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.”
Since then, Tim Ferriss has become a good friend of mine and we’ve traded strategies on writing, testing, and automation.
The updated & expanded edition of his book, The Four Hour Workweek, comes out today. I convinced him to run the preface here — where he explains what’s new, including detailed case studies and updated resources for virtual assistants and automation. This is the first time you’ll see it anywhere.
If you haven’t already read the book — or even if you have — this version contains all-new material to help you focus on the things that matter, and ruthlessly eliminate the unnecessary obligations from your life. I’ve read the new edition and it’s very good.
Below, see an invitation to get a private hour with Tim and me to answer any question you want — about virtual assistants, international traveling, automating your finances, marketing, or your own career questions.
Tim, take it away.
Tim Ferriss: Preface to the Updated and Expanded Edition
The 4-Hour Workweek was turned down by 26 out of 27 publishers.
After it was sold, the president of one potential marketing partner, a large bookseller, e-mailed me historical bestseller statistics to make it clear—this wouldn’t be a mainstream success.
So I did all I knew how to do. I wrote it with two of my closest friends in mind, speaking directly to them and their problems – problems I long had – and I focused on the unusual options that had worked for me around the world.
I certainly tried to set the conditions for making a sleeper hit possible, but I knew it wasn’t likely. I hoped for the best and planned for the worst.
May 2nd, 2007, I receive a call on my cell phone from my editor.
“Tim, you hit the list.”
It was just past 5pm in NYC, and I was exhausted. The book had launched 5 days before, and I had just finished a series of more than 20 radio interviews in succession, beginning at 6am that morning. I never planned a book tour, preferring instead to “batch” radio satellite tours into 48 hours.
“Heather, I love you, but please don’t $#%* with me.”
“No, you really hit the list. Congratulations, Mr. New York Times bestselling author!”
I leaned against the wall and slid down until I was sitting on the floor. I closed my eyes, smiled, and took a deep breath. Things were about to change.
Everything was about to change.
Lifestyle Design from Dubai to Berlin
The 4-Hour Workweek has now been sold into 35 languages. It’s been on the bestseller lists for more than two years, and every month brings a new story and a new discovery.
From The Economist to the cover of the New York Times Style section, from the streets of Dubai to the cafes of Berlin, “lifestyle design” has cut across cultures to become a worldwide movement. The original ideas of the book have been broken apart, improved, and tested in environments and ways I never could have imagined.
So why the new edition if things are working so well? Because I knew it could be better, and there was a missing ingredient: you.
This expanded and updated edition contains more than 60 pages of new content, including the latest cutting-edge technologies, field-tested resources, and—most important—real-world success stories chosen from more than 400 pages of case studies submitted by readers.
Families and students? CEOs and professional vagabonds? Take your pick. There should be someone whose results you can duplicate. Need a template to negotiate remote work, a paid year in Argentina, perhaps? This time, it’s in here.
The Experiments in Lifestyle Design blog (www.fourhourblog.com) was launched alongside the book, and within 6 months, it became one of top 1000 blogs in the world, out of more than 120 million. Thousands of readers began to share their own amazing tools and tricks, producing phenomenal and unexpected results. The blog became the laboratory I’d always wanted, and I encourage you to join us there.
The new “Best of the Blog” section includes several of the most popular posts from the Experiments in Lifestyle Design blog. On the blog itself, you can also find recommendations from everyone from Warren Buffett (seriously, I tracked him down and show you how I did it) to Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. It’s a experimental playground for those who want better results is less time.
This is not a “revised” edition in the sense that the original no longer works. The typos and small mistakes have been fixed over more than 40 printings in the US. This is the first major overhaul, but not for the reason you’d expect.
Things have changed dramatically since April 2007. Banks are failing, retirement and pension funds are evaporating, and jobs are being lost at record rates. Readers and skeptics alike have asked: can the principles and techniques in the book really still work in an economic recession or depression?
Yes and yes.
In fact, questions I posed during pre-crash lectures, including “how would your priorities and decisions change if you could never retire?”, are no longer hypothetical. Millions of people have seen their savings portfolios fall as much as 40% or more in value and are now looking for options C and D. Can they redistribute retirement throughout life to make it more affordable? Can they relocate a few months per year to a place like Costa Rica or Thailand to multiply the lifestyle output of their decreased savings? Sell their services to companies in the UK to earn in a stronger currency? The answer to all of them is, more than ever, yes.
The concept of lifestyle design as a replacement for multi-staged career planning is sound. It’s more flexible and allows you to test different lifestyles without committing to a 10- or 20-year retirement plan that can fail due to market fluctuations outside of your control. People are open to exploring alternatives (and more forgiving of others who do the same), as many of the other options –- the once “safe” options — have failed.
When everything and everyone is failing, what is the resume cost of a little experimentation outside of the norm? Most often, nothing. Flash forward to 2011; is a job interviewer asking about that unusual gap year? “Everyone was getting laid off and I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel around the world. It was incredible.” If anything, they’ll ask you how to do the same. The scripts in this book still work.
Facebook and LinkedIn launched in the post-2000 dot-com “depression”. Other recession-born babies include Monopoly, Apple, Facebook, Clif Bar, Scrabble, KFC, Domino’s Pizza, FedEx, and Microsoft. This is no coincidence, as economic downturns produce discounted infrastructure, outstanding freelancers at bargain prices, and rock-bottom advertising deals—all impossible when everyone is optimistic.
Whether a year-long sabbatical, a new business idea, re-engineering your life within the corporate beast, or dreams you’ve postponed for “some day”, there has never been a better time for testing the uncommon.
What’s the worst that could happen?
I encourage you to remember this often-neglected question as you begin to see the infinite possibilities outside of your current comfort zone. This period of collective panic is your big chance to dabble.
It’s been an honor to share the last two years with incredible readers around the world, and I hope you enjoy this new edition as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
I am, and will continue to be, a humble student of you all.
Un abrazo fuerte,
April 21th, 2009
San Francisco, California
Get a free, private hour with Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi.
Buy the new edition in the next 24 hours and you’ll get access to a special live 1-hour webcast where Tim and I will answer any question you can throw at us, including questions about finances, starting a business, writing a book, using virtual assistants, optimizing lifestyle design…or whatever you can come up with.
1. Buy The Four Hour Workweek expanded & updated edition today, December 15th, 2009
2. Forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you instructions on attending the private webcast