|Cover artist||Barbara Sturman|
|Subject||Self-actualization, Self-employment, Self-improvement|
|Published||2007 (Crown Publishing Group)|
|LC Class||HD6955 .F435 2007|
|Followed by||The 4-Hour Body|
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (2007) is a self-help book by Timothy Ferriss, an American writer, educational activist, and entrepreneur. The book has spent more than four years on the The New York Times Best Seller list, has been translated into 35 languages and has sold more than 1,350,000 copies worldwide. It focuses on what Ferriss refers to as "lifestyle design" and a repudiation of the traditional "deferred" life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades and save money in order to relax after retirement.
Ferriss developed the ideas present in The 4-Hour Workweek while working 14-hour days at his sports nutrition supplement company, BrainQUICKEN. Frustrated by the overwork and lack of free time, Ferriss took a 3-week sabbatical to Europe. During that time and continued travels throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, Ferriss developed a streamlined system of checking email once per day and outsourcing small daily tasks to virtual assistants. His personal escape from a workaholic lifestyle was the genesis of the book.
The format of The 4-Hour Workweek took shape during a series of lectures Ferriss delivered on high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University, his alma mater. The lectures (and book) focused on Ferriss' own experiences in company automation and lifestyle development.
In the book Ferriss uses the acronym DEAL for the four main chapters. It stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.
Definition means to figure out what a person wants, get over fears, see past society's "expectations" and figure out what it will really cost to get where a person wants to go.
Elimination is about time management, or rather about not managing time. This is achieved by applying the 'Pareto principle' or '80-20 Rule' (80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts) to focus only on those tasks that contribute the majority of results, and using Parkinson's law (work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion) to limit the amount of actual time spent working. There's a difference, Ferriss says, between efficiency and effectiveness. The book's emphasis is on effectiveness.
Liberation is dedicated to the successful automation of one's lifestyle and the liberation from a geographical location and job. Incidentally, Ferriss notes that if somebody has a regular job, the order of steps will be DELA, not DEAL.
The book asserts that technology such as email, instant messaging, and Internet-enabled PDAs complicate life rather than simplify it. It advocates hiring virtual assistants from developing countries such as India and Philippines to free up personal time.
For the launch of the book, Ferriss created a blog also titled TheFourHourWorkWeek.com. Though he has since written subsequent books, it remains the title of his blog and covers many topics besides those in the 4HWW. It now has more than 25,000 RSS subscribers.
The release of his book moved Ferriss' blog to the Top 1000 on Technorati. Ferriss stated, in a Fast Company interview, that 4HWW is read by many of the "top tech CEOs in the world". The blog has since featured articles written by many entrepreneurs, authors and thinkers including Chip Conley, Neil Strauss, Ramit Sethi, Ryan Holiday, Noah Kagan of AppSumo, Chase Jarvis and others. The resulting influence of such posts on book sales and other metrics has been dubbed the "Tim Ferriss effect".
The book was the inspiration behind J. F. Hussey's entrepreneurial fiction novel The Point of Escape: A 4-Hour Novel. The novel humorously chronicles the challenges faced by protagonist Jerrod Beams as he puts Ferriss’ advice into practice and transforms himself from a timeserving government wage-slave into a self-directed entrepreneur.
Wired praised the book's ideas for telecommuting and its pre-retirement advice, but faulted it for "formulaic writing" and that "nearly every idea [is] taken to extreme. No sense of work being anything more than a paycheck".
USA Today commented: "If it all sounds too good to be true, maybe it is. Or maybe not. Clearly, selective ignorance, farming out chores and applying the 80/20 principle have paid off for Ferriss."