Working Four Hours A Week

Wouldn’t it be nice to work just four hours a week and then have the rest of the time to do whatever you want? Well Timothy Ferriss thinks it’s possible and he’s got a best selling book that explains how to do just that.

Tim was nice enough to send me an advance reviewer’s copy of his book before it went to press. I was suppose to get the review out before the book hit the stores but I never got around to reading it until recently. Good thing I did because it’s a great book! And it seems I’m not the only one who thinks so. The 4-Hour Workweek is at the number one spot on the WSJ bestseller list and has made the New York Times and best seller list.

Joining The New Rich

getbook.jpgThe 4-Hour Workweek is a paradigm shifting book. It takes the old concept of saving for the rest of your life so you can retire plan and turns it upside down. Tim talks about joining the “New Rich” – the group of people who have both money and time freedom. He makes the argument that having a lot of money isn’t much fun if you don’t have time to enjoy it. And of course, he’s right.

Tim’s book is based around two rules. The first I have talked about before. It’s call the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of all work is done by top 20%. The second rules I have touched on in the past but have never fully explained. It states that time expands to fill the work done. In other words, if you give someone five hours to do a job, they will take the full five hours. If you give them one hour, they will do it in one hour. Tim feels the combination of these two rules can increase your productivity to the point where you only need to work four hours a week.

Let’s Make a DEAL

The 4-Hour Workweek is divided into four steps; Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation. If you are an employee you will need to do Liberation before you can do Automation.

The chapter on automation will be especially interesting for John Chow dot Com readers. The entire basis of the 4-Hour Workweek is to have something else produce the income for you so you don’t have to. This is where the Muse come in. A Muse is a business or system the run itself without much interference from the owner (kinda like this blog). Tim talks about finding and testing the Muse and management by absence.

Outsourcing Your Life

The key to having a 4-hour workweek is to outsource anything that can be done by someone else. Big companies do this all the time. The big six accounting firms outsource all their their simple accounting task, Dell Computers outsource their call centers and Anderson Consulting has been known to outsource entire IPO proposals to Brickworks in India, pay $250,000 for it and charge the client $2.5 million. If the big boys can outsource, why can’t you?

If you wish to see just how much you can outsource your life, read this story by by AJ Jacobs, editor-at-large at Esquire magazine. It’s a real eye opener.

The 4-Hour Workweek is available now on or your local bookstores. I highly recommend you pick up a copy.

96 thoughts on “Working Four Hours A Week”

  1. Do I smell a best seller?

    1. John Chow says:

      It’s already a best seller. :mrgreen:

      1. obviously, he didn’t read the review in full

        1. Jarle says:

          I guess he just wanted to be the first to make a comment πŸ™‚

        2. ritchie says:

          Why not work a little more efficiently and just take 2 hours a week? 😈

  2. April says:


    You may already know this, but when doing a search on goole I found this site:

    Why is it identical to yours?


    1. spankbot is a proxy website. someone may have used the site to view which would then “grabbed” the content

    2. John Chow says:

      That is a CGI-based proxy surfing site.

  3. devtrench says:

    I love these kind of books, and am going to have to pick this one up for a read. Thanks for the review.

    1. certainly, i’m convinced by john’s review.

      it’s be nice if there is a digital version available

    2. I like picking up a book the old-school way — go to a book shop, browse a little, browse a lot. This book definitely sounds like a good read. I mean, who wouldn’t want a 4-hour work week?

  4. Tyler says:

    Is the Amazon Link a referal? 😈

    1. John Chow says:

      No, I am not an affiliate. I copy and paste the code off Tim’s blog, who I’m sure is an affiliate. 😈

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        Why aren’t you an Amazon affiliate? It looks like you could make a bunch from this referral. Any reason to stay away from Amazon?

        1. i agree with you and i’m sure john will join it very soon. it’s gonna be another income source for john

          1. Lewis Empire says:

            I’m still amazed you’re not an affiliate.

        2. simon says:

          I think John cannot handle that much affiliate net or he don’t want to earn too much money. :mrgreen:

        3. MrGPT says:

          Wow! John’s not an Amazon affiliate :O ?
          You could be making even more $$$ 😯 .

        4. I think if John wanted to earn through Amazon, he would’ve been an affiliate a long time ago IMHO.

          1. John Chow says:

            You would be right. 😈

      2. Jarle says:

        Well, that was a nice thing to do. Would you mind copying some affiliate links from me to? πŸ™‚

  5. egon says:

    Looks like it Tyler. I already bought this actually, haven’t read it yet but I’ve heard other very good things about it.

  6. Lewis Empire says:

    Is this a book that will change the way you think about success or is it another one that will end up in the pile? Any new ideas or just a new title and marketing team?

    1. john did a very good review, and think it’s worth a read

    2. John Chow says:

      There are some good new ideas in the book. The first chapter is about changing the way you think about success. However, the remaining chapters are more nuts and bolts with plenty of resources to check out.

      1. ritchie says:

        Have you implemented the 4hour schedule yet?

        1. Lewis Empire says:

          I have friends with full time jobs that still find a way to work a 4 hour week.

        2. John Chow says:

          I’m more closer to a 10 hour workweek right now.

    3. I usually turn to acclaimed bestseller lists to help me decide. Personally, I think they won’t even be glorified if they didn’t have any literary value at all. If it ends up in my to-read pile, that’s only because I still have to work more than 4 hours a week and have no time to read it yet. When I’m done reading the book, I could only hope I could adapt it in my life. Eventually, the “pile” would just have to be non-existent. 😎

  7. Bloggrrl says:

    I keep trying to get someone at Brickworks to teach my class, but they refuse. My boss won’t let me work from home, either. Stupid students.

    I guess it’s time to develop that orange, fur-covered pencil holder I’ve been thinking about.

    1. John Chow says:

      Liberation before Automation. πŸ˜€

      1. I’m sure I’ll have a better grasp of these ideologies after I’ve read the book. πŸ˜‰ Liberation — something I would very much like to have! πŸ˜€

  8. John, a great book review. well explained and straight to the point.
    i’m sure many born and raised in an english-speaking enviroment wouldn’t manage that

  9. Paul says:

    I totally agree with the idea of enjoying your time and money. Who wants to be rich but so busy that you can’t enjoy what you have.

    1. True that — whatever endeavor I undertake (work-wise), at the end of the day (a 1-hour work day, ideally LOL) it would be nice to have the time to do other things as well.

  10. Michael says:

    I got it on audio last month. VERY good. Probably one of the best I ever read/listened to.

    Working towards my 4 hour work week!


  11. Idea is great – problem is to many is that Liberation cannot come BEFORE there is a solid ground to achieve it without loosing financial security πŸ™‚

    Well all strive for it but only 1% will get it according to John Reese, interesting huh ? πŸ‘Ώ

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      But that’s still 4.5 Million people in the United States alone.

      1. Good point — not everyone will be able to achieve it, but the idea of it being possible is still very intriguing. Gives the rest of us a little ray of hope even.

  12. webd360 says:

    its looks like a good book, I’ll check it out

  13. simon says:

    4-hour workweek sounds great! Make a blog and hire someone to write for you is one of the system runs itself without much interference from the owner. It just like or other big blog.

    1. Outsourcing is a wonderful thing, isn’t it. 😎

  14. I’m almost done reading this book, and it is definitely good for business owners/entrepreneurs of all levels. I got kinda bored with the first few chapters, but his advice on automation and outsourcing is priceless.

    1. ritchie says:

      automation is the new freedom. I think I’ll have to check this book out.

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        Me too. It’s nice to hear good reviews from people (rather than taking the Best Seller’s list word for it)

        1. Testimonials are definitely refreshing.

  15. shman says:

    I don’t think working 4 hours/week is enough to achieve any bigger goals. I will read this book but I’m sceptic about it.

    1. MrGPT says:

      Yeah, I agree, but John did say it talks about outsourcing your work. So basically you are paying people to work for you, but getting a bigger profit at the end of the month. Outsourcing sounds nice… πŸ˜›

    2. webd360 says:

      Well there are those that do work very little and make thousands, even millions. One such story that comes to mind is the pletyoffish guy, who has been an inspiration for many webmasters (google it if you don’t know about him- basically he makes millions and only works an hour a day)

    3. Realistically, what are the chances of everyone getting a 4-hour work week anyway? I feel that it definitely encourages other work practices to make more time for other things. Whether you end up with 4-hour work weeks or 4-day work weeks — the bottom line is you learn a few new things, make the most of your time, and get to enjoy life more.

  16. This seems like one of those books where the people who might actually achieve the goal don’t really need the book to get there. I doubt it offers any really good information beyond inspiration for chasing your dreams.

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      I’m with you. Making money off a catchy title so he can go to a 4 hour work week.

  17. Need to follow my instincts more, I had read this book nearly 4 weeks ago and wanted to blog about it.
    What I like most about Tim was that he does not like the laid out rules, particular case when he lost his weight rapidly and pushed his opponents down to win a competition.


  18. HalOtis says:

    I finished reading the book a few weeks ago (actually wrote a review on my site) Right now I’m actually taking his advice and following his suggestions on creating a muse.

    The nuts and bolts details that he gives in the book really make it.

    There’s a couple of really valuable insights in there.

    1. MrGPT says:

      How’s that going? πŸ˜‰

      1. ritchie says:

        How many hours a week are you working now?

    2. Lewis Empire says:

      So you think it’s worth a read? I hate the self-help or success books that simply re-package old ideas.

    3. I saw it on the bookstand last week I think; I should have bought it then. But thanks for sharing your insights on the book, just made me want to read it more.

  19. Amit says:

    Great Review! I just bought the book. I’m a full time affiliate and I already have a great lifestyle, I work 4 hours a day.

    But any book that can show me how to further systematize my business and increase my productivity, I’m all about! πŸ˜€

    1. 4 hours a day isn’t too shabby; good for you!

  20. Bingo Man says:

    I took this book with me on holiday to Croatia last week, its a very worthwhile read, its a kind of concise guide to affiliate marketing or dropshipping with a lifestyle guide on how you can enjoy your time to the full.

    I like how you can change your attitude towards work at your job and also things you do on the side to make more out of them, kind of deflect the things that most people in the office complain about so you can just get on with doing better things with your time.

    I fully recommend the book.

  21. Lincoln says:

    The book seems to reaffirm the age old adage: Gotta have money to make money (and free up some time). πŸ˜›

    Assuming you have the financial budget of a small nation, outsourcing still has its down side, as it cedes a degree of control over aspects of your business to third parties, some of who may not be able to maintain the same kind of quality of service than if you had kept it all in house.

    I’m not sure a 4 hour a week work schedule is even healthy. We’re made to work, it’s just that many of us OVER-work, and herein lies the problem. If a 4 hour work schedule frees us up to pursue other pet projects though, then I can certainly see it’s immense value.

    Sorry, thinking too much here. 😯

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      Imagine what this guy (and others) could accomplish if they dedicated a full 30 or 40 hours of work each week.

  22. Chris says:

    I highly recommend the book too. I’ve read it and it has a lot of useful tools. I also have a direct link on my website to purchase the book for $11.97.

    check it out.


  23. Rosinha says:

    Come on 4 hours a week, that’s absurd? Not even with outsourcing, or anything like, you can achieve that kind of results.

    I don’t want to be unfair to the writer, but it seems to be too good to be true.

    Excelent review anyway John!

    Beijinho (kiss)

    1. John Chow says:

      Even if I reduced my workweek to zero, I would still bring in 5 figures every month. That’s the power of automation. 😈

  24. Jarle says:

    Amit: I just subscribed to your feed. Looks like a good blog.

  25. Thanks for the great post John. Yes this book is awesome! I bought the audio-download version in iTunes, and have listened to it three times so far. The Four Hour Workweek book contains so much information, it will take at least five more listens to really soak it up. Now it is time to start implementing the ideas from the book so I can free up more time for podcasting! :mrgreen:

    Tuning In With Wayne Henderson podcast

  26. Ryan says:

    I actually devoured this book in two sittings. It really is fantastic and I look forward to seeing how folks take action on it in the coming months.

    I must say John, I’m really surprised you didn’t give this book away as a contest. Then again, maybe you’re saving that up for another post. I think I smell more link bait cooking…

    1. John Chow says:

      I can’t give this book away. It’s an uncorrected reviewer’s copy. The table of content all say page 0.

  27. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m planning on picking up the audiobook from Audible. For everyone objecting to the notion of only working 4 hours a week, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re idle all the rest of the hours. It means once the business that keeps you fed is taken care of in those 4 hours (which under an regular mindset could fill more than 40 hours due to the rule John mentioned), you’re free to pursue other things. Maybe its leisure, but it could just as well be more work — but instead stuff that is riskier or might not payoff in the near term. Or you can go help other people, etc. Its about minimizing the amount of time spent on the necessary and freeing time up for all the other possibilities you can’t do in a 40+hr x 5days x 50weeks work life.

    Also as John says, freedom has to come first, but that’s probably the hardest step. Try to use your free time after work and on vacation (or even at work if it allows… :twisted:) to create the seeds of that freedom.

  28. David Beroff says:

    Here‘s the original (unabridged) Esquire article on “My Outsourced Life”.

  29. DerekBeau says:

    I read this book a couple weeks ago. Very entertaining and enlightening at the same time.

  30. McBilly says:

    Wow. This sounds really interesting. I haven’t heard of this book until your review John. I’ll check this book out this weekend. I hope our national bookstore already has a copy.

    Thanks for the great review John. 😎

  31. CatherineL says:

    Thanks for the info John. I already try to automate and outsource as much as I can, but a four hour work week sounds amazing. I’ll definitely be reading this book.

    By the way, I don’t blame you for not being an Amazon affiliate. I joined year ago when there were fewer ways to monetise your sites and it has been the worst money maker ever for me. Honestly, it’s barely worth wasting your time copying and pasting the links.

  32. Arrrgh…. why can’t I work that same amount of time (4 Hours) on daily basis.

    Until now, to earn more than four figures, I need to works more than 12 hours a day. Ok.. I need to strategised my effort and make it worthy.

    Thanks for the information.

  33. Casey says:

    Oh, it would be nice to just work four hours a week.

  34. NoLove says:

    What a joke!
    4 hours a week? That’s barely enough time to read the paper.
    Ever try raising a kid on 4 hours a week? that’s the best way to create a new serial killer.
    Outsource? Get someone who works cheaper than you do to do your work for you? Crap
    No Love

  35. Outsourcing is a very smart way to go, I must say. With the right contacts and some initial hard work, things could just get a little easier.

  36. 27amDotCom says:

    >> I don’t want to be unfair to the writer, but it seems to be too good to be true.

    Nothing “too good” about it. Once you read this much-talked-about book you’ll have a better grasp on how to use Virtual Assistants and automation to cut down your work significantly. Whether you then turn that into a “4 Hour Work week” lifestyle or instead get even MORE done… is up to you, your ambitions and your goals.

    I have 2 of my own reports that talk of similar principles which I made free with a recent offer because of all the attention Tim’s book is getting. If you’re interested… see: “What Does The 4-Hour Workweek Have To Do With an Ex-Minimum Wage Cook Who Went From No Money, No Time, No Credibility and No Experience to Replacing His JOb At Age 23 and $1000+ Days Online”

    Sidenote: This book focuses on building a lot of automation and using outsourcing, therefore, if you’re just getting started and barely even have a business plan in place… this will NOT benefit you as much as it would someone who already has an established company.

    Although, that being said, you can apply the same principles (like Tim does) to your personal life as well.

    >> Outsource? Get someone who works cheaper than you do to do your work for you?

    Are you employed somewhere? Congratulations… you fall right into that category. YOU are that someone who will work cheaper on your given duties that the company owner and his management team. And what do you benefit? And income stream that helps you feed and take care of your family.

    Rob Toth
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada

  37. Mac-Sage says:

    I’m reading this book now and have found it to be better than average. Most of these kinds of books create huge claims and promises and end up delivering fluff and re-worked concepts. This one does well at offering some solid advice and some practical approaches.

    I’m halfway through, but not yet quite ready to quit my day job.

    Good review! Thanks.

    1. The good thing about this book is that even if you don’t end up with a 4-hour work week, you still get to learn efficient work practices that could ease the load even a little bit. Working 40 hours a week is still better than 60.

  38. Working four hours a week!?!?!? thats only 16 hrs a month!!! thatd be awesome!

    1. It is unrealistic.

      Sounds to me like some kind of pyramid scheme. If it was so good and so easy, how come everyone isn’t doing it?? Imagine if most people followed these teachings, eventually you’d have a top 1% doing nothing and the other 99% doing all the work needed to make the world go round.

      Oh gee, that’s already happening NOW!

  39. Rob Schultz says:

    Adding that to my wishlist…when I’m done working my 8 hour day I’m buying this puppy up!

  40. Great review, this sounds like a great book. I’ll try anything to get out of the 40 hour work week.

  41. Wahlau.NET says:

    nice book…i think it is everyone dream to work only 4 hours/day, although you will have a lot of time not knowing what to do.

  42. Jimson Lee says:

    I’d rather AUTOMATE certain, rather than outsource them.

    On the subject of kids, why hire a baby sitter when all you really want is a personal chef and molly maid, to cook and clean for you?

    After all, QUALITY time is what you really crave for, isn’t it?

  43. Just got a copy today (not through Amazon, I’m afraid). Can’t wait to read it!

  44. Jorge says:

    You got me curious. πŸ™„

  45. John Cow says:

    Sounds brilliant. Unachievable for most of us though.

  46. 27amDotCom says:

    >>>> Unachievable for most of us though.

    What a ridiculous statement. You need to read “Excuse Makers Are Not Money Makers” (it was actually inspired by some of the comments I’ve read on this blog)

    (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to grab a copy: )

    There is NOTHING special about what Tim did and what he explains in his book.

    In fact, you likely haven’t had the opportunity to even read the book yet. Please don’t judge a book by it’s title. You’ll miss out on a lot of valuable education by applying assumptions.

    It certainly is attainable by anyone… the majority, however, will never work towards it.

    Rob Toth

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