Listened to The Four-Hour Work Week

Monday March 14, 2011

The Four-Hour Work Week
Timothy Ferriss

I got this as an audiobook in anticipation of keeping my eyes closed for a long time after getting LASIK on Saturday. Turns out they wanted me to keep my eyes open mostly, and just do a lot of blinking. Whatev. Still listened to it over the weekend.

Here's the secret of the four-hour work week: start a business selling something, outsource almost everything (manufacture, shipping, customer service, everything) and just take the profit. So I guess it's not much of a secret; if you start a successful business then the rest is easy. He claims his method works for employees to, and advocates arranging to telecommute and then be wildly efficient so that it doesn't take much time. So if you can do a full week's work in four hours, again, no problem.

It does have some fairly neat ideas, to be sure. There may be a time when I want to hire a personal assistant in India or whatever. That time is not now, but heh.

After listening to the abridged Four-Hour Body, I got this book unabridged. Problem: that includes the lists of references at the end of nearly every chapter. It is so boring listening to the guy go "double-u double-u double-u" four million times in a row. "forward-slash ess forward-slash"... Not good for the audiobook format.

In the end it's kind of slap-dash entrepreneurism, with one issue being that for you to have the four-hour work week lifestyle requires a slew of people working normal lots-of-work jobs. And in my case, there's really no way to change the nature of my teaching job to require less time. I have to be physically there leading the class - that's the whole point of the job. So while I may consider using some of he tactics in the future, Ferriss's approach seems largely to be about gaming the system, and almost feels somehow unethical.

Actually, I think my gut feeling is more like this: Ferris is just kind of a shmuck. He's just interested in doing things, not in doing them well, or right. I get that impression watching video of him. I get that impression of him writing about "conversational fluency" in language learning. I get that impression reading about how he won a martial arts competition by gaming the rules, not by being really skilled. So while I admire a lot of what he's accomplished, I don't know if I could really say that I want to be like him. I do want to be more jump-in-and-try-without-fear-of-failure like him, but it seems like he exaggerates his accomplishments too much without really being all that substantial. He reminds me of some people I used to work with.

Pretty cool ideas about travel though. Advice I'd like to take there.

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