Four Hour Work Week Book Review

When the 4-Hour Workweek came out back in 2007 with a lot of buzz I was interested in taking a look. However I was off to China on my international assignment and getting married so reading the 4 Hour Work Week took a back seat. Fast forward to 2010 and I rediscover the book while looking for audio books to download at our local library. I eagerly listened to this book and am left with a lot of ideas to reflect on.

What The Four Hour Work Week is Not
While there was a lot of hype about this book there was also a number of people trashing it. Just the title is enough to invoke a typical response such as “4 hours a week? Come on that’s ridiculous.”. The author has done a remarkable job taking potentially valuable concepts and themes and stretching them to an extreme in the book. The extremes in the book certainly enable the marketing buzz that created the success of the book and kudos to the author for pulling it off. I personally enjoy the extremes in the book as it helps highlight how powerful the concepts can be.

Keep in mind the concepts in the book help with a concept the author calls “lifestyle design”. If you read the book expecting to find a realistic (non-extreme) plan on how to create a 4-hour work week you’ll be disappointed.

Four Hour Work Week Book Summary
The book is an extreme howto guide for those to break free of the rat race and enjoy life. The author, who is clearly single, suggests that readers can stretch some powerful concepts to the extreme to design their preferred lifestyle starting with their current job and working towards building new businesses that can generate income while minimizing your time requirements.

My Key Takeaways
There are numerous concepts in the 4-Hour Workweek that are worth contemplating and applying if your like me and struggling to juggle it all. Here are a couple key concepts I have taken out of this book.

  • Outsourcing – It’s a bit funny that I have rediscovered this book at this point in my life. I think if I had read this book in 2007 I would have dismissed some of these concepts, because I have been a big proponent of in-sourcing as miuch as I can. I credit insourcing for a lot of our success so far in our journey to financial freedom. However now that my life is saturated I have struggled to figure out how to make it all work. I’ve realized that selective outsourcing makes a lot of sense (as long as your saturated and still gaining in your financial goals).
  • Virtual Assistant – Almost the same thing as outsourcing, but specifically a concept of hiring a foreign worker through a virtual assistant company to accomplish both business and personal tasks. I would have rejected this idea previously, but now that my life is saturated, I have realized some items of priority are not getting the right attention. It is costing me more not to address them (lost income opportunities, mental frustration of not feeling a sense of accomplishment, recognizing that time is money). Im interested in exploring the possibilities of using a virtual assistant both in my small businesses and personal activities.
  • Remote Work Agreements – The author identifies a specific plan for readers to establish a full time remote work agreement with their employer so they can implement concepts in the book. While I think implementation of a full-time remote work agreement has its drawbacks in career longevity for me, I see immediate benefits from working remotely on a more regular basis. Immediately after reading this concept I worked out an agreement to work from home 2 days a week. So far I love it – I feel like I get more work done and have more flexibility during the day. Im satisfied with this arrangement for now, but may consider expanding my remote work agreement in the future.
  • Extreme Automation – Automate everything that can be automated. Since my wife and I started a family I can related to the appeal of this concept now more than ever. Some personal examples of automation we have adapted in the past year include a Roomba, an automatic shower cleaner, and a riding lawn mower. More automation in my life to manage finances, household maintenance, and get other work done clearly has some possibilities worth investigating.
  • Mini-retirements – The author advocates mini-retirements as part of your lifestyle design. Longer than a typical vacation, spending 6 weeks plus in a foreign country or traveling on a mini-retirement is something I’d like to do. Traveling is one of the things I truly miss from our assignment in China. My wife and I really enjoyed exploring Asia and I have to say I probably felt the most alive when were in a new city or country for a long weekend. While Im not sure how to make this happen with a young child, its something I need to think more about.

If your currently suffering from being stretched too thin and stuggling to juggle everything in your life – family, friends, career, financial independence, your businesses, then read The 4-Hour Workweek. I found some fresh thinking and new concepts that I’m going to try to apply to my life to design a better lifestyle without crimping on our financial goals.

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Comments (4)

2million, I will be your "Virtual Assistant" as soon as you give me the green light!

How's your baby doing 2million? Is he/she getting big?

I'll take you up on the VA offer :-). Our daughter is growing like a weed.

It's a great summary, I think I got just enough knowledge not to read the book. I've heard a lot about it but never brought myself to buy and read it, just because the title seemed too much, too good to be true. It's one of those "loud" ideas that are actually feasible but require so much restructuring and discipline that they are probably not worth it at the end.

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
Current Net Worth: $1,938,393


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