permanent. Use fear-setting to examine how you could pick up your chosen career track or start another company at a later point.
- I won’t be able to pay the bills. It isn’t hard to eliminate most expenses temporarily and live on savings for a brief period.
- Health insurance and retirement accounts will disappear. You can have identical medical coverage for a few hundred dollars per month. It’s easy to transfer your 401(k).
- It will ruin my resume. Do something interesting and make them jealous
Answer to why you took a break or left your previous job: “I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do [exotic and envy-producing experience] and couldn’t turn it down. I figured that, with [20–40] years of work to go, what’s the rush?”
Exercises to help you realize just how natural job changes are and how simple the transition can be:
- Are you more likely to find what you want in your current job or somewhere else?
- If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
- Take a sick day and post your resume on the major job sites. The person who has more options has more power. Don’t wait until you need options to search for them. Take a sneak peek at the future now and it will make both action and being assertive easier.
- If you run or own a company, imagine that you have just been sued and must declare bankruptcy. How would you survive?
Chapter 14 – Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle
The alternative to binge travel—the mini-retirement—entails relocating to one place for one to six months before going home or moving to another locale.
How to save money when traveling:
- Use credit cards with reward points for large muse-related advertising and manufacturing expenses
- Purchase tickets far in advance (three months or more) or last minute, and aim for both departure and return between Tuesday and Thursday
- Consider buying one ticket to an international hub and then an ongoing ticket with a cheap local airline
How to pack:
- One week of clothing appropriate to the season, including one semi formal shirt and pair of pants or skirt for customs. Think T-shirts, one pair of shorts, and a multipurpose pair of jeans.
- Backup photocopies or scanned copies of all important documents: health insurance, passport/visa, credit cards, debit cards, etc.
- Debit cards, credit cards, and $200 worth of small bills in local currency
- Small cable bike lock for securing luggage while in transit or in hostels; a small padlock for lockers if needed
Chapter 15 – Filling the Void: Adding Life After Subtracting Work
Subtracting the bad does not create the good. It leaves a vacuum. Decreasing income-driven work isn’t the end goal. Living more—and becoming more—is.
Common doubts and self-flagellation of the NR:
- Am I really doing this to be more free and lead a better life, or am I just lazy?
- Did I quit the rat race because it’s bad, or just because I couldn’t hack it?
- Is this as good as it gets?
- Am I really successful or just kidding myself?
- Have I lowered my standards to make myself a winner? Are my friends, who are now making twice as much as three years ago, really on the right track?
- Why am I not happy? I can do anything and I’m still not happy. Do I even deserve it?
These are outdated comparisons using the more-is-better and money-as-success mind-sets that got us into trouble to begin with.
Before spending time on a stress-inducing question, big or otherwise, ensure that the answer is “yes” to the following two questions:
- Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question?
- Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?
If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.
The two fundamental components to enjoy life:
- Continual Learning. Transport skills that you practice domestically to other countries, like sports. Instant social life and camaraderie. Or pick skills that you can practice there, like learning a language
- Service. Doing something that improves life besides your own.
Chapter 16 – The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
- Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake
- Micromanaging and emailing to fill time
- Handling problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle
- Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with noncrisis problems
- Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits
- Answering email that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by a FAQ or auto-responder
- Working where you live, sleep, or should relax
- Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life
- Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, whether in your personal or professional life
- Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work
- Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work
- Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence
- Ignoring the social rewards of life
The Best of the 4 Hour Work Week Blog
Questions to put things in perspective.
- What is the one goal, if completed, that could change everything?
- What is the most urgent thing right now that you feel you “must” or “should” do?
- Can you let the urgent “fail”—even for a day—to get to the next milestone for your potential life-changing tasks?
- What’s been on your to-do list the longest?
The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths. Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness. Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation. Therefore: Too many choices = less or no productivity Too many choices = less or no appreciation Too many choices = sense of overwhelm What to do?
The 6 Basic Rules of the Choice-Minimal Lifestyle
- Set rules for yourself so you can automate as much decision making as possible
- Don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action
- Don’t postpone decisions just to avoid uncomfortable conversations
- Learn to make nonfatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible
- Don’t strive for variation—and thus increase option consideration—when it’s not needed
- Regret is past-tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret
The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now
- Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers
- Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night
- Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
- Do not let people ramble
- Do not check email constantly—“batch” and check at set times only
- Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
- Do not work more to fix overwhelmingness—prioritize
- Do not carry a cell phone 24/7
- Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should
- Free Courses
- Our Content
Book Summary The 4-Hour Workweek , by Tim Ferriss
Many people want to retire as millionaires so that they have the time and money to travel, buy luxury cars and homes, or visit with their friends and families. However, you don’t need to be a millionaire to do all these things. You don’t even need to retire.
In The 4-Hour Workweek , entrepreneur, consultant, and life coach Tim Ferriss explains how anyone can live the retired millionaire lifestyle by building their own business, automating it, and then collecting the income while they go off to live their dreams. In this guide, we’ll describe each of Ferriss’s steps to creating this life. We’ll also examine why some of his recommendations are particularly effective and explore alternatives and counterarguments to other suggestions.
1-Page Summary 1-Page Book Summary of The 4-Hour Workweek
Most people want to be millionaires so they can quit their day jobs, travel, buy nice things, spend time with the people they care about, and pursue a hobby or a passion. However, in The 4-Hour Workweek , entrepreneur, consultant, and life coach Tim Ferriss argues that you don’t need a million dollars to have a millionaire lifestyle. We’ll describe each of his steps to creating this life, examine why some of his recommendations are particularly effective, and explore alternatives and counterarguments to other suggestions.
Ferriss says there are two ways non-millionaires attempt to live the retired millionaire lifestyle:
1. Postponers follow the conventional system of working for 30-40 years and then retiring. However, they use up the prime physical years of their life working, then either run out of money or lose the ability to enjoy their money while they’re traditionally retired.
(Shortform note: The average age of retirement is trending up , so postponers might find themselves delaying retirement even longer than expected. A Gallup poll from 2021 found that the average retirement age was 62—Gallup’s 2020 poll reported that the average retirement age was 61, and its 1991 poll reported the average retirement age was 57 .)
2. Lifelong retirees live the millionaire lifestyle throughout their lives, alternating brief periods of work with lengthy pseudo-retirements. Their goal is to spend as little effort and time to make as much money as possible. The 4-Hour Workweek teaches you how to become a lifelong retiree by building a business that makes you enough money to live on, while not taking much of your time.
What if You Don’t Want Your Own Business? Ferriss’s advice in this book is, essentially, to create a strong source of passive income so that you can afford to quit your day job. He suggests doing so by creating your own company and then automating it, but there are other methods for earning money without having to work continuously. For example, in Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant , Robert Kiyosaki says that financial independence comes from investing: In other words, putting your money into things that you expect to provide ongoing returns . Common examples of investments include retirement accounts, stocks, and rental properties. According to Kiyosaki, the goal of investing is to eventually live entirely on those returns so that you’re never forced to work again.
Ferriss says that you can achieve a millionaire lifestyle by following a four-step process, which he illustrates with the acronym DEAL: Define, Eliminate, Automate, Liberate. Each section of this guide will explore one of those four steps.
First, we’ll discuss how to decide what you want to do. In other words, if you were freed from your time-consuming obligations, what would you do with your time? Next, we’ll explore how you can streamline your schedule— figure out which time-consuming activities you can get rid of now to make your day job less onerous. Third, we’ll show how to use your newfound time to create your own business (what Ferriss calls your “muse”). It’ll be a lot of work at first, but eventually you can automate that business to provide passive income. Finally, once your business is earning enough money and no longer needs much input from you, you can retire and start living like a millionaire.
Step 1: Decide What You Want to Do
The first step in Ferriss’s process is to identify what you would do if you didn’t have to spend your time working. This step also involves identifying—and overcoming—the fears that hold you back from living your dreams.
Envision Your New Lifestyle
To begin, picture what your new lifestyle will look like. Ferriss says you should imagine your dream lifestyle, then put those dreams on a timeline of three, six, or 12 months. He calls this process dreamlining.
First, list five items for each of the following: things you want to have , things you want to do , and things you want to be . Make these as specific as possible. For example, don’t say that you want to “travel”—write down the actual places you’d like to visit and what you want to do there. Once you have your 15 dreams written down, go back over the list and choose your top four.
(Shortform note: As Richard Rumelt explains in Good Strategy/Bad Strategy , having a limited number of clear and specific goals narrows your focus , which helps you direct your attention and resources effectively. If you have too many goals, or if your goals are too vague, then your efforts to reach those goals will be unfocused and ineffective—it would be like trying to get stronger by doing a dozen different exercises one time each. While Good Strategy/Bad Strategy is a business guide rather than a lifestyle guide, the principle of focusing your efforts applies whether you’re trying to build a business or improve your personal life.)
Next, calculate how much money you’d need per month in order to do all four things you chose, then increase that number by 30%. This will give you your target monthly income, with a built-in buffer against unexpected expenses.
How Much Do You Really Need? Ferriss is urging you to live a balanced life: Instead of pushing to make as much money as possible, figure out how much money you need and how you’ll enjoy your life once you have it. Robin Sharma’s fable The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari ...
Want to learn the rest of The 4-Hour Workweek in 21 minutes?
Unlock the full book summary of The 4-Hour Workweek by signing up for Shortform .
Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:
- Being 100% comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
- Cutting out the fluff: you don't spend your time wondering what the author's point is.
- Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
READ FULL SUMMARY OF THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK
Here's a preview of the rest of Shortform's The 4-Hour Workweek summary:
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Part 1: D: Define Your Dreams | Chapter 1: Choose Your Lifestyle
Most people think they want to be millionaires so they can stop doing a job they don’t like, travel, buy nice cars, spend time with the people they care about, or practice a passion or vocation. However, there isn’t a direct relationship between money and lifestyle. If you have a lot of money but don’t have any control over your time or who you spend it with, you probably won’t be happy.
For example, an investment banker might work 80-hour weeks and make a lot of money but never have any time to use it. A freelancer might work 20 hours a week for a fifth of the banker’s salary, but while she might have less money, the money she does have has more practical value. She’ll be able to use it to do w hatever she wants, with w homever she wants, and w henever and w herever she wants (4Ws). You don’t need to be a millionaire to live your dreams—you only need the amount of money they require.
Paradoxically, you can increase your income by decreasing whatever it is you’re doing now. Day jobs and conventional businesses are set up to funnel everyone through the traditional lifestyle—work for three or four decades straight, and then retire for the rest of the...
Try Shortform for free
Read full summary of The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 2: Break the Rules
Why does everyone follow the conventions and “rules” of life when they push us towards an inefficient system (the rat race) and something (deferred retirement) that isn’t actually going to make us happy? If the “way it’s done” isn’t working for you, do it differently. For example, for a long time, high-jumpers jumped over the bar using a straddle technique. Dick Fosbury came up with a new technique of going backwards over the bar. Using this technique, he won the event in the 1968 Olympics. The technique was effective, and eventually, all high-jumpers started doing it. The 4HWW lifestyle may currently be uncommon, but that’s no reflection on its value or effectiveness.
Note, however, that you can take this concept too far. Being different just for the sake of being different isn’t useful. For example, only wearing clothes that are different shades of red isn’t going to achieve anything. You want to look for a new solution only when the current practice isn’t working.
Ten Rules for Breaking the Rules
There are ten rules for breaking the rules:
1. Treat traditional retirement as a back-up plan. Instead of working towards retirement as an end goal, work...
What Our Readers Say
This is the best summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People I've ever read. I learned all the main points in just 20 minutes.
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 3: Face Your Fears
The main thing that stops people from living the 4HWW lifestyle is fear. Fear of failure and the unknown are paralyzing, and facing these fears is so intimidating that most people would rather be unhappy.
Additionally, there’s a less-recognizable subset of fear of the unknown that affects many of us—optimistic denial. If your job isn’t absolutely awful, then you pretend it’ll get better or pretend you’ll get a raise and the money will make everything better. You’ll keep on pretending instead of doing something life-changing that would actually make you happier. To figure out if you’ve fallen prey to optimistic denial, think back to a month or a year ago. Are things better now than they were then? If they’re not, there’s no reason to expect them to improve over another year.
The best way to work through your fears is to define them, or “fear-set.” Once you have a better handle on what exactly you’re worried about, it becomes less frightening. Also, once you’ve quantified your fears into specific scenarios, you’ll be able to see ways to avoid negative consequences.
There are six questions to ask yourself when fear-setting. They aren’t simply a...
Shortform Exercise: Start to Fear-Set
Once we articulate and define our fears, they’re less frightening.
Think of something you want to do but are scared to. If you do this thing, what’s the worst possible outcome?
Why people love using Shortform
"I LOVE Shortform as these are the BEST summaries I’ve ever seen...and I’ve looked at lots of similar sites. The 1-page summary and then the longer, complete version are so useful. I read Shortform nearly every day."
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 4: Sketch Your Dreamlines
To fully embrace the 4HWW lifestyle, you need to find something to do with all your upcoming free time. When brainstorming ideas, don’t ask yourself what you want or what your goals are. Instead, ask yourself what you find exciting. The first two questions are too vague and don’t steer you toward the right course of action. You probably want something, or want to achieve a goal, because it will make you happy. But happiness is a vague concept—at different times in your life happiness might be as simple as having a good meal. After a while, happiness can morph into boredom, and boredom is even worse than failure. Excitement is a much more precise objective.
Don’t restrict yourself to what seems reasonable or realistic. Interestingly, it’s actually easier to do really big things than moderate things. First, there’s less competition. Most people don’t think they can do big things, so they aim lower, creating a lot of competition in the low arenas. Second, a big goal with a big payoff gives you more energy and adrenaline. Small goals aren’t very exciting, so you’re not as inclined to put in enormous effort.
For example, when the author gave a lecture at...
Shortform Exercise: Brainstorm Dreams
The first step of dreamlining is to brainstorm.
What are some things you’ve always wanted to have?
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Part 2: E: Eliminate Activities That Waste Your Time | Chapter 5: Learn the Laws
Part 1 covered step D (Define) of the DEAL process and Part 2 will cover step E: Eliminate activities that waste your time. Step E explains how to start making the time to achieve the dreamlines you set in step D.
The 4HWW lifestyle requires you to reevaluate your ideas about time. First, note that unproductive busyness is bad. Busyness takes up a lot of time and it’s a form of procrastination. Doing unimportant things gets in the way of doing things that would actually have a high impact but are uncomfortable.
Second, abandon time management. Time management implies that you have so many things to do in a limited amount of time that you have to tetris things into your schedule. This isn’t a situation you want to be in.
Instead of being so busy you have to manage your time, decrease the number of things you have to do and decrease the amount of time you spend on them. If you want to get more done, you have to do less.
The Difference Between Effectiveness and Efficiency
Effectiveness is doing important things that help you achieve results. Efficiency is doing things (regardless of whether or not they’re important) in the fastest way possible.
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 6: Ignore Unimportant or Unactionable Information
Reading and informing yourself takes up a lot of time. If you want more free time, you need to drastically cut down on the amount of time you spend consuming information. Do this by ignoring anything that’s not important or that you can’t do anything about. For example, the author only reads newspaper headlines as he walks to lunch. He spends only four hours a month reading Inc. magazine and about ⅓ of Response magazine. He assumes that if anything really important happens that he has to do something about, he’ll hear about it from someone. In five years, his “ignorance” has never caused a problem.
The key to this ignorance is that it’s selective. Ignore whatever the world throws at you. When you do need information, seek it out, ideally in a more digestible format than the original. For example, Ferriss learned enough to vote in the last federal election by doing the following:
- He asked smart American friends with similar values to his how they were going to vote.
- He was living in Berlin at the time and asked his friends there for an outside perspective.
- He watched the presidential debates.
Not only was this an efficient way to get all this...
Want to read the rest of this Book Summary ?
With Shortform, you can:
Access 1000+ non-fiction book summaries.
Access 1000+ premium article summaries.
Take notes on your
Read on the go with our iOS and Android App.
Download PDF Summaries.
Shortform Exercise: Learn Selectively
Step E (Eliminate) of the DEAL process involves learning to ignore any unimportant or unactionable information.
Think of the last time you needed to learn something. For example, perhaps you were trying to decide which kind of credit card to sign up for. How did you learn? How long did it take you?
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 7: Minimize Interruptions
An interruption is something that prevents you from finishing a task all in one go. The easiest way to deal with interruptions is to come up with a set of rules for yourself and others. Once you’ve set a precedent for not letting people waste your time and everyone understands the rules, you have a self-enforcing system that you never need to spend brain power on again. Your system will not only save you time—it’ll train everyone involved to be more efficient.
Three Types of Interruptions
This chapter will cover three types of interruptions: those that waste time, those that take time, and those that require outside help or approval.
Interruptions That Waste Time
Interruptions that waste time aren’t important and can be completely ignored. Often, the time-wasting interruption is a person wanting to talk to you via email, phone, or in person. To deal with these interruptions, limit people’s access to you, and when you do allow people to access you, make sure the interaction is as efficient and action-focused as possible. Make it known that email is your preferred method of communication, then phone, then as a last resort, in person. There are some steps to...
Shortform Exercise: Batch Monthly
“Batching” involves saving up a bunch of routine tasks to do all at once.
What is a routine task that you have to do every week? You can choose either a personal or professional task.
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 8: Take Control of Your Schedule: Work Remotely
A conventional 9-5 job takes up a lot of time. If you want more free time—and you’ll need free time to start your “muse” business in step A (Automate)—you’re going to have to reduce the hours you spend on your rat race job.
If you’re an employee, you’ll do this by transitioning to remote work. When you’re working remotely, no one knows how long you actually spend working; they only know if you finish all your work. Now that you know how to eliminate, you’ll be able to do your job in far less than eight hours a day.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you control your own schedule, no one’s holding you to 40 hours a week except yourself. However, entrepreneurs can still benefit from learning how to work remotely so that they can travel while working.
This tends to be the hardest part of the process for employees. You take control and have potentially uncomfortable conversations.
To transition to remote work, first you’re going to figure out how to do it, and then you’re going to convince your boss to let you.
How to Succeed at Remote Work
There are some logistics to iron out when transitioning to remote work:
- **Figure out how to do all aspects of your job...
Shortform Exercise: Transition to Remote Work
There are two methods for transitioning to remote work: the five-step method and the hourglass method.
What are some logistical problems you might encounter if you transitioned to remote work? Are there parts of your job that would be hard to do remotely?
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Part 3: A: Automate Time-Consuming Activities | Chapter 9: Get a Virtual Assistant (VA)
Part 3 will cover step A: Automate Time-Consuming Activities of the DEAL process. Step A, like step E (Eliminate), explains how to make the time to achieve the dreamlines you set in step D (Define). This step tends to be the most difficult part of the process for entrepreneurs because they tend to like having control, and in this step, they have to give it up.
To achieve the 4HWW lifestyle, find a way to replace yourself. Almost anything and everything you do could be done by someone else.
The first step to automation is to hire a virtual assistant (VA). You should do this regardless of whether you’re an employee or entrepreneur, and even if you have enough time to do everything yourself. There are a few reasons:
- VAs teach you to manage. Having a VA teaches you how to communicate, how to lead from a distance, how to give directions, and how to deal with people who don’t follow them. If you get a VA for between two weeks and a month, it should only cost between $100-400, and the experience should pay for itself within another two weeks.
- VAs reinforce step E (Eliminate) of DEAL. Once you have to pay someone to do something, it’s going to be easier and more...
Shortform Exercise: Delegate to a Virtual Assistant (VA)
You can save yourself a lot of time by hiring a VA to do tasks for you.
What are some specific, time-consuming, remote-friendly tasks that you do in your personal or professional life?
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 10: Find a “Muse”
To get the time and money to have a lifestyle you want, you don’t want to run a business, you want to own a business. You want the business to run itself. The author calls this type of self-sustaining business your “muse.” Note—you’re not trying to create a business that will make a difference to the world or that you can sell for a lot of money. You’re just trying to build something that makes you money without taking up your time.
- Sell a product, whether physical or digital. Other types of businesses, such as customer service or anything that runs on a pay-per-hour system, take up too much time to be muses.
- Be cheap to test. It must cost less than $500 to test the product.
- Lend themselves to automation. You should be able to start stepping away within a month.
- Require little maintenance. Once the business is running, you shouldn’t have to spend any more than a single day a week managing it.
There are three steps to choosing a muse. Don’t manufacture anything until you’ve completed all three steps.
Step #1: Pick a Niche Market With Affordable Built-in Advertising
**It’s best to choose a market that you’re a part...
Shortform Exercise: Find Your “Muse”
A “muse” is a self-sustaining business that sells a product.
The first step to finding your muse is coming up with a niche market you could sell a product to. What markets are you a part of? Consider your job and hobbies. How could you narrow these markets to come up with a niche market?
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 11: Automate Your Muse
From the moment you start planning your muse, imagine how it’s going to run itself without you. Your systems need to be scalable, i.e., when your business starts getting more orders, it must be able to handle the demand. Most entrepreneurs start out by doing most of the work themselves, which is what you’re going to do, too, but the key to automation is knowing when to tap out.
Phases of Automation
There are three phases of automation, determined by the amount of product shipped:
Phase #1: 0-50 Units Total
Initially, you’ll do everything yourself. As you work through this phase:
- Take orders and answer questions. This will help you figure out the most common questions so you can put together a FAQ and create training materials for others once you bring them on.
- Revise your ads and website if necessary. If you’re getting orders or questions from customers who don’t actually want what you’re selling or are taking up a lot of your time, be clearer about what you’re selling and they won’t approach you in the first place.
- Pack and ship all the products. Figure out how to do both most economically.
- Research opening a merchant account from your local...
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Part 4: L: Liberate Yourself from the Rat Race | Chapter 12: How to Leave Your Rat Race Job
Part 4 will cover step L: Liberate Yourself from the Rat Race of the DEAL process. Step L explains how to quit the rat race and live the dreamlines you came up with in step D (Define). If you’re an employee, your job is your day job. If you’re an entrepreneur, your job is your conventional company.
Once your muse is established, it’ll be earning you enough money that you no longer need to work a 9-5 job to bring in income. Quit your 9-5 job to give yourself more time to pursue your dreamlines.
You probably have reservations about leaving your job or company. You might think that it’s complicated. Most likely, you’re simply scared. To get past your fears, recall the fear-setting exercise in Chapter 3. Note and remember:
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 13: Mini-Retirements
The goal of the DEAL process is to gain ourselves enough time to do the things we’ve come up with in our dreamlines. The best way to live out a dream is to take a mini-retirement. A mini-retirement is a months-long hiatus from work during which you live one of your dreams. Unlike traditional retirement, you can have many periods of mini-retirement throughout your life.
The author spends most of his mini-retirements traveling, so from now on, the term “mini-retirement” will specifically refer to relocating to a new place for several months.
A mini-retirement is a better way to travel than a vacation or sabbatical because when you’re mini-retired you have enough time to truly experience a place. Vacations are so short they’re exhausting—to see a lot, you have to binge it. Sabbaticals are longer, but they only happen once or twice. Another advantage of mini-retirements is that they can be more affordable than vacation. Hotels and hostels are a lot more expensive than renting an apartment, so spending a month living somewhere else may not be any more expensive than a week-long vacation.
(Shortform note: The author both recommends that you disengage from work and gives...
Shortform Exercise: Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Belongings
Having a lot of material possessions creates a lot of mental clutter.
Think about the material possessions that you own. What possessions fall into the top 20%? Consider which possessions make you happy, are useful, or allow you to do things you want to. For example, if you love to play the guitar, your guitar would be in your top 20%.
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Chapter 14: What to Do With All Your Newfound Time
Congratulations! You’ve now significantly decreased your working hours and earned yourself lots of free time. To get started on living the 4HWW lifestyle, the author recommends you try:
- Doing nothing. Take a total break from being efficient, rushed, and productive. You might try a silence retreat.
- Donating anonymously to an organization. This helps you separate getting credit for your actions from the act of doing them.
- Using your mini-retirement to learn and volunteer. The longer the better so you can focus on learning the local language.
- Reviewing and tweaking your dreamlines after each mini-retirement. Come up with new dreamlines as you discover new interests.
- Considering a vocation. A vocation can be full or part-time, just like work, but unlike work, it’s something that you really want to be doing.
Initially, you won’t have trouble living the 4HWW lifestyle. You’ll be doing all the things you’ve always want to that you’d been putting off. After a while, however, you’ll have more time than you know what to do with. You might feel bored or unhappy. This is normal. The author went through this period too—he had to make a to-do list...
Table of Contents
The 4-Hour Workweek: Summary Review & Takeaways
This is a summary review of The 4-Hour Workweek containing key details about the book.
What is The 4-Hour Workweek About?
The book teaches us how to escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the “new rich”. The book deals with what the author refers to as "lifestyle design", and repudiates the traditional "deferred" life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades, and save money in order to relax after retirement.
Who is the Author of The 4-Hour Workweek?
Timothy Ferriss is an American entrepreneur, investor, author, podcaster, and lifestyle guru. He became well-known through his "4-Hour" self-help book series including the 4-Hour Work Week, the 4-Hour Body, and the 4-Hour Chef, that focused on lifestyle optimizations, but he has since reconsidered this approach.
What are key takeaways from The 4-Hour Workweek?
Takeaway #1 don't be a deferrer.
You cannot live life waiting for your retirement, waiting for the time to come when you'll be able to do X, Y, and Z. Tim Ferriss calls this postponing your life, and if you're one of these people then you're a deferrer. People work and work and work putting money aside for tomorrow but no amount of money is worth a lifetime of work, especially as you can't be sure you'll be around to enjoy it. As the old saying goes, money does not buy happiness. It can buy a fancy lifestyle but you don't have to be rich to live like you're rich, all you need is flexibility and mobility as this results in you being able to whatever you want, whenever you want.
Takeaway #2 Learn The DEAL Formula
The DEAL formula stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. With definition, you have to redefine your approach to work. Give up the idea of traditional retirement and define when you want to work and why. Do you want to work 4 days a week? Do you want to enjoy vacation time for 2 weeks out of every 4 weeks? Are you working for the money or from the pleasure you get from it? Work out how much it will cost to live your dream lifestyle and aim for that figure no matter how big it is. Elimination is about removing everything that is not working for you whether that be people or tasks. Automation is rather obvious – You have to automate your business/money so that it grows without you needing to do anything. Liberation is about freeing yourself from the typical 9-5 office job and becoming location independent, even if you're still working for a traditional company and have not created your own business.
Takeaway #3 Live by the 80/20 Rule
In most things in life, less is more. It's no different when it comes to productivity, that 80/20 rule still applies here – About 80% of your work output results from 20% of your effort. Spin that around, 20% of your tasks will yield 80% of your results. This is where the Elimination part of the DEAL formula comes in, you have to remove the time consuming interruptions and find out what the 1 task is that you need to complete that day, forget the other stuff. Don't sit in front of your laptop or arrive at your office without having a clear list of priorities – Work on these, nothing else, don't get distracted by emails and don't get overloaded by information.
- Print length: 308 Pages
- Audiobook: 13 hrs and 1 min
- Genre: Business, Nonfiction, Self Help
What are the chapters in The 4-Hour Workweek?
Chapter One - Step 1: D is for Definition Chapter Two - Step II: E is for Elimination Chapter Three - Step III: A is for Automation Chapter Four - Step IV: L is for Liberation
What are some of the main summary points from the book?
Here are some key summary points from the book:
What are good quotes from The 4-Hour Workweek?
“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.”
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
“But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn't making you stronger, they're making you weaker.”
“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
“A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”
“The question you should be asking isn't, "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" but "What would excite me?”
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.”
“To enjoy life, you don't need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren't as serious as you make them out to be.”
“Slow Dance:Have you ever watched kids, On a merry-go-round? Or listened to the rain, Slapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight? Or gazed at the sun into the fading night? You better slow down. Don't dance too fast. Time is short. The music won't last. Do you run through each day, On the fly? When you ask: How are you? Do you hear the reply? When the day is done, do you lie in your bed, With the next hundred chores, Running through your head? You'd better slow down, Don't dance too fast. Time is short, The music won't last. Ever told your child we'll do it tomorrow? And in your haste, Not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, Let a good friendship die, Cause you never had time, To call and say Hi? You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last. When you run so fast to get somewhere, You miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, It is like an unopened gift thrown away. Life is not a race. Do take it slower. Hear the music, Before the song is over.”
“Being able to quit things that don't work is integral to being a winner”
“Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” ( Meaning )
― Timothy Ferriss - The 4-Hour Workweek Quotes
What do critics say?
Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "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
* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways
Uncover Your WHY
Read The Art of Fully Living
Get On Track
Uplevel Your Game
Get it by entering your email below. It’s FREE
× Uncover Your Purpose Get my ‘Start With Why’ workbook to align with your deepest goals and purpose Just enter your email below. It’s FREE
Book Summary – The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Home > Business & Management > Entrepreneurship > Book Summary - The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Step 1: DEFINITION
To redesign your life, you need to break free from norms, create an automated income stream, and liberate yourself from unproductive tasks. Only then will you have the time and resources to focus on truly meaningful things in life. This starts with an understanding of the rules and objectives of the new game.
Define the New Game (and Beat the Rules)
The goal is not to stop work or do nothing, nor is it to work hard now to enjoy life later. It’s about creating the freedom of time, money and location, so you can design and live the life you want, now . In fact, time, lifestyle and freedom of choice are probably worth more than the paper value of money. Ferriss explains this in detail, along with 10 Commandments of the New Rich Lifestyle, covered in greater detail in our complete 14-page summary.
Define (and Overcome) your Fears
Most of us are held back by our fear of the unknown. To conquer your fears, start by defining them with questions like: – What’s your worst fear and what’s the worst thing that could happen if it’s realized? – If you were fired from your job today, what would you have done to manage your financial situation? – What’s the cost of your inaction – financial, emotional, physical – relative to the cost of action?
Define your Dreams (with Dream-lining)
Step 2: ELIMINATION
Be Effective: Free up your Time
Busyness is often an excuse to avoid doing what we should. The book contains many powerful tips to help you improve personal productivity and achieve “fat-free performance”.
Adopt a Low-Information Diet
We are surrounded by too much (and often wrong) information which hinders productive action. Ferriss manages to keep abreast of what’s going on, without reading the news and with only an hour on his business emails each week – the key is to focus only on information that’s relevant, important and actionable.
Learn to Say No
Constant interruptions are a major time-waster. The book lists several tips on how to master your time and set the rules in your favour e.g. how to limit your accessibility, reduce unnecessary time on emails/ phone-calls, meetings, and batching repetitive activities.
Step 3: AUTOMATION
To design your New Rich lifestyle, you’ll need a steady source of income. The conventional approach is to find a well-paying job (even if it takes up the bulk of your time). A better way is to build a “ muse” – an automated revenue-generator that brings in cash without your hands-on involvement. Unlike a conventional business, a muse is in line with what you really want to do, and is less business-like.
Learn to Outsource and Work with Virtual Assistants
If you recall, our goal is be able to run a business from anywhere in the world (ideally without your direct involvement). To do so, you must learn to outsource effectively. The key is to refine your rules and processes, so you can automate the process, delegate low-value tasks to focus on the high-value ones. Get practical outsourcing tips from our full version of The 4-Hour Workweek summary, to avoid potential pitfalls and get the best results.
Build your Muse
There are 4 key steps to finding and building your muse , which is broken down in detail in our complete book summary: (i) Market Selection (ii) Product Brainstorm (know the criteria for good products, and 3 ways to get them) (iii) Micro-Testing your products (using the 3-part strategy provided), and (iv) Roll-out and Automation (over 3 recommended phases).
Step 4: LIBERATION
Liberation means having the mobility to run your business from anywhere in the world. This involves 3 key components or phases: to free yourself geographically, take mini-retirements, and focus on something meaningful. Do get more details on how to liberate yourself from the full 14-page version of The 4-Hour Workweek summary.
Get the Most from The 4 Hour Workweek
This is essentially a workbook to help you think about, and more importantly, take action toward your dream lifestyle. Although there are enough “how-to” tips to guide you through the process step-by-step, the biggest takeaway is probably the message that, by learning to think for yourself and break free from widely-accepted rules, you can create new options for yourself, and live an exceptional life. To get more details, do get a copy of our complete book summary bundle , which includes an infographic, a 14-page text summary, and a 28-minute audio summary.
Loved the ideas in the book? You can purchase the book here or visit fourhourblog for more information.
Get more insights on remote work from our Remote summary , or find out how you can start a micro-business with The $100 Startup summary with minimal capital!
About the Author of The 4 Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich is written by Timothy “Tim” Ferriss –an American author, serial entrepreneur and public speaker. In addition to speaking six languages, Ferriss runs a multinational firm from wireless locations worldwide. His eclectic passions include being a world record holder in tango, a national champion in Chinese kickboxing and a guest lecturer at Princeton University in high-tech entrepreneurship and electrical engineering. He has been profiled by The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, NBC and Maxim. Ferriss is a graduate of Princeton University.
The 4 Hour Workweek Quotes
“Options – the ability to choose – is real power.”
“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness.”
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
“Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!”
“Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
“Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.”
“More is not better, and stopping something is often 10 times better than finishing it.”
“People are smarter than you think. Give them a chance to prove themselves.”
“Find your focus and you’ll find your lifestyle.”
Start to build your freedom and join the New Rich today!
Get Powerful Insights with ReadinGraphics
Includes: A one-page infographic in pdf A xx-page text summary in pdf A xx-min audio summary in mp3 All downloadable or accessible via web app
Includes: Instant online access for all 300+ summaries via web app 3 monthly downloads of your choice Cancel anytime Discounted rate for annual purchase
Get 2 Free Infographic Summaries
of summary infographics purchased every day
of minutes audio summaries accessed every day
summary pages purchased daily
Leave a Reply Cancel Reply
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
- Quick Feedback
- Free Sample Summaries
- Affiliate Programs
- Store (Buy individual summaries)
- Gift All Summaries
- Subscription Plans (Get all summaries)
- List of Book Summaries
- Suggest book titles
© 2023 Readingraphics.
- Business & Entrepreneurship
- Business Strategy & Culture
- Finance, Money & Wealth
- Leadership & Management
- Sales & Marketing
- Health, Wellness & Spiritual Growth
- Learning & Development
- Technology & Innovation
- Problem-Solving & Creativity
- Personal Development & Success
- Parenting & Relationships
- Psychology, Economics, Sociology & General
- View All Categories
- Buy Summaries
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary
- Last updated on March 25, 2021
After college, Ferriss took a soul-sucking sales job at a tech firm. He left to start a soul-sucking business of his own. He went from working 40 hours a week for somebody else to working 80 hours a week for himself. He hated it. The pay was good, but the business left him drained.
After learning about the Pareto Principle (more commonly known as the 80-20 Principle), Ferriss had a revelation: he streamlined his business, eliminating distractions and automating systems until it was not only more profitable, but also took less of his time. Much less. He took a “mini-retirement”, and then decided to write a book about “lifestyle design”, about creating a life that balances work and play, maximizing the positives of both.
Ferriss argues that by eliminating that 20% of productivity that eats up most of your time, you can live in a much more efficient fashion, and the entire book revolves around that concept in various ways, hence the title The 4-Hour Workweek. In some ways, the book itself reads like a blog, as it’s broken down into lots of little pieces: some of them step-by-step advice, some of them anecdotal, and some of them philosophical.
- Define your objectives. Decide what’s important. Set goals. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?”
- Eliminate distractions to free up time. Learn to be effective, not efficient. Focus on the 20% of stuff that’s important and ignore the 80% that isn’t. Put yourself on a low-information diet. Learn to shunt aside interruptions, and learn to say “no”.
- Automate your cash flow to increase income. Outsource your life — hire a virtual assistant to handle menial tasks. Develop a business that can run on auto-pilot.
- Liberate yourself from traditional expectations. Design your job to increase mobility. This could mean working from home, or it could mean using geographic arbitrage to take mini-retirements in countries with favorable exchange rates.
Right off the bat, the book makes it clear that you should pick and choose from the material presented within, and that’s a vital caveat for any personal productivity book - but especially this one.
Step I: D is for Definition
Here’s one key exercise from this section that really shows what he’s talking about. Spend about five minutes and define your dream. If it wasn’t for the things you had to do, what would you be doing with your life right now?
Now, spend another five minutes and define your nightmare in as much detail as possible. What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you followed that dream?
If you take the dream and compare it to the nightmare, is that possible nightmare really bad enough to abandon your dream?
From there, the book goes into a very detailed process of breaking down that dream into tangibles and seeing how close you really are to that dream - and sets up the remainder of the book, which identifies things you can do to reach that dream.
Step II: E is for Elimination
In terms of techniques that you can really use to improve your day to day life, this section has the best advice. It focuses on some very straightforward techniques for eliminating most of the regular mundane activities that fill our professional lives. Here are seven examples:
2. Stop all multitasking immediately. This means when you’re trying to write, close your email program and your instant messenger program and your web browser and just focus on writing, nothing else. This allows you to churn out the task way faster.
3. Force yourself to end your day at 4 PM or end your week on Thursday. Even if you have to come in on Friday, do nothing (or, even better, focus on something to develop yourself). The goal here is to learn to compress your productive time.
4. Go on a one week media fast. Basically, avoid television (other than one hour a day for enjoyment/relaxation) and nonfiction reading of any kind (including news, newspapers, magazines, the web, etc.). By the end of it, you’ll discover that the media and information overload was giving you a mild attention deficit.
5. Check email only twice a day. Combining this with the “no multitasking” principle enables email to only eat up a sliver of my time when it used to seemingly bog down everything.
6. Never, ever have a meeting without a clear agenda. If someone suggests a meeting, request the specific agenda of the meeting. If there isn’t one, ask why you’re meeting at all. Often, meetings will become more productive or, if they were really time wasters to begin with, they’ll vanish into thin air.
Step III: A is for Automation
This section is a lengthy description of how to become a little or no-value-added entrepreneur - in other words, a middleman. The idea is that if you set up being a middleman appropriately, you can create a stream of passive income that permits you to make money with very little effort.
While this is interesting to some people, the truth is that it’s not quite as easy as the author makes it out to be. It relies heavily on salesmanship (the ability to convince people you have a product that they want) and luck (stumbling into a market). If you have both (and the examples he uses have both), you can do quite well, but such things are never a guarantee.
Step IV: L is for Liberation
The final section ties the pieces of the puzzle together into an overall picture. In essence, it takes the dreams defined in the first part, the enhanced productivity of the second part, and the passive income of the third part and creates that titular four hour workweek.
The first step is to change your job so that you can work remotely. You can do this by getting efficient (as described in the second step), then demonstrating your efficiency during sick or vacation leave, then requesting some time away from the office as part of your routine, then gradually shifting to an all-remote life. This way, you can tackle the work from anywhere on your own terms. Of course, this may also lead you to quit your job if you are able to build up new opportunities (like those from the third section).
What do you do with the free time? That’s the entire point of this book, that time is the really valuable asset we have in our lives, not money. Time allows you to follow your dreams, and this entire book’s purpose (at least steps two and three) has been about moving more and more time into your own personal life so you can do these things.
Other key concepts
- Ask yourself, “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”
- How to double your reading speed in ten minutes.
- Why it’s more productive to carry around a written to-do list than to keep one on your computer.
- Learn the art of non-finishing. This is all about the sunk cost fallacy: just because you paid $10 to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to watch the entire thing.
- How to be more efficient with e-mail.
- How to reduce clutter from your life.
- If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.
- Life exists to be enjoyed — the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.
- Why geographic arbitrage is a great way to enhance your relative income.
- The value of a virtual assistant.
Source 1: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/04/29/review-the-4-hour-workweek/
Source 2: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/08/28/book-review-the-4-hour-workweek/
- Summaries POPULAR
- Soundview Blog
The 4-Hour Workweek
Escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich, about the summary.
The 4-Hour Workweek introduces the fast-growing subculture of what author Tim Ferriss has dubbed the “New Rich.” Members have mastered the currencies of time and mobility and have reached living a life of luxury way before their traditional retirement age has been reached. Who isn’t lured to follow the book’s subtitle, “Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”? Full of actionable advice that continues to resonate, this well-written book deserves its long-standing bestseller rankings. Our look at Ferriss’ book offers a peek into your chance to have it all.
Add to bookshelf
Select a shelf to add "The 4-Hour Workweek"
Create new shelf
Create a new shelf
After naming your new bookshelf you'll be able to assign products to it from the menu on any product page.
Start your free 3-day trial. No credit card required!
Gain instant access to thousands of best-selling business book summaries, webinars, videos, and more!
Already Soundview member? Sign in .
Your current subscription plan does not include videos. Please upgrade your plan to Premier to access videos.
Your current subscription plan only includes book summaries. Please upgrade your plan to Professional or Premier to view this product.
Your current subscription plan does not include audio. Please upgrade your plan to Professional or Premier to listen to summaries.
You don’t have an active subscription. You can compare all of our plans here .
The 4-Hour Workweek
By timothy ferriss, the 4-hour workweek analysis.
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by people who wish to remain anonymous
The 4-Hour Workweek is Tim Ferriss's self-proclaimed guide to achieving one's financial dreams while reducing the number of hours one works in a week to less than ten (four is hyperbolic, but this is still a dramatic reduction). He does so by dividing his book into a four-step process that enables a reader to become part of the "New Rich:"
1. Definition 2. Elimination 3. Automation 4. Liberation
Before he gets into any of that, though, Ferriss makes some promises and some disclaimers in the introduction. He takes this time to explain the goals of this book and the appealing lifestyle it can provide. He also indulges in a bit of shameless boasting: how he became a Princeton guest lecturer, a world-record holder in the tango, an Olympic advisor, Wired Magazine's "Greatest Self-Promoter of 2008," the National Chinese Kickboxing World Champion, a political asylum researcher and activist, as well as many other titles and accomplishments. Also in the introduction, he attempts to dispel the myth that people like this are born natural heroes: he ends the section with the sentence "You can have it all," a line that feeds readers' naturally hungry egos.
Ferriss introduces a new class of people: the New Rich. These people are quietly living lavish lives like millionaires, while they may or may not actually possess more than a million dollars. This is the class of people to which Ferriss's program purports to elevate the reader, and it is an elite but seemingly easily attainable circle. The next four sections of his book detail the methods by which YOU can become a part of this New Rich as well.
The first step, he says, is Definition. What are your specific goals? If you go for them, what is the worst possible scenario that could happen to you? Is it worth the risk? This section explores people's aversions to risk and their tendencies to give in to fear and subject themselves to mediocre life rather than taking the risk that could open up a whole new world. It includes many stories of people who overcame such inhibitions to realize their dreams, such as Dale Begg-Smith (an Olympic skier) and Hans Keeling (an attorney-turned-surf-company-owner). And, of course, good old Tim Ferriss himself. This section lays out the groundwork for the next three steps while more clearly explaining some of Ferriss's terminology, such as the precise definition of these elusive New Rich.
The second step is Elimination. This step consists of eliminating tasks and practices that bog down your effectiveness, such as regular email-checking and superfluous, menial tasks that yield less result than others. Ferriss recommends eliminating multitasking of all types, as well as all tasks that would not make the day fulfilling all on their own. This seems extreme, but Ferriss seems insistent that streamlining your tasks will produce, if not necessarily always a higher monetary net profit, then at least a far healthier, happier, and more effective lifestyle. Eliminating unnecessary steps is a great way to ensure the avoidance of burnout.
The third step is Automation. In this section, Ferriss encourages readers to find ways to outsource their mundane tasks to others in order to free themselves for more effective and enjoyable tasks. From sending workloads to virtual assistants in India to making work systems fully automated, Ferriss has several tips to aid the enaction of this step, but it can be rather difficult for some (or perhaps most) jobs to do at all. Because of this nebulous difficulty, Ferriss sometimes encourages readers to enact Step 4 before Step 3.
The fourth and final step in the process is that of Liberation. The most tangible form of this liberation is the transition to working remotely, so that your job is no longer dependent on your physical presence in a designated location, and you can work from anywhere in the world. This augmented mobility allows for greater freedom, which Ferriss sees as one of life's highest ends. The extra time afforded by this liberation is the real benefit gained from the experience, and the asset that truly defines the New Rich.
Reception to The 4-Hour Workweek has varied; some have praised its effectiveness, while others find Ferriss's approach both arrogant and unrealistic. Regardless, Ferriss has outlined a specific plan in this bestselling book, and it seems to be working well enough for him. It is interesting to speculate, however, what advice he might give to someone who isn't as privileged as the average white American male.
Update this section!
You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.
After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.
The 4-Hour Workweek Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The 4-Hour Workweek is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I'm sorry, this is a short-answer literature site designed for text specific questions. We are unable to assist students with other subjects.
What is mistake here?
I'm sorry, what letter are you referring to?
Think about the leadership traits you have learned about in the past two years and how they affect you and society at large.
I think this is a more personal question. My experience would be very different from yours.
Study Guide for The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek study guide contains a biography of Timothy Ferris, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About The 4-Hour Workweek
- The 4-Hour Workweek Summary
- Character List
Home » Business » The 4-Hour Work Week Speed Summary w/ PDF
The 4-Hour Work Week Speed Summary w/ PDF
Tim Ferriss’s groundbreaking book “The 4-Hour Workweek” outlines a new way of living and working by cutting down on wasteful effort focusing your energy on what matters.
A 3 Minute Summary of the 15 Core Lessons
#1 Focus On What Matters Ferriss advises that spending the majority of your efforts on things you’re good at or your best ideas will result in greater proportional returns/rewards than trying to spread yourself thin over too many tasks or business ideas.
#2 Working Less is Better We’re trained from a young age to believe that working fewer hours means that we’re lazy, but the truth is that those who can work less and still succeed are simply smarter.
#3 Don’t Measure Success by Time Spent Working. Time spent worked does not necessarily equal time well spent. It’s better to do good work in one hour than mediocre work over eight hours.
#4 Make Sure Business Ideas are Profitable It doesn’t matter how well you think an idea will work out on the market; always do research and ask potential consumers if they would pay for your efforts before you begin spending time and money on a business venture. The only good ideas are profitable ones.
#5 Fewer Choices is Better Ferriss agrees with the central premise of Barry Schwartz’s “The Paradox of Choice”. Give your customers fewer options and you’ll receive more orders and more satisfaction from them. More options are also usually more costly in terms of both customer service and manufacturing for your part, anyway.
#6 Use Time Smartly The more time we give ourselves to do a task, the longer we’re likely to take to complete it. Be smart with your deadlines and plan ahead to partition and value your time appropriately and your own efficacy and efficiency will skyrocket.
#7 Don’t Accept the Standard Work Week This is arguably the central premise of the book. There’s no reason beyond societal agreement that the typical workday should take eight hours. Ferriss argues that this is not only ineffective for many people but it’s also a waste of the most valuable resource of all: time.
#8 Practice Selective Ignorance Ferriss suggests that focusing your attention on only things that matter will increase your attention span and improve your mood. Since we’re all bombarded with far too many information inputs throughout the day, such a practice is likely to result in a happier lifestyle and a more appropriate focus on the things that are important in our lives. Of course, focusing on what matters will also improve the end results of your work.
#9 Follow the 80/20 Rule Pareto’s Principle states that 80% of output comes from just 20% of input. In business parlance, a small minority of your consumers or product will bring in the majority of your profits. Keeping this in mind can help you effectively focus on the customers who are actually profitable to your business rather than wasting resources and time on a majority of customers that don’t bring in the big bucks.
#10 Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks It’s human nature to be cautious before taking a leap of faith. But too many people never experience what they want in life and spend too many years languishing in jobs that they hate. It’s always better to take a risk and try for freedom and success than it is to accept mediocrity and boredom. Ferriss states, wisely, that there’s only one life to live; it’s up to us to make the most of it.
#11 Let Go of Material Possessions We live in a consumerist culture, to be sure. But Ferriss argues that allowing yourself to be swept up in the pursuit of more possessions will only cause significant mental and emotional baggage that will lower your quality of life. When taking a trip or purchasing things for a home, make an effort to reduce your material possessions and you’ll feel liberated and end up wasting less time and money on things that don’t really matter.
#12 Don’t Focus on Becoming Rich Becoming rich affords a luxurious lifestyle and plenty of free time, both of which are what people actually want when they imagine having lots of commas in their bank statement. But you can achieve a luxurious lifestyle with lots of free time without having billions in your name. Focus on reaching your ideal lifestyle instead of an arbitrary financial number and you’ll experience happiness that much sooner.
#13 Charge Premiums! Too many freelancers or business owners don’t properly charge for their services or products that they should. They also sometimes focus on the quantity of service or product rather than quality. This is a mistake. Focusing on higher-quality but higher premium products or services will not only result in less work to turn the same amount of money but also more satisfied customers. The 80/20 rule about effort applies here, as well.
#14 Do Not Defer Ferriss laments those that constantly differ their retirement or goals for later in life. You only live once and disaster could strike at any time. Instead, it’s much smarter to pursue your goals now and live the life you want rather than constantly working yourself to the bone and saving for retirement that won’t even be fully appreciable in your twilight years. Pick your goals, develop a strategy, and pursue your dreams today, not tomorrow.
#15 Follow the DEAL Acronym This stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation. This acronym can help you focus on understanding and achieving your goals. Definition will help you define your goals or dreams so you can take proper action. Elimination inspires you to remove material possessions or distractions that don’t matter to your actual goals. Automation is about minimizing the effort you put into your success, related to the 80/20 rule. Liberation refers to the end result: freeing yourself from the monotony of a 9-to-5 office job and reaching the luxury and freedom you’ve always wanted.
Top 10 Quotes from The 4-Hour Workweek
- “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
- “People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
- “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
- “The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
- “Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
- “Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner”
- “Poisonous people do not deserve your time. To think otherwise is masochistic.”
- “Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.”
- “The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.”
- “If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”
Free PDF Download of the Summary to Save or Print
Go here to download the 4-Hour Workweek PDF Summary .
Tim’s 10 Rules for Success
The Famous Tim Ferriss Ted Talk
- 25 Time Management Tips for Students (Skills and Strategies)
- 101 Motivation Affirmations to Keep You Focused
- 14 Core Values of Amazon: Its Mission and Vision Statement
- 75 Good Christmas Messages to Employees
The 4-Hour Work Week
Cover & diagrams.
The 4-Hour Work Week is all about how to change the way readers look at how they live and work and why they should challenge old assumptions.
The author writes from a unique vantage point. He created a life and a career he chose out of consistently questioning the traditional assumptions about life and work. He writes in detail about his challenges, failures, and successes candidly and readers can see in detail his transformation using this new life view. His emphasis is on viewing time and mobility as the ultimate currency. It's not about how much money can be made; it's about how having the time and the freedom to live a good life without being broke is possible.
"The question you should be asking isn't, "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" but "What would excite me?"
The framework for the book is built with the acronym "DEAL," providing a step-by-step plan for readers to learn how to take back control of their lives.
- Definition : Replace self-defeating assumptions.
- Elimination : Forget time management; learn to ignore the unimportant.
- Elimination : Learn to put cash flow on autopilot.
- Liberation : Create freedom of location.
The first few chapters help readers redefine what is possible by thinking differently. Readers learn that being financially rich and being able to live like a millionaire are quite different. Money combined with the value of time and mobility takes on a whole new value. It isn't the money that is so important; it's the ability to live life on our own terms.
1 questions and answers
What is the summary of the four hour week in Bengali?
The summary of the four hour week book is about redefining the limits of possibility by thinking differently. Readers can learn that being financially rich and living like a millionaire are quite different. When the value of money, time, and mobility are combined, it takes on a new value. It's not the money that's extremely important; it's the ability to live life on our own terms.
Thinking differently means questioning accepted methods and ideas. The book gives readers ten ways that old assumptions are wrong.
- Retirement is worst-case scenario insurance.
- Interest and energy are cyclical.
- Less is not laziness.
- The timing is never right.
- Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
- Emphasize strengths, don't fix weaknesses.
- Things in excess become their opposite.
- Money alone is not the solution.
- Relative income is more important than absolute income.
- Distress is bad, eustress is good.
"What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do."
Readers won't be surprised to see that fear is one of the biggest obstacles to changing their life and the book talks about this throughout. By acknowledging that fear and recognizing the very worst outcome, readers can map out steps to recover if the worst does happen. On the flip side, the same approach should be taken with the potential benefit also.
This is all about how to get rid of obstacles. Readers will find that once they define what they want to do with their time, they have to learn how to free up the time to do it. One lesson taught here is that by using the Pareto principle, time management becomes less of a factor. The Pareto principle states that 80% of results come from 20% of actions and readers will learn how to make the best of that 20% in this section. The goal of elimination is to free up time, from working remotely to working more productively.
This may be hard to swallow for many readers, but elimination also includes limiting or even eliminating things like reading or watching the news. The book recommends taking five days off from television and web surfing and other time wasters. By removing obstacles that don't contribute to the ultimate goal, readers will find that they have much more time than they thought possible.
"By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It's the perfect example of having your cake and eating it, too."
Readers will find even more time to live the life they want by stopping interruptions and refusing to waste time. The book outlines three major categories:
- Time wasters. Readers will learn how to eliminate all the wasted time that goes into unimportant emails, phone calls, and meetings.
- Time consumers. These are all the things that just have to be done. Customer service, reports, and other necessary tasks can be batched together creating a single interruption instead of multiple ones.
- Empowerment failures. The lesson learned here is to establish clear guidelines up front for delegates to avoid having to stop and approve decisions.
Successfully defining the life they want to live and eliminating obstacles, readers are ready to put some automation in place to make things easier. While many of the lessons here are about creating a product and starting a business, they apply to most business situations. Readers will learn the importance of building systems to replace themselves if they want to break free. From hiring a virtual assistant to handle less important tasks to learning what can be delegated, readers will find ways to automate much of their work.
"Being able to quit things that don't work is integral to being a winner"
Once the automation is put into motion, the challenge for readers will be to remove themselves from the equation as much as possible. By being able to teach a task and then outsource or delegate it, readers will find that they may not be so busy after all. More automation equals more time.
The fourth step readers will learn is how to liberate themselves from the traditional office environment. The book outlines five steps to convince the boss that working remotely is a good idea. Pulling this one off is possible and will free up big chunks of time to live more and work less.
- Increase investment . Readers will learn how to get their employer to invest in them to increase the cost of losing them.
- Prove increased output off-site . The book teaches specific steps to find the opportunities to show that remote work can be more productive.
- Show the business benefit . By presenting the remote work as a business benefit instead of a personal one, readers will be able to better convince their employer.
- Propose a trial period . Starting small, with maybe a day or two to test out the idea, readers will find that their idea will go over better.
- Expand remote time . Assuming all goes well, the lesson here is to slowly increase the remote time to make it more acceptable and, eventually, a permanent solution.
"The goal is not to simply eliminate the bad, which does nothing more than leave you with a vacuum, but to pursue and experience the best in the world."
The book finishes up with advice and guidelines for readers on how to eventually eliminate their job altogether by changing how they view their work and life balance. Readers will ultimately learn that the goal of having time and freedom to live the life they choose has a specific game-plan that has been proven to work.
Download and customize this and 500+ other business templates
Create a free account to download and customize this and 500+ other business templates.
You Exec is the global leader in business presentation templates, spreadsheet models and training videos
Our resources are used by over 1.3m professionals in 10k+ organizations
LEARN WILL YOU WHAT
What Will You Learn
- Author Interviews
- The book about books
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- Ashto = 9/10
- Jonesy = 10/10
The 4-Hour Work Week – by Tim Ferriss
The 4 Hour Work Week is about original thinking and living on your own terms. Most people growing up are presented with the options:
A) getting a job and working your ass off until you retire, or
B) working your ass off building a business, working 80 hours a week
This book presents Option C -Lifestyle Design.
The four hour work week suggests that both of the typical options involve deferring happiness and enjoyment until we get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – either we sell our company for millions of dollars or we retire with millions of dollars in savings. Instead, the New Rich aim for excitement and profit throughout their whole lives, having the freedom and options to live like a millionaire even without a million dollars in the bank. This book is about optimising your life and work to get the most out of life.
This book featured in our ‘Top 50 Best Books of All Time’ document, grab it for free here: https://whatyouwilllearn.com/top50/
The Four Hour Work Week Summary
Most options you are presented growing up involved either getting a job and working your ass off to retire safely, or work your ass off building a business working 80 hours a week. The Four Hour Workweek presents option C. Lifestyle design. The concept of lifestyle design as a replacement for multi staged career planning is sound. Why work so hard in the first place? Enjoy your time now and live life on your own terms.
The New Rich are those who abandon the ‘deferred life plan’ and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the new rich: time and mobility. Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It really doesn’t. What is the pot of gold that justifies spending the best years of your life hoping for happiness in the last?
You don’t want a million dollars. You want what a million dollars can give you. So the question is then, how can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having the million? The common sense rules of the “real world” are a fragile collection of socially reinforced illusions. This book will teach you to see and seize options that others do not.
Much of what The Four Hour Work Week recommends will seem impossible and even offensive to common sense. Resolve now to test the concepts as an exercise in lateral thinking. If you try you will see how deep the rabbit hole goes and you won’t look back.
Step 1 – D is for Definition
The New Rich retire early or young, decide to distribute mini retirements and adventures throughout their career and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. It’s doing what excites you. It is about buying all the things you want to have, to do the things you want to do and be the things you want to be. To have the freedom from doing that which you dislike, never reverting to work for works sake.
The blind quest for cash is a fool’s errand. You can charter private planes over Buenas Aires, best wines of the world in between world class ski runs and live like a king by an infinity pool at a private villa. Being financially rich and having the ability to live like a millionaire are fundamentally two different things. Money is multiplied by the W’s: what you do, when you do it, where you do it and with whom you do it. The more of these you can control the more practical value your money has. Using this new criterion, the 80 hour work week, 500K/year investment banker is less powerful than the NR who works 1/4 the hours for 40K / year but has the complete freedom of when, where, and how to live. The 500K may be worth less than the 40K when we run the numbers and look at the lifestyle output of their money.
Who are the new rich? The employee who rearranges his schedule to work remotely 90% of the time. The business owner who eliminates the least profitable customers and outsources work entirely. The student who elects to risk it all (which is nothing) to establish an online video rental service that delivers 5K/month, allowing her to work full time as an animal rights lobbyist.
Options are limitless, but each path begins the same. Replacing these in built assumptions:
Retirement is worst case scenario insurance . Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least 3 reasons. ii) Most people will never be able to retire , math doesn’t add up (life expectancy and what you’ll really have left).
- Iii) If it does add up, it is probably because you are one ambitious working machine. If that is the case, one week into retirement you’ll be bored.
- i) It is predicated on the assumption you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life.
- Interest and energy are cyclical, you need rest. New rich distribute mini retirements
- Less is not laziness. You should focus on being productive instead of busy
- The timing is never right. For all the important things the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of the way to help you either. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.
- Ask for forgiveness, not permission. If the potential damage is moderate or in any way reversible, don’t give the chance for people to say no.
- Relative income is more important than absolute income . A dollar isn’t a dollar: 1$ in South America isn’t the same in Aus or US
Conquering Fear = Defining Fear
People wake up to the same dread on the Monday morning, of the buzzing alarm thinking – “I have to do this for another 40-50 years?”. Think of the worst case scenario of going for what you want instead. Most people will choose unhappiness over just a little bit of uncertainty. Pure hell forces action, but anything less can be endured with enough clever rationalization.
Your life is going to be LONG. Doing a 9-5 your whole working life for 40-50 years is a long ass time if the rescue doesn’t come. Unlike the four hour work week.
Define the worst case scenario of what you are trying to do. Say it’s to take a big risk pursue something closer to your interests. The worst case scenario might be you move back home until you find a new job picking up where you left off, this might be a 5/10. But there might be huge upside potential – a 9/10. .
What are you putting off out of fear? Tim suggests “what we fear most is usually what we most need to do. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. A persons success in life can be measured of the uncomfortable conversations she is willing to have”. What is it costing you to postpone action? What are you waiting for?
It’s lonely at the top, 99% of people in the world are convinced that they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for the ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time intensive and energy consuming. It is easier to pick up the perfect 10 at a bar than it is to go after the five potential mates who are an 8. The fishing is best where the fewest go and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is much less competition for bigger goals.
The most important actions are never comfortable. Fortunately, there is a way to condition yourself to discomfort and overcome it. The only way to get where you want to be is to change who you are. Don’t expect to be the same and get different results.
Step 2 – E is for Elimination
Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important uncomfortable actions. The options are almost limitless for creating busyness. For most corporates, even if you work 10 hours a week and produce twice the results of those working 40, the collective request will be work 40 hours a week and produce 8 times the results. This is an endless game you want to avoid.
Doing something unimportant well doesn’t make it important. Requiring a lot of time to complete doesn’t make a task important. From this moment remember what you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Effectiveness is doing the things that gets you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task in the most economic manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe. This is true for the person who checks email 30 times per day and develops the elaborate system of folder rules and sophisticated techniques for ensuring that each one of those 30 brain farts moves as quickly as possible.
The Pareto Principle:
Pareto’s law can be summarized as follows:
- 80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes
- 80% of results come from 20% of the effort and time
- 80% of company profits come from 20% of products
Ask yourself: Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness? Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. You can apply the 80 / 20 to everything. If you had to stop doing 80% of different activities, what would you remove?
The 9-5 Illusion and Parkinson’s Law
The schedule is a collective social agreement and a dinosaur legacy of the results by volume approach. Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15,we’d fill 15. If we have an emergency and suddenly need to leave work in 2 hours put have pending deadlines, we’d miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours. Parkinson’s law dictates that a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. This creates a curious phenomenon… There are two approaches for increasing productivity.
- Limit the tasks to the important, to shorten work time (80/20)
- Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinsons law)
Step 3 – A is for Automation
“Fun things happen when you earn dollars, life on pesos and compensate in rupees, but that’s just the beginning”
Using a virtual assistant is a simple exercise with no downside. The basics are covered in a 2 – 4 week test costing between 100-400$, it will be repaid in 10 -14 days. Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter, its about building a system to replace yourself. If you spend your time, say 20-25$ per hour doing something that someone else can do for $10 per hour, it’s simply a poor use of resources.
The Four Hour Work Week shows how you can create a virtual architecture. You can convert services business into a downloadable shippable product. Product is key. The goals of the architecture is cashflow and time, without them nothing is possible.
Step 1: Pick an affordably reachable niche market: Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is easier. Define your customer then make a product for them. If everyone is your customer then no one is your customer.
Step 2 : Brainstorm Products: Pick the two markets that you are most familiar with that have their own magazines with full page advertising that costs less than $5000. Make sure your product is between 50-200 dollars: less units, better customers, less questions.
Step 3: Distribution: You can resell, licence or create a product. It can be either a real product or an information product. You don’t need to be an expert, just better than your target number.
Step 4 – mini test your products: The moral is that intuition and experience are poor predictors of which products and businesses will be profitable. Look at the competition and create a more compelling offer on a basic one to 3 page website, test the offer using Google adwords (3hours, 5 days of passive observation).
Start with the end in mind
An organisational map of what eventual businesses may look like is not new. Our goal isn’t to create a business that is as large as possible, but to create a business that bothers us as little as possible. Tim isn’t in his own organisation chart. He’s not a tollbooth where anything needs to pass. He’s more like a police officer on the side of the road who can step in if he heeds. He uses detailed reports from outsources to ensure that the cogs are moving as he intends.
Step 4 – L is for Liberation
The Four Hour Work Week says “by working faithfully 8 hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work 12 hours a day” and “most people arent lucky enough to get fired and die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating the mediocre”. Whereas most entrepreneurs have most trouble with automation, since they fear giving up control. Employees get stuck on Liberation, because they fear to take control. Resolve to grab the reins, the rest of your life depends on it. Just because you are embarrassed to admit that you’re still living the consequences of decisions made 5,10 20 years ago, shouldn’t stop you from making good decisions now. If you let pride stop you, you will have life for 5, 10, 20 years from now for the same reasons.
The biggest mistake or risk in life isn’t making mistakes but regret. You could never go back and recapture the years of doing something you dislike. “If this is your first time considering the jump to the mobile lifestyle and adventure , I envy you! Making the jump is like upgrading your role from passenger to pilot”
Get Your Copy of The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- Ashto = 6/10
- Jonesy = 7/10
- Ashto = /10
- Jonesy = /10
- Ashto = 7/10
- Jonesy = 9/10
- Ashto = 5/10
- Jonesy = 2/10
- Ashto = 4/10
♾️ Aseem Thakar
The 4-hour work week (tim ferriss) – book summary, notes & impressions.
⭐ I mpressions
Rating – 9/10
Fluff rating – 7/10 (noticeable fluff)
This book is life. It makes me feel alive and in charge of my life. If you feel stuck, trapped or experience existential crises on the reg, The 4-Hour Work Week is your medicine.
The title’s quite misleading. You might think it’s just about achieving financial independence, but it’s more than that. This is a philosophical book (that’s quite practical) as much as it’s about freeing yourself from the burdens of modern slavery.
You’ll learn principles that are counterintuitive to mainstream advice (like the FIRE movement, government-recommended superannuation/401Ks and self-help books that focus on fixing your weaknesses rather than emphasizing your strengths).
This is one of the few books that I’d actually read in full instead of settling for a summary. Even though it has a whole bunch of fluff, it’s full of gems that a summary cannot fully capture.
🚀 TL:DR – the book in 5 bullet points
- The goal of The New Rich is to create luxury lifestyles in the present by following the DEAL process – Definition → Elimination → Automation → Liberation
- Definition – The New Rich want to make just enough money to live their defined dreams (not make money for money’s sake), distribute mini-retirements throughout their lives instead of all at the end, and only work on things they’re excited on (preventing work for work’s sake)
- Elimination – eliminate the unimportant (tasks, people, activities etc.), most information that’s not relevant to your life, and interruptions to your life (avoid meetings, batch repetitive tasks and empower others to act without your permission)
- Automation – delegate time consuming tasks to VAs, find product ideas that require little time to execute, test them before manufacturing with cheap ads to see if people will buy, and ensure your business can be operated without you (be like a police officer not a toll-booth)
- Liberation – negotiate remote work arrangements with your boss, quit your job (and realise that it’s not the end of the world if you do), distribute mini-retirements throughout your life and fill the void of removing work by serving others and finding your calling
📑 Short summary – the book in 5-10 mins
- Deferrers – want to retire early, make a ton of money, and work when they want
- New Rich – want to distribute mini-retirements throughout their lives, make just enough money to live their defined dreams, and prevent work for work’s sake
- Definition – define who the New Rich are, how they operate, their rules, objectives, assumptions and lifestyle design
- Elimination – kill the notion of time management, and 10x your per-hour output by ignoring the unimportant – TIME
- Automation – put cash flow on autopilot using geographic arbitrage, outsourcing and rules of non-decision – MONEY
- Liberation – break the bonds that confine you to a single location using mini-retirements – MOBILITY
- Retirement at 65 is worst-case scenario insurance, not an end goal
- Interest and energy are cyclical – you should alternate periods of activity and rest (in the form of mini-retirements) to be effective
- Less is not laziness – productivity/meaningful results are more important than “busyness”
- The timing is never right – if it’s important, just do it and figure it out on the way
- Ask for forgiveness, not permission – if the potential damage is moderate/reversible, do it – people will be fast to stop you but hesitant to get in the way if you’re moving
- Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses – life is too short to fix everything and leveraging your strength leads is more fun and multiplies your results
- Things in excess become their opposite – take the dosage of things into account
- Money alone is not the solution – it’s just an illusion – don’t be distracted by it
- Relative income ($/hr) is more important than absolute income ($) when you’ve achieved a goal dollar amount
- Remove harmful stress (distress) and find healthy stress (eustress) to grow
- Ask not what you want or what your goals are, but “What would excite me?”
- To escape this paralysis, realise that most worst-case scenarios rarely occur and are not even close to being fatal while best-case scenarios are potentially life-changing
- Pareto’s Law (80/20 Rule) – ≥80% of the outputs result from ≤20% of the inputs
- Parkinson’s Law – a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time alloted for its completion
- Use Pareto’s Law and Parkinson’s Law together for best results – identify the critical few tasks and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines to limit tasks to the important
- Focus on “just-in-time” information instead of “just-in-case” information
- To deal with time wasters – limit email consumption and production, screen incoming and limit outgoing phone calls, avoid useless meetings, steer people towards email first, phone second and meetings last
- To deal with repetitive tasks – group (batch) all of your related time consuming tasks together so that you only need to set up for them once
- To deal with empowerment failures – create rules that your employees can follow in situations and empower others to act without needing permission
- But ensure you eliminate before you delegate – never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined
- Pick an affordably reachable niche market
- Criteria to keep in mind – product must have a one sentence main benefit, be priced not too low and not too high, take ≤1 month to manufacture and be fully explainable in an online FAQ
- If the ads aren’t profitable, cut your losses or retest with a better offer
- Contract outsourcing companies that specialize in one function
- Ensure outsourcers communicate among themselves to solve problems
- Minimize the number of options you give customers to minimize headaches
- Prevent bad customers from ordering and only do business with good ones
- Work remotely – create the leverage to do this by demonstrating the business benefits of remote work and being so valuable that your boss would rather accept than refuse you
- You’ll find a way to pay the bills and get health insurance and your resume will actually stand out more if you do interesting things
- It’s better to make mistakes of ambition instead of sloth
- Creates emotional freedom, saves you money and changes your life
- Learn how to slow down and do nothing
- Serve others – do things to improve the lives of others
- Learn – by taking mini-retirements (travel is the best form of education)
- Test new vocations that call to you
📕 Chapter summary – the book in 45 mins
First and foremost, faq – doubters read this.
- Quit/hate your job or take crazy risks
- Be a single twenty-something
- Travel (it’s just an option)
- Be born rich
- Be an Ivy League graduate (most of them go towards the default path of working high-income 80-hour per week jobs)
My Story and Why You Need This Book
- Tim went from an overworked office worker to living his dream lifestyle by joining The New Rich (NR)
- The New Rich are those who abandon the deferred life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using time and mobility
- People don’t want to be millionaires – they just want to experience what they think only millions can buy – it’s the freedom and lifestyle they want, not the money
- It assumes you’re suffering (from time famine, dread and/or doing unfulfilling work)
- It’s not about saving – the goal is fun and profit NOW
- It’s not about finding your “dream job” – the perfect job is one that takes the least time
- Note – employees should follow DELA since bosses won’t like you spending just one hour in the office each day
Chronology of a Pathology
This chapter is like a mini-biography of Tim Ferriss. It summarises his journey from birth to getting into Princeton, working numerous odd jobs in a variety of fields, getting sick of those, founding (and failing) his first ventures, travelling all over the world, burning out and realising what matters most (after achieving financial freedom).
Tim has failed and succeeded quite a lot. The point of this chapter is that he only became an expert by making a lot of mistakes and trying many different things.
Step I: D is for Definition
Chapter 1 – cautions and comparisons, comparing the new rich vs deferrers.
What separates the New Rich from the Deferrers (those who save it all for the end only to find that life has passed them by)?
Getting Off the Wrong Train
- What you do
- When you do it
- Where you do it
- With whom you do it
- So the 80-hour per week, $500K per year investment banker is less “powerful” than the NR who works 20 hours per week for $40K with complete freedom of when, where and how to live
Chapter 2 – Rules That Change the Rules
- Life evolves when basic assumptions are proven wrong by those brave enough to do so
- Note – don’t fix things if they aren’t broken e.g. don’t walk on your hands just to be different to the people walking on their legs
- Different is better when it’s more effective or fun than the current accepted method
The Basic Rules of the New Rich
- Distribute “mini-retirements” throughout life instead of doing it all at once when you’re 65
- If it’s important and you want to do it “eventually”, just do it and figure it out on the way
- E.g. destructive criticism, physical and mental abuse
- E.g. physical training, stepping out of your comfort zone
Chapter 3 – Dodging Bullets – Fear-Setting and Escaping Paralysis
- Most people choose unhappiness over uncertainty
- They’d rather live in their self-made prisons than try their luck at escaping
- You’ll realise that m ost worst-case scenarios rarely occur and are not even close to being fatal (it’s not that hard to get back to where you were, let alone survive)
- On the other hand, if your best-case scenario occurs, it could be life-changing
Fear-Setting Exercise – do this if you’re nervous about taking the jump for fear of the unknown
- Define your absolute worst-case scenario in detail. How likely do you think it would happen?
- What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back under control?
- What are the outcomes/benefits (temporary and permanent) of more probable scenarios?
- If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control? Imagine this scenario and run through questions 1-3 above
- What are you putting off out of fear? This is likely what you most need to do
- If we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome”, inaction is the greatest risk of all
- What are you waiting for? (If it’s “timing”, you’re likely just afraid)
Chapter 4 – System Reset – Being Unreasonable and Unambiguous
- E.g. raising $1M is easier than raising $100K, picking up a 10 is easier than 5 8s
- The opposite of happiness is boredom – therefore, you should aim to chase excitement
- Some time after you graduate college and your second job, you start becoming “realistic” and realising that life isnt like the movies
- To reignite your life with excitement, use the dreamlining technique
The Dreamlining Technique
Refer to the four hour blog website for sample worksheets on dreamlining
- Create two timelines (6 months and 12 months) and list up to five things you dream of having, being and doing
- Notes – don’t judge or fool yourself – go after what you really want, not what you think you should want – your goals must be unrealistic to be effective
- E.g. being a great cook → making christmas dinner without help
- Highlight the four most exciting or important dreams from all columns in both the 6 and 12 month timelines
- Note – chances are your TMI is much lower than you expected
- Note – the best first step is often finding someone who’s done it and asking for advice
Step II: E is for Elimination
Chapter 5 – the end of time management.
- The goal is to free your time (“do less”) while maintaining/increasing your income
- Remember – employees need to implement DELA, not DEAL – liberation from a monitored office environment is needed before you can work ten hours a week
- The entrepreneur’s goals – decrease the amount of work while increasing revenue
Being Effective vs Being Efficient
- Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals (the important stuff)
- E.g. a great door-to-door salesman is probably efficient but not as effective as if they were to use email or direct mail to sell
- What you do is infinitely more important than how much time you spend/how you do it
Pareto and His Garden: 80/20 and Freedom from Futility
- i.e. 80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort/time, 80% of profits come from 20% of products and customers etc
- Most things make no difference – being busy is unproductive and lazy thinking
- Focus on the important few (i.e. 20% of activities, people, items) and ignore the rest
- Note – you’ll have to try lots of things to identify what works best first before eliminating
The 9-5 Illusion and Parkinson’s Law
- E.g. if you get 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on executing the bare essentials, but if you get a week or a month, you’ll become overwhelmed by the unimportant
- The shorter the deadline, the higher (or atleast) equal quality the end product
Chapter 6 – The Low-Information Diet – Cultivating Selective Ignorance
- Most info is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals and outside your influence
- Less info is more (refer to the 80/20 rule and Parkinson’s Law)
- If news is particularly important, you’ll hear other people talk about it anyway
- Only one hour of pleasure TV each evening
- Every day at lunch, get your five-minute news fix
- No reading books (except for this one and one hour of fiction before bed)
- No web surfing unless necessary to complete a task for that day
- Tim consumes a maximum of one-third of an industry magazine and one business magazine per month for actionable information
Chapter 7 – Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal
- Time wasters – things that can be ignored with little consequence
- Time consumers – repetitive tasks/requests that need to be completed
- Empowerment failures – times where someone needs your approval to proceed
- Limit email consumption and production – turn off notifications, check emails only once/twice a day, create an auto-responder that lets people know you’ll only respond at those times (and if it’s urgent, they can contact you via phone)
- Screen incoming and limit outgoing phone calls – use two phone numbers [urgent and non-urgent], put the urgent one in your email auto-responder/non-urgent voicemail, always pick up the urgent call (but don’t let the other person chit-chat) and keep the non-urgent one silent with a voicemail that says you’ll only respond to voicemail at specific times per day
- Always set agendas and end times for meetings – meetings should only be held to make decisions about a predefined situation, not to define the problem
- Steer people towards email first, phone second, in-person meetings last
- Example – checking email and phone calls twice per day at specific times
- Benefits = hourly rate x hours saved by batching
- Costs = loss of income from batching (e.g. losing sales cause you checked your emails only once a week)
- Empower others (or yourself if you’re an employee) to act without needing permission
- Create rules that your employees can follow in situations (e.g. if a problem costs below $100 to fix, you have permission to fix it without contacting me)
- These rules will have costs but usually this’ll be much cheaper than you spending your time on them – and your employees become happier, less micro-managed
- Review decisions your employees make occasionally to determine whether you need more or less empowerment
Step III: A is for Automation
Chapter 8 – outsourcing life.
- Note – you can always do something more cheaply yourself – this doesn’t mean you should/want to spend time doing it yourself – if your time is worth $25/hour and you can outsource something for $10/hour, it’s a much better use of resources
- You can do this by building an army of assistants to delegate your tasks to
Delegation Dangers: Before Getting Started
- Eliminate before you delegate – never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined
- Refine rules and processes before adding people (as you can multiply problems if not careful)
- Make sure each delegated task is well-defined and time-consuming
Basic Criteria for Finding a VA
- The most important metric is cost per completed task (not cost per hour)
- Recommendation – hire a VA firm or VAs with backup teams instead of solo VAs
Ensuring your VAs Don’t Misuse your Info
- Prohibit VAs from subcontracting work to untested freelancers without your permission
- Try and use firms with security measures (e.g. employee background checks, regular reporting)
- Only use credit cards for online transactions/VAs (so you can reverse unauthorized transactions)
- Create new unique login and passwords to be used on sites your VA will be accessing
- Giving imprecise directions – sentences should have one possible interpretation
- Giving VAs a license to waste time – request status updates after a few hours of work
- Setting the deadline weeks in advance – assign tasks that are to be completed within ≤ 72 hours
- Giving too many tasks with no order of importance – send one task at a time when possible
Chapter 9 – Income Autopilot I – Finding the Muse
- The goal – create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time – a ‘muse’
- The more middle-men are involved, the higher margins, time and effort needed by you
Step One: Pick an Affordably Reachable Niche Market
- DON’T first create a product, then seek someone to sell to
- Instead you want to target a niche e.g. male student-athletes, German shepherd dog owners
- To find profitable niches: look deeply at your life and explore your areas of interest, habits and associations → find groups that spend money on products of some type
Step Two: Brainstorm (Do Not Invest In) Products
- Pick two markets you’re most familiar with that sell advertising for less than $5000 and have atleast 15000 members – you’ll be brainstorming product ideas for these two markets
- One sentence main benefit (e.g. the iPod “1,000 songs in your pocket”
- Costs the customer $50-200 (not too low, not too high – aim for an 8-10x markup)
- Takes ≤3-4 weeks to manufacture (important for keeping costs low and avoiding stockpiling)
- Fully explainable in a good online FAQ (to avoid answering questions yourself)
- This is easiest but least profitable since others can do the same and will eventually compete with you on price
- Note – Licensing is very deal-making intensive – it requires creativity in negotiating contracts and so is not ideal for first-timers
- Avoid innovating – usually creates more manufacturing costs/time issues
- Info products are great – fast manufacturing times, hard to duplicate (unlike physical products) and permit high markups (20-50x)
If You’re Not an Expert
- Being perceived as an expert sells more products
- Actually being an expert results in better products and prevents returns
- Joining two or three related trade organizations with official sounding names
- Reading the three top-selling books in your niche and summarizing each on one page
- Giving a free 1-3 hour seminar at universities, big companies
- Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines related to your niche
- Join ProfNet – a service that journalists use to find experts and quote for articles
- Note – never lie about who you are – present the truth in the best light but don’t fabricate it
Note – the end of this chapter in the book has great resources on how to confirm market size, find products to resell, find public domain info to repurpose and more… highly recommend
Chapter 10 – Income Autopilot II – Testing the Muse
- To best determine a product’s viability, ask people to buy (not if they would buy)
Step Three: Micro-Test Your Products
- Use cheap ads (e.g. Google Ads) to test consumer response to a product before manufacturing
- Google the top terms to find your product → visit the top 3 sites → find out how you can differentiate yourself (e.g. free shipping, easier to use) → create a better offer on a single-page website
- Set up ad campaigns with 50-100 specific search terms showing purchaser intent
- Link your ads to a signup form on your website for customers to put their details in if interested (say your products are on “back order”)
- Compare how much you spent on ads vs how much you “sold”
- If it’s profitable, pursue it. If not, retest with a different offer or just cut your losses
Chapter 11 – Income Autopilot III – MBA: Management by Absence
- Goal – a business that bothers us as little as possible (be out of the business, not in it)
- Your organization shouldn’t use you as a toll-booth but rather a police officer who can step in if need be
- Contract outsourcing companies that specialize in one function vs freelancers – so if someone’s fired, they are automatically replaced without interruptions
- Ensure that all outsourcers are willing and able to communicate among themselves to solve problems – give written permission to make cheap decisions without consulting you
- Phase I – 0-50 total units of product shipped – do everything yourself
- Add a FAQ to your website and add answers to common questions as received
- Find cheap, local fulfillment companies that can ideally respond to emails/phone calls from customers
- Have your manufacturer ship product directly to the fulfillment company and forward order status emails to them
- Get a fulfillment company that handles everything (order statuses, refunds, returns etc)
- Use call centers (that are effective at selling) to answer questions
The Art of Indecision: Fewer Options = More Revenue
- The more options you give the customer → the more indecision you create → the fewer orders you receive (and more manufacturing/customer service burdens for yourself)
- Minimize the number of decisions your customers can/needs to make: have 1-2 purchase options, shipping options, sell online only, avoid international shipments
Not All Customers Are Created Equal
- After Phase III, when you have cash flow, start avoiding bad customers which cause problems and only do business with the good ones
- See the customer as an equal trading partner and not as someone to be pleased at all costs
- Avoid customers that are low-profit and high-maintenance
- Offer low-priced products instead of free products
- Offer a lose-win guarantee instead of free trials e.g. Domino’s “delivered in 30 minutes or less or it’s free”
Step IV: L is for Liberation
Chapter 12 – disappearing act – how to escape the office.
- The NR are defined by their ability to work wherever and whenever they want
- Demonstrate the business benefit of remote work
- Be so valuable that it’s too expensive/painful to refuse your request for it
- Increase investment – get the company to invest as much in you as possible (i.e. via training, flights, certifications etc) so the loss is greater if you quit
- Prove increased output remotely – find a way to trial working remotely (i.e. by calling in sick) and ensure you double your work output and keep records of this
- Prepare the quantifiable business benefit – create a list of how much more productive you were (quantitatively) while working remotely and the benefits to the company
- Propose a reversible trial period – i.e. two days remote per week to start
- Expand remote time – continuously prove that you’re more beneficial to the company while working remotely and gradually transition to full-time remote work
- Make the two weeks of remote work the most productive you’ve ever had
- Make your remote days the most productive and your in-office days the least
- Eventually, suggest full-time remote work
- Note – the best time to ask for remote work is when it’d be too disruptive to the business to fire you even if you were less productive while remote
Chapter 13 – Beyond Repair – Killing Your Job
- In this chapter, “job” = company if you run one OR normal job if you have one
- Some jobs are beyond repair and cannot be improved
- Note – even if you’ve spent a lot of time/money on something, it’s not always productive to continue
- “Quitting is permanent” – Chapter 3 (Fear setting) should have made you realise that your worst-case scenario is never irreversible – you can always come back from a loss
- “I won’t be able to pay the bills” – the goal is to have a new job/cash flow source before quitting but still, there are always options and few things are fatal
- “I’ll lose health insurance and retirement accounts if I quit” – you can get health insurance without an employer for a small monthly fee and transfer your 401k to another company
- “It will ruin my resume” – if you quit and do interesting things, it only ADDS to your resume and helps you stand out and be interesting to the typical interviewer
- Mistakes of ambition – the result of a decision to act/do something – these are good
- This is how poor job choices become lifelong prison sentences
- Instead of staying in a bad situation, test your assumptions
Chapter 14 – Mini-Retirements – Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle
- Instead of saving for retirement and then travelling the world at the end of your life, why not redistribute your retirement throughout your life?
- Do the opposite of this – the mini-retirement
- This allows us to experience (not escape) the world at a speed that allows it to change us
- Mini-retirements are a lifestyle – they are recurring, not one-time events
- You can have financial and time freedom but still be caught up in the rat race
- Set aside materialistic addictions, time-famine mindset and comparing yourself to others
- Learn how to slow down, disintegrate your old habits and get lost intentionally
- Mini-retirements also save you more money – relocating to a semi-permanent apartment is much cheaper than staying at a temporary hostel/hotel (or even living at home)
Fear Factors: Overcoming Excuses Not to Travel
- Most excuses not to travel are easily deconstructed – most places are not as dangerous as they seem on TV, travel is often cheaper than living at home, there are hospitals everywhere, and taking career breaks can boost your resume, not hinder it
When More Is Less: Cutting the Clutter
- Extended travel is the best way to reverse the damage from years of materialistic hyper-consumption – you can’t drag your clutter everywhere with you
- Clutter (things you don’t need or use or want) consumes attention and is a chore to maintain
- The best advice to first-time extended travellers: take less with you
Planning for mini-retirements
- Take an asset and cash-flow snapshot – decide on what assets and expenses to remove that cause stress/distractions without adding much value
- Fear-set a one-year mini-retirement in a dream location in Europe
- Choose a foreign but safe location for your actual mini-retirement – wander or scout from a starting point until you find a spot you want to settle in
- Prepare for your trip – eliminate clutter, automate tasks at home and ensure everything at home will be okay while you’re on your mini-retirement + actually prepare to stay overseas
Chapter 15 – Filling the Void – Adding Life After Subtracting Work
- While free time is the goal, too much free time creates self-doubt and overthinking
- In the beginning, it’s critical to go nuts and live your dreams and reverse your repression/postponement – but eventually existential dread sinks in
- Subtracting the bad just creates a vacuum – you need to consciously live and become more
- Is this as good as it gets? Following orders is so much easier
- Doubts arise when nothing else is there to occupy your mind – so find a focus/goal that forces you to grow and gives you a purpose
- Form better questions so you can get better answers
Learning Unlimited: Sharpening the Saw
- The different surroundings rewire your brain and force you to reevaluate your life
- Every country can teach you something radically different
Service for the Right Reasons
- Service is simple – it’s doing something improves life besides your own
- But note – everything out there needs help – don’t get baited into having arguments over which cause is best to serve because there’s no objectively best cause
- Find the cause that interests you most and don’t apologise for it
The process of adding life after subtracting work
- Revisit ground zero – do nothing, slow down and take a break from constant overstimulation
- Make an anonymous donation to a service/organization of your choice – helps you to start associating service with feeling good
- Take a learning mini-retirement focused on learning and service to causes you care about
- Revisit and reset dreamlines based on new things you want to be, do and have
- Based on outcomes of steps 1-4, test new vocations (not jobs) that call to you
Chapter 16 – The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
- Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake
- Micromanaging and emailing to fill time
- Handling problems your outsourcers/coworkers can handle
- Helping outsourcers or coworkers with the same problem more than once, or with non-critical problems
- Chasing customers when you have enough cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits
- Answering email that won’t result in a sale or can be answered by a FAQ/auto-responder
- Working where you live, sleep and/or relax
- Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every 2-4 weeks for your business and personal life
- Striving for endless perfection (rather than great/good enough) in your personal or professional life
- Blowing small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work
- Focus on life outside money – it’s your responsibility to find/create meaning in your life
- Whatever you’re doing now is just a stepping stone to the next project/adventure
- Happiness shared in the form of love/friendships is happiness multiplied
The Last Chapter
- Don’t take it too seriously – approach life with a serendipitous lightness
- The only rules and limits are those we set for ourselves
*For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”. And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something – Steve Jobs
The remaining chapters are highlights from Tim Ferriss’ blog and bonus practical material on living the 4-hour work week. You can check them out by grabbing the book (which I highly recommend you do)
If you found this summary useful and want to give back in some way, consider buying me a book (or coffee/beer) or buying the actual book via the affiliate links at the top – appreciate any support 🤝
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary – A passive income classic by Tim Ferriss
Those of you that are fans of author and podcast host won’t be surprised when hearing about this popular title. For those unfamiliar, Tycoon titan Tim Ferriss, from the Tim Ferriss Show and the famous 4-hour series very first foray into success was the 4-Hour Workweek. I will give you a short-but-sweet summary of this insightful novel below that basically was years ahead of its time.
Table of Contents
Summary of The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek made working from home and online side hustles “cool” way before most of the world needed to switch mainly to remote work. Tim-Ferriss’ flagship book speaks on many different aspects but brings to light simple themes with a focus on mindset and life philosophy.
You are given the tools to succeed in this book with such gems as eliminating most of your “filler” work, being location-agnostic and having a great work-life balance while even earning MORE money!
Below we will speak about Ferriss’ three themes, Elimination, Automation and Liberation that are the core fundamentals of the 4-Hour work week.
Using real-world examples and parables, Tim’s book is not just a novel that you read cover to cover. In fact, the very first few lines of his introduction is to use this as more of a guide and a reference that you can come back to later.
It includes blogs, articles, examples, agendas and other tools and sheets that are necessary for your success. As you go through the summary, and if you decide to pick up the 4-Hour Workweek, remember that it is not a race.
Take your time and test different things. You will be on your way to financial freedom slowly, but surely.
The 4-Hour Workweek Principle 1.: Elimination
The first core that Ferriss presents is the need for Elimination.
What exactly are we eliminating? Fluff, Filler and non-sensical work that comes with most of our day jobs.
The premise of this book is aimed more at office workers but also is useful for everyone if they decide to work remotely. In a comically placed first point, “Illusions and Italians” contains a comical parable with this key message: forget about time management.
Ferriss believes you shouldn’t manage your time because, well, you shouldn’t be taking more than you can handle, and you should NEVER be doing “busywork”.
Two other key points are keeping a low-information “diet”, that is, reducing your consumption of news and external information and focusing only on 1-2 things.
One personal point I took from the final point “Interrupting Interruption” is to flex your “no” muscle. Refuse politely, and with a valid concern if work is too much, and to pick a certain time of day to do all my work, without interruptions or distractions. This, in essence, is how you boil a 40-hour workweek into a 4-hour workweek.
Favourite idea from The 4-Hour Workweek: Automation
Ferriss goes on to speak about automation, which is the toughest, fun and most rewarding part of his book. He speaks about leaning everything down to the bare essentials and outsourcing the rest.
In this section of the 4-hour workweek, we really get a taste of how inefficiently an office or a day job is run, and how much of our day is cluttered. In fact, with work from home, you’ve probably noticed that an 8-hour workday can be boiled down to one or two hours on most days.
In “Automation” we learn about great tips and secrets that automate and increase your income, working from anywhere “Geoarbitrage”.
The most helpful of this section was how to build an online business (which he recommends to sell products) and hiring VAs.
Virtual assistants are extremely helpful workers that can be hired as needed or even a full time basis. They can be outsourced to do tasks such as admin, email, meeting transcription, setting dates, filling orders and confirmations.
Tim Ferriss goes a little overboard and even has a few “Lead VAs” to manage his virtual assistants.
The 4-Hour Workweek Principe 3. Liberation:
The liberation portion of the 4-hour workweek is a gratifying one. If you’ve read the previous section and set up your workweek, virtual assistants and found a product/service to sell online (or any other remote business) you can now transition into your “New Rich” life.
For most, this includes traveling or working from different locations. The “Laptop on a beach” dream is definitely real and is within reach, but not without setting up the tracks in the previous sections.
He speaks about tips to gradually negotiate with management to work from anywhere (much easier now during recent world events), killing our job and embracing a mobile lifestyle. The key theme here is running your business and/or your job without you having to be there.
This is where the 4-hour workweek gets its name, Ferriss believes you should only need to dedicate 4 hours every Monday to emailing, checking and re-organizing your work.
Less is fine, more is not. The rest of this section speaks about how to fill the void in your life without the presence of work, which includes passion projects, bucket lists, and dreams and aspirations you’ve had since childhood.
Should I read the 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss?
The answer will almost definitely be a yes. The only ones who will not benefit from this book are those who enjoy being present and hands on in their line of work.
Most office workers entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, or those that want to break free from their office, home or need more sources of income will absolutely gain more than they need from this book, including the confidence to step away and turn their active income into passive income.
Overall is the 4-Hour workweek worth buying?
This book is overwhelmingly positive and is a global phenomenon for a reason. There aren’t many people that you talk to that haven’t at least heard of the 4-hour workweek or Tim Ferriss.
The gold mine is the links at the end of his book, which contain more online resources and an active community of those who are trying to break free from the 9-5 grind like yourself.
The only parts that are a little lackluster are the vagueness on some of the “muses”, which is the section of the book when choosing an online business to run, but it is made up for in the further reading of his external resources listed.
Should I read the entire book?
4-Hour workweek does an amazing job with its DEAL method, Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation. It is a book that should be used as a reference and guide that you can come back to at any time.
Honestly, I still do myself many years later for reference. The step-by-step guide of how to liberate yourself and have your business run itself is priceless, and the blog, article and bonus material more than make up for any sections you find shortcoming. Happy reading!
Marilyn Nissen is the founder of BestSellerSummary.com , a highly reputable book summary and reviews website. With over a decade of experience in summarizing and reviewing books, Marilyn is a trusted authority in the book industry.
Get smarter from books and 100s of book summaries!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Book & audiobook apps, book summary apps, best books on, home about contact, html sitemap, follow us .
Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved
The 4-Hour Work Week
Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
Summary in 100 words or less
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. The new rich is about having cash flow and mobility. The process of becoming a member of the New Rich is known as DEAL. Define your desired lifestyle and the cash flow you need to live it. Eliminate unproductive tasks and unimportant things. Automate your work, business, and cash flow. And liberate your life by constantly exploring and learning.
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier.”
Options—the ability to choose—is real power.
Different is better when it is more effective or more fun. If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are subpar, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite? Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good a cook you are.
Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.
For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.
Ask for forgiveness, not permission. If it isn’t going to devastate those around you, try it and then justify it. People—whether parents, partners, or bosses—deny things on an emotional basis that they can learn to accept after the fact.
It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.
Too much, too many, and too often of what you want becomes what you don’t want. This is true of possessions and even time. Lifestyle Design is thus not interested in creating an excess of idle time, which is poisonous, but the positive use of free time, defined simply as doing what you want as opposed to what you feel obligated to do.
Distress refers to harmful stimuli that make you weaker, less confident, and less able.
Eustress, on the other hand, is what pushes us to exceed our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires, and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action.
Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?” — Seneca
Fear comes in many forms, and we usually don’t call it by its four-letter name. Fear itself is quite fear-inducing. Most intelligent people in the world dress it up as something else: optimistic denial.
To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.
It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy-consuming.
Remember—boredom is the enemy, not some abstract “failure.”
Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.
Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective—doing less—is the path of the productive. Focus on important few and ignore the rest.
Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline.
You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.
What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. — Herbert Simon
Ignorance may be a bliss, but it is also practical. It is imperative that you learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable. Most are all three.
It is your job to train those around you to be effective and efficient. No one else will do it for you.
For employees, the goal is to have full access to necessary information and as much independent decision-making ability as possible. For the entrepreneur, the goal is to grant as much information and independent decision-making ability to employees or contractors as possible.
Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined.
Principle number one is to refine rules and processes before adding people. Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems.
Cash flow and time—with these two currencies, all other things are possible. Without them, nothing is possible
Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is much easier. Don’t create a product, then seek someone to sell it to. Find a market—define your customers—then find or develop a product for them.
The bulk of companies set prices in the midrange, and that is where the most competition is. Pricing low is shortsighted because someone else is always willing to sacrifice more profit margin and drive you both bankrupt.
Intuition and experience are poor predictors of which products and businesses will be profitable. To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy—ask them to buy.
Serving the customer is not becoming a personal concierge and catering to their every whim and want. Customer service is providing an excellent product at an acceptable price and solving legitimate problems in the fastest manner possible.
Looking at the customer as an equal trading partner and not as an infallible blessing of a human being to be pleased at all costs. If you offer an excellent product at an acceptable price, it is an equal trade and not a begging session between subordinate (you) and superior (customer).
Instead of dealing with problem customers, I recommend you prevent them from ordering in the first place.
Being bound to one place will be the new defining feature of the middle class. The New Rich are defined by a more elusive power than simple cash—unrestricted mobility. This jet-setting is not limited to startup owners or freelancers. Employees can pull it off, too.
Getting what you want often depends more on when you ask for it than how you ask for it.
While entrepreneurs have the most trouble with automation, since they fear giving up control, employees get stuck on liberation because they fear taking control.
All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner. Going into a project or job without defining when worthwhile becomes wasteful is like going into a casino without a cap on what you will gamble: dangerous and foolish.
Don’t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple—many are just emotionally difficult to act upon.
One cannot be free from the stresses of a speed- and size-obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mindset, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place.
The retired and ultrarich are often unfulfilled and neurotic for the same reason: too much idle time.
Too much free time is no more than fertilizer for self-doubt and assorted mental tail-chasing. Subtracting the bad does not create the good. It leaves a vacuum. Decreasing income-driven work isn’t the end goal. Living more—and becoming more—is.
Most big questions we feel compelled to face—handed down through centuries of overthinking and mistranslation—use terms so undefined as to make attempting to answer them a waste of time.
If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.
To live is to learn , I see no other option. Language learning deserves special mention. It is, bar none, the best thing you can do to hone clear thinking. The benefits of becoming fluent in a foreign tongue are as underestimated as the difficulty is overestimated.
Slowing down doesn’t mean accomplishing less; it means cutting out counterproductive distractions and the perception of being rushed.
If you cannot find meaning in your life, it is your responsibility as a human being to create it, whether that is fulfilling dreams or finding work that gives you purpose and self-worth—ideally a combination of both.
Life is too short to waste, but it is also too long to be a pessimist or nihilist. Whatever you’re doing no is just a stepping-stone to the next project or adventure. Any rut you get into is one you can get yourself out of.
Surround yourself with smiling, positive people who have absolutely nothing to do with work. Create your muses alone if you must, but do not live your life alone. Happiness shared in the form of friendships and love is happiness multiplied.
Life is neither a problem to be solved nor a game to be won.
More book notes
Get my email delivered to your inbox once in a while
Three to five things I learned—that will help you work less, earn more, and live a better life. (Also get notified of new posts and masterclasses)
👆 Join 3,100+ leaders, creatives, and knowledge workers today.
Dean is a strong voice in the self-mastery space. His newsletter consistently delivers insightful ideas on how to become a better version of yourself and is the only newsletter that I always read.
Head of product and engineering
- All Articles
© 2016–2022. Powered by Webflow | Terms & Policy
The 4-Hour Work Week
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss teaches us practical methods to escape the 9 to 5 trap and create a lifestyle of freedom and fulfillment. The book emphasizes the importance of outsourcing, automation, and prioritizing tasks that genuinely matter to create a life of freedom and possibilities. Create that life now - just read below.
“The 4-Hour Work Week” book is written by Timothy Ferriss , an American writer, educational activist, and entrepreneur. This book was part of the New York Times best Seller list for over four years. He got this idea while working for 14 hours a day. Frustrated by the overwork and lack of free time, Ferriss took a 3-week sabbatical to Europe.
The genesis of the book was his escape from a workaholic lifestyle. In “The 4-Hour Work Week,” you will discover powerful techniques to increase your time and financial freedom , enabling you to enjoy a range of lifestyle options.
By automating passive income streams and liberating yourself from unproductive tasks, you can embrace the “new rich” lifestyle – a life characterized by having, doing, and being what you truly desire. This book is an indispensable resource for individuals interested in working for themselves and establishing a sustainable work-life balance.
“The 4-Hour Work Week” revolves around breaking free from the monotonous 9-5 trap and allowing yourself to work from anywhere while achieving remarkable success. Contrary to working longer hours, the book emphasizes the importance of working smarter and reducing hours while attaining equal, if not superior, results.
By implementing the strategies outlined in this book, you can revolutionize your work habits and unlock a world of possibilities while maintaining your productivity and effectiveness.
Embrace the principles of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and embark on a journey towards liberation from the traditional work grind.
Discover how to optimize your time, enhance your financial prospects, and establish a life where work is not a hindrance but a means to pursue your passions.
Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or a corporate professional seeking a better work/life equilibrium, this book is an invaluable guide that will empower you to create a fulfilling and flexible lifestyle that aligns with your goals and aspirations.
Step 1: Definition
Before we dive into what you need to do to increase your time and financial freedom, Tim Ferriss summarizes the process you’ll go through as a 4-step process – DEAL:
- D for definition– essentially, you must define what you will do and understand the rules.
- E for elimination– next, you will ‘reset’ and eliminate the unnecessary.
- A for automation– next up is the time to automate everything possible; this may include outsourcing.
- L for liberation– finally, the part where you go out and live it.
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of w’s you control: what you do when, where, and with whom you do it.”
Tim calls this the “freedom multiplier. You have options and the ability to choose, and Tim emphasizes that this is a real power within you. If you can follow Tim’s simple steps, you’ll see what you can achieve with minimum effort and cost . And the reality is that Tim believes you can make much more money by doing much less than you currently are!
Retirement is worst-case-scenario insurance. Planning for retirement should not be part of your plan; the idea is that your work should be so enjoyable and achievable that you can continue to work without retirement.
Interest and energy are cyclical. The best way to maintain your lifestyle is to have alternating rest periods and work/activity—plan “mini-retirements” throughout your life.
When you are in a work cycle, you’ll work at your full potential, then allow yourself the rest required when you have a break.
Less is not laziness. People assume that by doing less, you are lazy; society stereotypes those that work harder and longer hours as better. This is not true; you can work less and still be as successful.
The timing always needs to be corrected. It will never feel like the right time to do the essential things in your life. Are you quitting a job, having a baby, or moving house? You can’t continue to put these things off until the ‘time is right’ – because that time may never come!
Ask for forgiveness, not permission. This one is key; you must learn from your mistakes to grow. Don’t allow other people to say no or deny you an opportunity. Give it a go first, and apologize if it doesn’t work.
Emphasize strengths don’t fix weaknesses. Muscles are more powerful and have more of an impact on your life than your weaknesses ever will.
Don’t try and fix all your minor defects; improve your strengths, as this is where the results are. Improving a weakness may only bring mediocrity, whereas improving upon a power can bring greatness.
Things in excess become their opposite. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Remember this, as they become a burden eventually.
Money alone is not the solution. As per the previous point, more money is needed. The answer is only sometimes money.
Relative income is more important than absolute income. Relative income uses two variables: the dollar and time, usually hour.
In this book, the author suggests that Distress is bad. Grief will only bring you down , making you weaker and less confident. Anyone who fires criticism at you or is abusive is only causing you pain. Find the people who are positive role models, who push you and help you grow.
Ferriss explains that most people avoid fear and pretend it’s something else altogether. They deny the fear and remain optimistic. Tim uses the example of someone who is unhappy but avoids quitting their job; they will continue to deny their unhappiness and remain confident that their work will improve in time or their income will increase.
“Fear comes in many forms, and we usually don’t call it by its four-letter name. However, fear itself is quite fear-inducing.”
Tim suggests you take the following steps to eliminate your fear of the unknown and allow yourself to leap:
- Face your nightmare and define what it is exactly. Consider what is the absolute worst thing that could happen. Define the ‘worst-case scenario.’
- Identify how to fix or repair the ‘worst-case scenario.’
- Define the temporary or permanent benefits and likely outcomes of the scenario you are considering.
- Ask yourself, ‘If you were fired today, how would you manage your finances from here?”
- Identify what you are putting off or avoiding out of fear.
- By avoiding these things, is it costing you? Whether this be financial, emotional, or physical.
What are you waiting for?
Reset and eliminate
Tim uses the concept of ‘dreamlining’ over simply goal-setting. It’s exactly what it sounds like, considering your dreams and planning to fulfill them. Tim explains that dreamlining is different from goal-setting in 3 significant ways:
- The goals shift from ambiguous wants to defined steps.
- The goals have to be unrealistic to be effective.
- It focuses on activities that fill the vacuum created when work is removed. Living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things, not just owning enviable things.
Tim’s Guide to creating your dream life
What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were ten times smarter than the rest of the world? Have two separate timelines, one short-term (e.g., six months) and one longer-term (12 months.)
With these timelines, you need to add five things you dream about, whether it be something you dream about having, being, or doing.
Are you drawing a blank? If this hasn’t inspired you, consider what you would do if you had 100 Crore. How would this affect your dreams? And what is it that would make you excited to wake up in the morning?
What does “being” entail? Convert each “being” into a “doing” to make it actionable. Identify an action that would characterize this state of being or a task that would mean you had achieved it.
What are the four dreams that would change it all? Identify four key goals and consider how they would change your life.
Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your target monthly income (TMI) for both timelines. We put this into action and consider your income, expenses, and monthly cash flow .
Come up with your TMI (target monthly income) that is required to realize your dreams. And then, when you have your monthly figure, divide this by 30; this is now your TDIi (target daily income.)
Determine three steps for each of the four dreams in the 6-month timeline and take the first step now. Break the dreams down, and start acting upon them immediately. You must take this first step to start turning your dreams into reality.
Step 2: Elimination
1. effectiveness and efficiency.
Tim explains the differences between being effective and being efficient. To be effective is to act in a way that helps you reach your goals. And to be efficient is to act upon any given task in the most productive way possible.
The problem, Tim explains, is that the default approach is often efficient without regard to effectiveness. So it’s critical to understand that doing something unimportant but very well does not, by default, make it essential. And similarly, spending a lot of time on a specific task does not make it necessary either.
Two laws to consider:
- Pareto’s law
“80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs, 80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes, 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time, 80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers, 80% of all stock market gains are realized by 20% of the investors and 20% of an individual portfolio.”
- Parkinson’s law
“Parkinson’s law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity about the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. On the other hand, if I give you a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of making a mountain out of a molehill.”
Tim explains that from this, you can approach increasing productivity in one of two ways, and interestingly, these approaches are technically opposites.
Limit tasks to the important ones to shorten work time (80/20).
Shorten work time to limit charges to the important (Parkinson’s law).
Tim explains that your best approach is using both concepts together. And the best way to do this is to identify a few tasks that are both critical and will contribute to the majority of your income. Then, schedule these tasks with clear deadlines, and dedicate little time to them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What would you do if you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day?
- What if you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week? What would you do?
- What would you remove if you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities?
- What are the top three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive?
- Who are the 20% of people who produce 80% of your enjoyment and propel you forward, and which 20% cause 80% of your depression, anger, and second-guessing?
- If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?
- Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important ones?
2. Remain ignorant
We’ve all heard the phrase ignorance is bliss’ before, and Tim firmly believes that ignorance is blissful and can also be practical.
“It is imperative that you learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable.
Tim identifies three ‘interruptions’ that often get in the way of the start-to-finish completion of any given task.
- Time wasters
Time wasters include meetings, phone calls, internet surfing, emails, and discussions. These can, more often than not, be ignored with minimal consequences. Tim has a few tips to avoid time wasters as much as possible:
- Email is almost certainly the most significant interruption in the workplace. Minimize the emails you send and read.
- Make sure the sound and notification of emails are turned off.
- Try only checking your email two times a day. Tim suggests first at noon and again at 4:00 p.m. This timing will ensure you have the most responses from previously sent emails.
- Screen any phone calls you receive. You don’t have to answer them all. And limit the phone calls you make.
- Tim suggests you have two phone numbers. One can be used as your office line, and your cell phone number can only be reserved for urgent calls.
- Most issues and work-related communication are not urgent at all. Steer your colleagues, clients, etc. To the following order of communication; email first, then phone, and finally in-person.
- If someone has left you a voice mail, reply to this via email when possible. This will help teach people the best way to reach you.
- Meetings should only be held to decide about a predefined situation, not to define the problem.
If you cannot stop a meeting or call from happening, define the start and end times. Ensure you only discuss a pre-arranged topic and avoid getting side-tracked.
- Time consumers
Time consumers are the second of Tim’s most common interruptions. These can be defined as repetitive tasks that need to be completed regularly. These are the little tasks that interrupt the start-to-finish workflow of a job. Expected time consumers include:
- Reading emails
- Replying to emails
- Talking on the phone
- Doing customer service tasks
- Reporting finances or sales, errands, personal tasks
- Regular manual updates
- Anything that gets repeated frequently.
Tim points out that whenever a task is interrupted, psychologically, it can take up to 45 minutes to resume that task. Stats suggest that these interruptions consume 28% of your 9-5 working days.
– The best approach to combat these time-wasters is to wait until you have many tasks. E.g., Wait until you have plenty of emails to read and reply to or multiple phone calls to make. This approach is called batching and is a great solution to let these tasks interrupt more extensive, more critical work.
- Empowerment failures
- Empowerment failures are the third critical interruption in cases where your approval is required for something to happen when someone has to come to you before they can take the next step in their task. Or if you have to go to someone else before you can proceed with a job.
- If people you work with can only complete a task from start to finish without receiving permission or further information, it becomes a case of empowerment failures.
- As an employee, to be able to work as seamlessly as possible means having access to required information and having the ability to make as many decisions as possible.
- As an entrepreneur, for everything to run as smoothly as possible, you should provide your employees/contractors with as much information as necessary and allow them to make decisions without first asking permission.
- If you feel you are in a position where you are being micro-managed, sit down with your boss and explain to them why you have more access to information and the ability to make decisions will benefit you both by allowing you to be more productive and for your boss to have fewer interruptions.
4. Set the rules in your favor.
Limit access to your time, force people to define their requests before spending time with them, and batch routine menial tasks to prevent postponing more critical projects.
Do not let people interrupt you.
Find your focus, and you’ll find your lifestyle.”
Step 3: Automation
Tim recommends getting a remote personal assistant when the time is right . It means you can offload some of your work to them; it frees up your time to work on other things and allows you to practice giving orders. In addition, it helps to set you up as a leader; it’s time you learned to be the boss.
Deciding when to hire a remote personal assistant should be easy; it’s not time-consuming, low-cost, and low-risk. Even if you don’t think you need one yet, get one. It’s an opportunity for you to explore this way of working.
But what about the cost?
Tim identifies a question that most people ask themselves; “If I can do it better?
Tim explains that it’s not about the money but freeing up your time, allowing yourself to be creative and innovative rather than being caught up in mundane daily tasks.
Tim explains that you shouldn’t ever automate something that could be eliminated. And don’t delegate if the task can be automated. It’s not about wasting other people’s time. Their time is just as valuable as yours.
Where to begin?
Hire an assistant – regardless of whether or not you need one right now.
Identify which tasks on your to-do list have been sitting there the longest . And identify any charges you currently do that could be done by a virtual assistant. Is this where a va could come in whenever you are interrupted or frustrated?
Identify your top five time-consuming non-work tasks and five personal tasks you could assign for fun.
It’s critical to synchronize your work and share calendars and schedules so you know what’s going on.
Tim discusses the next stage; you need a product to sell. Something that’s either downloadable or shippable to help you eliminate the limitations of a per-hour-based model.
- The first thing Tim suggests you do is; pick an affordably reachable, friendly market.
- It’s much easier to tap into a current market; creating demand from scratch is hard. Wait to start with a product, then look for a customer. First, find the market, understand the customer, and create a product for them.
- Identify what you already know; look at what social/professional/industry groups you belong to or have access to. You don’t have to learn something new.
- Identify which groups you have access to have their magazines/blogs.
Tim’s next step is to; brainstorm (do not invest in) products
- The main benefit should be encapsulated in one sentence.
- It should cost the customer $50–200.
- Aim for an 8–10x markup, which means a $100 product should not cost more than $10–12.50.
- It should take no more than 3 to 4 weeks to manufacture.
- It should be fully explainable in an excellent online faq.
- Option one: resell a product, option two: license a product, option three: create a product
- Information products are low-cost, fast to manufacture, and time-consuming for competitors to duplicate.
“To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy—ask them to buy.”
The third step is to micro-test your products.
- Identify the competition; it’s your job to create a more compelling offer than what’s currently out there. All you need is a simple website, just 1-3 pages, which correlates to 1-3 hours of work. Things to consider to make your offer better than the competition are; more credibility indicators. Testimonials, A better guarantee, Better selection and Free shipping.
- Test the offer using short Google Adwords advertising campaigns (three hours to set up and five days of passive observation).
- Divest or invest: identify the losers, cut them out, manufacture the winner, and prepare for sales.
One of the critical steps in Tim’s process is that once you have a product (physical or online), you need to design your business in a way that it can run itself.
This diagram should be your rough blueprint for designing an autonomous virtual architecture:
Contract outsourcing companies that specialize in one function vs. Freelancers whenever possible so that you can replace them if someone is fired, quits, or doesn’t perform without interrupting your business. Hire trained groups of people who can provide detailed reporting and replace one another as needed.
Ensure that all outsourcers are willing to communicate among themselves to solve problems, and give them written permission to make the most inexpensive decisions without consulting you first (I started at less than $100 and moved to $400 after two months).”
Step 4: Liberation
Now, go live your life.
Follow Tim’s five steps to gravitate toward full-time remote work:
- Increase investment. Get the company to invest in training so the cost of losing you is more significant.
- Prove increased output offsite. Call in sick, work from home and make it a productive day.
- Prepare the quantifiable business benefit. Prepare your results to show the measurable benefit you gained from working at home.
- Propose a revocable trial period. Start with one day a week.
- Expand remote time. Gradually work up to multiple days at home per week. Then eventually, full-time remote work.
The book’s author said, “I have quit three jobs and been fired from most of the rest. Getting fired, despite sometimes coming as a surprise and leaving you scrambling to recover, is often a godsend. Someone else makes the decision for you, and it’s impossible to sit in the wrong job for the rest of your life.”
Tim emphasizes that quitting or being fired isn’t the end of the world.
It’s not permanent. Quitting a job doesn’t mean you’ll never have another job again. It’s temporary.
You will still be able to pay your bills. The objective of Tim’s process is that you will have some cash flow prior to quitting your current job. You may need to eliminate some unnecessary spending in the short term, but your bills will still be paid if you’ve done it right.
Your resume is only rained for a while. It’s a point of difference on your resume, and you may get more interviews simply because you stand out from the crowd.
Tim tries to break the common assumption that you must wait until your career ends to embrace retirement. Instead, he suggests taking mini-retirements throughout your life rather than saving it all up for the end.
Tim recommends that you relocate your life somewhere new for anywhere from 1 month to 6 months before you return to your home. The idea is that it’s not a holiday or an escape from your life, but just the continuation of your life in a new environment, an opportunity to assess your current lifestyle and eliminate the unnecessary. Keep it slow and relaxing, allowing yourself time to reflect and plan.
Tim explains that, more often than not, people can be financially free and have the freedom of time but still find themselves caught up in the highly-stressful and money-obsessed culture of materialistic businesses.
“True freedom is much more than having enough income and time to do what you want.”
How to get ready for a mini-retirement
- Consider your assets and cash flow.
- Identify your dream mini-retirement location.
- Choose a realistic location for your mini-retirement.
- Prepare for your trip. Here’s the countdown:
- Three months out – eliminate the unnecessary
- Two months out – automate billing with credit cards.
- One month out – redirect mail to a friend.
- Two weeks out – scan and store digital documents of essential info, e.g., Credit cards, id, and insurance documents. Downgrade phone plans.
- One week out – decide on a work schedule while you’re away. Put other belongings into storage.
- Two days out – store car, add a thing to the tank to store fuel, disconnect battery leads.
- When you arrive – book to view apartments (one month only), go on bus/bike tours of the city.
Adding life after subtracting work
But this is what I always wanted! How can I be bored?
Tim explains that it’s pretty normal to find it hard to adjust to your newfound freedom. Even though it’s what you’ve always dreamed of, you may find yourself bored and wondering what to do next. If you are someone who loves chasing goals and reaching new highs constantly, it’s going to be a hard adjustment.
It’s pretty standard, Tim explains, to find yourself asking the big questions about the meaning of life, your purpose, and the point. To combat the stresses this may bring, remember the following;
“If you can’t define or act upon it, forget it. If you take just this point from this book, it will put you in the top 1% of performers in the world and keep most philosophical distress out of your life.”
Something Tim suggests you do when traveling and on your mini-retirements is to learn something new. Decide to dedicate some time to a specific skill or activity, something you’ve always wanted to do but have yet to have the time, whether it be learning a new language or how to scoreboard.
Top 13 new rich mistakes
- Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake (w4w)
- They are micromanaging and emailing to fill time.
- Handling problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle.
- Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once or with non-crisis issues.
- Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits.
- Answering emails that will not result in a sale or a faq or auto-responder can answer that.
- Working where you live, sleep, or should relax.
- Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life.
- Striving for endless perfection rather than great or good enough, whether personally or professionally.
- Blowing minutiae and minor problems out of proportion as an excuse to work.
- Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent to justify work.
- Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence.
- Ignoring the social rewards of life.
- You need to be effective & efficient. Doing more and spending more time on tasks does not make them essential.
- Avoid the ‘interruptions’: time wasters, time consumers, and empowerment failures.
- Automation and delegation are key. Get a virtual assistant, even if you don’t need one yet.
- When getting ready to create a product, find the market and the customer first, then create a product for the defined audience. Wait to come up with the product.
- Take mini-retirements throughout your life instead of saving them up until the end.
The 4-Hour Work Week Book Review
“The 4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss is a revolutionary guide that challenges the conventional notion of work and productivity.
Tim presents practical strategies and mindset shifts to escape the 9-5 grind and create a lifestyle of freedom and fulfillment. He emphasizes the importance of outsourcing, automation, and prioritizing tasks that truly matter.
With engaging anecdotes and actionable advice, Tim encourages readers to redefine their relationship with work, embrace lifestyle design, and pursue their passions.
“The 4-Hour Work Week” is a game-changing manual for those seeking a more efficient, flexible, and rewarding approach to work and life.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Eat That Frog
12 Rules for Life
The Power of Focus
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
The Dark Side of Startups
So Good They Can't Ignore You
Mind Management Not Time Management
Leave a comment cancel reply.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Join Our Free Newsletter and never miss latest book summaries!
- Terms & Conditions
- Affiliate Disclosure
- Skip to main content
Free Book Summaries and Audiobooks
The 4-Hour Workweek Summary Review | Book by Tim Ferriss
posted on March 18, 2022
Book Summary of The Four Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Life gets busy. Has The 4-Hour Workweek been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Learn the key insights now.
We’re scratching the surface in The 4-Hour Workweek summary. If you don’t already have the book, order it here or get the audiobook for free on Amazon to learn the juicy details.
Timothy Ferriss’ Perspective
Timothy Ferriss is an author, angel investor, TV host, and economic advisor. He has written five bestselling books, including The 4-hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body and Tools of Titans. He has also had a TV series, The Tim Ferriss Experiment, and a TV show, Fear(less) with Tim Ferriss. In the latter, Tim has interviewed many people, including highly successful CEOs and sportspeople. One of Tim’s most famous guests was LeBron James. His podcast regularly tops the Apple podcast charts. Ferriss was listed by the New York Times as a Notable Angel Investor in 2015 for his successful early investments in Uber, Twitter, Facebook, and several other startups.
Listen to The Audiobook Summary of The 4-Hour Workweek
Imagine if you could afford to work only four hours a week. How would you spend your free time? The 4-Hour Workweek features practical tips on attaining this level of freedom. Here’s our top-level breakdown of the book by Tim Ferriss.
StoryShot #1: Have Greater Control Over Your 4-Ws
Everything we know about work and life is wrong. Many people are caught in a vicious loop trying to solve problems the same way. They work hard, save up, and dream of retiring rich. Instead, we should be focusing on a new life philosophy called the New Rich. Instead of focusing on being cash-rich before retirement, we should live a wealthy lifestyle with mini-retirements in-between.
Our work lives should not make us lose control of the four W’s. These are:
- When we do it
- Where we do it, and
- Whom we do it with
The more control you have over the four W’s, the greater the value of your financial resources. This philosophy favors freedom over earnings. A smaller take-home wage and more freedom is more impressive than a high wage and little free time. Indeed, the payoff is worth more when you use this time to better yourself.
StoryShot #2: Discover The New Rich
The New Rich are people who can work anywhere, take long breaks any time they want, and love what they do. They don’t dread the 9-5 workday. Many people may never realize this potential. We live in a bubble created by social norms, and we’re afraid of going against the grain.
You might be living in the same bubble if:
- You focus on being busy instead of being productive.
- You’re always waiting for that big payoff so you can retire or so you can start your dream business.
- You dislike your work, but you have to do it because you need the income.
- You’re always waiting for the right time to quit your job or go on your dream vacation.
- You’re afraid of uncertainty and failure.
StoryShot #3: Face Your Fears and Be Comfortable in the Uncomfortable
Fear prevents many people from living their dreams. Why would you settle for an unhappy job when a little risk could bring you more freedom and riches? Some fears are nothing more than opportunities for self-improvement. For instance, you can’t promote your business if you’re uncomfortable expressing your ideas.
The key to a successful and fulfilling life is embracing your fears and challenging them. You need to leave your comfort zone and live every day facing your worst nightmares to get what you want. Here’s what you can do if fear of the unknown keeps you from doing what you need to do:
- Define the worst that could happen
- Hope for the best, and do it anyway
Condition yourself to overcome any challenge thrown your way. It’s the only way to achieve exceptional results. You can consider it to be your orientation to the world of entrepreneurship. There’s never a right time to pursue your best life and do what excites you.
Inaction is expensive. It leaves you physically and emotionally drained and wastes your earning potential.
StoryShot #4: Challenge Conventional Thinking and Redefine Your Goals
There’s always pressure to conform to society’s ideals of success. This does not get you anywhere, so you need to redefine your reality. Achieving greatness requires you to defy some social norms. Competition is fiercest when people strive for the same goals.
It’s hard to set bigger goals when you’re fighting to fit in with the crowd. Don’t expect to do things the same way as everyone else and get different results. The perfect system reset involves outlining what you want out of life and how to get there.
Determine what it will cost you to realize your dreams. Define the timelines and set your plans in motion. The following steps will help you set and meet bigger goals.
- Create two timelines: one for six months and another for twelve months. In each one, list fifteen things you would do if there were no way you could fail. Your list should have five things you dream of having, being, and doing.
- From your list of fifteen in each timeline, outline the four most important things.
- Determine their cost and calculate your target monthly income in both timelines. You could break it down further into daily income.
- Determine the first three steps you need to take in each of the four dreams. Starting with the 6-month timeline, execute the first course of action.
- Small and well-calculated steps will lead you faster to your goals. Do not sit and wait to make your grand leap.
StoryShot #5: Build a Focused Mindset by Eliminating Trivia
You have already defined what you need to do to reach where you want to go. You don’t have to fill your life with busy work to give yourself a sense of motion. Start clearing blocks of time by identifying and delegating your most time-consuming chores.
Think about how you spend your time. Analyze all your activities and list them according to priority. You will get more work done in a day when you tick off the essential tasks. Pareto’s Law helps us plan for results and uncover action points. The 80/20 Pareto analysis asserts that:
- 80% of results come from 20% of our efforts
- 20% of our actions are responsible for 80% of our problems
Start being selective with your efforts and cut back on unproductive tasks. Using the Pareto principle, start investing in what delivers the 80%. Ferriss doubled his income by applying this principle. He focused on the five customers responsible for 90% of revenue and dropped the rest. It freed up his time and allowed him to find similar clients.
The other time management principle introduced in the book is Parkinson’s Law. It considers task relevance and complexity compared to the allotted execution time. Building on Pareto’s Law, Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time you have. If you give yourself target deadlines, you will shortens the time spent on important tasks.
You’re halfway towards your goals if you can tell when you’re unproductive, even though you look busy. The best way to create more time for the important tasks is to make two lists: a to-do list, and a not-to-do list.
Above all, The 4-Hour Workweek is a great read, and we give it a 4.4/5 rating based on this summary.
This is an unofficial summary and analysis.
This article was first published in April 2021. It was updated in March 2022.
The 4-Hour Workweek PDF, Free Audiobook, Infographic and Animated Book Summary
This was the tip of the iceberg. To dive into the details and support the author, get the book here or download the audiobook for free .
New to StoryShots? Download our top-ranking free app to access the PDF/ePub, free audiobook and animated versions of this summary.
Comment below or tweet to us if you have any feedback.
Related Book Summaries
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau ( Open in the app )
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
Company of One by Paul Jarvis
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber ( Open in the app )
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts ( open in the app )
The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss ( Open in the app )
Tools Of Titans by Timothy Ferriss, Arnold Schwarzenegger ( Open in the app )
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. ( Open in the app )
Deep Work by Cal Newport ( Open in the app )
Getting Things Done by David Allen ( Open in the app )
The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Share to show you care
Top announcements of AWS re:Invent 2023
Can’t make it in person? Tune in to the live streams of the keynotes, and check back here as we provide daily updates on the most exciting product launches.
If you don’t want to miss a thing, here are a few more ways to keep in touch:
- The Official AWS Podcast
(This post was last updated: 1:12 p.m. PST, Nov. 28, 2023.)
Quick category links:
Analytics | Application Integration | Cloud Financial Management | Compute | Contact Center | Container | Customer Enablement | Database | Developer Tools | End User Computing | Generative AI / Machine Learning | Management & Governance | Networking & Content Delivery | Partner Network | Security, Identity, & Compliance | Serverless | Storage | Quantum Technologies
New generative AI capabilities for Amazon DataZone to further simplify data cataloging and discovery (preview) This new feature can automate the traditionally labor-intensive process of data cataloging and dramatically decrease the amount of time needed to provide context for organizational data.
New Amazon Q in QuickSight uses generative AI assistance for quicker, easier data insights (preview) With a reimagined Q&A experience, users can generate stories examining their data, see executive summaries from data in seconds, and answer questions of data not answered by dashboards and reports.
Use anomaly detection with AWS Glue to improve data quality (preview) This new feature will help to improve your data quality by using machine learning to detect statistical anomalies and unusual patterns.
Amazon CloudWatch Logs now offers automated pattern analytics and anomaly detection Amazon CloudWatch can now automatically recognize and cluster patterns among log records, extract noteworthy content and trends, and notify you of anomalies using advanced machine learning algorithms.
AWS Step Functions Workflow Studio is now available in AWS Application Composer This new integration brings together the development of workflows and application resources into a unified visual infrastructure as code (IaC) builder.
Announcing throughput increase and dead letter queue redrive support for Amazon SQS FIFO queues With Amazon Simple Queue Service, you can send, store, and receive messages between software components at any volume. Today, we’ve introduced two new capabilities for first-in, first-out (FIFO) queues.
Manage EDI at scale with new AWS B2B Data Interchange Now, organizations can automate and monitor the transformation of EDI-based business-critical transactions at cloud scale.
Cloud Financial Management
Check your AWS Free Tier usage programmatically with a new API You can use the API directly with the AWS Command Line Interface or integrate it into an application with the AWS SDKs.
New Cost Optimization Hub centralizes recommended actions to save you money This new AWS Billing and Cost Management feature makes it easy for you to identify, filter, aggregate, and quantify savings for AWS cost optimization recommendations.
Join the preview for new memory-optimized, AWS Graviton4-powered Amazon EC2 instances (R8g) Equipped with brand-new Graviton4 processors, the new R8g instances will deliver better price performance than any existing memory-optimized instance.
Introducing Amazon EC2 high memory U7i Instances for large in-memory databases (preview) The new U7i instances are designed to support large, in-memory databases including SAP HANA, Oracle, and SQL Server.
Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus collector provides agentless metric collection for Amazon EKS This new capability discovers and collects Prometheus metrics from Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) automatically and without an agent.
Amazon EKS Pod Identity simplifies IAM permissions for applications on Amazon EKS clusters This enhancement lets you define required IAM permissions for your applications in Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service clusters so you can connect with AWS services outside the cluster.
IAM Access Analyzer updates: Find unused access, check policies before deployment A new analyzer continuously monitors roles and users looking for permissions that are granted but not actually used, and a policy checker validates that newly authored policies do not grant additional (and perhaps unintended) permissions.
Increase collaboration and securely share cloud knowledge with AWS re:Post Private re:Post Private includes content tailored specifically for your organization’s use cases, along with private discussion and collaboration forums for the members of your organization and your AWS account team.
Amazon DynamoDB zero-ETL integration with Amazon OpenSearch Service is now available This capability lets you perform a search on your DynamoDB data by automatically replicating and transforming it without custom code or infrastructure.
Amazon ElastiCache Serverless for Redis and Memcached is now available This new serverless offering allows customers to create a cache in under a minute and instantly scale capacity based on application traffic patterns.
Join the preview of Amazon Aurora Limitless Database This new capability supports automated horizontal scaling to process millions of write transactions per second and manage petabytes of data in a single Aurora database.
Getting started with new Amazon RDS for Db2 IBM Db2 is an enterprise-grade relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by IBM.
End user computing.
New Amazon WorkSpaces Thin Client provides cost-effective, secure access to virtual desktops The Thin Client is a small cube that connects directly to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other USB peripherals such as headsets, microphones, and cameras.
Announcing cross-region data replication for Amazon WorkSpaces Snapshots are taken every 12 hours, replicated to the desired destination region, and are used to provide a recovery point objective of 12-24 hours.
Generative AI / Machine Learning
Introducing Amazon Q, a new generative AI-powered assistant (preview) You can use Amazon Q in your work to have conversations, solve problems, generate content, gain insights, and take action by connecting to your company’s information repositories, code, data, and enterprise systems.
Amazon Q brings generative AI-powered assistance to IT pros and developers (preview) With Amazon Q, you minimize the time and effort you need to gain the knowledge required to answer AWS questions, explore new AWS capabilities, learn unfamiliar technologies, and architect solutions that fuel innovation.
Guardrails for Amazon Bedrock helps implement safeguards customized to your use cases and responsible AI policies (preview) Promote safe interactions between users and your generative AI applications by implementing safeguards customized to your use cases and responsible AI policies.
Agents for Amazon Bedrock is now available with improved control of orchestration and visibility into reasoning Agents for Amazon Bedrock helps you accelerate generative artificial intelligence (AI) application development by orchestrating multistep tasks.
Customize models in Amazon Bedrock with your own data using fine-tuning and continued pre-training Privately and securely customize foundation models with your own data in Amazon Bedrock to build applications that are specific to your domain, organization, and use case.
Knowledge Bases now delivers fully managed RAG experience in Amazon Bedrock With a knowledge base, you can securely connect foundation models (FMs) in Amazon Bedrock to your company data for Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG).
Amazon Transcribe Call Analytics adds new generative AI-powered call summaries (preview) Powered by Amazon Bedrock, this feature helps businesses improve customer experience, and agent and supervisor productivity by automatically summarizing customer service calls.
Build generative AI apps using AWS Step Functions and Amazon Bedrock Step Functions provides two new optimized API actions for Amazon Bedrock: InvokeModel and CreateModelCustomizationJob.
Management & Governance
Use Amazon CloudWatch to consolidate hybrid, multicloud, and on-premises metrics You can now consolidate metrics from your hybrid, multicloud, and on-premises data sources using Amazon CloudWatch and process them in a consistent, unified fashion.
Use natural language to query Amazon CloudWatch logs and metrics (preview) To make it easy to interact with your operational data, Amazon CloudWatch is introducing natural language query generation for Logs and Metrics Insights.
New Amazon CloudWatch log class for infrequent access logs at a reduced price This new log class offers a tailored set of capabilities at a lower cost for infrequently accessed logs, enabling customers to consolidate all their logs in one place in a cost-effective manner.
Networking & Content Delivery
Mutual authentication for Application Load Balancer reliably verifies certificate-based client identities With this new feature, you can now offload client authentication to Application Load Balancer, ensuring only trusted clients communicate with backend applications.
External endpoints and testing of task states now available in AWS Step Functions Now AWS Step Functions HTTPS endpoints let you integrate third-party APIs and external services to your workflows.
Announcing new diagnostic tools for AWS Partner-Led Support (PLS) participants The AWS Partner-Led Support program now has access to the same tools that AWS Support Engineers use to assist AWS customers.
Security, Identity, & Compliance
AWS Control Tower adds 65 new controls With this launch, we’ve added a set of purpose-built controls to help you meet your digital sovereignty requirements.
Amazon Detective adds new capabilities to accelerate and improve your cloud security investigations Amazon Detective adds four new capabilities to help you save time and strengthen your security operations.
Detect runtime security threats in Amazon ECS and AWS Fargate, new in Amazon GuardDuty The new capability helps detect potential runtime security issues in Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) clusters running on both AWS Fargate and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).
AWS Lambda functions now scale 12 times faster when handling high-volume requests Each synchronously invoked Lambda function now scales by 1,000 concurrent executions every 10 seconds until the aggregate concurrency across all functions reaches the account’s concurrency limit.
Announcing the new Amazon S3 Express One Zone high performance storage class The new Amazon S3 Express One Zone storage class is designed to deliver up to 10x better performance than the S3 Standard storage class and is a great fit for your most frequently accessed data and your most demanding applications.
Amazon EBS Snapshots Archive is now available with AWS Backup This feature lets you transition your infrequently accessed Amazon EBS Snapshots to low-cost archive, long-term storage.
Replication failback and increased IOPS are new for Amazon EFS Replication failback makes it easier to synchronize when performing disaster recovery, and Amazon EFS now supports up to 250,000 read IOPS and up to 50,000 write IOPS per file system.
Automatic restore testing and validation now available in AWS Backup With this feature, you can automate the entire restore testing process and avoid surprises later by determining now whether you can successfully recover using your backups in the event of a data loss such as ransomware.
Optimize your storage costs for rarely-accessed files with Amazon EFS Archive We’ve added a new storage class for Amazon Elastic File System optimized for long-lived data that is rarely accessed.
Announcing on-demand data replication for Amazon FSx for OpenZFS Now you have the capability to send a snapshot from one file system to another file system in your account.
Introducing shared VPC support for Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP With this highly requested feature, you can now create Multi-AZ FSx for ONTAP file systems in VPCs that have been shared with you by other accounts in the same AWS Organization.
New – Scale-out file systems for Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP You can now create Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP file systems that are up to 9x faster than even before.
FlexGroup Volume Management for Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP is now available You can now create, manage, and back up your Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP FlexGroup volumes using the AWS Management Console, the Amazon FSx CLI, and the AWS SDK.
Reserve quantum computers, get guidance and cutting-edge capabilities with Amazon Braket Direct This program gets you dedicated, private access to the full capacity of various quantum processing units (QPUs) without any queues or wait times, and more.
- Getting Started
- Official AWS Podcast
- Case Studies
- RSS Feed
- Email Updates