4-Hour Work Week
It's been a month since I started my new bucket list goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks. At this point I've completed four, and have started on two others. Next to exercising, this is probably the most therapeutic task I could do. I'm loving it, and I feel more at peace than I have in months. It's amazing what happens when you turn the world off for significant periods of time to focus on a muse. The four books I've read thus far are Gordon Rugg's Blind Spot, Paul Miller's A Praying Life, Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Work Week, and Bill Schultheis' The New Coffeehouse Investor. Are any of these the best book I've ever read? Well, no.
The 4-Hour Work Week is a book I'd recommend everybody read in their spare time. But who has spare time these days? That's a large focus of the text. Ferriss writes about his lifestyle and the lifestyles of what is termed "the New Rich." Whereas the norm is to work hard and stock as much money away for retirement as you can, Ferriss' point is to live a lifestyle of mini-retirements rather than leaving it all for the last 15-30 years of your life. Seems reasonable, but what's a mini-retirement?
A mini-retirement is when an individual or family does some form of travel or relaxation that lasts a period of months rather than for a weekend, and is during their working career rather than after it. But is this feasible?
How most of us live and work, not really. The framework to having this opportunity is to create automation and mobility. Obviously if you want to spend 6 months backpacking through Europe you're going to need to pay for a few things. If you love your job, you're going to need to make it mobile, too. Ferriss goes through, quite well, different practical ways to make most positions more hands-off. He does this himself and references dozens of fan letters from people doing the same. It seems to be possible in many situations. The 4-Hour Work Week is not about getting rich quickly, or even getting rich at all, really. It's about creating steady income that will allow you to balance full-time employment around doing the things you really want to do.
One of the underlying messages - why wait till you're old when you can do it when you're young - is great insight, particularly for its simplicity. My thoughts: why spend our entire lives working hard to plan for retirement, when we won't even be able to enjoy those same endeavors as much because we're less physically capable, and because we've taught ourselves over the last 40 years of our lives that spare time is time that should be used for increased productivity? We spend too much time programming ourselves to be busy that we forget how to enjoy the world around us. 40 years of the same ill-focused thought process is difficult to break.
Does Ferriss shoot for a literal 4-hour work week? Yes and no. The goal isn't to be lazy, the goal is to create automation - where you can do what you want and only focus on the things to which your touch is vital. In some cases, being able to cut out emails, phone calls, and unnecessary management can allow for a 4-hour work week, but more commonly you'd be looking at working a bit more, potentially a lot more, with the freedom and flexibility to disappear for an extended period of time should you want to.
Even if you don't care about any of what I just went over, Ferriss does a great job of keeping the content easy and humorous. Anybody, even teenagers, can learn a lot through it.