Book review: 4-hour work week

Rating: Life-changing

This book changed my life. It provides extremely useful tips about productivity and prioritization even if you do not intend to quit your job, start your own business and travel around the world. The fact that this book was published more than a decade ago but is more relevant to the current economy says loads about Tim Ferriss’ farsightedness. I have to say that I appreciated this book a lot more because I went through an immersive learning experience and found what I used to consider as work was simply me trying to get instant gratification (checking emails being one). The second half of the book may be somewhat less relevant to someone who does not intend to quit their full-time job now so I would recommend skimming it through and coming back to it later.

Ironically, the GoodReads review of this book is below 3.9 as this article is published. I get it, many tips in the book do sound uncooperative and even Tim Ferriss himself acknowledges that. But, the advice also prompted us to ask ourselves if our fear is real. It does not sound that disastrous even if someone says in the same way that Tim does in his book, does it? Then, it is up to us to take some of the ideas and present them in a much more empathetic and cooperative way. We need to talk is what I am reading right now to learn to be more empathetic and listen more.

❓ The material in questions:

  • How to reduce the time spent on work
    • How to decide on the priorities
      • Threefold technique
      • Remind yourself: am I being busy or productive
      • Parkinson’s Law: do not let work expand to fill the time
    • How to improve communication efficiency
      • Develop a culture of only holding essential meetings and succinct phone calls
      • Remove yourself from being the bottleneck of all communications
      • Reduce the email frequencies and use a phone for emergency contact
    • How to outsource non-essential activities
      • Choose a team of freelancers to remove dependencies
      • Give clear instructions and ask for stage-wise feedback
      • Focus on work, not hours spent
      • Give autonomy
    • How to convince your workplace to accept your ideal working style
      • Encourage experiments
  • How to start your business
    • How to prototype and test your ideas
    • What is the market fit that brings you the most profit and least maintenance cost
    • How to establish authority
    • Why revenue/salary isn’t everything
      • 20/80 rule: the 20% income may give you 80% of the headaches
      • A modest income can still provide a comfortable lifestyle by working remotely and living in low-cost countries
  • How to have a life after cutting down working hours
    • How to travel around the world
      • Only bring the essentials
    • How to find meanings

💡 Favourite quotes:

  • Unreasonable people want the world to fit them but reasonable people change themselves to fit the world. It is therefore the unreasonable people who change the world.
  • A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
  • Most people are fast to stop you before you get started but hesitate to get in the way if you’re moving.
  • Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all.
  • It’s lonely at the top. 99% of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy-consuming.
  • If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.

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