Redesigning Your Lifestyle According To ‘The 4-hour Work Week’


The first time I saw the title of this bestselling book, “The 4-hour Work Week,” I automatically dismissed it as a useless, get-rich quick book. In fact, I thought it was one of the worst because it promised riches for doing virtually nothing! I only took a second look at it when my wife wanted to buy the book because a prominent speaker in a technical seminar sponsored by one of our business partners endorsed the book.
I did a little research on Tim Ferris, the author. He is a successful entrepreneur, especially in Internet businesses, so much so that he was a guest lecturer in Princeton University, where he talked on the topic of high-tech entrepreneurship. He may not be on the level of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but Princeton University thought that he knew enough to lecture on his particular industry. It does seem he knows his field well.
Upon reading the book, my doubts were confirmed. A lot of the advice is simply unrealistic for most people. As an example, if you take a 15-month vacation to fulfill your dreams as the author did, it is almost certain that you will either get fired if you are employed, or you will go bankrupt if you own a business! However, incredibly, I found a few bold ideas that can radically change your life.

Redesigning Your Lifestyle

Essentially, the topics discussed in the book revolved around lifestyle design which is the restructuring of your work and personal life so that you can live the life you want before you get too old to enjoy life to the fullest. Around this compelling theme, the author built the topics of the book.
It has always been the belief of many people that you must work for eight hours every weekday, at least, for several decades; and then when you reach old age, retire and get to enjoy life. The problem with this is that it takes too long, and even then your savings may not be enough. Tim Ferris rebels against this traditional practice and advocates a more timely distribution of gratification instead of delaying it too much.
The author states that you can start taking mini vacations of several months in between the periods where you need to work. This way you do not postpone the pleasures until near the end of your life. I think this is too extreme and for the great majority of people, a much lesser vacation time will do.
To have the time and the means to be able to do what you want, a large part of the book talks about various strategies to achieve this. Some of these are time management techniques and principles that are decades old. For instance, the Pareto principle the author mentions is so well-known already that it is a waste of paper to repeat it. However, he also suggests a less commonly known technique to save time—practice selective ignorance by limiting the flow of information. With the constant barrage of data we are exposed to, especially with the rise of smart phones, it may be something to consider.

Not For Everybody

The author’s idea of using geographical wage differences by tapping cheap labor from India by means of the Internet is very controversial for developed countries because it tends to compete with their local work force, but a further problem with applying this here is that we too are a low wage country. Therefore, it is harder for us to profit from the wage difference.
For those interested in going into Internet businesses, the book is a gold mine; Tim not only discusses much of his strategies, he also mentions the particular websites he used. Still, you must not be too much of a copycat because he cites one Internet resource that is no longer that productive as too many people have been using it since he endorsed it.
For those who will look beyond the hype of the book, there are ideas you can use to make your life richer. However, lifestyle redesign is not for everybody. There are those already happy in their current job or business and have the spare time to pursue other interests to their satisfaction. Be careful to pick only the ideas that are applicable to your situation. And, to make my position clear, I believe that besides the right strategies, you do need to work hard for far more than just four hours a week to attain success.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.