Customer Review

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend your time where your values are, 24 Jan 2008
This review is from: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Hardcover)
Ferris is an entertaining and flamboyant character. As you read his story at the beginning of the book you can see he has always thought big, and had an entrepreneurial spirit. He takes us through his analysis of his job, insane hours, abusive clients, and no end in sight. He then focused on the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, and he paired his clients to a manageable and productive level.

One of my favorite parts of his book are all the pull quotes that start each chapter. They're really great such as "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect." And "By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day." They set the tone for each chapter.

He tells a funny story about how he won the national championship of Chinese kickboxing by exploiting a technical rule, and knocking his opponents off of the elevated platforms. The Chinese officials were not happy, but he won, legitimately. This is definitely thinking outside the box.

He goes through some thought provoking issues, such as saving your whole life to enjoy retirement. Why not have lots of mini-retirements now? He points out that less is not laziness, because he advocates doing less meaningless work, and focusing on what is important. The timing is never right, that's the case with everything, even having children, just bite the bullet and do it. Ask for forgiveness, not permission; don't give people an opportunity to say no. Emphasize your strengths, and don't bother fixing the weaknesses. This one is particularly important because most people do focus on their weaknesses instead of maximizing their strengths. There is a whole book written on this subject alone called First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently.

He highlights unusual things such as 99% of people believe they are incapable of achieving great things. Therefore that is exactly what you should set out to do because the competition is low. That's hilarious! And, probably true.

He gives some good ideas on brainstorming before you start your own company, and making sure you do your research before you jump in. He talks a lot about outsourcing, and using things like a virtual assistant. It sounds like a really good idea to pay someone to do what you're not good at and focusing on what you are good at.

He has some cheesy exercises sprinkled throughout the book, such as go to a mall and ask people of the opposite sex for their phone number. To me they are the weakest part of the book, and they felt like they were added in afterward simply so there would be exercises in it.

But this is a book worth reading. He has lots of good basic tenets. Don't work at a job you hate. Everything popular is wrong. Don't spend all day organizing your e-mails into crazy little folders. Check your e-mail only a few times a day, and when you do, address the issue in the e-mail so you don't have to come back to it. That's like the old mail handling idea of only touch a piece of paper once, don't set it aside to come back to it.

He makes starting a business sound easier than it really is, but it is a thought provoking book. One that makes you look at how you are spending your day. I wrote down a question from the book at have it on my desk "Are you being productive, or just busy?" That and many others he raises are worth asking yourself.
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Location: Noblesville, IN USA

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