4-Hour Work Week, cover

A Guide to Living the Lifestyle of the New Rich

This book demonstrate a way of enjoying better work-life balance by spreading mini-retirements through a lifetime: it argues wealth is not the aim but the lifestyle is.

In 4-Hour Work Week Timothy Ferris suggests his lifestyle challenges traditional concepts of retirement as old-fashioned. It is a manifesto for living more, working less and living the dream of the New Rich. He makes the distinction between the wealthy who are working hard making money, usually putting their dreams on hold until some indeterminate time in the future, and the New Rich who work smart and live the millionaire lifestyle along the way.

Time management: Do only what is necessary

Despite the author’s protestation that it is not about time management there is good advice about how to use time more effectively, not just more efficiently, by doing only the essential. The purpose of freeing more time is not to do more meaningless or unfulfilling work but to be able to live life now.

Starting a business that can run automatically

This book advocates owning a business, not managing it, by using automation and third parties. It is an approach used by many large organisations and is central to the 4-hour work week as it is about getting the benefits from a business without the work.

Lifestyle - making and taking opportunities now!

This book is also a guide to addressing adult-onset Adventure Deficit Disorder where realisation dawns, usually in middle age, about missed opportunities that are no longer possible as they require youth. Looking back one tends to regret opportunities not taken and this book encourages the reader to enjoy life now.

General Self-improvement

The aim is to use the freedom created by the proposed work changes to do more living and eliminate the baggage that is acquired as a substitute for actually being fulfilled.

Definition of personal dreams and objectives

The first step in Ferris' DEAL approach is to challenge self-defeating assumptions of “common sense” as a prelude to the three main ingredients.

Elimination of non-productive activities

This uses Pareto analysis to remove the non-productive tasks and forms the argument that this book is not about time management. This approach will allow most people to be more productive even in a traditional working environment.

Automate or delegate the boring parts of life and work

Automate is about creative approaches to running a business that delivers income without the owner, the New Rich, needing to manage it day to day. Employees can use many of the ideas to automate parts of their working and private lives to give more free time for other things.

Liberate oneself from the mundane to experience life

This section explains the mini-retirement concept. It shows how to achieve it by being both an employee and the owner of an automated business. From this approach comes mobility to give the opportunity of making money go further to support the New Rich lifestyle.

Simple but not trivial; now just do it!

The 4-Hour Work Week is good read and like many books of this type it has a simplistic feel but it is not trivial. There is sound advice that is usable without wholesale career changes. Nevertheless, there is much validity in the author’s arguments about lifestyle and the reviewer knows people living this way and is in the process of changing his own life along similar lines.

Ferris makes a strong case that it is possible, even for an employee, to live the New Rich lifestyle but most never will because of the need to move out of a comfort zone acceptable to wider society. If the reader can overcome inertia, and fear, then this book may well be the start of a new and rewarding life.

Vermilion publish the 4-Hour Work Week (ISBN: 978-0-09-192372-3) by Tim Ferris in paperback at £11.99

It makes one think. Many anthropologists and other writers have suggested hunter-gatherers have more leisure than most people who work in modern societies. Who has it right - could it be Ferris?

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