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VINE VOICEon 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.
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on 16 September 2008
After reading the reviews and skimming the book in a local bookstore I bought this book.
To be honest it isn't a bad read and some tips (like leaving a message on your email, focusing on outcomes before you have a meeting and outsourcing where possible) were quite interesting but the main drawback seemed to me that it was really just a book for management and sale people not real producers and "wealth creators"
If you are a factory worker making cars, computers widgets etc you have to be there full time you can't outsource that work.
If you are a doctor you need to be there more than 4 hours a week
A teacher, nurse, shop worker, bus driver, airline pilot (the list goes on and on) can't expect to be paid a full salary for a 10% workload.
It just reinforces my prejudices that we really don't need managers at all!!
Remember the space ship in hitch hikers guide that was full of management gurus and telephone sanitizers-- Now they could do a 4 hour week!!
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on 26 April 2011
This book unfortunately was a big disappointment for me. I absolutely loved the 4HWW but this book seems to be a hangover from his first book. "How to make money from selling information" and it seems that this book is the product of that philosophy.

Almost everything taught in 4HWW was used to promote this book including the use of competitions to sell more books during launch to get the book to the top spot in book sales. Asking this fans and followers to write reviews all to create more "credibility indicators" along with "real life examples". All of this has made me question the credibility/validity of this book.

In essence it's not a book thats getting good ratings for the merit of its content. So keep that in mind when making your decision about whether or not to purchase this book.

So onto the book itself. Having read all over the subject of personal health and nutrition I was hoping that this book would provide something new and remarkable in developing a system to improve results of sorts. However, this book seemed to be a bit of a hack job. Bits and pieces put together to create a beast of a book.

I especially enjoyed the titles: "How to lose 9kg in a month". Anybody who is significantly overweight that goes on a healthy diet would lose that kind of weight easily including myself. And it seems that many people who have seen these results have assigned its merit to the 4HB. Once again resulting in more ratings.

"Six Minute Abs: Two ab exercises that actually work" - A variation of the classic abdominal crunch and sucking your belly in, oh and get your body fat percentage below 12%.

"From geek to freak: How to gain 15.4kg in a month" - Supplements and exercises that promote Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy. Will it it make your muscles big? Yes, through making them bloated. Again, disappointed there was no mention of muscle hyperplasia (creating new muscle fibre). Again the book seems to be targeted towards quick superficial results. And I use 'quick' as a relative term. (PS - I like the way how they left out the word "lean muscle" from the title of this section.)

Will this books help people lose weight? Sure, and the somewhat misguided publicity will convince more people to follow its principles. Are the theories sound/safe? Some of them are - in an over-hyped and half-truthful way, and the rest are questionable at best.

My advice is to try the book as an experiment and then take what works with you. Some of the theories may turn out to be effective and just what you're after, others not so much. My only wish was that Ferris had used his clout to promote proper health and nutrition and not mass radical experimentation.

Losing weight and getting lean is a slow process as well a long-term study/education. Take any of these shortcuts with due diligence. And if you're already a health freak following a healthy routine and seeing results, get this book for fun and keep it on your bookshelf but don't expect to learn anything new - its introductory level at best.
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on 14 February 2012
This book will mess with your head and ruin your life.

It will make you think that work is not fun. It is. There is nothing more satisfying working 8 hours in a job, particularly of course a job you love.

It will tempt you to think that you can find happiness by doing your own thing. You can't. Happiness is a by product of doing the right thing.

If you live the life of idle self indulgence that this book encourages you will never settle down and have a family. You will never know the joy of living for others. You will never discover the satisfaction of seeing others prosper because you have helped them.

You will never be able to compete with others in business by working 4 hours a week when there are brighter people than you out there working 40. Just because the author made a living this way doesn't mean you can. Anyway he now lives on the proceeds of this garbage.

You will die a lonely, old narcissistic adolescent.

Beware! Be very ware ! You have been warned!
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on 15 December 2010
The skill of Tim Ferris is in taking so many words to say so little and in having the audacity to state the blindingly obvious, accepted positions, as something new and revolutionary. Take for example his new gee-whizz way to weight loss "exercise and 5 or 6 meals of 200 calories each per day " wow ground-breaking!
A whole chapter on the The Harajuku Moment which ends with
"To some extent, the answer is just `diet and exercise.' There were no gimmicks. I used data we all have access to and just trusted biology to work its magic".
The chapter on "Minimum Effective Dose" could be summed up by saying if the bottle says take two aspirin to cure a headache, taking ten will not cure it any better..Tim Ferris stretches that concept to a whole chapter of many pages.
The book may get better after the first 80 pages, but by then I was so fed up with his style and, once you took away the prattle, lack of meaningful content, it went in the bin.
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on 4 June 2008
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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on 13 December 2012
The book has some good ideas - like being open to outsourcing more of your tedious work tasks, or cutting down on information overload by reducing reading the news, checking emails too often etc. But these ideas could easily be summarised on one sheet of A4. They do not merit a whole book, nor justify the cost of one.

A bigger problem is that Tim Ferriss's ideas will appeal to only two types of people - the terminally unimaginative, to whom it had simply never occured to follow their own dreams now, rather than waiting until they were retired, and adolescents (real or perpetual), who have no responsibilities to anyone other than themelves, and can imagine no more meaningful way to spend their lives than surfing on numerous beaches.

What this means in practice is that the whole life plan, the whole raison d'etre of what he selling here - to cut off completely and bum around in tropical locations - is of no use or interest to ordinary adults who not only have real commitments but ENJOY them, and find commitments to children, partners etc are what make their lives truly meaningful. It is no accident that Tim's books are written by a man with no children or even a long-term girlfriend - his life plan would simply not work for anyone who has grown up at all, or accepted responsibilities for others. One cannot 'outsource' quality time spent with one's children, whilst remaining a good parent, nor maintain a good relationship by 'outsourcing' time together.

Clearly Tim himself has lots of gumption, lots of chutzpah, and is not overly hampered by ethical considerations when he makes his money - if it fulfils his goal of raking in easy cash, then it is perfectly valid in his childishly unquestioning capitalistic model.

Anyone who feels at all uncomfortable doing things like pretending to be an 'expert' to shift products (as he both recommends and indeed practices in this book), or selling pills despite no medical training whatsoever (as he also does), might wonder if his methods will only work at the expense of something more precious than money - integrity; something the author appears not to really understand the meaning of.

One final word - don't buy this book if you are not American, as all the resources apply only in the US.

Don't say you haven't been warned.
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on 13 December 2010
Tim Ferris is such an inspiration but I suggest you read his blog as most of what is in his new book is already on his website. All he has done is added filler to his blog posts and put it in to this book (if you don't believe me just look at the books contents page then cross reference it with his blog posts to see for yourself)
I hate to give this guy a bad review as I love his old book and website but I don't see the point paying for a book if you can get most of the content for free on his website.
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VINE VOICEon 13 June 2011
For the average Brit the American style of self-help books has a number of things that grate: the need to name-drop, the appeal to authority, the need to portray oneself as wildly successful now but previously being close to defeat. This book has these in spades. It is also in parts rather disjointed and the author is fundamentally someone many of us would wish to avoid (always assuming we could get through his maze of limited access measures). Additionally, the methodology by which one hits this status of New Rich is simply not attainable by any but a very small part of a very small part of the readership.

However, there is also a lot of value here if you can make it through another tale of the author's life and career.

Firstly, his model as to how you should prioritise yourself and how you should execute your tasks is a strong one. It applies whether you are an International Man Of Mystery like the author, or a wage-slave contemplating a list of tasks at Amalgamated Consolidated. It is essentially the Brian Tracy approach but you will benefit from it if you follow it.

Secondly, his approach to business planning is strong, essentially because he lacks the limitation of a vocation. Ferriss is in the business of business, to him it is a means to an end , and he therefore sees things clearly and dispassionately. He is thus uniquely fitted to a model of selling goods anonymously. You may be a true believer in what you do, and you may be delivering a service, but you can still benefit from him.
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on 5 March 2011
Ferris throws together a wide ranging and somewhat disparate ensemble of topics and offers some interesting insights into them all. Unfortunately he does so with incredible hypocracy. Scoffing at poor science he proceeds to offer anecdotal evidence for many of his claims and adopts a inconsistent approach to referencing.

Each chapter is a small essay on a different topic, and each jumps between narrative, product endorsement, unreferenced fact, and often, some very insightful ideas and jumping-off points on the subject.

As an introduction to the numerous topics, this book represents a great starting point for further research, and goes further than that in many places. More importantly, Ferris recognises the importance of what some teachers call "cues". Not necessarily focusing on telling you the facts, but rather what you need to hear to get results. In my opinion he frequently hits on very effective techniques that work.

Perhaps my biggest issues with the book are that firstly the chapters are hard to follow as serious advice darting as they do between ideas, and secondly often it reads more like the hype and marketing bumf he purports throughout to eschew. It's often less a "how to improve yourself" than a "how to make a lot of money from selling a book to suckers".

I'd give this book more stars for its smattering of insightful gems if only I hadn't been made to feel like a sucker!
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