The 4-Hour Workweek: Chapter Summary (Chapter 16 and 17)
Top 13 New Rich Mistakes
Why You Shouldn’t Make Them
These final two chapters are so succinct they hardly need summarizing. In fact, they really just function as a reminder and summary of everything you’ve just read, in case you need that one final push. Here is the basic message:
The very first misconception Ferriss attempts to clear up is the idea that you won’t make mistakes. Expect to make them—it’s part of the game, part of the learning experience.
Now that you’ve cleared that hurdle, here are some things to avoid or at least to try to spend as little time on as possible …
1. Never stop dreaming—and definitely don’t get caught up in W4W (work for work’s sake).
A lot of what follows is just different ways of saying the same thing, maybe from slightly different angles:
2. Don’t micromanage just to fill your time. Establish clear-cut guidelines, then let people do their work.
3. Don’t handle issues that other people should be dealing with.
4. Don’t help outsourcers with the same issue over and over again or with non-crisis issues. Put as much as possible in writing, and give people a chance to use their heads. Periodically review the results and make any necessary adjustments. Ferriss does this once a month, often adding ideas from his outsourcers.
5. Don’t chase customers when you have plenty of cash flow to fund your non-business goals.
6. Don’t personally answer e-mail that can be taken care of by an autoresponder or a FAQ, especially if doesn’t promise to result in a sale.
7. Don’t work, eat, sleep, and relax in the same space. Set aside a special space for work so that it doesn’t engulf the rest of your life.
8. Don’t forget to do a “thorough 80/20 analysis” of your work and personal lives on a regular basis.
9. Don’t be a perfectionist. Ferriss considers this too time-consuming a goal and recommends instead going for “great” in a few things and “good enough” in the rest.
10. Don’t make mountains out of molehills—especially not if you’re using them as an excuse to W4W (translation: fill your time with unimportant minutiae).
11. Don’t create urgency where it doesn’t exist. Focus instead on finding real meaning in your life, whether through fulfilling your dreamlining goals or finding meaningful work, or a combination of the two.
12. Don’t become myopic by allowing your focus to become too one-sided. Focusing too much on one thing can lead you to miss out on much of what life has to offer. Keep your sense of adventure.
13. Don’t forget to share your life with others. Ferriss says this best:
“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.”
The main body of the book, excluding the supplementary section, ends with a poem. It’s called “Slow Dance,” and it’s written by child psychologist David Weatherford. What it says, essentially, is that life is too short to not slow down and really experience it—to listen to the rain, to watch the butterfly, to spend time with the people you love.
It would be easy to rush through The 4-Hour Workweek and come away with the impression that it’s all about business and money and getting the most bang for your buck or squeezing the most out of life. But if you slow down and read it carefully, you realize that it’s really about balance, about finding meaning in a world that too easily goes mad and loses the thread that makes us not have to ask: what is this all about, anyway? Ferriss’s real goal is to help us get back to that place of sanity and heart—to get back in touch with the core of our being and remember what’s really important in life.
The new, expanded version of The 4-Hour Workweek doesn’t end there. With his usual generosity and enthusiasm, Ferriss gives us another seventy pages consisting of “The Best of the Blog,” Lifestyle Design case studies, recommended reading to help us implement the new lifestyle, and some bonus material available through the accompanying website. The effect is similar to the format of the individual chapter endings, with their Questions and Actions, Tools and Tricks, and Lifestyle Design in Action sections—just longer. It covers such things as packing light, precise guidelines for remote assistants, effective decision-making, random insights into work and life, and tips for remote working arrangements.
One feeling you do not get on completing this book is that you’re in this alone. Ferriss has done a huge amount of the preliminary evaluating and problem-solving for us, and whatever he hasn’t covered can probably be found through his blog, in one of the many LD case studies, or in the hundreds of postings on his website. Even the acknowledgements are worth reading because they make Ferriss’s commitment to an active, involved, caring life really apparent. The 4-Hour Workweek is not about turning off and tuning out—just the opposite, it’s about leading a genuinely full, meaningful, active life that benefits both ourselves and those around us. If you’re ready to do that, this book will get you on your way.