The 4-Hour Work Week Review – Still Relevant In 2021?

Do you want to escape your current lifestyle and join the new rich? Check out this Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Work Week summary and review. 

When I picked up the 4-Hour Work Week a couple of months ago, I was a little skeptical. It is an international bestseller with million copies sold, marked as a must-read by many, and I was told that the book will change your life.

Even though I was a little skeptical at first, sometimes you just need a little motivational and mindset work. That’s when I decided to read the book.

The book offers great one-liners and paragraphs that make you think. I read the entire book on my Kobo e-reader and I have highlighted a lot of stuff. 

The 4 Hour Work Week starts with the statement that Tim only works 4 hours per week and travels the world. There were years of hard work before he could finally get to the lifestyle, which he doesn’t highlight too much throughout the book. 

The message of the Four Hour Work Week is simple: why would you wait until your pension to have more free time? This is the time you have the energy to do whatever you want. 

There are parts in the book that are full of bold statements and promises that anyone can join the new rich. It’s up to you to read between the lines and get bits of wisdom from the book. 

Tim Ferriss is basically just shaking everything you think you know about your job or your company. He has some great tips for handling email and meetings that I found useful. Besides that, his focus on effectiveness is changing your perspective.  

Other nonfiction books to read about personal development, time management, and self-mastery:

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How The Story Starts – Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss had his own journey with regard to creating his four-hour workweek. He had his own supplement company, which was taking a lot of his time and he didn’t like any of it. Because he really lived the steps that he outlines in the book, the advice he gives is often very concrete. 

Tim worked a lot of long hours on his business before he could commit to his shorter workweek and work fewer hours. He learned about the 80-20 principle, also called the Pareto Principle, and he automated his business. By only focusing on the 20% most profitable clients he increased his profitability and he made sure he didn’t have to spend so much time on his company anymore. 

The book does not say: book a one-way ticket to Argentina without thinking about a plan to get income. The goal of the book is really to think about what you want, set deadlines, and create a plan for yourself. Work hard and you will get the benefits of the 4-Hour Work Week

4 Hour Work Week Summary

The general outline of The 4-Hour Work Week is divided into a couple of different sections:

  • Define your goals – don’t ask yourself what you want, ask yourself ‘what would excite me?’
  • Eliminate things to free up time – effective instead of efficient. Focus on 20% that is important. Say no to interruptions. Don’t consume much information. 
  • Automate to increase income – have a virtual assistant, have a business that can run on autopilot. This part has little tangible action if you don’t have a business. 
  • Liberate yourself from expectations – take mini-retirements, work from home.  

The 4-Hour Work Week is all about how hours worked doesn’t have to determine how much money comes in. You can determine your own time off, your own workday, how many days you work in a week, and you can take a rest day whenever you want.

You don’t need to be working seven days a week, working on the weekends, taking minimum days off, and not getting overtime pay.

Instead of working for minimum wage or an hourly rate, maximize your leisure time while building up your passive income. Balance your work life, shorten your working week, and it will be life changing!

The 4-Hour Work Week – My Biggest Lessons

Tim is quite radical throughout the book. He talks about only checking your email twice a day, taking on virtual assistants, and convincing your boss that you’re able to work from home. 

Throughout the book, my view of what successful people look like has changed. You can live anywhere, work however many hours per week as you want, and live a good life.

There are quite some things I have taken away from what he has been writing throughout the book.

Create Your Dream Life

The most important thing that I want you to take away from this, is that you can create your own dream life. Whatever your dream life looks like for you, you can live it.

You don’t have to conform to normal work hours, working an eight hour workday, filling out your timesheet after a day of work, and commute home. Only looking forward to Fridays, the last day before the weekend starts. Living for Saturday and Sunday. This can leave you overworked and underpaid, which could lead to burnout on the long term.

Whoever came up with eight hour workdays in the nineteenth centry, thank you! They reduced work shifts from 12 hours per day to 8 hours per day. Plus, instead of working six days per week, people worked five days per week. Yay!

However, it seems that the world hasn’t changed since then. That’s why I believe working eight hours per day is too much. When people are working six hours per day, they are equally productive and happier.

Until the time that happens, I am convinced everyone should create a life you don’t need to escape from. This is different for everybody. Some want to work a job, some want to become an entrepreneur, some want to have a family, some want to travel the world.

Think about what it is you want and go for it. While creating your dream life is not a get rich quick scheme, it is definitely worth it! It may be the road less traveled, if it’s your road – go for it!

Negotiate To Work From Home

Many people would like to work from home, myself included. I enjoy being at home and not having to change into my adult clothes and make it to the office. In the 4-Hour Work Week, there are some tips to negotiate to work from home. 

Make it a Puppy Dog close, where you ask for a one-time trial and make it reversible. This reference is coming from the fact that there was this deal where you could get a puppy for one day and bring it back if you didn’t like it. Many people kept the puppy. Because it is a one-time trail and it is reversible, people are more inclined to say yes. 

If this doesn’t work, use the ‘hourglass’ approach. Preplan something that makes you need to get time outside of the office, this can be anything from home repairs to family or personal issues. Say that you know you can’t just stop working and would rather work than taking vacation days. 

Propose to take a pay cut for the period if your performance is below expectations. Ask your boss for input on how to do this, so they are invested and want it to work out. Obviously you should work your ass off while having your remote weeks. Show your results when you come back and show that you can get twice as much done.

Suggest working three to four days at home for a period of time and make those days uber-productive. When you make the days in the office the least productive, your boss will go for you working remotely.  

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Think About Your Worst Case Scenario

Insecurity is part of the deal. It can be hard to get off the regular path and make your own. The solution for this is to think about the worst thing that could happen and think about what you could do to solve that entirely. 

Everything has a solution. 

When you’re not sure whether or not you want to make changes in your life, think about the worst case scenario. What would be the worst thing that could happen if you go after what you want?

Think about this worst-case scenario for a couple of minutes in detail. Would it be the end of your life? Rate the impact from 1 to 10? Is that impact really permanent and how big is the chance of it actually happening? 

I like this exercise a lot because oftentimes people are so afraid to take the next step. When you think about the worst-case scenario and the likelihood of it, you quickly realize that it is not the end of the world if you would not succeed. 

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do” – Tim Ferriss Click To Tweet

He defines inaction as the greatest risk of all, and I agree. There are many people who have said that it is the things that you don’t do that you regret the most.

Go and do those things so that you can live a happy and fulfilled life. 

Focus On Doing Less

When you have defined what you want and you are going for it, you have overcome the first hurdle of doubt. Now you want to achieve your goals and this is done by doing less. 

This is just another form of minimalism and can be seen as digital decluttering

Focusing on doing less is about being productive and asking yourself 3x per day:

  • Am I being productive or just being active?

When you are focusing on doing less, the Pareto principle or 80-20 rule is coming to the forefront. 

  • What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my happiness and goal achievement?
  • What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my unhappiness and problems?

If you need to do multiple things today that need to happen and seem crucial, ask yourself: if this is the one thing that I accomplish today, will I be satisfied?

Check Your Email Twice A Day

I already heard before that it would be good to check your email only twice per day, but I never actually considered it. Tim provides you with an actual template on how to set up an autoresponder: tell your coworkers or clients that you’re checking your email infrequently, attach an FAQ, and thank them for this move to efficiency. 

While an autoresponder is not going to be something that I’m going to set up, checking my email twice a day will be a good start. Normally there are enough to-do’s in your inbox to only check your email twice a day and keep you busy.

Taking On Virtual Assistants

Besides that, I liked his approach to virtual assistants. I think it is getting bigger now compared to when he wrote the book, so this is something interesting to take into account. 

You can use virtual assistants from all around the world, who are very cheap and can help you with your business from $4 per hour. 

Because he has worked a lot with virtual assistants, he knows exactly how to work with them. He goes into how to pick the best ones and how to give them an instruction that is straightforward and easy to explain. 

This advice can work for the people who have a company and are dealing with routine day-to-day work. It can be as small as booking your hotels, or as big as proofreading your stuff and writing feedback. 

This advice is fairly specific but for me, this is something interesting that I can really learn something from. 

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Reduce Outside Requests

Outside requests can be a huge time sucker. A couple of things to prevent that:

  • Whenever someone requests a meeting, ask for an email instead. I have been in many meetings that could have been emailed and it’s best to avoid this at all costs. 
  • If you need a meeting, ask the person that is proposing the meeting to send you an agenda on email with topics and questions to address. This will help you best prepare and keep the meeting time to a minimum. 

Some Other Great Lessons:

  • Eliminate before you delegate. 
  • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day – Robert Frost
  • Subtracting the bad does not create the good. It leaves a vacuum. Decrease income-driven work isn’t the end goals Living more – and becoming more- is.
  • A good question to ask yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed – are you having a breakdown or a breakthrough?
  • If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.
  • Spend your time efficiently, stop doing things that don’t add any value to your life. Don’t work just to work. Focus on what you’re good at and be the expert. 

Is The 4-Hour Work Week Still Relevant In 2021?

I believe the book is still relevant, absolutely. The main steps are still the same, just the way of getting there has changed quite a bit. 

The major guidelines are:

  • Think about what you want
  • Set deadlines
  • Take action on it

The goal is to free up time and generate income so that you can do what you really want to do – follow your dreams

However, the thing is that it may be hard to get to where you want to be. Tim worked very hard to implement his 4-hour workweek for many years before he finally succeeded. The steps that he outlines are simple, but they are far from easy. 

The internet is everywhere, 13-year-olds are millionaires because of YouTube and the world moves very fast. There is an increasing amount of possibilities for you to exploit if you want to create your own four hour workweek.

What works well for me is among others blogging, consultancy, coaching, or other side hustle ideas

Think about where you want to go in life and take the steps you think will get you there. If you want to adjust along the way, that’s totally okay!

Conclusion – 4-Hour Work Week Review

I had heard quite some things about the 4-Hour Work Week before reading it, both positive and negative. All in all, I enjoyed reading the book. Some parts really need a filter to apply to your specific situation, but that’s totally fine. It’s not that you should only trust Tim Ferriss for your success. 

Take from the book what you can use and disregard the rest. Read and think about what way this could be useful in your own life, how you can apply it, and how it will make your life better. Perhaps you’re thinking about automating your finances, scaling your business, and more. 

Go read the 4-Hour Work Week with a clear intention and you will get from the book exactly what you need. 

Have you read The 4-Hour Work Week? What did you think about it?

Other recommended reads:

11 thoughts on “The 4-Hour Work Week Review – Still Relevant In 2021?”

  1. Hey M, this has always been one of my favourite books… even though I have the same criticisms as you!

    It’s true that Tim doesn’t include enough details about certain things. And he glosses over how much hard work it took to get to a “4-hour workweek”. I also don’t love his cocky attitude in this book (which he’s admitted was intentional).

    Still, it was pretty ground-breaking when I read it over a decade ago. And much of the advice is still excellent! Some of my personal favourites, which I learned from this book and still use to this day, are batching and the 80-20 principle.

    It’s great to know that the book still stands up! I’ll continue to recommend it to others. Thanks for taking the time to share such a detailed review.

    Reply
    • Hi Chrissy, yeah I definitely agree! It’s great to get motivated with some tips and tricks that fit your situation. I quickly scanned through a couple of parts that don’t fit my current situation, like the automation piece. Everyone can take from the book what they want and leave the rest as-is!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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