The 4-Hour Workweek

  • What I think about the book:

I suggest this book to everyone, absolutely everyone. It’s about alternative thinking and making decisions based on logic, not preconceived notions.  Tim Ferriss (author) thinks outside the box and seeks to find ways to cut out the unnecessary actions we take in life and business, so we can focus on what is truly important.  I believe that his goal with writing this book was to genuinely help people understand how to think, take action,and improve their life experience.

  • My favorite pieces of advice from Tim:
    • It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.
    • So be bold and don’t worry about what people think. They don’t do it that often anyway.
    • Oftentimes, in order to do the big things, you have to let the small bad things happen. This is a skill we want to cultivate.
    • Just remember: If you don’t have attention, you don’t have time.
    • Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.
    • What is the one goal, if completed, that could change everything? What is the most urgent thing right now that you feel you “must” or “should” do? Can you let the urgent “fail”—even for a day—to get to the next milestone for your potential life-changing tasks? What’s been on your to-do list the longest? Start it first thing in the morning and don’t allow interruptions or lunch until you finish.
    • Let the small bad things happen and make the big good things happen. —OCTOBER 25, 2007
    • Be focused on work or focused on something else, never in-between.
    • Resolve to grab the reins—the rest of your life depends on it.
    • An epidemic I was long part of: job descriptions as self-descriptions.
    • If you strive to do anything remotely interesting, just expect a small percentage of the population to always find a way to take it personally. F*ck ’em. There are no statues erected to critics.
    • Most people, my past self included, have spent too much time convincing themselves that life has to be hard, a resignation to 9-to-5 drudgery in exchange for (sometimes) relaxing weekends and the occasional keep-it-short-or-get-fired vacation.
    • What is the pot of gold that justifies spending the best years of your life hoping for happiness in the last?
    • The manifesto of the dealmaker is simple: Reality is negotiable.
    • cultivating selective ignorance, developing a low-information diet, and otherwise ignoring the unimportant.
    • “someday”-a disease you will take with you to the grave
    • Ask for Forgiveness, Not Permission.
    • Emphasize Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses.
    • Money Alone Is Not the Solution.
    • Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income.
    • 1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent?
    • Doing the Unrealistic Is Easier Than Doing the Realistic From contacting billionaires to rubbing elbows with celebrities—the second group of students did both—it’s as easy as believing it can be done.
    • If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
    • Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort.
    • The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
    • Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
    • 1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. 2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
    • The goal is to find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them and to find your strengths so you can multiply them.
    • Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.
    • At least three times per day at scheduled times, he had to ask himself the following question: Am I being productive or just active? Charney captured the essence of this with less-abstract wording: Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
    • key to having more time is doing less, and there are two paths to getting there, both of which should be used together: (1) Define a to-do list and (2) define a not-to-do list.
    • Remember—unless something is well-defined and important, no one should do it. Eliminate before you delegate.
    • Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined.
    • Golden Rule #1: Each delegated task must be both time-consuming and well-defined.
    • If you aren’t an expert, don’t sweat it. First, “expert” in the context of selling product means that you know more about the topic than the purchaser. No more. It is not necessary to be the best—just better than a small target number of your prospective customers.
    • steps that created a credibility snowball effect. Here’s how you can do the same. 1. Join two or three related trade organizations with official-sounding names.
      • 2. Read the three top-selling books on your topic (search historical New York Times bestseller lists online) and summarize each on one page.
      • 3. Give one free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university, using posters to advertise.
      • 4. Optional: Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines related to your topics, citing what you have accomplished in steps 1 and 3 for credibility. If they decline, offer to interview a known expert and write the article—it still gets your name listed as a contributor.
    • Finding Products to Resell or Manufacturing Affiliate Networks: Clickbank (www.clickbank.com), Commission Junction (www.cj.com), Amazon Associates (www.amazon.com/associates) No inventory, no invoices.
    • Inventright.com- Stephen Kay comes up with the idea, files a provisional patent for less than $200, and then lets another company do the work while he collects checks. This site introduces his fail-proof process for doing the same.
    • Micro-testing involves using inexpensive advertisements to test consumer response to a product prior to manufacturing.
      • For a good introduction to Google Adwords and PPC, visit http://www.google.com/onlinebusiness. For expanded examples of the following PPC strategies, visit http://www.fourhourblog.com and search “PPC.” The basic test process consists of three parts, each of which is covered in this chapter. Best: Look at the competition and create a more-compelling offer on a basic one-to-three-page website (one to three hours). Test: Test the offer using short Google Adwords advertising campaigns (three hours to set up and five days of passive observation). Divest or Invest: Cut losses with losers and manufacture the winner(s) for sales rollout.
      • Google Adwords Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) Enter the potential search terms to find search volume and alternative terms with more search traffic. Click on the “Approx Avg Search Volume” column to sort results from most to least searched.
      • Google Website Optimizer (WO) (http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer) This is a free tool that, like Google Analytics, is better than most paid services.
      • Checking Competitive Site Traffic Want to see how much traffic your competition is getting and who is linking to them? Compete (www.compete.com) Quantcast (www.quantcast.com) Alexa (www.alexa.com)
    • RememberTheMilk.com has been really crucial to me keeping on top of my daily tasks.
    • Freshbooks.com for online invoicing •Highrise (http://www.highrisehq.com/) for online CRM
    • There are good and bad versions of all things: good food, bad food; good movies, bad movies; good sex, bad sex; and, yes, good customers and bad customers.
    • The lose-win guarantee might seem like a big risk, especially when someone can abuse it for profit like in the BodyQUICK example, but it isn’t … if your product delivers. Most people are honest. Let’s look at some actual numbers. Returns for BodyQUICK, even with a 60-day return period (and partially because of it57), are less than 3% in an industry in which the average is 12–15%
    • pay professionals instead of asking for favors. the attitude of most ppl who do favor makes it easy for them to drop the ball
    • These are not worthwhile questions. If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it. If you take just this point from this book, it will put you in the top 1% of performers in the world and keep most philosophical distress out of your life.
    • To find happiness:there are two components that are fundamental: continual learning and service.
    • Service to me is simple: doing something that improves life besides your own. This is not the same as philanthropy. Philanthropy is the altruistic concern for the well-being of mankind—human life.
    • The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
      • 1. Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake (W4W)
      • 2. Micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time Set the responsibilities, problem scenarios and rules, and limits of autonomous decision-making—then stop, for the sanity of everyone involved.
      • 3. Handling problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle
      • 4. Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with noncrisis problems Give them if-then rules for solving all but the largest problems. Give them the freedom to act without your input, set the limits in writing, and then emphasize in writing that you will not respond to help with problems that are covered by these rules. In my particular case, all outsourcers have at their discretion the ability to fix any problem that will cost less than $400. At the end of each month or quarter, depending on the outsourcer, I review how their decisions have affected profit and adjust the rules accordingly, often adding new rules based on their good decisions and creative solutions.
        • Outsourcing in the beginning is an INVESTMENT, NOT A RISK
      • 5. Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects
      • 6. Answering e-mail that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by a FAQ or auto-responder
      • 7. Working where you live, sleep, or should relax Separate your environments—designate a single space for work and solely work—or
      • 8. Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life
      • 9. Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough,
      • 10. Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work
      • 11. Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work
      • 12. Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence Life is too short to waste, but it is also too long to be a pessimist or nihilist.
      • 13. Ignoring the social rewards of life Surround yourself with smiling, positive people who have absolutely nothing to do with work. Create your muses alone if you must, but do not live your life alone. Happiness shared in the form of friendships and love is happiness multiplied.
    • If you cannot find meaning in your life, it is your responsibility as a human being to create it,
    • life is neither a problem to be solved nor a game to be won.
    • Income is renewable, but some other resources—like attention—are not.
    • Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting.
  • To Do. Actions items:
    • Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important? I also use free time-tracking software called RescueTime (www.rescuetime.com) to alert me when I spend more than an allotted time on certain websites or programs often used to avoid the important (Gmail, Facebook, Outlook, etc.).
    • “Can I make a suggestion?” “I propose …” “I’d like to propose …” “I suggest that … What do you think?” “Let’s try … and then try something else if that doesn’t work.”
      • This eliminates inefficient back & forth conversation.
    • It is imperative that you learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable. Most are all three.
    • Media fast: at least five full days, here are the rules: No newspapers, magazines, audiobooks, or nonmusic radio. Music is permitted at all times. No news websites whatsoever (cnn.com, drudgereport.com, msn.com,10 etc.). No television at all, except for one hour of pleasure viewing each evening. No reading books, except for this book and one hour of fiction/pleasure reading prior to bed. No web surfing at the desk unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day. Necessary means necessary, not nice to have. Unnecessary reading is public enemy number one during this one-week fast.
    • Develop the habit of asking yourself, “Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?”
    • I now give a GrandCentral number to anyone besides family and close friends.
    • Brickwork—based in Bangalore, India—offers “remote executive assistants,” mostly to financial firms and healthcare companies that want data processed.
    • Consider trying Earth Class Mail, a service that you can reroute all your mail to, at which point they scan and e-mail you everything that comes in, giving you the option of recycling/shredding junk, getting a scan of the contents.
    • I also use GreenByPhone.com to process checks electronically that come in through my Earth Class Mail account—they charge $5 a check, but I live in San Diego, my Earth Class Mail office address is in Seattle, and I bank in Ohio.
    • Example of barter: Six hours per week of mixed martial arts (MMA) training at the top Berlin academy: free in exchange for tutoring in English two hours per week.
    • I took a complete 10-day media fast and felt like I’d had a two-year vacation from computers.
    • Rehearse poverty regularly—restrict even moderate expenses for 1–2 weeks and give away 20%+ of minimally used clothing—so you can think big and take “risks” without fear (Seneca).
    • Slow meals = life. From Daniel Gilbert of Harvard to Martin Seligman of Princeton, the “happiness” (self-reported well-being) researchers seem to agree on one thing: Mealtime with friends and loved ones is a direct predictor of well-being. Have at least one 2-to-3-hour dinner and/or drinks per week—yes, 2–3 hours—with those who make you smile and feel good.
    • Eat a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and go for a 10-to-20-minute walk outside afterward, ideally bouncing a handball or tennis ball. This one habit is better than a handful of Prozac in the morning. (Suggested reading: The 3-Minute Slow-Carb Breakfast, How to “Peel” Hardboiled Eggs Without Peeling on
    • 1. Set rules for yourself so you can automate as much decision making as possible
    • 2. Don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action.
    • 3. Don’t postpone decisions just to avoid uncomfortable conversations.
    • 4. Learn to make nonfatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible. Set time limits (I won’t consider options for more than 20 minutes), option limits (I’ll consider no more than three options), or finance thresholds (Example: If it costs less than $100 [or the potential damage is less than $100], I’ll let a virtual assistant make the judgment call).
    • 5. Don’t strive for variation—and thus increase option consideration—when it’s not needed. Routine enables innovation where it’s most valuable.
    • 6. Regret is past-tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret.
    • simple program like the “21-day no-complaint experiment” made famous by Will Bowen, where you wear a single bracelet and move it from one wrist to the other each time you complain. The goal is 21 days without complaining and you reset to 0 each time you slip up. This increased awareness helps prevent useless past-tense deliberation and negative emotions that improve nothing but deplete your attention.
    • The Not-to-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now
      • 1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers.
      • 2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
      • 3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
      • 4. Do not let people ramble.
      • 5. Do not check e-mail constantly—“batch” and check at set times only.
      • 6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers.
      • 7. Do not work more to fix overwhelmingness—prioritize.
      • 8. Do not carry a cell phone or Crackberry 24/7. Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner.
      • 9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.
  • Quotes by others:
    • The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort. —JEAN COCTEAU, French poet
    • I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.      —MARK TWAIN
    • The Low-Information Diet CULTIVATING SELECTIVE IGNORANCE What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. —HERBERT SIMON, recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
    • A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. —HENRY DAVID THOREAU, naturalist
    • Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. —MALCOLM X, Malcolm X Speaks
    • All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. —NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI, The Prince
    • Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment. —PAUL FUSSELL, Abroad
    • If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake. —FRANK WILCZEK, 2004 Nobel Prize winner in physics
    • A mindset of scarcity (which breeds jealousy and unethical behavior) is due to a disdain for those things easily obtained (Seneca).
  • Tim’s suggested books & readings:
    • The World Is Flat, the bestseller by Tom Friedman. I like Friedman, despite his puzzling decision to wear a mustache. His book is all about how outsourcing to India and China is not just for tech support and carmakers but is poised to transform every industry in America, from law to banking to accounting.
    • Favorite reads of 2008: Zorba the Greek and Seneca: Letters from a Stoic. These are two of the most readable books of practical philosophies I’ve ever had the fortune to encounter. If you have to choose one, get Zorba, but Lucius Seneca will take you further. Both are fast reads of 2–3 evenings.
    • (Suggested reading: Rethinking Investing—Part 1, Rethinking Investing—Part 2 on www.fourhourblog.com.)
    • The Magic of Thinking Big (192 pages) BY DAVID SCHWARTZ
    • How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur’s Guide (272 pages) BY DAN S. KENNEDY This is a menu of options for converting ideas into millions.
    • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It (288 pages) BY MICHAEL E. GERBER
    • Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel (224 pages) BY ROLF POTTS
    • Walden (384 pages) BY HENRY DAVID THOREAU This is considered by many to be the masterpiece of reflective simple living. Thoreau lived on the edge of a small lake in rural Massachusetts for two years, building his own shelter and living alone, as an experiment in self-reliance and minimalism.
    • Less Is More: The Art of Voluntary Poverty—An Anthology of Ancient and Modern Voices in Praise of Simplicity (336 pages) EDITED BY GOLDIAN VANDENBROECK This is a collection of bite-sized philosophies on simple living.
    • The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (192 pages) BY RANDY KOMISAR
    • The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less (288 pages) BY RICHARD KOCH This book explores the “nonlinear” world, discusses the mathematical and historical support for the 80/20
    • “This business has legs”: How I Used Infomercial Marketing to Create the $100,000,000 Thighmaster Craze: An Entrepreneurial Adventure Story (206 pages) BY PETER BIELER
    • Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator (256 pages) BY ROGER DAWSON This is the one negotiating book that really opened my eyes and gave me practical tools I could use immediately. I used the audio adaptation. If you’re hungry for more, William Ury’s Getting Past No and G. Richard Shell’s Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People are outstanding. These are the only negotiating books you’ll ever need.
    • Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big (256 pages) BY BO BURLINGHAM
    • Verge Magazine (www.fourhourblog.com/verge) This magazine, formerly known as Transitions Abroad, is the central hub of alternative travel and offers dozens of incredible options for the nontourist.
    • How to Get $250,000 of Advertising for $10,000 (includes real scripts) How to Learn Any Language in 3 Months

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