The book that changed my life in 2 hours: The 4-Hour Workweek

86 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

2 1 0

There’s a time-sensitive giveaway at the end of this post.

Reading “The 4 Hour Workweek” is like having Tim Ferriss grab you by the hair, shake you, and say WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?! YOU NEED TO USE THESE TIPS TO BE MORE EFFICIENT!! Also, the tips work. GTD fans, entrepreneurs, and basically anyone who reads this site will learn tons from The 4-Hour Workweek.

I absolutely loved this book. In fact, within 2 hours of reading it, I had completely changed the way I handle email — and I already thought I was efficient.

Three days later, I had changed the way I handle followups and meetings. The book is about creating an infrastructure so you can work only 4 hours a week (a colorful metaphor) and use your time to serve you, instead of the other way around. Tim’s insights about email, outsourcing, and business use take it to a new extreme. For example, he suggest checking your email twice a day. Now, I’ve heard this suggestion before, but usually it was a failure of the last mile for me: I didn’t know where to start.

Tim goes the extra step and provides the text of the auto-response email he uses, which basically says ‘I check my email infrequently, so here’s an FAQ you can read that will probably answer your questions. Otherwise, here’s my phone number, or be patient and I’ll get back to you.’ And, in the smartest line in 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.”

Who could argue with that?

Do you remember when I described how I set up my financial accounts? That article was one of my most popular because it described, step-by-step, how my personal-finance infrastructure worked. Tim describes that for his entire working style, including something fascinating I had never really considered: virtual admins. (See a related Friday Entrepreneur review here.)

He uses multiple virtual admins from around the world. As he writes, “Indian and Chinese VAs…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 instruction, how to pick the best ones, and — this goes the extra mile — the best URLs for finding virtual admins.

Why 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.

Frankly, when I first thought about it, it sounded ridiculous. But then I thought about things like scheduling things and dealing with tons of tiny requests every month (“Fix that typo on that site!”), I realized how great it would be to be able to just send a quick email to a virtual admin to handle it — especially if they were good. This advice (and the links provided to the best admin sites) are worth the price of the book alone.

There’s more in the book. Here are some the other key insights I took away:

  • “Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated e-mail and scramble your brain for the day.” (This alone has saved me about 35 hours since I finished the book 2 weeks ago.)
  • “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
  • And a great lesson he illustrates:

    “For all four years of school, I had a policy. If I received anything less than an A on the first paper or non-multiple-choice in a given class, I 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:

    1. I learned exactly how the grader evaluated work, including his or her prejudices and pet peeves
    2. The grader would think long and hard about ever giving me less than an A. He or she would never consider giving me a bad grace without exceptional reasons for doing so, as he or she knew I’d come a’knocking for another three-hour visit.

    Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.

Tim is kind of a weird playboy. In fact, for half of the book, you’ll be shaking your head saying “Is this guy for real?” He’s a Guiness record-holder in Tango, a national champion in kickboxing, and runs a business that makes supplements “scientifically engineered to quickly increase the speed of neural transmission and information processing,” which makes me more than a little suspicious. Some of the tactics he recommends are frankly sleazy. And other people have wondered if he has a real job besides self-promotion; Tim admits in his book that he was fired from most of them.

But I’ve met him and I liked him. Also, even though this book is in some ways opposite of my philosophies on personal finance — he’s not a big fan of saving for retirement — I have to respect him for thinking through his position and teaching me concrete things that I put to work within a matter of hours.

He embraces entrepreneurship and uses the book to share street-smart tips for simplifying your life, automating your work, being more effective with your email/communications, cutting down on interruptions, and using your time to actually achieve something meaningful. I can’t recommend this book enough. 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.

A bonus for iwillteachyoutoberich readers: Win a round-trip ticket anywhere
There is, of course, a bonus for iwillteachyoutoberich readers that nobody else is getting. One IWillTeachYouToBeRich reader who buys the book TODAY (Monday, April 30th) and submits your receipt to him will win a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental United States (just forward your online receipt or a scan from a retail store). Tim wants iwillteachyoutoberich readers to get this book and tell their friends about it, so he’s funding this out of his own pocket. And I’m thrilled because this is only being offered to my readers. (I get no referral other than the encoded Amazon link below.)

The 4-Hour Workweek

Read the Amazon reviews and get the book. Don’t forget to submit your receipt from today, Monday April 30th, using this link.

2 1 0

Related Articles

How to save money

These are actual, real articles that someone wrote about saving money. I swear.   Not here. If that’s what you’...

Read More

I’m giving away a vacation cruise for 10 people

Things you can do on a cruise: Scuba dive, snorkel, and tour awesome places you’ve never been to Eat ...

Read More

86 Comments

2 1 0
 
  1. I learned about this book from another financial blog and read Tim’s website within the hour. An hour after that, I was in the local B&N buying it. 16 hours later, I was done! Incredible book, it really shook up my preconceived notions of success and what I want in life.

  2. A giveaway like this requiring purchase is illegal in the United States. What method is available for those of us who would like to enter without purchasing?

  3. Um, there is no other method. Sorry, but that’s how this giveaway works.

  4. I’ve already bought the book and it’s great, but “Concerned” is right, Ramit.

  5. Yeah, Ramit, I’m pretty sure requiring purchases for an entry into a drawing is illegal in the state of California.

    Maybe it’s because he’s from Australia? Although, you’re promoting it, so I’d check with your lawyers.

  6. I bought one and forwarded my recipt. IMO, there are official advertised contests, and then there’s some guys doing random things to promote their own goods and services.

    I see this ‘offering’ as a ‘potential chance that some guy on the internet may or may not provide me a plane ticket based on me some other guy on the internet telling me he just might be crazy enough to do that for one random person.’ I hereby also state that i purchased this book independant of the fact that the author may or may not be crazy and may or may not offer me a free plane ticket. :) I”ll post my own thoughts on the book after I read it. (I’d go to San Francisco to sit in on an entreprenurial friday interview with Ramit!)

  7. Can anyone point me to the law on this? Thanks in advance.

  8. As a professional guy, I guess I just don’t understand why this book is necessary. Setting priorities, budgeting time, ignoring people who pester you for quick responses via email, these just seem to be common sense things. Maybe I need to read the whole book.

  9. Tim spoke to our company a couple weeks ago, and told us about Define, Eliminate, Automate, and Liberate. He seemed pretty cool, and his ideas aren’t bad either. He did, however, also tell us that he would give a round-trip ticket to anywhere to the person who implements one of his principles in the most dramatic way.. so I’m not sure about the whole “a bonus that nobody else is getting” thing.. :P

  10. Here’s the link
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ad-faqs.shtm
    “Sweepstakes-type promotions that require a purchase by participants are illegal in the United States.”

    Contests are a sticky, sticky thing. Rules vary from State to State, country to country.

  11. I heard about this book through at least 2 other blogs (one being Dave McClure’s). After a glowing review like this, its hard not to ignore!

    Went ahead and bought it through Amazon (only $12). Thanks Ramit and Tim.

  12. Personally, it seems like the author’s handling of his grades amounts to nothing more than bullying. If all students acted like that, then teachers would have no time to provide feedback/guidance to students who actually need or want it, not just the students who demand As. That “lesson” alone is enough to put me off from ever wanting to read this book.

  13. You convinced me — i bought it.

    Better not take back the contest though! That wouldn’t be fair either!

  14. the podcast is totally worth listening to, btw. Really good ideas. Hopefully, the library will have the book!

  15. Hmmm…

    Why are the beggars complaining?

    Free trip. I am sure there was no intention of breaking laws but just giving away a trip to someone who bought the book. Simple. If you don’t like it don’t participate.

    I am going to Alaska!

  16. I dunno. The second I would receive an auto-response from somebody I do business with, I will stop doing business with them.
    Auto-reply messages are completely useless. Check out John Dvorak’s rant about them in PC Magazine:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1599324,00.asp

  17. Yeah, cause John Dvorak always gets it right.

  18. I agree with the whole auto-reply messages being completely annoying and a waste of bandwidth but in a few situations. As for the contest, why in the world is something like that illegal? Did all the freeloaders team up and hire a lobbyist or something?

  19. There are to many comments here that are arguing against whether these would work are not. Wouldn’t it be better if you spent your time thinking of why some of them are good ideas instead of just picking holes. Its self defeating to you if you think “oh this is just to unconventional and would never work” instead think about how you could manipulate these ideas to serve your purposes.

  20. If I ever got an email like this from a vendor, customer or client:
    I check my email infrequently, so here’s an FAQ you can read that will probably answer your questions. Otherwise, here’s my phone number, or be patient and I’ll get back to you

    I Would take my business elsewhere immediately. That is insane…

  21. Giveaways, even if they’re not formalized contests/sweepstakes, are a really tricky thing. There are people who spend a lot of time trying to find loopholes in contests/sweeps and scam a well-meaning corporation.

    But don’t worry Ramit, I don’t think anyone will find it worth their time to try and sue.

    PS – The book sounds good. Like a lesson on how to be a superachieving ninja.

  22. There’s a great presentation by Tim Ferriss given at SXSW. It’s well worth the trouble digging it up. :)

  23. How weird — I didn’t realize giving away stuff was so complicated. I’m too short on time to investigate all the details, so you can either send your receipt to Tim or (no purchase necessary) send him what you’d do with 36 hours extra per week. If you’ve already entered, don’t worry: Your entry is in and will be counted.

    Entries must be sent by the end of today, Monday, April 30th. He’ll choose a winner in the next few days.

  24. I don’t know Liz.
    As you mentioned there are people who spend their spare time making contest holders tow the line.
    If it was a book giveaway, sure, but plane tix?

    I don’t understand the thinking.
    Sort of like people suing McD’s for not telling them the coffee was hot.
    But that’s the world we live in.

    I like your change of strategy, Ramit. Still does the job (reward for your readers) but lessens the risk. Tim likely has legal protection out the ying-yang due to his book release anyway. And yours is not the only site he’s promoting on.

  25. This books seems interesting.. very similar to some others based on the amazon descriptions but probably good.

    I just have to say though that at least in math courses, you CANT meet with the grader. That and if you did this to me or my TA, you would bring much more scrutiny on yourself, not less. Best be able to back it up with ridiculous skills in the course! Do people want to learn anymore or just get an A? I tell the grader my pet peeves and most people do – so go ask straight out, what annoys you the most as far as mistakes? No shadiness needed!

    I just had to get that off my chest haha. I dont think that should determine if this book is good or not!

  26. Ramit – Um, you need to clarify the rules a bit.

    My receipt was sent in this morning. The book was purchased yesterday. Your “contest” stated the book must be purchased yesterday, not the receipt must be received yesterday. That’s totally different!

  27. I have to say, I am very turned off by your tactic at bullying a TA/Professor. You essentially admit that the grade is all you’re after, the knowledge is secondary. If I were the TA, I’d secretly be hoping for you and your kind (the grade whores) to get that B+ that you so desperately despise, just so I can hear you argue and attempt to negotiate with me why you deserve the A.

    And you might think, “oh you’re just some grades mean nothing sort of guy who never earned the A anyway” but you would in fact be wrong. I was the valedictorian of my high school, and to be perfectly honest the most satisfying part of the experience was knowing that everyone else who had planned their life around being #1, spent their lives indoors studying to ensure that A, and tried to arrange every AP/IB class they could fit into their schedules would not be standing in my place. As mean as it was, I could not help but be extremely satisfied with myself knowing that every B+ they negotiated into an A, every A that they got because they bothered some teacher enough, or thought they could buy with time after school an extra projects, went to waste. And I hope they learned something.

    /rant

    But seriously, it’s a pretty shitty tactic to use with grades. The only reasonable part mentioned was finding out the grader’s bias toward particular answers/themes, but you certainly don’t need to have an implicit threat of “I will make you stay another 3-4 hours next time!” if they don’t *give* you want you want.

  28. Ummm…wasn’t the grading example from the book? Somehow I can’t imagine Ramit strong arming anyone, not when he can earn the darn A himself.

    I’ll let y’all in on a little secret too. In the…well…long, long time I’ve been working, I’ve never had anyone ask for my grades. Never.

    Graduating counts for something. Grades…not-so-much.

  29. I have to agree with many of the comments on the grade blackmail advice from this book. As the husband of a teacher, I can tell you first-hand that my wife doesn’t get paid nearly enough as it is (public grade school), working 10 hours at school only to come home and spend another 3 hours grading papers Monday – Friday, plus the 5-8 hours each weekend writing plans and grading more papers. If she had students whining to her for 3 hours each time they didn’t get an A, then she’d A) have really selfish students with serious moral issues, and B) wouldn’t be teaching much longer.

    This type of advice has no business on a normally very good financial advice blog. Really dissapointing to read here.

  30. @K

    Apparently I was too caught up in the example to notice that Ramit was still posting an example from the book. I did think that was where he was simply agreeing with logic further contained in the book.

    And grades might not mean everything, I’m the first to admit that they’re extremely overdone, but they do count in many fields. I would not be where I am today if I had simply earned my degree and walked into interviews with a 2.0/C average GPA. No way.

  31. If those of you complaining about the “bullying” tactics actually knew how often Professor’s & TA’s office hours go completely unused by their student body, I think you would change your tune.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for concrete, specific reasons why you recieved the grade/evaluation that you did.

  32. It doesn’t matter if the contest was slightly unlawful in California. This isn’t California; this is… THE INTERNET (a magical world where anything goes and everyone inherits millions from dead Nigerian barons they never knew loved them so much)

  33. I’ll chime in on the other side of the grading issue. I am a grad student and have taught several math classes (typically 30 students in size). If I had a student that came in to talk about math for 3 hours every time they didn’t get an A, I would LOVE it. They might not end up with 3 actual hours (depending on how many other students needed attention). But this is ABSOLUTELY the right strategy for excelling.

    I usually schedule 2 hours for office hours a week for my classes outside of class hours. Over the quarter, usually only 5 hours of ALL the hours are used by students; all the office hours in the week before the midterm (2 hours), and all the office hours in the week before the final (2 hours). Then maybe 3 students would come in at random times and talk for 20 minutes about some other specific things during the quarter (1 more hour).

    I would totally respect a student that comes in AFTER a big homework or exam and spends hours figuring out what they did wrong and how to make it better (but NOT asking for a couple more points on the exam, that is annoying).

    Yes, it could be selfish to suck away too much time from the teacher. But deciding how to divide up their time is the teacher’s job, not the students! If students want attention, extra help, more pointers about how to succeed in the class, they should absolutely ask for it. At least at the university level, you will not get any extra help if you don’t ask for it.

    Rant over.

  34. The VA thing seems odd, at least in regard to some of the examples given. Wouldn’t the overhead of delegating (and follow-up) be at least as time-consuming as doing it yourself?

  35. Ramit- maybe you should hire a virtual admin to deal with the questions/legal issues associated with the giveaway. ;>)

  36. I must agree that the book’s advice on getting better grades is disconcerting. As a TA, I’ve seen the snooty sense of entitlement many students have toward their grades–as if though God himself deemed “thou shalt receive an A on everything, for thou art the chosen one” — give me a break! Guess what–I’m smarter than you in this particular subject–if you write an inane paper rife with inaccuracies, if you turn in tests with most of the answers incorrect, you’re not getting an A. If you spent as much time studying and/or proofreading as you did on complaining about your grade, you probably would have gotten an A.

    The author’s point, I think, is to imply that being aggressive and immovable is the right way to go in a lot of situations to achieve what you want. However, when I consider the number of times that being polite and patient helped me get what I want compared to the times that I was rude, guess which one wins out? It’s worn, but the golden rule helps you more often than not–treat others as you would want to be treated.

  37. [...] at IWillTeachYouToBeRich Rami Sethi blogged about a new book called The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and [...]

  38. I also think the auto-responder idea sounds very annoying and self-centered.

    Imagine if everyone followed this advice… your Inbox would be clogged up with stupid auto-responder messages from other people “trying to be more efficient with their email.”

    The collective result would be that everyone is less efficient because they have to deal with these stupid messages.

    I’ll reserve further judgement until I finish reading the book.

  39. I currently teach a college class that has non-multiple-choice assignments, and that example is total horseshit. There’s not a self-respecting college teacher alive who would allow a student to badger her for three hours about a grade. Sure, he could come discuss it, but he’d get 15 minutes if he were lucky.

    This guy’s definitely a sleazeball and he sure sounds like a liar, too.

  40. This is a classic self-centered ego booster. All your doing by giving away the phone number is to transfer the annoyance from email to phone calls, at all hours. As a former TA, any student that decided to test me back, would get extra scrutiny in return. Waste my time, I’d waste yours. I had no problem spending time with students who actually wanted to learn the topic at hand to do better. This guy seems to want to use the time as a massive time black hole for punishment of me not giving him an A. Sorry, you earn your grade, I don’t give it to you.

    As for the autoresponders for every email, unless you are the sole vendor of a product I just have to own, I’ll choose another. Don’t waste my time claiming it’s making you more efficient.

    Also, using virtual admins is for fools. Plenty of virtual admins would love your credit card information, login credentials and the vast amount of personal information you must give to them for them to be effective. You might as well just include your credit history and SSN in your autoresponder.

  41. As my grandmother used to say, “a pinch of sugar gets you more friends than a pound of salt.”

  42. All great comments. For the critics, why not give the book a read and see what you think of the entire thing in context, not just a small excerpt? You can probably even get it from your local library.

  43. As a critic, I’ve read the book. I chalked it up to something that works for one man, but won’t scale to every man–or even some larger collection of men. The idea seems to be a perversion of the old adage at Bell Labs, “Are you working on what matters in the grand scheme of things? If not, why not?”

    The author can keep a 4-hour workweek because of all the scams he’s run to make money; such as writing a book about them. This is like taking financial advice from “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

  44. Tim for me is a good person, how dare you accuse him of something. He just want to share his clever ideas for productivity. I read book review in David Seah’s blog and purchased right away a copy from Barnes&Noble.

    Well Ramit is right, for all critics why not read the entire book, then give your comments later.

  45. Haha…I enjoy the comments from people saying “If I ever got an automated email letting me know that the person was only checking email twice per day, I’d take my business elsewhere!”

    You people don’t get it, do you? If you’re the kind of person that can’t wait 4 freaking hours for an email response, then you’re probably not worth having as customers, clients, or partners. It’s the 80/20 rule. 20% of the people take up 80% of the time. If he gets rid of you 20% (or screens you out with methods like this) who clog up the system expecting a response to every email in 5 minutes, he saves a lot of time and headaches.

  46. I’d never have expected so much people to hate auto-responders. Is it that bad an issue? I mean, would you rather send your email and be left hanging if they’d read it? Let alone received it? With an auto-responder you’d know the email you sent is in the inbox already. It’s like a receive confirmation. Would you rather be left hanging if there’s no immediate reply? There could be a power interruption, server crash, or the person is just plain unavailable at the moment. At least we get the courtesy of being told.

    And if the matter is so important that it requires an on-the-spot conversation, why not just call? It’s faster that way and it’s much more reassuring to hear the voice of the person you need to speak with. Sure half the time, or more, we get a voicemail but let’s face it. Everybody who’s not in marketing hates telemarketers and a voicemail is the best filter there is. It’s easier to cycle through voicemail that has a few messages selling you something than check an inbox which has more spam in it.

    As for Tim Ferriss, everyone has reservations, even Ramit Sethi expressed it himself. But why not read the book anyways and see what’s good inside it? Rest assured that some books are just plain crap but quite a number of people have already said that though not ALL of the ideas are feasible (with some being sleazy) in the 4-Hour Workweek, they were at least able to learn a few more concepts.

    VAs? Rest assured that there will always be spammers out there but PayPal’s pretty safe. If you do some part of business online, chances are you have PayPal already.

  47. I just have to respond to this pet peeve of mine:

    “Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.”

    I’ve been given this advice so often that I began to pay close attention to whether it’s true or not, and I have to say that people who are difficult get the bare minimum they ask for and no more, plus everyone will start spending their spare time trying to think of ways to sabotage you.

    You don’t need to be a pushover, but being nice gets you a lot farther in the long run.

  48. Regarding being difficult when it counts: I work in the IT industry and I don’t know how it works in other industries, but here’s my experience. I had several colleagues in the past (more than a handful to be statistically insignificant) who have quoted the mantra “you have to be difficult to be remembered”. Remembered they were, for sure, but during at the time for layoffs. I’ve seen people who trampled on big shoes just so that they feel big being let go at the first opportunity available. I’ve seen several people being walked out of the building with the sole reason that they are being difficult.

    I am not judging against being assertive, but being assertive for the sake of being assertive will get you nowhere quickly. In my opinion being subtle most of the time and being assertive just when it matters works best.

    -vk4t

  49. Am I the only one that thinks that this entry was bought and paid for?

    Can you clarify how you came upon the book, Ramit, and if this post is a paid placement?

  50. I agree with being assertive and polite at the same time. If I’m in a conversation where I need to negotiate, I always try to push the other person once or twice, but if they still don’t budge, I try to come up with a compromise.

    Whatever I end up doing, I’m always being polite just so the other person doesn’t feel belittled.

    What I’ve also noticed is that people who are in powerful positions (corporate management etc.) don’t need to be ruthless assholes to everyone else. People automatically respect them, and if they are being polite, these guys are rock stars (I know I am).

    Politeness goes a long way. Unfortunately, people are surprised when you are being polite. I wonder why…

  51. Hahaha, I use that “filibuster the teacher after they give me a bad grade” trick all the time. It’s not spiteful or anything in my case, I just get really concerned about my grades after I get one really bad one. My bio teacher gave me a failing grade on my first lab report, so for the rest of them I was in her office for at least an hour asking questions. I don’t know if it was the fact that I annoyed the crap out of her or if it was because I genuinely did better (I prefer to believe the latter), but I never got below an A on another lab report.

  52. [...] 4-Hour Workweek has been reviewed by I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Also by Noah [...]

  53. You’re going to far from what’s really been discussed here.
    Anyways, for me if I think that I deserve to get an A,
    and discontented on what the grader gave me, I would really complain for it.
    We have the right to ask for clarifications why is it so. As long
    as you think you’re doing your part, not just complaining because you
    really want to have that A.

    Asking questions for the Teachers as clarification for some specific
    things need not to be in a rude way. You can talk and ask your teacher in
    a nice way that he or she won’t be irritated.

    Well, don’t concentrate much on this issue, as Ramit have told you don’t judge
    the book for just reading the excerpt and not the whole.

  54. Based on the majority of the posts here, my belief that most people are idiots has been reaffirmed.

    This is a great book, but will only be of value to a certain small sect of people who understand their ability to shape reality.

    To the rest, bah, bah -

  55. I’m a college teacher, and I have read Tim’s book. A few thoughts:

    1) I do think the grade thing was a bad example, because yes, grade inflation is real, and there are many students who expect an A for showing up. As a teacher, I’m sensitive to that, and a bit annoyed at the idea of someone who preaches being careful about his own time wanting to infringe so heavily on the time of teachers. On the other hand, in the book, I also learned that Tim has learned 6 languages, so I have a feeling he wasn’t one of those students who was too lazy to do the work but wanted the reward. I doubt I would spend 3 hours talking to a student like him, but I would certainly spend a full office hour (if other students weren’t waiting) and invite him to email me any questions I couldn’t answer in person. I grade without looking at the names on the papers, so it wouldn’t make me think twice about giving him a bad grade, but I bet it would help him do better in the future– The principle I think Tim was trying to illustrate, though, was that we shouldn’t give up. For some, that might take the form of being assertive or aggressive. For others, it might be gentle persistence or looking for new solutions. It’s not a bad principle, even if was illustrated in a controversial way.

    2) While there are some suggestions in the book that just wouldn’t work well for me, I think the principles in this book are worth a try, and many of his ideas, I think, could be adapted for those of us with a less forceful personality. For example, although I’m not excited about the idea of sending auto-responders, I did add a little line to my email signature, letting people know that because I am often in class, I can usually only get to my email once a day. It’s more gentle than the auto-responder, but the idea is similar: setting up expectations, so people are not as impatient in expecting an instant response.

    3) Tim is a character. Remember that he’s young, he’s an entrepreneur, and he has a unique (and direct) personality. The ideas in the book can be adapted, though, if his style doesn’t work for you. I’m nothing like Tim, but that doesn’t mean that some of the ideas he’s talking about (cutting down on busywork, getting help when I need it, and working to create a lifestyle now, rather than delaying happiness) aren’t good to consider. It’s not a perfect book, but I think it can be mighty useful, if read with the right spirit.

  56. So the guy needed three hours of office hours to get an A. That’s cool. Some people can study on their own and some need help; that’s what office hours are for.

    It’s kinda cute that he thinks he was getting away with something; if anything he probably distinguished himself in the mind of the grader as someone who needed more detailed critique of his work.

    You don’t deserve an A. Ever. Your work may deserve an A. It’s your work that’s being graded, not you.

    The real point? He did more than just show up at class-time and assume he would earn an A by osmosis. The majority of students fall for false economy when it comes to time: “Saving” time by not studying an hour a week during the semester (say, 15 weeks) ends up costing them 30 extra hours cramming and doing extra credit at the end to get the same grade. He didn’t fall for this.

  57. @ 52 — i’ve seen reviews of this book posted on so many blogs by now i’m inclined to believe that he’s paying them to review it. just uncanny how many positive reviews there are out there. the original reviews on amazon were hilarious — 12 5-star reviews posted all on the same day near the release date, all by amazon members who hadn’t reviewed a product before. take this book with a grain of salt, my opinion of it has changed greatly over the past week or two.

  58. @52 and @60: I didn’t receive a cent to review this book (aside from Amazon referrals for clickthroughs, which I do with all book reviews). I met Tim a while ago, he sent me a pre-release copy of his book (just like most of the books I review on this site), and I liked the book.

    Judging from the feedback I’ve seen, so do many other people.

  59. Why do lengthy comments always develop in to arguments?

    Tims book is a slap round the face to the 9-5 surrender monkeys. There is more to life than work. Defferred life plan is old fashioned. Time to break away from the 4:3 screen…

  60. There’s a lot of chat here and not much action from what i can see.

    Who is actually doing something with the information.

    The book has lots of great ideas and tips in it, but it is very simplistic in the area that is most important.

    Finding your muse, the thing that floats your boat. Is Tim’s nutrition business the thing that floats his boat, I dont think so.

    What I think is floating his boat is promoting his book, speaking being interviewed etc.

    I think more time has to be spent on identifying what your passion is your life purpose call it what you will rather than trying to find/create some business that is going to bring in enough income to cover your monthly expenses.

    Once you have identified your passion then you can work out what your strength are around that purpose and then get the rest outsourced by VA’s.

    Gavin Allinson
    http://www.OutsourceSuccess.com

  61. It’s a great book, but be warned–the iTunes download will not play in your iPod.

  62. Good evening. I’m about 40% complete with the book, Four Hour Work Week. Pretty interesting so far. I’ve seen a ton of postings, blogs, articles, etc on this but not really a specific forum to share information and personal experiences. I’m really interested in other people’s thoughts and what they’ve done with the info. So, I created a forum at Yahoo Groups. Please visit it using the link below and post your thoughts. Thank you – bkj

    http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/4hourworkweek/

  63. You guys are all wet on this giveaway thing. The offer is very familiar to me, I believe it’s Ameriprise (formerly American Express Financial Advisors). No purchase is required to get the free lunch, all you do is enter your business card at a trade show or other event. And I’m about 90% sure that everyone who puts a business card in is a “winner.”

    This company has excellent bean counters. I am certain they have used this method for so many years because it is profitable due to the schmarmy psycological tactics (similarly, Friends and Family was over 10x more effective than previous marketing campaigns at MCI).

    Ramit’s numbers are made-up conjectuire. Remember, these are likely to be employees of a franchise, or at least people who need a structured system provided to them by the parent company (i.e. NOT go getters)

    Think about it: would a major company keep using this tactic for several years if it wasn’t effective?

  64. To weight in on the whole ‘see your teacher for 3 hours’ thing which seems to have done a nice job of hijacking this thread, I will admit to having used a similar tactic back in my uni days.

    The caveat is that it was a tactic I would use on *certain* lecturers only – namely, the smarmy, self-important ones who thought that interacting with students was beneath them. There’s always a few of those.

    If a teacher is nice, committed etc, then you will rarely fault their teaching or grading – regardless of high or low your grade might be, you know they have done their job competently and have no reason or right to question them.

    But if the teacher was some dick who clearly wanted to be somewhere else then I would use the tactic of polite aggression to get my way. I see it this way, my grades are my future and I will not let someone’s laziness or agenda ruin that for me. I suspect that might be what Tim meant by being assertive.

  65. I have got the audiobook of this book, and it’s really good.

    For those of you who want to outsource your company’s website development to india, check out my cool holiday startup company “100 Dollar Website” – Like tim says in his book, use currency difference to your advantage.

  66. [...] Ramit Sethi’s review is worthy of note, along with a few from Amazon.co.uk. Filed under: Work and Business, Sci/Tech, Travel, Money — Lloyd @ 11:33 am [...]

  67. [...] Hat tip to Ramit Sethi for recommending the book. [...]

  68. Finally, I know where Tim Ferriss discovered his auto-responder email + FAQ trick. Trust an MIT professor to think that one up.

    http://www.ianybarra.com/blog/archives/2004/02/

  69. [...] has a pretty well-developed bullshit detector, yet he went so far as to call The 4-Hour Workweek “the book that changed my life” (and that link goes to his long, interesting write up on the book, so it’s worth clicking [...]

  70. [...] I Will Teach You to Be Rich: The book that changed my life in two hours [...]

  71. I enjoyed reading your review of the 4 Hour Workweek. I have not yet read the book but I intend to do so. What is so funny to me is the ENORMOUS WASTE OF TIME AND EFFORT devoted to debating the ticket giveaway!!! It would be comical if it weren’t sad at the same time. Perhaps everybody has already read the book and now have so much time of their hands that they spend hours wringing them over the mundane technical legalities of giveaways…To weird.

  72. It’s changing my life. I’ve outsourced nearly as much as I can, and while my income hasn’t quite met my goal, It’s growing with each new “muse” (project) with very little work required on my part.

    I have more time for the kids and much more time to invest into new ideas.

  73. I am way late to this party, but thought I would give my 0.02, as I have a moment to do so….

    I have used a lot of what the book has suggested already. as others have said, you would be crazy to think that this is some kind of blueprint that you just follow and plug away. Your life, is your life. do it your way.

    I have streamlined my communication, given up on news, focused on the 20% and given up on the 80% of many things. It really works. The specifics for money making are yet to be implemented. I still need MORE time to get it going, but I have freed up about 20 hours a week by just eliminating the various forms of clutter that had taken up my energy and free time. My grades are better in school, and my enjoyment of activities seems more intense, now that I am not being distracted or hijacked into other people’s routines. Maybe it is selfish, but either way, someone will be running your life, and it way as well be you.

  74. [...] anyone you want. Also try Craigslist or eLance 4. I got the idea from the 4-Hour Workweek. Read my review or just buy the book 4. Tim Ferriss wrote an insanely detailed checklist for his [...]

  75. [...] The book that changed my life in 2 hours @ Iwillteachyoutoberich [...]

  76. To those who claim Tim is a huge self-promoter who’s getting rich: I agree. But that’s not going to stop me from asking the big question- Can I use this to change my life? This guy apparently knows how to get rich so what can I learn from him? Well it definitely helped me… I’m not a multimillionaire yet (I somehow managed to forget about 4HWW because of finals and haven’t finished it yet.. whoops) here’s an example of a tip that has really worked out: Pareto’s Law.

    As he described, Pareto was some economist who found that roughly 80% of a country’s wealth was owned by 20% of its citizens. Then he went to his backyard and learned that 80% of his top-quality peas came from 20% of the pea plants. Tim’s ‘life hack’: 80% of my time will be wasted by 20% of my customers. 80% of by income will come from 20% of my customers. Use these two statements to slice off the majority of my customers and focus on that minority which really gets me paid.

    I don’t own a business. In fact, I just started college. But there are still ways Pareto’s Law helps me out. One of my more creative examples: 80% of my happiness comes from 20% of my friends. It sounds horrible, right? But really- the point is that if I find the minority of my friends who I’m closest to and have the most fun around, and I focus on spending time on them, I’ll be happier (which I am). Note that I said ‘focus on spending time on them’ and not ‘ignore calls from the loser 80% group’. I’m not ‘too good’ to hang out with anyone… I’m sure you get the point.

    BTW Ramit, it’s my first time here. I’ll probably become a longtime reader. I’m guessing 4HWW influenced PBwiki?

  77. I’m dubious. I’ve read sections of Ferriss’s book and he seems like a very slippery, amoral character, even if his intentions are good and he does share some good time-management advice (he even sells dietary supplements for cripe’s sake; the man is literally a snake-oil salesman).

    I’d say he bears comparison to Kiyosaki: somewhat valuable insofar as he challenges your preconceptions and gets you thinking, but frequently hyperbolic in the results he claims are feasible and often quite morally shaky as well.

    I would be interested to hear if any fans of the book have bought the pills. If not, why not? Tim swears by them. If so, what were the results?

  78. [...] Below is a video clip of a webcast I did with Tim Ferriss, who wrote The Four Hour Workweek (read my book review). [...]

  79. [...] On I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Some shameless promotion of the book with a competition to win a round-the-world ticket [...]

  80. [...] Two years ago, I wrote a review of The Four Hour Workweek in a review called, “The book that changed my life in 2 hours.” [...]

  81. [...] The book that changed my life in 2 hours @ Iwillteachyoutoberich [...]