The 4 Hour Workweek

4HourWorkWeekI discovered Tim Ferriss because of the podcasts he has been doing with Kevin Rose.  I loved most of what Tim has to say, and I find him completely fascinating.  One of the episodes mentioned Ferriss who wrote the 4-Hour Workweek and since I loved what he had to say I naturally wanted to read his book.  Now those of you who know me know I’m not an avid reader, I would much rather watch a movie or YouTube video synopsis as I don’t have much of an attention span to sit in one place for more than 5 minutes.  I have to tell you his book captivated me, I loved it, and it made me do a lot of thinking about the way the world operates (and in my job communicates).  I took some notes and decided to type them up so anyone who reads this post could benefit.  I highly recommend buying the book, but if you aren’t going to buy the book, here are some of the things I found interesting (note these are my notes, so it may not all make sense to you).  Hope you find this useful and buy the book!

  • The goal of the book is to free up time and automate your income
  • Ferriss nearly fails kindergarten (begins his disdain for authority)
  • Ferriss had a joy of baseless overconfidence
  • Don’t be a “living dead”
  • Would you tell me, please, which way I out to go from here?  That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.  I don’t much care where…said Alice.  Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.  – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
  • Have mini-retirements throughout life
  • Focus on being productive instead of busy
  • There is never a good time to have a baby, just like there is never a good time to quit your job to do what you love
  • Ask for forgiveness, not permission
  • Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses
  • Risks aren’t that scary once you take them
  • Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty
  • Conquering fear = defining fear
  • “It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre.  The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy consuming.
  • What would you like to do if there was no chance of failing?
  • List 5 things you dream of having, being – great cook, doing = visiting Thailand
  • What would you do day to day if you had $100 million in the bank?
  • What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning to another day?
  • Being effective vs. being efficient
  • What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.
  • How is it possible that all the people of the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work?
  • Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours
  • Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.  If I gave you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials.  If I give you a week to complete the same task, it’s six days of making a mountain out of a molehill.
  • Am I being productive or just being active?
  • Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?
  • “There is no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens.” – Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
  • Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind from its creative pursuits.  Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.  – Albert Einstein
  • Think back to your days on the playground.  There was always a bully and countless victims, but there was also that one small kid who fought like hell, thrashing and swinging for the fences.  He or she might not have won, but after one or two exhausting exchanges, the bully chose not to bother him or her.  It was easier to find someone else.  Be that kid.
  • My contacts now know that I don’t respond to emergencies, so the emergencies some who don’t exist o don’t come to be.  Problems, as a rule, solve themselves, or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.
  • Emergencies are seldom that.  People are poor judges of important and inflate minutiae to fill time and feel important.
  • (send that address an email to see his “canned response” to getting back to you)
  • Turn off the audible alert in Outlook
  • Check email twice a day at 10am and 2pm
  • Use 2 telephone numbers
    • One for the office
    • One for cell phone (emergencies)
  • Order of preference for communication
    • E-mail, phone, in-person meetings

    Respond to voice-mail with an email

  • If someone proposes a meeting, request resolution via email instead.
  • Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a pre-defined situation.
  • The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on, so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past.
  • It’s amazing how someone’s IQ seems to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them
  • The bottom line is you only have the rights you fight for
  • Never automate something that can be eliminated
  • The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.  The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.  – Bill Gates
  • – can redirect traffic (DNS) in 5 mins instead of 24–40 hours
  • – professional photos
  • A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.  If the employees come first, then they’re happy.  – Herb Keller, co-founder of Southwest Airlines
  • – get an 800# with professional voice menu
  • Last but not least, my favorite quote from the book
    • Slow Dance
      • Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?  Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?  Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?  Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?  You better slow down.  Don’t dance so fast.  Time is short.  The music won’t last.  Do you run through each day on the fly?  When you ask: “how are you?” do you hear the reply?  When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?  You’d better slow down.  Don’t dance so fast.  Time is short.  The music won’t last.  Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow?  And in your haste not see his sorrow?  Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die cause you never had time to call and say “hi”?  You’d better slow down, don’t dance so fast.  Time is short.  The music won’t last.  When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there.  When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift thrown away.  Life is not a race.  Do take it slower.  Hear the music before the song is over.

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