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Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek – A Different Take (Part 1 of 3)

SisyphusThe 4-Hour Workweek, a book by Timothy Ferriss, has been exhaustively praised and panned across the globe.  The book is part self-help, part DIY, part romanticism.  As of this writing, both the first and second editions have been reviewed on 2,333 times.  The ‘Expanded and Updated’ edition has an rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.  I have chosen to write a review from the perspective of the independent consultant, business owner, and entrepreneur.  As a critical reviewer, I give the book 4 stars because of some inconsistencies and awkwardness in the book.  On a personal and professional level, I give this 5 stars because this book has proven to be very valuable to me and my company.

I will start with these questions:

  1. Is the book worth your time and money?  Yes, if you take just one of the recommended actions.
  2. Does the book add value to your work or personal life? Yes, if you apply one or more of the recommended actions.
  3. Is the book a panacea?  For a select few people, yes; for most people, no.

1. Why is this book worth my time and money?  

First, the book takes about 3 hours to read.  Cut out 3 hours of television and it costs you nothing.  Second, it costs $12.99 in digital format (Kindle), $22 for hardcover (full price), and $12.00 for paperback (full prices). Everyone should be able to extract at least $22 worth of information from this book.  Look at it from a financial perspective:

How much is 1 hour of your time worth?  $25, $50, $100, $200?  I know exactly how much my time is worth, considering that I bill at an hourly rate.  I  can say that I have saved at least 5 hours per week by utilizing various parts of the Definition, Elimination, and Automation sections.  For people who bill at an hourly rate, 1 hour is real money.  If this book enables me to bill just 1 more hour to a client, then my money was well spent.

2. Why does this book add value to my work and personal life?

By implementing some of the time saving tips, I have been able to gain more time with my family.  I start my day with purpose and when I leave my office for the day, I am able to do so with a clear mind, knowing that I accomplished everything that I needed to accomplish.  I have a clear vision for what needs to be done the next day, but it does not consume or even enter my thoughts when I am done for the day.  My office is 8 steps from my kitchen, but when my work is done for the day, it is as effective as having an office 8 miles away.

3. Is the book a panacea?

The book is not a panacea or cure-all for most people, because it takes a special kind of person to be able to jump into the life that Ferriss proposes.  I believe that there are only a handful, hundreds, maybe a few thousand, who can truly take this and run with it, implementing it all the way.  For the rest of us, we have to be satisfied with the fact that we do not want to implement this life, but can take some valuable, real-world lessons from this book and use them.  Some of us love our work. Some of us are out there doing things that are changing or saving the world.  This book helps us to do it better, faster, and more efficiently.  It helps us focus our efforts and multiply our time.  It helps us find wealth in other areas, such as family time and relationship building.  This is not a get-rich-quick guide, in the traditional sense of wealth.  As we like to say, ‘your mileage may vary’ (YMMV).