Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to Read the 4 Hour Work Week in 4 Hours (or Less)

I checked out The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris from the library because I thought it might help me get organized, especially now that life has returned to normal with the kids back to school and all. I really knew nothing about this book and expected that it might teach me to be more efficient. I was right and wrong.

Tim Ferris is an energetic guy with lots of ideas and you could say the same of his book. The overall theme of the book and the 4-Hour Work Week method is to help those who feel trapped in cubicle hell to escape the drudgery of 9 to 5 and follow their dreams. Ferris wants to show you that it’s not that hard. So, it’s not really about time management or organization, though you will pick up some tricks that will then help you work less and accomplish more.

When I first started reading this book I felt like I was watching an infomercial. Ferris has an amazing resume from National Chinese kickboxing champion to political asylum researcher. He excels at everything he does and tells you that you can too. I’m not one to fall for hype, but I continued reading and found some solid ideas. It got me thinking about how I can make some adjustments in my personal life and in my career. But after a few chapters I found myself wanting to cut to the good stuff—and so, I figured out how to get to the heart of this book and harvest the real ideas.

At the beginning of every chapter is some anecdotal story or introductory writing. Skip this and you won’t miss a thing. I tried to read the subsequent section of each chapter. Then I would breeze the chapter headlines, just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything vital. And finally at the end of each chapter is either a summary and/or action steps. Anything that Ferris wants you to remember is stated here and if there’s anything you don’t understand or need more detail, you can go back in the chapter to find it.

I believe a book is worthwhile if you get one GREAT idea that you actually implement in your life and see positive results. The 4-Hour Work Week is such a book. I won’t list all of the things I learned from Ferris’ book. I think he’d be pleased that I used some of his own principles to cut down the time it could have taken to read the book. By not listing what I learned I’m also saving time and delegating the task to you.

Should you read it? If you love your job and are happy with the way things are going in your life—no, don’t bother. But, if you spend way too much time wishing you were on some tropical island, then yes, you should read this book. Or you could just visit Ferris’ website and save yourself a trip to the library or book store.

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