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Directions for Hiding from the Boss, Starting an Automated Internet Business, and Being a Global Vagabond
on 10 September 2007
Did you know that if the trends of the last two centuries hold, everyone's workweek will be four hours by 2407? What will people do with all that free time? It's a good question that this book recommends you consider.
Mr. Ferriss does a favor for those who hate their jobs but cannot find work they like by explaining how you can still draw a salary while working very few hours (by hiding from the boss and using the 80/20 rule -- 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts). His method is deliberately manipulative (possibly fraudulent is another possible description that comes to mind), so you'll have to watch out that you don't get caught or you might have to repay some of that salary.
What do you do while you are hiding from the boss? Mr. Ferriss recommends starting a highly profitable online retail business that's so highly automated it can be operated in only four hours a week. You'll find details of how to do this that matches what I receive in lots of spam e-mails every week.
After you've got half a million a year rolling in by selling expensive items at a high profit margin, Mr. Ferriss provides lots of advice on how to take six-month miniretirements in cheap places around the world (Argentina and Berlin are his favorites). I'm still puzzled by why Berlin can be a cheap place to live. The rest of Germany when I've visited certainly isn't.
The book's come-on explains how Mr. Ferriss has accomplished all kinds of world-class things to boost his credibility. Unfortunately, you'll find that it isn't always classy how Mr. Ferriss does this. For example, he won the Gold Medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championships in 1999. He dehydrated himself more than the other competitors did the day before the competitions for the weigh in so that he could compete against men much smaller and lighter than he was, and he then simply used his quickly regained weight the next day to push competitors off the platform (three times off the platform and you are disqualified).
I find several problems with this book:
1. There's almost nothing original in it. You're just reading summaries that might have been written by a $5 an hour researcher in India. And much of what he draws on isn't acknowledged. For instance, he uses some of Dr. Stephen Covey's seven habits as chapter subtitles . . . but never references or credits Dr. Covey once in the book.
2. He provides so little information on each aspect of his ideas that I doubt that very many readers can really implement what he recommends.
3. There's no moral center to the book. Mr. Ferriss comes across as a con man in several ways.
4. He achieves a 4-hour workweek by simply skimming the cream of a business model that any one of two billion literate people can implement at some level. Are we to believe this business model will be highly profitable for the next several years? I doubt it.
5. I've met very few small business people who simply wanted to retail something on the Internet so they could work only four hours a week. Usually, small business people see their businesses and work as a creative activity that energizes them.
I do admire the book's title. It's a real grabber. It's too bad that there's not more substance to go with it.
If you want to learn how to make breakthroughs in personal and organizational productivity that allow you to live the life you want, there are better resources out there such as The E-Myth Manager by Michael E. Gerber, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer, How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein, and Photoreading by Paul R. Scheele.