Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

What it is: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is a guide to working more efficiently and effectively to make a lot of money without working long, grueling hours. It’s directed towards people working in office environments and encourages them to break free of the 9-5 in order to have a life that is both financially successful and passionately fulfilling.

What I liked about it: Self-improvement and life-hack type books tend to talk about changing your circumstances in an abstract way, but Ferriss breaks down the exact steps you can (and should) take to achieve the ideal four hour workweek. He provides scripts for tough conversations with superiors and concrete timelines for how to make the leap to escape the office while maintaining success. It’s more like a recipe than a description of a meal, and I really appreciate that style.

What I didn’t like about it: Some of the advice Ferriss gives is applicable to people in all sorts of positions, but a lot of it is more niche, which alienated me a bit (I’m not a businessperson, and most of what he suggests doesn’t apply to me at this point in my life). Also, I found that because his plan is so concrete, he doesn’t explain any variations of the exact scheme that worked for him. Occasionally I found myself thinking, “Not everyone is like you, Tim Ferriss!” but I’m sure he’d argue back, “But they could and should be!”

Memorable quote: “I never enjoyed answering this cocktail question [‘what do you do?’] because it reflects an epidemic I was long part of: job descriptions as self-descriptions.”

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars.

Challenge satisfied: #24, read a self-improvement book (either traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement.”

Additional notes: I skimmed the last 1/4 or so of the book, and don’t think I missed much there–at least once I identified I’m not currently the target audience. If I were seriously considering & able to make a lifestyle change, I might’ve studied his resources and ideas a bit more.

The 4-Hour Workweek is book 15 of 24 for my Read Harder Challenge. You can also read my reviews of Love on the Road 2015 and Mouthful of Forevers.

An affiliate link is used in this post. All opinions in this review are my own and are not influenced by the affiliate.

15 thoughts on “Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

  1. I love that line about my job description not being my self-description. I would tell you at least 20 other things about me before I mentioned my profession. While I’m not working 4 hour workweeks I have cut down to 3 days per week and am accomplishing as much as I did 5 days per week. This one may be a good read for me!

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  2. I read the book some years ago. Although I’m a business person, I agree with your observations. He just doesn’t explain well. It’s a bit too much and I dare to say, perhaps more for suited for an American culture. His tips and achievements at times felt like as if he was giving a recipe for making processed food while trying to make it look like a 3 Michelin stars.

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  3. That’s a spot on review, I thought along the same lines when I read this book. There’s some good aspects to it and same I like how concrete his suggestions were, but unless you’re in a very specific kind of corporate job, I’m not sure how helpful this book is.
    I’m reading another book that falls in the self improvement line, called The Compound Effect, and I like it a lot more. The principle it follows is that lots of tiny changes will make huge differences over time, much more so than one huge overhaul. It’s not quite as prescriptive as 4 hour work week but it’s more widely applicable I think and I’ve taken a few concrete things from it already so far…

    Liked by 1 person

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