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Book Review: “4-Hour Workweek,” Tim Ferriss

(This review was first published on Hugdug. If you want to buy the book, do it there so we can do something good for charity!)

I’m reviewing this book 7 years after its first edition hit the shelves and changed everything to the point of being mock-referenced in The Office.

I’m also reviewing it eight hours after hearing someone say “we should set up a meeting” in a cheerful, expectant and self-congratulatory tone.

Between the first event and the second event, I have had jobs, positions, stints, gigs, contracts and projects. And this book was one of the very few that stayed with me and remained relevant, no matter what I was doing.

It’s not about the amazing visions of fulfilled life that Tim Ferriss depicts so vividly. It’s not about the success stories and the relentless math that shows you how easy it is to feel rich without being rich. These things appeal to different people in different contexts, and I’m sure you’ll find your dream and your tools in this book if you look hard enough.

What makes the book important for me, though – and what keeps it on my shelf, and on my work-related list – is these three questions:

What would excite me?  – This is my ultimate criterion for work, leisure and everything in between. “4-Hour Workweek” puts this question to work, and the results are impressive.

What is the worst that could happen?  – The slightly more philosophical part of the book deals with the fear of change – the resistance you get when trying to chase the answers to the first question. It’s effective, and written with integrity.

What is going to bring the most results for me? – The 80/20 principle has, since 2007, been quoted and mis-quoted countless times. But on a personal level, this will still ring true: one little thing you do may change several big things in time. The book doesn’t tell you which thing it is, but it gives you lots of hints on how to trim the ones that aren’t it!

Tim Ferriss is an acquired taste – this book is the one which started it all. If you haven’t got it yet, consider how much you still need to learn in relation to the three questions above – then buy it before you find yourself cheerfully setting up another meeting with a smile on your face.

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