ProdPod: Episode 51 — Two-Minute Book Summary: The Four-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

Reading Time (est.): 2 minutes

The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss mentions the Pareto Principle (which I explained in Episode 49), so I figured I would highlight the book’s key points in this episode.

At its core, the Four-Hour Workweek is about creating a lifestyle that works for you, not vice versa. If you haven’t listened to Episode 49, it defines the Pareto Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) as Ferriss implemented in his own professional world.

The author uses a strategy composed of Definition, Elimination, Automation and then Liberation (the acronym, DEAL) to effectuate his “lifestyle design” concept.
First, Definition boils down to planning. What are your goals, needs and wants?
Next, Elimination is the where he discusses effectiveness over efficiency. And, while I disagree with his bases for the discussion, he effectively discusses using the 80/20 rule here to learn to focus, say “no,” and eliminate distractions (for example, the idea of going on an “information diet”).
Then, the section on Automation is about tactics to create passive revenue streams; basically, businesses that can run themselves. While this idea is appealing, I say stick to doing what you’re passionate about and avoid this get-rich-quick scheme-y thought stream. Either way, I think he adds some great thoughts on hiring a virtual assistant (see ProdPod Episodes 38 through 41 on outsourcing parts of your life for greater productivity)!
Finally, Liberation covers the concept of making your life mobile, if possible.
In a practical sense, I think you’d apply his methodology as Definition, Elimination, Liberation and then Automation, if you’re already working full-time for an employer; but that’s up to practicalities of finance and time/energy resources available to you.
One key concept that I really enjoyed about the book was his idea of mini-retirements so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor before you’re too old and gray to really enjoy life.
Altogether, the Four-Hour Workweek provides you a framework to understand that your time and life are valuable beyond the 9-5 humdrum. And for that, we can all appreciate ourselves a little more.