Review Of The 4-Hour Workweek
The book that changes your life. Reading The 4-Hour Workweek is like having Tim Ferris grab you by the hair, shake you, and say: What is wrong with you? You need to use these tips to be more efficient! And the tips work. GTD fans, entrepreneurs, and anyone who reads this book will learn tons from The 4-Hour Workweek.
I love this book. In fact, within 2 hours of reading it, I had completely changed the way I handle emails. I already thought I was efficient.
A few days later, I had changed the way I handle follow-ups and meetings. The book is about creating an infrastructure so you can work only 4 hours a week. A wonderful colorful metaphor! You can use your time to serve you instead of the other way around. Tim´s insight about emails, outsourcing, and business use take it to a new extreme. For instance, he suggests checking your emails only twice a day. I know, we´ve heard this suggestion before, but usually, it was a failure of the last time for me.
Tim goes the extra step and provides the text of the auto-response email he uses. It says: “I check my emails infrequently, so here is an FAQ you can read that will probably answer your questions. Otherwise, here is my phone number, or be patient and I will get back to you.”
And, in the smartest line of the book, his autoresponder includes this line: “Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness. It helps me accomplish more to serve you more.”
Could you argue with that? No … 🙂
Who Is A Virtual Admin?
Tim describes that for his entire working style, including something fascinating I had never actually considered: virtual admins. He uses multiple virtual admins from all around the world. He writes: “Indian, and Chinese virtual admins will run $4-$15 per hour: the lower end being limited to simple tasks and the higher end including the equivalent of Harvard or Stanford M.B.A.s and Ph.D.s.” Then he goes on to describe exactly how to work with virtual admins, including how to give instructions, how to pick the best ones, and (this goes the extra mile) the best URLs for finding virtual admins.
Would you need a virtual admin? Think about all the mindless things you do every month: Booking reservations, calling up Wells Fargo to question some account activity, researching some minor point, writing a complaint letter, proofreading, scheduling, reminders and more other things.
Frankly, when I first thought about it, it sounded a little bit ridiculous. But then I thought about things like scheduling things and dealing with tons of small requests every month. I realized how great it would be to be able just to send a quick email to my virtual admin to handle it. This advice and the links provided to the best virtual admin sites are worth the price of the book alone.
There is more in the book and here are some of the other key ideas I took away:
- Do not ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You will just read unassociated emails and scramble your brain for the day. Alone this has saved me a lot of hours.
- Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
- How to end a meeting on time
- How to convince your boss to let you work at home on Fridays
Tim had a policy for all four years of school. If he received anything less than an A on the first paper or non-multiple-choice in a given class, he would bring 2-3 hours of questions to the grader´s office hours and not leave until the other had answered them all or stopped out of exhaustion. This served two important purposes:
- He learned exactly how the grader evaluated work, including his or her prejudices and pet peeves
- The grader would think long and hard about ever giving me less than A. He or she would never consider giving me a bad grace without exceptional reasons for doing so, as he or she knew Tim would come for another three-hour visit.
Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
Tim Is A Guinness Record-Holder In Tango!
He is a kind of weird playboy. In fact, for more than a half of the book, you will be shaking your head saying “Is this guy for real?”. Tim is a Guinness record-holder in Tango, a national champion in kickboxing and runs a business that makes supplements “scientifically engineered to increase the speed of neural transmission and information processing quickly.” Some of the tactics are sleazy. We wonder if Tim has a real job besides self-promotion. He admits in his book that he was fired from most of them.
Tim is not a big fan of saving for retirement. He embraces entrepreneurship and uses the book to share street-smart tips for simplifying your life, automating your work, being more productive with your emails and communications, cutting down on interruptions and using your time actually to achieve something meaningful.
Should I Buy This Book?
I can only recommend this book. In fact, if the highest praise you can give a book is that you changed the way you do things because of it, then this book gets a great review. The book changes your life! I am sure 🙂
Have you read this book? What do you think about it? Feel free to leave a comment or a question. I will be happy to answer and help you out.