The 4-Hour Workweek

Oh my. This…is an interesting book. After many years of curiosity, I finally checked it out. I’m glad I did.

This book is a mish-mosh of rich guy shenanigans. Author Tim Ferris offers a variety of advice and some travel inspiration. He focuses heavily on the idea of the “new rich.” This involves taking intermittent bits of retirement instead of trying to save the whole shebang for the end. I get that. I love the idea of taking months or a year off to see the world.

On the other hand, his business management ideas are somewhat questionable. He suggests that instead of going through the time and expense of product development, you should first test demand by advertising for and setting up a web page for products that don’t yet exist. An interested human arrives at a page that says the product is “out of stock” and suggests they enter their email address to be notified when the product is in stock. Every email address entered is considered a “sale”.

I’ve actually seen this in play before. I didn’t realize what it was, of course, because I hadn’t read the book.

Ferriss says this practice isn’t illegal. I see the appeal and the practicality of the thing, and I’m not saying I would never ever do it, BUT it’s kinda shady, at the very least.

I also noticed a few interesting quirks in Ferriss’ management style. At the time the book was written (I don’t know what he does now), he employed virtual assistants, most of whom were Indian.

He expected a lot from them. He described a few instances that made him look a bit like a spoiled, rich…um…guy.

Then later in the same book, he talks about dropping everything and heading out of the country. He missed interviews with journalists or whatever while he was gone. I got the impression he maybe just didn’t show up? If I remember correctly, he said he discovered that he missed the interviews when he checked his email after the hiatus.

Not cool, Mr. Ferriss, especially from someone who has such high expectations for his employees.

Ahem. Anyway.

Some of what Ferriss suggests is only valid for higher level professionals. For instance, there’s a chapter on negotiating a work-at-home arrangement with your employer. That option is available where I work now, but if I tried to do that at my last couple of jobs, they would’ve laughed directly in my face, no matter how many times I pestered them about it.

People who work face-to-face service jobs or jobs that require physical labor can’t really use that advice.

I wouldn’t take 100% of this book as gospel, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, you might get it there. The willingness to think outside the norm is a good thing. We don’t all have to grind the same way. That’s easy to forget when you’re stuck in a mundane, full-time job and you do the same things every day, week, month, year.

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