Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 4-Hour Workweek Review

Hmmmmm. My husband really wanted me to read this book, and I think it is the kind of topic that lots of working mothers would be interested in. Obviously the title made it sound too good to be true and you know what that means...

  • The guy is inspiring, even if you don't agree with his philosophy of life, he'll make you reexamine your situation. If you're unhappy with your life rut, he might help you see your way out.
  • It's a book of ideas.
    • If you've ever wanted to start an online company, he'll give you some things to think about to keep you from simply losing money and choosing the right company idea for you. 
    • If you think you want to work from home or become self-employed in order to be with your family more, he'll help you realize that you could get stuck at home working for work sake and still not spend time with your family, and he'll give you practical ideas to keep that from happening. 
    • If you've ever wished to travel the world or climb a mountain but always think "It'll never happen until I'm too old to do so" then this will inspire you and give you some ideas on how you can accomplish these things before you are too old.
    • If you are always pressed for time, if your to-do list never gets shorter, if you work all day and get nothing done, then he'll jab at you until you see what you've been doing wrong.
  • There are tons of website links to check out, and I dog-eared a few that I think I really ought to look into right now, some I'll look into later.
  • He challenges the emptiness of the materialistic American Dream and the Workaholics
  • The author's ethics are a little shady. Though I found it funny that he knows and often provides a less shady option. For example, while he's trying to work productively, if someone comes in and interrupts to chat, he'll say, "I got a call in five minutes that I have to take, but go ahead and let me hear what you need" in order to streamline the conversation though he has no call waiting in truth. But he give you a non-white-lie option--it just takes more guts to be truthful, he says! Yes, yes it does, but it's worth it.
  • Did I mention it's too good to be true? Well, it is. As I was reading, the whole time I'm thinking--ok, so you say everyone can sell stuff online and do no work by hiring others to do it for you, but where do the "others" come from? Obviously not everyone can do this or no one would have food to eat, etc.
  • Following all the author's advice could lead to people not liking you--which is okay if you're okay with people not liking you. Some of the advice was freeing like: Choose the charities you want to work for and give to and don't listen to anyone who tells you that your charity isn't as good as their charity--work for your values and be content. But some advice like--I got A's in college by badgering the professors for an hour whenever I got a B to make sure they thought long and hard about giving me anything less than an A again--just makes him a jerk.

LOL moment: The author says something to the effect of: "I wanted to write a top-selling book, so I researched how to do it, took it to the right agent, and sold it--there you go, piece of cake." While that sentence right there made me know this guy wasn't the authority on everything, he certainly did do it. How? By catering to the masses' desires and utilizing his platform and expertise--quite smart, yes, but the hubris made me laugh all the same. He advocates life work that makes you happy, and becoming one of those quack doctors that sells alcoholic mixtures that "cure" everything and prey on people's desire to find a miracle most likely didn't bring those traveling quacks peace and happiness--and it probably won't bring you happiness either--unless you're Mr. Ferriss :) But you can't fault the guy for knowing how to market himself--and there are tips for that if you need to market yourself and your product/services in the book.

I can't say this book is a must-buy, nor am I saying it's worthless. I'm keeping my copy, the website links and some of the information I think I'll find useful, but I would advise ahead of time to "Chew up the meat and spit out the bones"--find what might help/inspire you, but ignore the get-quick-rich dream and shake your head at the young man's arrogance.

What I am glad I read this book for (basically the first half of the book):
  • I had already started to declutter my life from time-sappers, this book inspired me to do more, challenged me on the things I was still keeping around that sucked my time, gave me some practical advice on what to do with those things and made me realize that I am in charge, I can't blame my busyness on anyone but myself, so what was I going to do about it?
  • I loved the analogy that the opposite of being happy with what you are doing in life vocationally isn't sadness, but boredom. He asked his readers to think, "When you awake in the morning, what things would make you super excited to wake up knowing you were about to do or knowing you possessed?" He didn't use "happy," which is nebulous. According to his exercises, I really thought about what would make me excited to wake up everyday and I surprised myself at some of the things I wanted. Some were simple things I should add to my life to make me happy that I have no reason not to be working toward right now.
  • I loved the inspiration to really examine the fact that for the majority of people possessing things won't make you excited (no matter what advertisers say), it's what you're learning or doing for others that gets people excited and that should be your goal rather than the entrapment of materialism.
  • He encourages you to make an action plan for your dreams. My hubby and I sat and talked about our dreams, picked out our top 4, and as the author said, they aren't as expensive as you think if you plan ahead of time for it instead of saying, "Some day...." Some of our dreams didn't even cost a thing, but without them defined and given an action plan, they stay in the realm of "some day."
I'd advise people who are
  • looking about how to set up an internet store
  • soon-to-be retirees who want to know what they are going to do with all their down time
  • entrepreneurs who are drowning in busy work
  • people unhappy with life because they hate their jobs
  • and people who would like to travel or do a lot of short term mission trips
to take a look at the book for some inspiration and practical tips. Just don't get caught up believing being filthy rich on 4 hours of work a week will make you happy or is even plausible.

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