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247 of 259 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 4 Jun. 2008
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This review is from: The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich (Paperback)
This seems to me to be a book of two halves. In the first half, Ferris gives a step by step action plan for eliminating non-essential work, outsourcing a lot of the remaining work, and giving a detailed blueprint for designing, test-running and developing an 'automated' on-line businesses (or businesses) - that is, a business whereby most of the functions are performed by outsourced companies, hence it is scaleable and allows the owner to keep only a very light hand on the tiller, through weekly or monthly reporting by the outsourcers. The idea is to free you up from the dull treadmill of routine work to allow you to focus on the important things in life now rather than waiting for some deferred gaol to be achieved (eg. retirement). I found this first half of the book excellent and have already started implementing his ideas - Ferris has definitely fired me up enough to give it a go.

The second part seems to focus mainly on what you should do with all the free time that you have managed to free up, and how to cope with the existential issues raised by having nothing to do. His solution is to travel extensively and keep learning (languages, martial arts, dance, etc), and so he gives a lot of tips on how to do that type of thing. It's quite a US-centric book and no doubt the concept of travelling widely is quite revolutionary to a lot of americans but I personally felt the second half of the book a bit irrelevent in the sense that a) I've been there/done that and b) I reckon I'm capable of finding my own life-affirming ways to make use of any free time the first half of the book creates for me.

But overall, I thought it was a great book, and I thought Ferris writes clearly and engagingly. I found it a gripping read and am feeling excited about implementing many of his ideas in the coming weeks.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Sep 2011 16:43:19 BDT
As an American expat reading your post, I'd caution you to be a bit more considerate of your audience. Americans, just like Europeans, often travel thousands of miles in a single trip. The difference is, when an American travels two thousand miles he/she is still in America. When a Brit travels two thousand miles he/she, by default, will be in a different country. It's a bit more difficult and vastly more expensive for Americans to travel abroad as easily and inexpensively as it is for Europeans. Though in spite of this this I can assure you that few of us regard 'travelling widely' as 'revolutionary' but rather we view travel as a cultural luxury not to be taken for granted (most likely the reason for the US author's didactics on travel in the latter half of his book). I only wish that when I was living in America I saw more Europeans...

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2012 11:41:12 BDT
Derek Larney says:
Having travelled to over 70 countries in my 20's I'd tend to disagree Jennifer- Americans don't travel anywhere as near as what Europeans do, in fact statistics show that 40% of Texans have never left Texas which is similar in size to France. Over 96% of French nationals have left France, i.e. the French travel abroad quite a bit more that the average Texan.

When I backpacked through Asia, Russia, South America, etc I met hundreds of other travellers in hostels and B&B's. The one thing that always stuck out was that less than 10% were American, in fact I met more Canadians than Americans on my travels, despite them only having about 15% of the US population. The only place where I met more Americans was in places closer to America- plenty travelling around Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala (albeit mainly new age hippies from San Fran).

Anyway now I run a B&B myself through and over 80% of my guests are American as it is quite a popular website in the US (not so much in Europe, at least not yet). I've slowly discovered the main reason why Americans don't travel outside of the US when they are young. It is because when you guys leave college you tend to be $100k-$250k in debt for your college tuition whereas in Europe our socialist system funds the universities and the vast majority of students leave with little or no debt. I myself spent 5 years in a top 100 university and left with a Masters and a total debt of $5,000. I am always astounded when my American guests tell me how much their university costs them- my jaw just drops at the debt they are in at the age of 22/23.

For European youth travel is a rite of passage- in the summers students can buy an Inter-Rail pass which allows them to travel right across the continent and into up to 32 countries if they wish. 90% of students travel during the summer break, even if it is only for 3 or 4 weeks. During my own 5 years in uni I worked for 2 months and then traveled to Asia for two months every single summer- this meant that by the time I was 23 I had been in over 18 different Asian countries. This sort of travel is considered normal enough for the average European student. What happens because of travel at such a young age is that it becomes the norm and the more we see the more we want to see.

When we finish university another rite of passage is the 'Gap Year'. This usually involves living, working and holidaying for a year in countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand. Most people get 'Round the World' flight tickets which allow stop overs in Asia on the way over and South America on the way home, this affords them even more opportunity to travel as these tickets are (relatively) cheap.

As we are debt free upon leaving university it means we can spend long periods in developing world countries in Asia, South America, etc for relatively little money. I used to live like a king in Asia for less than $250 per week including all beds, 3 meals a day, excursions and bus/rail tickets. What all this does is instil a love of travel into the average European from a very young age and for me (personally at least) that love of travel has continued to this day. Last year I visited Norway, Iceland and the Uk. This year I've been to Austria and in October am due to go back to Nepal for my third trip there.

Travel is a real eye opener and I wouldn't give up my holiday times for the world.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 08:03:14 BDT
I couldn't agree more with the first part of your comments Derek. However without wishing to be completely brutal, Jennifer's comments and the statistics on how few Americans actually travel outside of America, at any age in the their lives, not just when they are young and have just left college, proves once again, (generally speaking), that they are a nation with a huge chip on their shoulder with a blinkered, brainwashed view of their country, their culture and the rest of the world (which obviously they are bigger and better than), and this is in fact the main reason why they do not travel as extensively as other nations - they do not see or feel the need to because they are so great and America has everything thy need... (and no doubt the reason why less and less people from other countries desire to go to America - a shame because it does have a lot to offer and the people there, again generally speaking, can be extremely hospitable). Apologies for being so honest Jennifer if you read this. It's not personal. I am just extremely well travelled myself (globally), have had many dealings with America and Americans and unfortunately as a result, have been left with somewhat of a love hate relationship with both. I'd recommend an 'open minded' trip to Japan for any American (or anybody else), that disagrees or otherwise. This is the absolute contrast to American life, culture and mindset and much could be learned from it. Best wishes to all :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Aug 2013 15:14:48 BDT
Cecilia Hope says:
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