The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is a book that I wouldn’t normally pick up, look at everything he’s done and some of his comments and you think he’s just a world class bullshitter. It’s also the reason I didn’t attend his panel at SXSW earlier this year. However, a number of bloggers who’s opinions I respect did attend and they did read the book and, minus some mild disclaimers, highly recommended the book so months later I finally picked it up and… I was half right. Well maybe a quarter right. There is a lot of boasting and he does sometimes sound like a bullshitter but having also read his blog I think I can say it’s somewhat of a front.
He does boast but I think in terms of claiming things he’s being extreme on purpose, to get your attention but he knows it and you know he knows it which makes a big difference. He’s pushing his theories to the extreme but somewhere along the middle everyone can find good tips and ideas in there. Don’t get me started on his “don’t read” spiel though…
It’s too bad that a large part of the book and the 4-hour concept is to find some product you can sell online, eventually outsourcing everything so you’re left with all the free time you want. Even thought the eventual outcome is great, I’m not all that interested in doing something like that so that part of the book didn’t grab me as much.
All the tips on being more productive, letting go of maniacal email and phone checking and answering, how to get out of meetings, etc. can be super useful. I’ve actually started using a number of them. His views on how to interpret and apply Pareto’s Principle and Parkinson’s law are worth reading and there I’m also applying some of his ideas.
The last part, Liberation, is about where and how to take mini retirements in other countries. At this point I’m not looking to take so much time off doing something else, I still love the field I’m in so working and keeping connected to it is fun for me. However, all his tips are good to know when trying to base yourself in another country—like I wanted to and largely choked on earlier this year.
All in all, pretty highly recommended, I just wish Merliln Mann had written it in his own tone which I’m more compatible with.