The Four-Hour Workweek

I mentioned briefly that I’ve pruned my RSS subscriptions down to the essentials. This was in part a result of reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, an interesting book about escaping he daily treadmill and actually enjoying life (gasp!). I don’t usually read books like this but this one came pretty highly recommended by some people whose opinions I trust, including the author of the previously mentioned personal finance blog I read. I get the impression that Ramit, the blog author, has a pretty well-developed bullshit detector, yet he went so far as to call The 4-Hour Workweekthe book that changed my life” (and that link goes to his long, interesting write up on the book, so it’s worth clicking through to read it).

This book presents a lot of good food for thought, with a few items of particular interest to me. One of which is the “low-information diet”, which I’ve started on by doing some pruning (nay, slashing) at my RSS feed subscriptions. This, coupled with quitting reading Slashdot, gives me a lot more time that I would have expected before doing it. Like a lot of things, Tim takes this to an extreme I would never consider, also recommending reading fewer books and practicing speed reading to extract the general ideas from whatever you’re reading. As someone who has always really loved reading, this is a little offensive to me on some level. Even if I do understand his reasoning, it just isn’t meant for people like me. The main point of the book is to have more time to do what you enjoy, and reading is one of those things for me.

Something else I’ve taken away from it is a different approach to risk assessment where it applies to this goal of doing what you want with your life. It’s a three-step method that involves thinking through the absolute worst result of your decision, whatever it may be, followed by the actual likely outcomes (because the worst rarely happens; people just like to imagine that it will), and then thinking realistically about how that result would actually affect you, and how long it would take to recover if it was a negative effect. This is an interesting idea that makes decisions like moving to a new city or going to work for yourself a lot less scary.

The final thing I want to mention that really spoke to me was the idea of automated income. Like I’ve said before, I’ve been really rethinking my personal finances and have decided that diversifying is the way to go. The idea here is that by setting up multiple revenue streams that require little or no maintenance you can gain more time and money for yourself and, if you’re lucky, you may eventually be able to rely solely on these. This last part is obviously not real likely for most people, most of the time, but it’s an inspiring idea. Tim recommends cultivating your ideas — “muses”, as he calls them — and evaluating them over a short period of time to find which ones can work for you and quickly discarding those that don’t, something I think Seth Godin would agree with.


Perez says:

Truly, the 4hww has great advice all written in a humourous and interesting manner. I have personally benefited a lot from