The 4-Hour Workweek: Plot
Tim Ferriss’s best-selling business book The 4-Hour Workweek is a hilarious reevaluation of our standard approach to work, life, and retirement. With characteristic style, energy, and humor, Ferriss introduces us to a way of thinking and doing that breaks out of the somewhat stale and inefficient routine that passes for work in many people’s lives. He questions everything—from the need to possess excessive amounts of money to ideas about retirement, security, and the very structure of the corporate work world. But Ferriss doesn’t just turn our favorite (or not so favorite) life and work notions on their heads: he provides us with solutions, both new ways of thinking and practical steps that we can take to create a whole new experience.
The book is divided into four main sections which are organized under the headings formed by the letters of the acronym DEAL, which stands for
Those preferring to keep their jobs while working remotely are advised to switch the order to DELA—Liberation before Automation—since the corporate world has a tendency to mistake efficiency for laziness. This raises another of Ferriss’s main points. Despite its cover, which shows a man lying lazily in a hammock, The 4-Hour Workweek is not about trading in a life of overwork for a life of idleness. Instead, its purpose is to substitute meaningless, needless activity with meaningful, focused activity that brings maximum results and/or enjoyment. Ferriss himself leads an extremely active life, and his interviews of other members of the class he has dubbed the “New Rich” reveal a general agreement among them that the two most important substitutes for work are learning and service.
To get us there, though, Ferriss walks us through the process step by step, from redefining and reevaluating our goals and values to eliminating the useless and maximizing our resources—including time and attention—to automating and outsourcing. Each chapter contains several standard sections which usually break down as follows: anecdotes, introduction to new ideas, practical advice, a Questions and Actions section, Tools and Tricks, a Comfort Challenge, and a Lifestyle Design in Action section. Not all chapters contain all sections, and the order changes according to need. All of it, though, is designed to help us break free from self-imposed limitations to discover a new world of possibilities and adventure.
One thing, too, is clear: even if you have no interest in business, money, or travel, The 4-Hour Workweek is a fun and entertaining read that should give you at least one or two interesting new ideas. If you’re open-minded and adventurous, you’re bound to come away with much more than that. And Ferriss doesn’t stop there. The accompanying website provides readers with tools, templates, advice, and connections so that, by the time you’re even a quarter of the way through, you may very well find that your existence has already significantly changed. If not, at the very least, you’ll have a few good laughs.