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The 4-Hour Workweek Summary

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MicroSummary:The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by entrepreneur and educationalist Timothy Ferriss is a self-help book that purports to be a lifestyle game-changer. Inspired by the Pareto 80/20 principle, the book suggests that working more means living less and that happiness means doing the exact opposite.

… escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich – The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

Sound like a promise of heaven on earth. Real music to my ears. Is that just another hoax? Or perhaps it is exactly what it seems to be… Maybe it’s time to discover for yourself what lies behind this title.

IMPROVEMENT/ The 4 Hour Work Week  by Timothy Ferriss

Optimize your work so you can have the life you want.

This book was challenging for me starting with the title: The 4-Hour Workweek.

So, I dared to search beyond it. I started to read like I always do when I get a new book which is entirely unknown to me, and yet impressive in many aspects. This one comes structured in 4 significant steps.

Each step comes with its own subtitles and a summary at the end in order to help you extract the best ideas of the book. The idea is to make the readers feel like their story is being heard because the author broadens his horizons stretching beyond the fundamental personal perspective.

This might be one of those that you don’t want to end. According to many people “The 4-Hour Workweek” definitely deserves a place on your bookshelf. In fact, it is probably one of the most inspiring books you will ever hold in your hands.

Its impartial ideas shared honestly and transparently represent that this book carries the fragrance of hope. Timothy Ferriss displays in the most real sense of the word, a new method, supported by step-by-step instructions.

New information. New Perspectives. New approaches. Sounded like a great reading deal for me. After the very first pages, I found out that this book was also an expected DEAL for the writer.

  • D is for DefinitionDefine your objectives. Decide what’s important. Set goals. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?”
  • E is for Elimination Eliminate distractions to free up time. Learn to be effective, not efficient. Focus on the 20% of the stuff that’s important and ignore the 80% that isn’t. Put yourself on a low-information diet. Learn to shunt aside interruptions, and learn to say “no”.
  • A is for AutomationAutomate your cash flow to increase income. Outsource your life — hire a virtual assistant to handle menial tasks. Develop a business that can run on auto-pilot. (This is the weakest section of the book.)
  • L is for LiberationLiberate yourself from traditional expectations. Design your job to increase mobility. This could mean working from home, or it could mean using geographic arbitrage to take mini-retirements in countries with favorable exchange rates.

So far so good I thought.  Let`s get to the business.

My story and why do you need this book.

At this point, I’ve met the author. After college, Tim Ferriss took a soul-sucking sales job at a tech firm. He left to start a soul-sucking business of his own. He went from working 40 hours a week for somebody else to working 80 hours a week for himself. He hated it. The pay was good, but the business left him drained.

The 4-Hour Workweek Summary

I bet you recognize yourself in this story. I know I did.

So, after a great moment of empathy, my curiosity struck again: how did he overcome this situation?

After learning about the Pareto Principle (more commonly known as the 80-20 Principle), Ferriss had a revelation: he streamlined his business, eliminating distractions and automating systems until it was not only more profitable but also consumed less of his time.

He took a break for a while and then decided to write a book about “lifestyle design”. A book about creating a life that balances work and plays, maximizing the positives of both.

I don’t know if this is the right time to say it, but what I liked the most about this book was the fact that it’s strongly connected to reality. Provides you plenty of interesting ideas, that are useful to be remembered and applied in our daily life. I’ll underline below some of these.

Postponing seems to be in our nature. The fragility of a lifetime is an impalpable truism: the more we know about it, the harder we ignore it. Today. Tomorrow. Someday. When it comes about changes, we seem to relate to a time horizon Unlimited.

“<Someday> is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” 

Experiencing comes from curiosity. When it comes to money, everybody wants to be rich. Which is our alibi for a craving for this? 

The 4-Hour Workweek PDF

Challenging moments define our future. Being mixed with the background will definitely bring us a comfortable routine but less joy. Swimming in the murky waters of an awkward conversation may draw our energy, but also teaches us a valuable lesson:

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” 

Extravagance is a luxury. This is a lesson taught to any of us by our parents, our friends, life experiences, etc. What if this is a myth? What if we learned the wrong definition of what extravaganza really means?

“Living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things and not just owning enviable things.” 

Emphasize. Should we be focused on strengths? Should we fix weaknesses? From  Tim Ferriss’s point of view, it is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor.

So, the choice seems to be between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre.

“Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”

And starting with my favorite nugget, my curiosity grew more and more – like the Fahrenheit degrees in a thermometer.

So, I couldn’t help myself and I’ve done some research about the writer. This is how I found out how he managed to create this lifestyle that now most people envy (me included). But I won’t tell you more. I leave you to discover it here.

I left The 4-Hour Workweek with my brain caffeinated with all kinds of new and bold ideas, and my pockets full of great and inspirational nuggets. If you want to visualize more about what this book is, don’t waste any more time. Check our nuggets and subscribe for more.

Until then, I leave you in the company of some memorable ideas like the following one:

Timothy Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek —- Book Summary

“Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you really screw up.”

The 4-Hour Workweek Summary

Tim Ferris is one of our favorite writers and bloggers here at 12′. And his first book, “4-Hour Work Week” brings a new perspective on how to face work in our lives and the future. The book tells us about Tim’s experiments, his results, and his progress.

In 4-Hour Work Week, Tim coined the term lifestyle design, to state that you have the ability to design your own lifestyle.

Tim questions the traditional model of retirement and believes that you do not have to wait to retire to create your lifestyle.

Whether it’s to travel the world, get away from a monotonous job, make big bucks or just work less and live better, there are more efficient ways to handle your work and your productivity.

Time + Mobility = New Wealth

True wealth comes from time, from mobility and not just from money. Those who are able to understand this and master the two new currencies of wealth are called by Tim as the “new rich.” A dream life is often much cheaper than you think.

Your dreams can be things like traveling around the world, learning something incredible or taking time for your hobbies and they are not things that only millionaires do.

These things are also available to the new rich, and it does not cost millions to enjoy them. This is one of the main truths of the book: people do not necessarily want to be millionaires but to experience things that only millions can buy.

The book is focused on having a “new rich” lifestyle, without having a million dollars and with time and mobility.

Of course, you probably will not be able to replicate each of the practices he recommends to have the same results, but he proposes that instead of waiting passively for things to happen, you become a dealmaker, a person capable of creating new opportunities.

You need to write your own rules and always dream high.

To become a dealmaker, you need to understand the framework proposed by Tim. It is based on the acronym “DEAL”. The four pillars of the DEAL are:

  • Definition: Replace the premises that block you;
  • Elimination: Forget time management. Learn to ignore what does not matter and save time doing it;
  • Automation: Learn how to make money on autopilot.
  • Liberation: Create your independence of location and work from anywhere; Often people stop to think how the rich and successful have arrived there but the full stories are not always told.

People like to believe that the ladder to success is long and slow, but that is just the reality that the world expects. For Tim, people do not become successful by luck or by having a repeatable formula but by having a DEAL attitude.

D for Definition

Being the new rich is the exact opposite of what many people think. Being rich new does not mean working to buy things you do not need.

It means not delaying your dreams by a potential barrier. The new rich man has a mindset to accomplish, now. And DEAL’s first step is Definition.

It is based on reprogramming your way of facing life and having a new self-image and attitude. In order to define yourself, you will need to develop new approaches to your life. Here they are:

Do it Now

He never allows himself to leave for tomorrow what he can do today. He does the right things now, always coming out of his comfort zone. The new rich man has the courage to take action quickly and overcome his limitations, leaving aside the well-adjusted mindset.

If a well-to-do person dreams of working when they want, the new rich person dreams of having people working for him.

While the pensioner dreams of retiring young, the new rich think of having constant adventures and mini-retirements planned during their lifetime, but their focus is never on the idea of doing nothing.

He is motivated by the idea of doing something. If the affluent think of selling the company and thus making hefty cash, the new rich think of having money constantly and leave the idea of a major liquidity event in the background.

For Tim, being financially wealthy and living like a millionaire are very different things.

The value of money should be weighed with your ability to choose what you want to do when you want to do it, where to do it, and with whom to do it. Often, freedom is worth more than the financial asset itself.

You do not want just the money. You want to be able to control your destiny in the first place.

Flee from the Conventional

Most people opt for conventional solutions to solve a problem. But to have different results than 99% of people have, you have to do differently from them. For this, you need to rethink some aspects of life and develop this opposite approach. Some of the aspects cited by Tim are:

  • Understand the Myth of Retirement: The idea of retiring pretty much reinforces that people do not like what they do and want to stop it. If people dream about retirement, it says they are spending their youth and their most valuable years doing something they do not like.
  • Doing less is different from being lazy: Contemporary society tends to value sacrifices, in many cases, more than results. The new rich are measured only by their results and if a great result can be achieved with less effort, why not.
  • Permission is not required: You should not expect people’s approval to start something new and challenging. As long as you do not cause significant problems, it is better to do something and ask for forgiveness, than to ask permission for everything you are going to do.
  • Focus on your strengths: Developing what you are already good at creates a multiplying effect on your results. Spending your time just trying to improve your weaknesses yields small, incremental results. Play to develop your best sides.
  • Make time to do what you want: Tim’s idea at Work 4 hours a week is not that you have more time to rest, but more active time to do what you love, want and dream about.
  • Money alone does not solve all: More money does not always improve your life. We tend to believe we do not do things for money, but the great truth is we want to avoid the real cause of our attitude.
  • Understand your relative income: How much you earn does not matter. What really matters is your relationship between your time and your money. If you work 4 hours a month and earn $ 4,000, you’re twice as rich as the guy who works 240 hours a month and earns $120,000.
  • Stress can be a good thing: If it takes you out of your comfort zone and causes you to grow and develop, embrace stress instead of avoiding it.

Overcome Your Fears

To have a clear definition, you need to overcome your fears and move on. Many people become paralyzed when they encounter their fears, and this leaves them stagnant.

You need to understand what your biggest fears are and ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen? With a tip-of-the-tongue answer, it’s time to create a plan to recover if the fears materialize.

For each fear, it is also important to list the benefit of overcoming it. With this plan in hand, you understand the impacts that moving can have on your life and then it’s time to ask yourself: what result would I have if I had been doing the exact same thing for 50 years as I do today?

Define Your New Reality

The way we define ourselves is treacherous and leads us to believe that we can only have one part, not the whole.

Most people look for mediocre results, which curiously increases competition for mediocre things and creates the opportunity for those who want to do incredible things.

Therefore, there is less competition to do amazing things than mediocre things. Most people fall into the trap of “I’m going to raise $ 1 million, and after that, I’ll do what I want.” You do not want to be one of them, and so you need to know what you really want.

You have to dream and create daring, unreal goals that go against the grain of what you do now.

In this new reality, you need to plan where you will be in the next 6 and 12 months.

Take two sheets of paper, one where you map out your 6-month plans and one where you map out your 12-month plans. In each of them, write down the 5 things you dream to have, 5 things you dream to be and 5 things you dream to do.

When you have all 15, check the 4 that would change everything.

Calculate the monthly cost of each of these things. Add up all the expenses and take a 30% slack up to avoid surprises.

Now that you know the monthly cost of these 4 things, divide the result by 30.

That’s your daily revenue goal. From it, you know how much money you need to make per day to be able to realize them.

Now write the first 3 steps for each of the 4 dreams of your 6-month plan and make the first step for each of them now. Now. Without thinking, just do it. Begin your plan to conquer your dreams.

“E” for Elimination

To take full advantage of your time and channel it in pursuit of your dreams and thus become a new rich, the next step is to focus on eliminating waste.

Being efficient is not the most important.

Being able to get things done as quickly as possible is not an advantage because unimportant tasks take time even if you are efficient at accomplishing them. It is important to have focus.

Focus on What Matters

Your time is best spent on important tasks, tasks that will bring you closer to your goals. To focus on the important things, use the Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 rule: In most situations, 20% of the work produces 80% of the results.

The rest of the work tends to have very few results. Focus on tasks that have the greatest impact. Ask yourself: What are the 20% of things that cause 80% of my problems? What are the 20% of things that result in 80% of my results?

This focus is so important in the choice of tasks that you will use it in relation to the sources of information that you consume.

Tim recommends that you never see the news, if something is important, people will tell you and you will find out for yourself.

You need to redefine your brain to get used to it, and it suggests that you take a few days without any contact with television, books or surfing the internet. Focus on a consumption of small amount information that is really relevant to you.

Avoid Time Wasters

You need to get rid of silly emails, unnecessary phone calls, meetings, etc. Turn off your notifications and check email a few times a day. Meetings, for example, are black holes where time and energy disappear, and most of them are completely unnecessary.

A meeting is only appropriate when a decision needs to be made, and many people have to participate. If this is the case, set a fixed time and start the meeting reminding everyone of the reason for it. Also, never go to meetings where you do not need to.

And if the meeting succeeds without you, skip all the next ones on the same subject. In the office, the same goes for hallway conversations with colleagues. Focus on the necessary subject.

Every time someone approaches you, do not ask, “How are you?” And “What can I do for you?”. It is also worth telling people in advance that you are in a hurry.

“A” for Automation

If you seek to earn a living by working just a few hours a week, you need an automatic source of income. You have to make other people work for you and get them to invest their time and not you to invest yours.

Outsource Your Life

Today, it is fairly easy to set up a business that can run without much involvement from you. Hence, you can use outsourcing companies to scale up your operational capability.

There are many companies that specialize in manufacturing products for resale, shipping products to customers, packaging customization, technical support, customer service, sales, among other things.

But even more complex and evolving tasks can be outsourced. Virtual assistants from India, for example, are extremely inexpensive and offer high-quality services.

A virtual assistant can do almost everything you normally would do yourself. By creating a business in which each task is outsourced to a specialist, you can make your involvement almost completely unnecessary.

However, before hiring an assistant, keep in mind that you should first try to eliminate, then try to automate. Only the remainder should be delegated, otherwise, you waste your time and money.

Also, delegated tasks need to be time-consuming tasks that you can define with extreme clarity. If the task is too short or you can not pinpoint the expected results, it might be best not to delegate.

To hire an assistant, also make sure he communicates well, ask for constant updates at the beginning to know how things are going, have clear timelines and priorities.

Find New Ideas and Opportunities

With more time on the agenda, it’s time to try out new ideas and create new revenue streams.

For this, the first thing you need is a product. You can also sell a product that is already on the market, and this is very easy, but the potential profits are much smaller.

Creating your own product is much easier than most people think. But before you choose a product and start making it, you need to know if your potential customer base is large enough for you to actually earn money.

To test the marketplace, offer your hypothetical product to real customers. The easiest way to do this test is to create a virtual store in which, when people click to buy, it shows a message that the product is out of stock and an apology.

This serves to mark out people’s interest in the product. It is also important to get the email from all interested parties because when the product is available, you can try to sell to them again. You can also test a product by buying ad campaigns on Google.

Create multiple ads for your product, see which leads more people to buy and so you discover how much you would need to spend on marketing to sell a unit of your product.

“L” for Liberation

Once you have a lucrative product, the challenge is to get out of the equation. This will give you the independence to live the life you dreamed with mobility.

Manage Through Absence

To achieve this liberation, you need to learn how to do each business process in detail so that you can later hire outsourcing companies that can assimilate your knowledge and execute it.

This will give you redundancy, and you will not depend solely on your suppliers. In addition, you need to ensure communication between all your virtual employees.

You need to give them the autonomy to make low-risk decisions without consulting you for maximum automation.

Run From the Office

If you still have a job and want to do remote work, you need to be able to plan your new work model.

And that may mean resigning, and you can not be afraid. So, know that: A resignation is not permanent.

There are always other options if you change your mind; Paying the bills is not that difficult.

Even if it is, there is always a way for you to reduce your fixed costs; Your resume will not get any worse.

If you are resigning to do something you believe, your resume will become more interesting (you probably will not need it, though).

Travel the World

The concept of holidays for people is usually a short trip, one or two weeks to an exotic place.

For Tim, you should think about the 20 to 30 years of retirement that you would have and divide them throughout our lives at 6-month intervals.

The idea of a vacation is not to get away from your life but rather to have a lifestyle where you have small retirements and really know the world, contrary to the traditional view of just visiting cities and leaving.

More Life With Less Work

If you can overcome your personal settings, eliminate the unnecessary, put your revenues on autopilot and create the freedom to work from wherever you want, you can get lost. You might be asking “why did I do this?”

The more time you have, the more introspective you become, and the more you turn to yourself. Do not let the extra time in your life become just free time, but rather time in which you do something that fulfils you and brings you closer to your dreams.

Final Notes:

Forget the conventional, the work routine from 9-am to 5-pm and its long career toward retirement.

You need to redefine yourself to live the now, to know that it is possible to draw from scratch the lifestyle you want to live.

Escape from mediocrity if you do not want to have a mediocre life, focus on doing amazing things, after all, there is less competition at the top.

12min tip: If you liked this microbook, you will also like our microbook of The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind! Check it!

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