The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss (Book Summary)

The four-hour workweek has long become a classic of the genre.

Do you want to live anywhere else? Would you like to work less and earn more? (no joke) How about living the lifestyle you want and deserve?

If the word “Yes!” pops in your mind, this book should definitely be on your bookshelf!

Tim Ferris will teach you how to manage your time, eliminate distractions, escape a rat race and a 9-5 job, and join the new rich movement.

Why You Should Read The 4-Hour Workweek?

  • To find out how to live an extraordinary life without having 1 million $ in your pocket.
  • To save tons of time with energy and devote it to something you consider valuable.
  • To start living here and know.
  • To open a new world of possibilities for yourself and your family.
The 4-Hour Workweek 3d book cover

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Check the book on Amazon or, browse my Top 10 Books

The Book in One Paragraph

The main idea from The 4-Hour Work Week is that you can live the life you want and deserve here and now. Hoping for safe retirement is stupid and it doesn’t make any sense. Being the richest man in the nursing home is not the best perspective.

It is in your power to escape your 9-5 job, build a substantial wealth, and become a truly free person in terms of time and place of living.

Tim Ferris gives you a blueprint which you can follow to start working remotely, launch your own business, travel around the world, pick up new hobbies, and join “the new rich” movement.

Lessons I Have Learned

  • Lesson #1: There are betters ways to ensure the best future for yourself than working Monday to Friday for the next 40 years.
  • Lesson #2: It is possible to enjoy a dream lifestyle and not having 1 million $ in your bank account.
  • Lesson #3: The 80/20 rule and other strategies from the book can save you tons of time and energy.
  • Lesson #4: Outsourcing and delegating are the best ways to build up your entrepreneurship skills.
  • Lesson #5: Traveling around the world and pursuing your dreams is possible after creating a product you can sell on autopilot and building other passive income sources.

How The Book Changed Me

  • It helped me get onto an entrepreneur path.
  • It made me start building my online business and passive income streams.
  • It encouraged me to find a couple of freelancers that do the high-quality job and don’t cost a fortune.

The 4-Hour Workweek Summary + Key Ideas

As you’ve already learned from the points above, The 4-Hour Work Week is a kind of book that certainly has something to offer even to the most educated and sophisticated reader.

Down below, I’ve listed the most important ideas, concepts, and insights from the book that I hope you will find useful and helpful.

Let’s get started with the first key idea:

Key Idea #1: You Need To Shift Your Mindset Before You Start Changing Your Life

changing mindset

“New rich” do not follow the rules of others. They set their own, ignore generally accepted expectations and are ready to “step on the tail” to anyone, if necessary.

With this way of thinking, you can set high, “unrealistic” goals and achieve them: travel the world, become the world champion in tango, or learn a new language every year.

Do not be content with mediocrity. “Unrealistic” goals are much easier to achieve – only a few people dare to think big, which ensures a minimum of competition.

The “new rich” are trying to understand what might be the income from a daring decision in the worst-case scenario.

Equanimity distinguishes the “new rich” from most people.

For many, the safe way is to work for wear and tear, the illusion that they will enjoy life when they retire.

The right moment to start living your dream – right now!

Forget the expression “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

You should start doing the right thing today. You should be prepared to go beyond your comfort zone.

Also, if you want to take on new challenges and goals you need to find some time for it, which brings us to the next key idea:

Key Idea #2: The True Time Management Starts With Elimination

Time management strategies

Focus on important things, use the 80/20 rule: 20% of the work produces 80% of the results. All other work has very little effect

Gathering information, such as reading newspapers, is time-consuming. Go on a low-information diet and focus on getting a little information that is relevant to your work.

Be sure to get this information in the most efficient way. Do not waste time studying the whole topic, if instead, you can call a specialist who will quickly answer complex questions. This saves time and gives better results.

“Time Thieves” are activities or people who use your precious time, giving very little in return.

Get rid of them!

Avoid meaningless chatter with colleagues or concentrate on the issue at hand.

Focus on what brings you closer to your personal goal. If you want to know how important the task is, ask yourself: “If this becomes the only thing I will do today, will the day be considered successful?” For each yes answer, make the task a priority and complete it before any others. With such an ideal schedule, you can complete all the important tasks in half a working day.

Never start your day with email verification. This is a “plunderer” of time, give him as little attention as possible. If you need to check your mail, do it only twice a day: once before dinner and once in the evening. Strive to reduce the check to once a week.

Notify people of your new policy. Write that your time is too limited and valuable to spend all day checking email, and therefore, your response may take some time.

Do not let people call you on every issue that bothers them, constantly interrupting your concentration. Most cases can wait. Let them contact you by e-mail or leave voice messages that you will check after completing more important tasks. Only urgent matters should take you away from work.

Group tasks. Allocate a period of time to deal with all the small tasks. Do not let them constantly distract themselves while you are working on something important.

Key Idea #3: You Can Earn More and Work Less By Outsourcing and Delegating


Start a Profitable Business

If you want to make a living with only a few hours a week, you need an automatic source of income. Hire other people and waste their time instead of wasting your own.

Starting a business that can work without your participation is pretty easy.

Distribute the work by type and find a specialist to manage each part. Outsource some of the work. Take advantage of companies that specialize in manufacturing, shipping, or after-sales services.

Virtual assistants from India, for example, are very cheap, but highly professional. Such a personal assistant can do almost everything that you usually do yourself. As long as the tasks and goals are clear, the assistant will be able to complete them without your help.

By creating a business in which each task is assigned to a separate specialist, you can reduce your participation in it to a minimum. The following conditions must be observed:

  1. Everyone should be able to communicate with each other without you as an intermediary. Do not make yourself a link to any part of the process!
  2. Delegate authority. People can solve most problems without your help if you just let them do it. You will be surprised at how smart employees become when you ask them to take on a more specific responsibility and make an independent decision.

Sell Products or Services

There are two fundamentals for such a business.

  1. Resale of goods that already exist on the market. It is easy, but the potential profit may be limited.
  2. Inventing your own product. It takes only a few brainstorming sessions to come up with a lot of ideas.

Having the product itself is not enough; you need buyers.

  1. Check the market: offer your hypothetical product to real customers. Create a fake online store: after the buyer clicks the Buy button, a message will appear stating that the product is not currently in stock. Be sure to keep the email addresses of these hypothetical customers, let them know when your product is truly available for sale.
  2. Organize fake online advertising campaigns. Compare a few advertisements to see which versions of your product generate the best response, get people to click the Buy button more often.

Never start selling a product without checking if there are buyers for it.”

You must be convincing in the eyes of your customers. They must trust you in order to trust your product.

Academic titles, for example, Ph.D., are a good way to make yourself more authoritative. Prove your knowledge, write articles and conduct seminars on topics related to your product. If you want to sell health products, you first have to become a health guru.

People tend to trust larger companies rather than small firms. Make your company look bigger than it really is. Create the impression that the company has a large number of employees:

  • Please provide some contact email addresses on your site.
  • Use the names of the middle management personnel (“customer support manager”) to create the impression that the company has a multi-stage hierarchy with a large number of employees.

Always act as a professional and use high standards when choosing your customers. The 80/20 rule also applies to customers: 20% of customers often bring 80% of their income, while the other 20% account for 80% of troubles, complaints, and stress.

Find out which customers increase your income and take care of them.

Get rid of customers who bring a small income, but at the same time create many problems.

Now, if you don’t wish to start a business and want to continue working for you company, there is also a way to escape the 9-5 disaster…

Key Idea #4: The Office Escape Blueprint Is Simple and Clear

escaping the office working remotely

Time is not an accurate indicator of labor productivity. Spending a lot of time on work does not mean doing the right things or doing them the right way.

It is difficult to evaluate the productivity of a mental worker. Time spent in the office is the most obvious indicator. However, often employees only seem to be busy with something, fill the day with meaningless tasks and spend a lot of time in the office, making their bosses believe that they are doing a lot of work.

The “new rich” rejects the absurd rules of corporate labor. He does as much as possible, spending a minimum of his time on it.

Spend your time productively on important tasks. Pay attention to completing only those tasks that will bring you closer to your personal goals and dreams.

Having got rid of all that is superfluous, spend the time you won on important tasks and a pleasant pastime.

The life of the “new rich” is mainly characterized by unlimited mobility. This is a complete rejection of the life of a worker. Even as an employee, you can travel the world – try to get maximum freedom within the company.

  • Be indispensable. Make the company invest in you, attend training and become an expert that you can’t do without.
  • Reassure your boss that remote work is a great idea.
  • Make the transition to remote work as easy as possible. Define a test period: work out of the office one day a week for a couple of weeks.
  • Discuss the results with the boss. Prove that you work more productively at home. You don’t have to spend half a day on the road, talking with colleagues or attending useless meetings – you have to do much more in the same time period.
  • Increase the amount of remote work until the day you do not have to appear in the office.

Putting It All Together

Many people donate their best years of life to an unloved job to ensure a comfortable old age and consider it worth it.

They think that work should be hard, and they will be rewarded for their efforts in the future. Putting aside all the joyful events of their lives, these people will one day wake up and realize that time is lost.

The “new rich” disagree with this way of life: they give up slave labor in offices and choose a luxurious lifestyle here and now.

And it’s NOT necessary to have millions of dollars hidden under the mattress. A full life is often much cheaper than people think. The things you dream about are not the prerogative of millionaires. All this is available to the “new rich.”

To become a “new rich,” you must be able to do whatever you want and when you want. This requires only a moderate, automatic stream of income: a source of money that you can easily maintain from anywhere in the world and a strong desire to achieve that.

Going Beyond The Summary

You wouldn’t expect me to leave you with the book summary alone, would you?

There are some extra materials I would like to share with you.

They might make a great addition to the knowledge you gained from the summary above.

So if you are up to going down the rabbit hole, I suggest you the following resources.

Recommended Reading

If you like The 4-Hour Work Week, you may also enjoy the following books:

Purchase the Original Book

There is always much more to discover from the full-text books.

Most of the time, you will even find some additional ideas and insights that have almost nothing to do with the book’s main topic.

So if you found my summary helpful and the book worth your time, consider buying the original version on Amazon or browse for more book summaries to discover more promising titles.

Additional References

  1. COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data by Erik Brynjolfsson, John J. Horton, Adam Ozimek, Daniel Rock, Garima Sharma & Hong-Yi TuYe
  2. Voluntourism – traveling with a purpose: Understanding the motives and benefits by Sally Brown
  3. Understanding Personal Productivity: How Knowledge Workers Define, Evaluate, and Reflect on Their Productivity by Youngho Kim