The 4-Hour Workweek: Brilliant or Bonkers?


Reading Timothy Ferriss‘s The 4-Hour Workweek was like being on an emotional roller coaster.

I’d read a line like “Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty” and think Man! This guy knows where it’s at! Then I’d read about his empty and meaningless kickboxing win due to manipulated technicalities, or his distaste for reading, and want to throttle him.

Is he a genius? Or is he just plain ridiculous? Perhaps a bit of both. After the jump, I explore the aspects of his book that made me think.

Fear of the Unknown Can be Overcome:

This is something I’ve always known inherently, and have tried to explain to those who see me as a spur-of-the-moment risk-taker. Ha! My jump from full-time to freelance was the product of years’ worth of planning, research, education, and more.

Ferriss tries to move readers past their fears with some well-chosen questions, forcing them to consider their worst nightmares and then acknowledge that they would not signify the end of the world…they could be dealt with.

“Doing the Unrealistic is Easier Than Doing the Realistic”:

So many of us choose not to try something, simply because we believe that it can’t be done. We aim toward being average, rather than outstanding. Ferriss points out here (and rightly so, I believe) that so few people are aiming for the tippy-top that…well…there’s a whole lot less competition up there.

What have you accomplished, despite not believing you could?

Your Work Can Be Done in a Fraction of the Time…Especially If You Outsource:

Ferriss devotes a good amount of his book to the benefits of outsourcing, pushing readers to make twice the money with none 0f the work. I’m reluctant to consider outsourcing (at least on this scale) for two reasons:

  1. I have trouble letting go. When my name is attached to something, it should be no one’s fault but my own if there’s something wrong with it. I have high standards, and tend not to trust others to be able to meet them.
  2. I am proud of the work that I do. I want to be able to deliver something that is solely my own.

Still, I wouldn’t mind having someone around to conduct research for me, find sources, transcribe interviews, etc. Think of all that I could get done if I wasn’t wasting my time on the nitty-gritty! (Transcribing is torture.)

Ferriss includes a good number of resources in his book for those looking to investigate outsourcing agencies for themselves.

Of course, there is much more to found in The 4-Hour Workweek — finance resources, tips on convincing your employer to allow you to work remotely, challenges designed to push your comfort levels — but these are the things that struck me as the most interesting.

I have a feeling that many readers have experienced the same feelings of conflict when reading Ferriss’s work.

Have you already read it? What were your thoughts? I’d love to hear some different perspectives!


  1. Ya know Steph, I haven’t read the book yet, but it does look interesting. I wanted to mainly comment on the section about Fear of the Unknown Can be Overcome:

    To me, this is easy. One word. Action. All fear (and yes, I know I am using a universal statment here) can be overcome by action. I used to dive – not like scuba diving, but Olympic diving, you know from the platform and springboards and all. 10 meter platform was my best event. 10 meters. 33 feet. 3 stories high. You would have to be stupid to jump off of there, yet I threw my body from that height every day for almost 13 years. You go from standing to hitting the water in about 1.8 seconds (remember 9.8 meters/sec/sec?). The only way that I could force myself to dive off of the tower was to take action. If I thought about it and let my mind get in the way, there is no way I was going.

    I had to get up there, go through a short routine, get ready and go before my mind was engaged otherwise I would stand there in fear. I knew what I had to do. My body knew what to do. I just had to go and trust that my body was going to follow through with the actions it knew.

    Sorry for the tangent, but I said all of that to say this, fear is a mindset. There are only 2 fears that we are born with, falling and loud noises. Anything else is a learned fear. For instance, you could put a snake in a babies crib and the baby would probably lick it (I don’t suggest doing this, just an example). If he is a little on the crazy side, I can promise you that it seems like he has a pretty good grasp on this particular concept. 🙂

  2. Good post – I found this while scanning google for baby stroller info, I know… weird – added ya to my G Reader, Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more. Mark

Speak Your Mind