The 4-Hour Work Week

Friday, 08 July 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 27 By  Lang Reid

As someone working ridiculous hours, seeing a book in Bookazine which proposes a four hour working week, was to be seen as manna from heaven - if it was really possible.  Timothy Ferriss, in his book The 4-Hour Work Week (ISBN 978-0-0919-2911-4, Vermilion Imprint, Ebury Publishing, 2011) proclaims on the cover, “Escape the 9-5, live anywhere and join the New Rich.”  You got me, young Tim!

Each chapter is introduced with quotes from the famous, and I liked the one from Oscar Wilde, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”  I could relate to that, having been told by successive bank managers that I have lived beyond my means.  I may be in debt, but at least I have imagination.

Many points that author Ferriss brings up are actually very valid, and I have to admit that I have always confused “Being Effective vs Being Efficient.”  He states that, “Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.”

Ferriss brings up Pareto’s 80/20 Law which can be looked upon as 80 percent of the outputs result from 20 percent of the inputs.  He also advocates ways to cut down on your necessity to check emails and even how to avoid answering the telephone.

Much of his recommendations require you to outsource your work, leaving you with more time, which you should use effectively.  This of course is more easily said (or written) than done, especially if you are a 9-5 wages employee.  Ferriss had a mail order business he had started, which was very successful, so consequently could outsource much of his managerial duties.  He admits that this does take away from the bottom line, but the additional time that this gives is enough to start enjoying one’s leisure life.  He gives examples of his Virtual Assistants (VA) who are in Bangalore, but who are meticulous in their research.  And just how much time he has freed up, and his VA only costs $40 per hour, but he only needs an hour of the VA’s time, so that represents $40 a week to free up eight hours.  And yes, he does mention the outsourcing company and how to contact it.

Towards the middle of the book there are various answers to the FAQ’s you will have regarding VA’s before you even formulate them.  Ferriss is very much the pro-active person.

His advice on just how to handle this ethereal body, called the VA, is very salient, and there are even prices quoted and how many hours must one take per week.  The $7 an hour VA is not so cheap when you find you have to contract to use the VA for 20 hours per week.

At B. 495, this book is a cheap investment in your future.  Ferriss even gives examples of how to start up and the pitfalls to avoid.  By the end of the book I was ready to branch out with an idea of my own.  It may not work, but it will be fun and I like the thought of having my own VA.

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