The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss   
Published on August 24, 2016
published on August 24, 2016

ThePeopleAlchemist Edit: book review – The 4-Hour Work Week


Timothy Ferriss is the author of the mega-best-selling 4 Hour series of self-help books (The 4-Hour Work WeekThe 4-Hour BodyThe 4-Hour Chef), which have made him something of a celebrity among the entrepreneurial set for a focus on maximising results while minimising time spent. However, there’s one idea that ties his three books together, continuous self-improvement.

In this book, his first and most famous, he makes a lot of bold claims, such as: “How do you create a hands-off business that generates $80,000 per month with no management? It’s all here.”

Ferriss makes many bold promises, and some of the details along the way do read a bit funny ( to me). For example, he started a business of his own, from working 40 hours a week for somebody else to working 80 hours a week for himself.

After learning about the 80-20 Principle, he had a revelation:

Eighty per cent of your productivity comes from 20 per cent of your efforts, and likewise, 80 per cent of your wasted time comes from 20 per cent of the possible causes. So, eliminate the 20-per cent time-wasters, and spend as much energy as possible on the productive 20 per cent. Ferriss’s favourite example of acting on this phenomenon comes from his BrainQuicken days when he realised two customers were the source of nearly all of his work stress, and the effect was carried over into his personal life. He read those customers the “riot act”. One reformed. The other Ferriss fired. Immediately, he had more time for his healthier business relationships, and his bottom line grew.

This principle allows you to identify the customers you want to work with. If you never engage in the process, it’s challenging to have such a crisp definition of the kinds of people you’re looking for.

He then streamlined his business, eliminating distractions and automating systems until it was more profitable and 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 plays, maximising the positives of both.

The 4-Hour Workweek explores the components to lifestyle design:

  • Define your objectives.
  • Eliminate distractions to free up time. Learn to be effective, not efficient.
  • Automate your cash flow to increase income. Outsource your life
  • Liberate yourself from traditional expectations. Design your job to increase mobility.

I believe there’s a disconnect between most ambitious entrepreneurs and the audience Ferriss seems to target in The 4-Hour Workweek. The book is about, and for, people who dislike what their work has done to their lives. For me, ambitious entrepreneurs make their passion work, and work doesn’t feel like work but fun.

However, even if you disagree with what he says in its entirety, many tips and tricks can be extracted and used to optimise your life, for example:

  • “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”- good question
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The value of a virtual assistant. I think that most people can draw something valuable from it.

Read it and let me know what you think.


Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert


Hi there, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please do provide me with feedback.

I want to hear ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. If you disagree with me or want to provide a different perspective, leave a comment. Tell me what’s on your mind.

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Laura xxx

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