Friday, May 1, 2009

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek - Timothy Ferriss

Reading the back of this book, this guy has had an amazing life and is only 29!
It sounds very exciting to learn about his experience. and it is!

Tim convinces us that this is all not so hard and we can do it.

I wouldn't agree 100%, Tim is not anyone, he graduated from Princeton, created a company and made sure 80h/week for 3 years that it was working. And now he is managing it 'smartly' cashing in huge salary and working little.

The take home message for me is
- it's possible, anyone can immediately take several steps towards this
- Don't give importance to matters that don't deserve it. (80% of our time is used for 20% of our productivity)
- Remove interruptions from life to increase efficiency (emails, news, phone, coworkers)
- Don't Work For Work (W4W), being productive enough doesn't take 8h/day for everybody. Don't fill up your day with non-important tasks just to fill the day. Do your work fast and well then get out.

Of course, I'm going to critize some details he gives to convince us :)

Tim makes $80,000 a month and then he tells us he bought a magazine because there was a coke coupon and he wanted a coke? When he is trying to convince us of the value of our time.

Tim probably doesn't live in the same world, His world is - or was in 2001 - extremely cheap
- He could eat at a 4-5 star restaurant in Buenos Aires for $5?
- Rent a really nice apartment in downtown Berlin was $350?

=> my experience 2007 in Buenos Aires: for $25, you could only afford a 3 star restaurant and don't drink too much and 2005 in India, the 5 stars restaurants were $25.
=> Ok the $ lost value, the Euro and Argentinian Peso gained value, this still sounds out of proportion.

I liked his image that vacation are not that expensive if you compare it to rent in the US (even better if you're in California or New-York), but for most people it would be tough to stop renting, store/sell their stuff and go travel with the money saved. I like this idea.

Tim tries to convince us to write down your dreams for the short term and figure out how we can afford it.

I loved his concept of taking mini-retirements throughout your carreer: don't wait to be old to start enjoying. Also, if not, when you will retire you will not be used to it, you will not know what to do, and you will not enjoy it. You might end up saving money all your life, to have a great time once you retire, to find out you actually don't want to do these things. (And you will miss work, miss feelling useful and productive)

Below are some quotes I liked (couple are ideas that I re-phrased)

You are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too.

99 percent of people aim for mediocre.
So competition is harder for simple things.

A person' success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.

Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

'Someday' is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.

If the worse happen, how permanent would it really be? How hard would it be to go back to your starting position?
What's the probability that the worse will happen?
What's the probability that the best will happen? Will the best be permanent?

Information is useless if not used immediately.

Convince people using the Puppy Dog Close => make it a one time trial and reversible.
Offer better guanrante than competition, and longer return period (people will take their time and finally forget to return products)

Am I going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000? No, I just spent $600,000 training him.

Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.

Suggested readings

David Schwartz - The Magic of Thinking Big
Dan Kennedy - How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide
Michael Gerber - The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
Rolf Potts - Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

More readings

Roger Dawson - Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator
Peter Bieler - "This business has legs": How I Used Infomercial Marketing to Create the$100,000,000 ThighMaster Craze
Richard Koch - The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less
Randy Komisar - The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living
Use orbitz then expedia, bid from 50% of regular price

Tim's Websites
This one is dedicated to fast reading, Tim give a quick sample tip in the book
1- read super fast for 2 min
2- for each line do not look at the 3 words from left and right (peripheral vision will read them)
3- train to read a line in 2 snapshots
4- read superfast doing the above for 3 min (too fast to understand)
=> now your normal reading speed should be double !

Finding manufacturers for your ideas:

It's a good book, enjoy!

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