73: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

73: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Episode found at: https://bookworm.fm/73/

Today’s book promises to help you escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich. But is it really that simple? Join Joe & Mike as they examine what a millionarie lifestyle looks like (with or without the millions) and unpack the concept of lifestyle design in creating a life worth living. Links –…


I’ve just listen to the show and loved it. It actually reflects a lot of what I felt when reading the book (and wrote about in here).

And, am I wrong to say, that is the first show where @joebuhlig and @mikeschmitz talk as much about the author as they do about the book? :smiley:

IMHO that’s what makes Tim Ferriss…well, Tim Ferriss. He’s provocative and disruptive but so smart to back all his ideas up.

His ideas make sense (and make you dream) but I wouldn’t be happy and feeling realised living that life style. Not saying it’s wrong though.

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I just listened to the episode too.

I have one bone to pick. At around the 50 minute mark, @mikeschmitz talked about how if you take Tim Ferriss as your sensi, you have to take all of him. In the famous words of Bruce Lee, “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.” You don’t need to eat the whole meal, if you only like brussel sprouts. As a speaker, there are tons of people out there that I don’t agree with; but I can watch them speak and learn things.

Sometimes reading things that you disagree with can help you strengthen your argument. I do this all the time. I don’t identify with either liberal or conservative, but I watch Fox News and MSNBC from time to time to balance my persepective.

Basic point, I don’t agree with everything anyone puts out there. Does that mean that I shouldn’t listen to them?


I’m currently in the process of reading it - around page 60 now. And in all honesty I’m very surprised. I’ve been following Tim for around 10 months, mostly via his podcast, sometimes also by reading his blog.

This book was written by a different person. It’s terrible. I know there is useful advice in it, but it’s buried under tons of egoistical crap. I simply cannot understand what was his goal in writing the book.

My best guess is: to show off.

While he definitely now still isn’t the “humble master”, he’s a different person, at least through the lens of the podcast.

I read a blog post about his fight with depression in college, maybe this was his rebound? Maybe that’s what he needed to “prove the world wrong”? I don’t know. This definitely isn’t something I should be thinking about, but, either way, I agree with your judgement of the book.

This book isn’t about moving the needle, it’s about how f*cking awesome Tim Ferriss is.

The thing you have to remember is he wrote this book over ten years ago, partially as a response to a college kid that asked him why he didn’t just write a book instead of guest lecturing at a High Tech Entrepreneur course. He’s even talked about the more brash style he had at that time and his thoughts about rewriting it but instead decided to leave it as a it was and as a representation of who he was at the time. The book is about what he learned when he was left by the woman who he thought he was going to marry because he was burning himself out working all the time and not giving their relationship its due. If being able to remove yourself from 14 hour days of unfulfilling work to 4 hours a week leaving you free to pursue everything else isn’t moving the needle, I don’t know what is.

I struggled listening to this episode because I agree with the tone of the book as I’ve said above, but I think some of the moral judgements on it got in the way. If your employer pays you to get x amount of work done and you’re able to automate it, they’re still paying you to do the work and you’re still getting it done…how’s that immoral? If you’re billing them by hour…that’s a different story. It’s kinda like the story of the plumber showing up and fixing the problem in 15 minutes and the customer getting upset at how expensive it was. The plumber answers “you paid me to fix the toilet, and my 20 years of experience meant it took 15 minutes not three hours so why are you mad if it cost the same as someone less skilled working for three hours?” I also agree the references are dated and not everyone wants to travel the world but the book was also targeted to his demographic: people who are young and working too much and want to travel. He said the style came together when he started writing it as an e-mail to his friends who were complaining about their corporate toil. Instead of travel what if a muse means you’re able to put food on the table while you build the things you want to work on? (On that note I thought the comment about how the relationships would suffer if you went away for a couple months was ripe territory for a fear setting exercise: would they really suffer that much? And if they did how hard would it be to get them back?).

Going back to the automation side of things, as I was listening it made me think of a lot of what Ramit Sethi talks about on both his financial advice and his other courses. Get your finances automated, use a personal assistant (virtual or otherwise) to simplify how you run your life, and even offload things like laundry, cleaning, etc. so you can focus on what you love in life. I need to work on that myself.

Maybe I’m too much of a Tim Ferriss fan, some of his other work has changed a lot in my life for the better. I’m just getting back into this book after reading it a long time ago and I admit his style compared to later is a bit brash and cocky but I feel like that just reflects who he was at the time but agree with the hosts that it doesn’t mean some of the principles aren’t right. I also never really got the impression that he was just using other people as opposed to limiting the time spent on relationships that aren’t important to him. Of course, he was recently dumped and had spent so much time working on his company that there weren’t a whole lot of relationships you could say were important to him.

Anyways, those are my couple thoughts based on my memory of the book and listening to the episode. I’m sure I’m wrong on some points and I’m willing to be. Look forward to the feedback.

That’s completely fair.

I agree with this when framed as a problem to be solved. I use clarity.fm for this very reason - there are a lot of people who have more experience who can solve a problem much quicker than I can, and that is indeed valuable. I think it’s (at least potentially) different when applied to a job to be done though. I’ve worked for companies with very detailed standard operating procedures because they want things done in a specific way. And I don’t think the employee necessary has the right to say “this way is better and faster” and just chuck the SOP. Sometimes things are done for a reason and you just don’t know the reason. And the more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know. I definitely saw a slippery slope there when reading the book (though could have articulated my argument much better).

VERY interesting idea! I guess it depends on the people who you have relationships with. You could definitely find a new friends group, but you’re stuck with your family (and mine all lives within about 10 minutes of where I am).

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but admit I’m not real familiar with his other work. There are a lot of people like this who do a lot of good though, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for being a Tim Ferriss fan. Tony Robbins is another guy who has impacted a lot of people for the better, but just isn’t my cup of tea.


Tangent thought about hiring a VA to plan a Disney vacation. . . Some psychological research indicates that the planning and anticipation of a trip greatly enhances the enjoyment of the trip. You might not want to totally delegate that to a VA. Or, maybe, ask if your wife or one of the older kids wants to do it?

Also, Disney has a lot of travel planners who will work at no charge to you and know how to tailor a trip to a family’s preferences and budgets. (My cousin does this. . .) So you might want to look in to a professional Disney planner rather than a VA.

I thought y’all made great points about what YOUR goals and values are versus what Tim Ferriss’s values are in this book. What really stood out for me was how you are building a rooted life that you don’t want to escape, as opposed to the travel/location-based goals he has.

While he probably does not view it as “escaping” his daily life, that is my impression of his mini-retirements.

Our family has a “serial expat” life. My husband’s job means we move every 2-3 years to a different country. We settle in, live our lives. . . we have adventures and also normal life.

It is interesting to see the “new rich” focusing on experiences away from home.

But it has a high cost – and we are realizing how high that is as our adult children have left home and as our parents age. We have “home” to come back to in Florida, but we have missed so much with our family and extended family.

While we are confident that this is our calling and at no point in our lives would we make different decisions, I still have sadness about what we have lost in relationships.


I’ve been away from “home” for too long now, and couldn’t agree more on what you said. Indeed there’s a high cost.

And that’s exactly what bothers me with Tim Ferriss’ views (with this book and some of the stuff he writes these days). It seems that all he cares about is money and material/professional achievements. He has very little to say about personal (being a dad is one of my biggest achievements).

Having said that, what I think is different about his views then and now, is that now I think he focus more on “learning” and “what others have to teach”, and that side I enjoy reading/listening to.

I want to believe that the 4-hour work week is his personal statement against the flow so he can use the visibility it got to to talk about other topics that matter, such as learning :rofl: :rofl: