I love books and so I love it whenever someone recommends a good book. Several people recommended The 4-Hour Workweek to me over the past few years and I finally got around to reading it! Don't be fooled by the titled, it's not exactly as it sounds.
Since this book had come highly recommended, I had high hopes. I have to say that I was some what disappointed with the content and material covered. But instead of starting with the bad, I'll start with the good.
Ferriss does a great job of explaining his past and how he has created something called Lifestyle Design. He encourages each of his readers to create the life they truly want to live. He, for example, is a successful speaker and entrepreneur and yet spends most of his time over seas, developing hobbies and skills completely unrelated to his work. He spends more time living than he does trying to make a living, something that he believes is very important. Be prepared, what Ferriss is suggesting here completely radical, completely out of the box. Can you imagine your life outside of the typical 9-5? Can you imagine giving yourself permission to live without guilt? It's a hard life to imagine for some. Ferriss goes on to suggests that we have been condition to believe that working 9-5, five days a week, despite whether or not it is an efficient use of time, is exactly what we need to do to be successful. He suggests the complete opposite offering various ways to become more productive outside of this framework, producing higher results and becoming more efficient.
With this idea, I completely agree. From someone who has worked a typical 9-5 job and who was completely miserable every minute I can understand exactly where Ferriss is coming from. I find that I am much more efficient and productive on a completely different schedule. I'm a fast worker and can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. The 9-5 was not a system that worked for me.
Where I think that Ferriss goes wrong in this book is that it is all just too much too fast. His ideas are SO radical and against the common thread that at times, it was hard to figure out how I could fit those principals into MY everyday life.
Here are just a few of the thoughts I was left with:
-start living the life you want TODAY. Life is SO short and is meant to be enjoyed and cherished and savored. Are you saving up for a time later on or are you allowing yourself to live life today?
-outsource the things that you can. Ferriss practically outsources everything including his own assistants. It really made me rethink the things that I just don't enjoy working on, such as album design and post processing. Those are things that need to be handled by someone else so that I can focus on what I do best. Are there things in your business that you just need to let go of? How will it make you a more productive worker? Are you willing to let go to have more freedom to focus ON your business?
-be selective. Ferriss was very big on being selective. For example, email was checked once a week. Can you imagine?! But the point being that we waste much of our time constantly checking email instead of picking certain times only to open up our email. Same idea applies to snail mail, the internet, or anything that distracts us and takes away from the task at hand. You'll get more accomplished and be more productive by being selective than with a constant distraction of new information.
-take mini-retirements. This was a hard concept for me to understand. Like I said, this book is really radical so be prepared to be challenged! Ferriss discusses what he calls mini retirements, or trips that can last anywhere from a month to several years, for just pure enjoyment. He seems to be the master at mini retirements while still maintaining a successful business. Again this idea goes back to the original thought of living the life you want to live today, not tomorrow. By applying the principals of outsourcing and becoming selective, Ferriss documents how you can live practically anywhere and still run a business. Mind blown.
All in all, I definitely think that this book is worth the read. Not quite the life changing book I had hoped for, but definitely a good read none the less. If you'd like to be challenged and pushed in a new direction read this book. If you'd like to learn how to gain more freedom from your business, read this book. But do take what he says with a grain a salt. At times I do think that Ferriss swings a little to far in one direction. But the principals and the ideas discussed in this book are meant to make you stop, think and reevaluate your business, something we all need to do every now and then!