The 4-Hour Work Week? Yeah Right

by Brian on

The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris, is a great book.  It contains a ton of great time saving and relocation ideas.  Buy the book and read it. The problem with the book is that its entire premise is bullshit.  The author, Tim Ferriss, himself does NOT work a 4-hour work week, and he admits it.

Reason #1: Starting Point

First, Ferriss started from a financial position that is far beyond that which 99.99% of us will ever be able to achieve.  Tim Ferriss started the company BrainQUICKEN.  According to page 16 of The 4-Hour Work Week:

2002-2003 BrainQUICKEN LLC has taken off, and I’m now making more than $40K per month instead of $40k per year.

$40K per month?  Holy crap.  That is $480K per year – a lot of money.  Let’s assume he was smart and lived off of $100k per year (he used to live off of $40K per year).  That means he put away nearly four times the amount of money that he required to live in one year!  If you put four times as much money as you spend for a couple of years, you will be in a great financial situation.  You might even have enough time to quit your job and write a book.

Reason #2: Best Selling Book

Want the real key to a 4-hour work week?  Royalties.  Timothy Ferriss wrote a best selling book, and this is why we know who he is in the first place.  In his book, he does advocate passive income, but how many people are capable of writing a best selling book?

Reason #3: He Admits It

Tim runs a great blog.  But that aspect of his business alone requires more than four hours per week – not to mention the many other aspects of his business.  In fact, just managing the comments on his blog likely requires more than four hours per week.  Check out the video below (it’s long and can also be found here).

If you go to the 25:00 minute mark, he discusses comments.  In this case, he received almost 2,000 comments, which he admits, “is a lot for me to go through.”  Do you think he’s able to go through 2,000 comments in under 4 hours per week?  Maybe, but that doesn’t leave much time for anything else “work” related.  He even dances around the question of how long he works on his blog per week at 32:10 on in the video – some posts take him six hours!

He addresses his Twitter @replies at 35:30 in the video.  According to him he spends “10 to 15 minutes every day or two.”  There’s another hour per week right there.

Reason #4: The Obvious

The above video is 51 minutes long.  It likely took him at least an hour to put the presentation together (although he did say that he had used it in a previous presentation).  When you start with the time he spends on his blog, twitter, and presentations, and then add the other aspects of his business that he cannot outsource (such as policing his comments), there is no way that Timothy Ferriss gets by with a four hour work week.

Reality: Semantics

Tim Ferriss likely didn’t consider his time giving the above presentation to the San Francisco Wordcamp work.  In the video, he calls his blog “fun,” not work, but with the caveat of “take fun seriously.”  Hmm, it sounds like he’s simply employing semantics: if you don’t call it work, it doesn’t apply to the four hour total!

Summary

If you want a four hour work week, make sure that you limit the crappy activities that you don’t want to do to only four hours per week.  Call these activities “work.”  Call everything else “fun that you take seriously,” even if it is your job.  Unfortunately, this might only be obtained by those who have a $40k per month income stream from an established product and a best selling book.  But Tim Ferriss does provide a great model for the rest of us to work towards.

Question:

If you love your work or job, do you consider yourself to have a “four hour work week” or less?  If not, do you think this is obtainable?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

DaveinHackensack December 2, 2009 at 11:16

One of the senior commenters on Tim’s forum is pretty skeptical that Tim was making anywhere near $40k with his supplements business. I blogged about it here: How much was Tim Ferriss really making from his supplements business?

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keenbuster March 3, 2010 at 14:33

It’s interesting that he would actually read all the comments on his blog, especially since he recommends outsourcing most of his responsibilities. But I still wouldn’t call that work, nor would the people I know.

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Dave C April 22, 2010 at 07:52

why does somebody not purchase the financial statements for Brainquicken LLC? This will shed light on turnover levels.

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Danny September 16, 2010 at 14:38

I’ve been reading a great deal of negativity toward Tim and his book, and it appears to all come from bloggers who really don’t seem to “have it”. I find it to have zero significance whatsoever if Tim works FORTY hours a week – his book gives the tools to create a lifestyle where it is nearly impossible to separate what is work from what is not, because you are enjoying everything you do. Call it semantics, but that’s what really matters. If 90% of the time you truly enjoy what you are doing and would not rather be doing anything else, I see that as a massive improvement over just about everyone I know.

Also, I’m sure this wasn’t the intention, but I did really appreciate the embed of his video – I found it quite interesting.

I’m off to work toward my goals now. Best of luck to all.

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