Four Hour Work Week

A basic summary of the Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss is to get rid of all the unimportant time wasting tasks in your day. Then try to tele-commute or start a simple business that is highly automated. And use the spare time to do things you really want to do.

Few random points and quotes I got from the book.

  • New rich, their currency is time and mobility.
  • DEAL
    • D: definition.
    • E: elimination.
    • A: automation.
    • L: liberation.
  • Dreamlining
    • Goals can not be ambiguous they need to be defined.
    • Have to be unrealistic.
    • Focus on activities that fill the vacuum when work is gone.
  • Buy all the things you want vs. do all the things you want.
  • Different is better when it is more efficient.
  • People tend to overestimate the competition; as a result people tend not to try.
    • Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.
  • 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.
  • Parto’s law of 80/20, 80% of outputs from 20% of inputs.
    • 20% of sources / things / tasks  can be responsible for 80% of unhappiness.
    • Eliminate the 20% that creates 80% of your unhappiness.
  • Working nine to five is not the goal, simply the structure that most people use. Work then expands to take up the day.
    • Parkinson’s law, a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allowed for its completion. Two possible solutions:
      • Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time.
      • Shorten work time to limit the tasks.
  • Three times a day ask:
    • Am I being productive.
    • Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important.
  • Limit to-dos to a few items each day, use a small piece of paper to limit the ability to list a large number of items.
  • Learn to propose solutions, “Can I make a suggestion” or “Let’s try ….. and then try something else if that does not work”.
  • Don’t respond to emergencies, then emergencies will not come to you. (if people know you will not respond, they will try to solve the problem them self).
  • More is not always better, sometimes it is 10x better to stop something than to finish it.
  • Learn to be difficult, a reputation for being assertive can help you get better treatment with out needing to ask.
  • Check your email twice a day 12noon and 4pm. Use an auto responder to tell people you do this.
    • When sending emails use the if ….. then or else do ….. format, so people do not need to respond for further clarification.
    • Or for example you get a lot of emails about customer problems, send out an email stating if it costs less than $100 to fix the problem you do not need approval to spend the $100 and solve the problem.
  • Puppy dog close, just take it home and return it if you want.
  • Group together similar tasks and batch process them or automate them
  • Virtual assistants
  • Never delegate something you can automate and never automate something you can eliminate.
  • Income auto pilot – start a business
    • Can’t cost more than $500 to test the concept.
    • Should lend it’s self to automation.
    • Can’t take more than a day a week to run.
    • Need to find a market and define your customers.
    • $50 – $200 product price, this tends to reduce the customer service needs.
    • Information products can be low cost, fast to make and hard for competitors to duplicate. The example used in the book is a DVD on how to install a security system. The DVD sold for $95, but had a much lower cost.
    • Checklist:
    1.  Market selection.
    2. Product brainstorm.
    3. Mircotesting.
    4. Roll out and automation.
  • Absence of the CEO, makes a company process driven rather than founder driven.
  • Biggest time saver, customer filtering. Fire the 20% of customer that take up 80% of your time with complaints, customer service etc.
  • Question (for example): what is the meaning of life. If you can’t act on it or define then forget it.

Top 13 mistakes of the new rich:

  1. Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake
  2. Micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time.
  3. Handling problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle.
  4. Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with non-crisis problems.
  5. Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your non-financial pursuits.
  6. Answering e-mail that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by a FAQ or auto responder.
  7. Working where you live, sleep, or should relax. Separate your environments.
  8. Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life.
  9. Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough.
  10. Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work.
  11. Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work.
  12. Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence
  13. Ignoring the social rewards of life.

6 Responses to Four Hour Work Week

  1. I have traveled for 10 years, and I think I more or less have lived the four hour work week. I started having people tell me about the book. I am not in the USA, have no way of reading the book easily. I went out searching for an explanation. Your site is the only one that explained the book.

    After musing over this book, I think maybe this Ferris guy is trying to tell people to try to be effective in their thinking and goals. I read about 10 reviews, and only your site , or whoever wrote this is on the same page as Ferris, the others do what they do, never get it.
    Bert Frenso Quoted

  2. Fabio says:

    Phenomenal summary. Just finished reading the book (for the second time) and wanted a quick summary to print out and keep with me.

    Thanks again!

  3. Ehmotneh says:

    w3DXmm comment6 ,

  4. […] all heard a million times before and they can be summed up very quickly on a website. In fact, they […]

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    I’ve check out your other blog topics too and I think you’ve got great ideas. Keep it up!

  6. Shan Vergeer says:

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