The 4-Hour Workweek

Book Title: The 4-Hour Workweek

ISBN: 0307465357

How strongly I recommend it: 5/5 Stars

One of the few books that have made a permanent impression on me. The 4-Hour Workweek makes me question whether up until this point, I simply misunderstood life. I will say it is hard to see things the same way as I did before I read this book and for that I’m immensely grateful for the book suggestion.

The question this book tries to answer is how you can structure your life to maximize freedom of time and money (i.e. doing what you want, when you want). These are deemed to be the two key instruments of a rewarding life and Ferriss lists practical steps on how the reader can achieve this, in the same way that he has managed to do over the years. In doing so, Ferriss turns the traditional model of study-work-save-retire, on its head.

Understandably for such a large audience, this book isn’t always relevant and for me, it was the section on remote work which I found to be less useful.

Amazon Page Link: Click Here

How I discovered it? Recommended by friend

Who should read it? Anyone and everyone.


The classical template for life is that you work hard, earn money and then retire to do all the things that you want to do. Ferriss dismisses that idea as lazy thinking; the reason most people stick with that plan is because they are uncertain about what they want to do in life, are insecure about their abilities or fundamentally misunderstand life itself.

Ferriss’ four stage plan (D-E-A-L) is based on firstly defining your life goals, eliminating the obstacles/noise to give yourself time to achieve them, automating the process of generating income to service those goals and finally liberating yourself from the office to be able to have maximum mobility. The ultimate goal is to be free do what you want, when you want and where you want. Those that pursue this freedom of time, money and mobility to realize their life goals are considered part of the ‘New Rich’.


  • Define life goals and revisit these regularly

Most people don’t know what they want from life. This puts you in this anxiety fed rat race where you just work for the sake of working, without stopping to achieve the things you really wanted to achieve. Goal set regularly, have a time line for what you want to do (and model out how much money you need to generate in order to do those things). Do these things regularly to avoid life passing by.

  • Don’t sacrifice unhappiness in your good years for happiness in the bad

There is no point sacrificing unhappiness in your early years to be able to spend the last remaining years of your life being happy. No matter the size of the pot of gold that you have in your worst years, it’s a bad trade and it is not worth it.

  • Experiences formulate desires

Most people don’t actually want to be rich. They want to experience what they believe that wealth can buy them. Those experiences are more accessible than most people think.

  • Plan more ‘mini retirements’

The classical retirement model is flawed. Most people get bored when they retire and you are much more limited on the experiences you can have in your old age. Mini-retirements are necessary to balance between work and rest and to have the experiences you want to have, before it’s too late.

  • Use the 80/20 Rule to increase free time

80% of outcomes are generated by 20% of inputs. Use this rule to de-clutter and eliminate inefficiencies holding you back from your ultimate goals.

  • Batch tasks together

Being busy isn’t the same as thing as being efficient (normally they are inversely correlated). Create simple processes, good systems and reduce noise. Some good examples are to batch email reading (instead of trying to keep up to date every second), focus on one major task per day and do it well and to use daily news summaries instead of frequently reading the paper to spot the stop stories.

  • Create a system that can replace you

The ultimate goal is to create a system of generating income that is bigger than you, so that you can leave when you want to do the things that you want, and you have cash flows that support those goals.


Fable of the Fisherman

One day, an American businessman on vacation in a small fishing village in Mexico, see’s a local fisherman’s boat docking in the early morning. He asks the fisherman how long it took him to catch all of his fish and the fisherman replies that it was only a little while. When pressed why he didn’t catch more fish, the fisherman replies that he has a busy day; he plans to take a siesta with his wife, stroll the village, play with his kids, sip wine and play the guitar.

The businessman is in shock. He suggests the fisherman consider buying a bigger boat to fish in, and then with the proceeds from the extra fish he would catch, to invest in more boats. Ultimately, the fisherman could expand into the distribution of the fish in the US and then eventually IPO the business and make millions.

The fisherman asks the businessman, what he would do then (after making said millions). The businessman replies, he would be able to move to a remote fishing village in Mexico, fish a little, take a siesta with his wife, play with his kids, stroll the village, sip wine and play the guitar.

Never forget that money is a means to an end.

Freedom multiplier

Most people look at freedom in terms of financial freedom whereas in fact, it is a combination of 4 W’s – the freedom to do; what, when, where and with whom you like.

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is like Life Insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against the worst case scenario; that you become physically incapable of working and need a reservoir of capital to survive. It should NEVER be the GOAL.

In fact, the very concept of retirement planning is flawed; it assumes that you either dislike what you’re doing now (so you’re trading off the present), most people won’t have enough to sustain their same lifestyle in retirement (i.e. most will fall back into a lower middle class lifestyle which isn’t particularly exciting in the first place) and if you do have sufficient savings, you’re probably so driven that you will be bored when you retire, so whats the point of planning for it anyway!

Worst case scenarios

One contributing factor for indecision is trying to get the timing right. In reality, there is never the perfect time for anything. The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. You MUST take a chance.

One way to avoid indecision is to think in terms of worst scenarios. Ferriss used this when he was considering taking an extended time off in Europe. If you start with the absolute worst scenario, you will realise that most things are generally not that bad and the unlimited upside potential on your life, far outweighs the potential downside risks.

Parkinson’s Law

Tasks will swell in perceived importance based on the time allocated for their completion. So they will naturally take longer, the more time you allocate to them. Instead, use the 80/20 rule to get things done sooner. Ask yourself daily, if I only accomplish one thing today, what would it be?

Time value

Work out a daily rate for yourself. Anything that you can do below that rate, you should outsource.

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