The 4-Hour Workweek – A Manual For New Productivity Or a Guide to Cheating?

Timothy Ferriss seems to have mastered the life of leisure and delegation. His product, brainQUICKEN, is run without his direct intervention. He travels the world and has had some fascinating experiences. But many would not call him successful, they would call him shiftless.

In The Four-Hour Workweek, Ferriss shares his life story and lessons he thinks will help you become someone who works the barest minimum necessary to sustain your lifestyle. He provides tips and tricks for getting out of the office and into, well, whatever you want.

Get Creative

But not all of the lessons are very practical. The story of how he won a kickboxing title sums up his philosophy: Ferriss read the rules very carefully and found that if one opponent falls off the platform three times in a match, the other opponent wins be default. Rather than training and working to become the best kickboxer, he endeavored to knock every opponent off the platform three times. His adherence to the letter of the rules, not the intent of the sport, got him a title. But, he freely admits it was a title given grudgingly by the judges.

Work from Home

He suggests that employees who want to use their time more wisely yet continue to collect a paycheck force their employer to allow them to telecommute. When you telecommute, he argues, you can spend the time needed getting the job done, and spend the rest doing what you want. One of the techniques to get your boss to agree to telecommuting is to artificially lower your productivity on days you are in the office. This may not be the most ethical way to get your boss to agree to a telecommuting arrangement, but it is likely to work. Most employees would be reticent to engage in seemingly unethical behavior.

A quick Google search or visit to the book’s customer reviews at Amazon will show bloggers and readers who have pointed out a lack of ethics inherent in Ferriss’ recommendations, but a lack of ethics is not completely evident in the book. Ferriss takes an interesting way of looking at the rules of the game and uses them to his advantage. He doesn’t screw people over to get what he wants; he just exploits flaws in the system to do it.

Will It Work for You?

The value in The 4-Hour Workweek doesn’t lie in the specific examples. Instead, you should read the book to shock yourself into thinking differently about the world around you. How can you exploit the loopholes to make your life better and happier? And how can you do it in a way that doesn’t violate your personal ethics?

The 4-Hour Workweek is a hard read if you prefer a book with solid linear flow. If you are a chunker who picks and chooses sections based on your needs, however, you will love the book.