Lately there have been many positive reviews and comments here on the popular Tim Ferriss book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Usually when a friend sees the title their quick to bring up that it sounds shady. I can totally see it too because it’s ingrained in us that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Just so that you guys don’t see us as shills for the book and the ideas within it, I wanted to play devil’s advocate today. By looking at the other side of the discussion here I’ll point out why the 4-Hour Workweek can be viewed as shady:
There are a few credibility issues in the book. When talking about his kickboxing success, Ferriss mentions winning on a technicality where he would push competitors outside of the box, thus getting them disqualified. He did win, but at what cost? Not all of us are willing to compromise our credibility to get ahead. After checking out a few blog posts on the topic, I noticed that many others weren’t too impressed with this point either. Walking the fine line of cheating can definitely come off as shady.
This ties in with the credibility issues mentioned above. Ferriss clearly works more than four hours a week. Likely also more than four hours a day. Just because you enjoy something, is it really not considered work? He holds tango records. To become an exceptional tango dancer you clearly need to invest lots of time and effort into honing your craft. Isn’t this work? Just because you enjoy an activity, does everything surrounding this activity become not-work? The concept of work in this book has sparked many interesting debates online.
While I was able to tremendously improve my time management skills, I’m unsure of what to think about his perception of time. This also brings us to the next issue regarding time– what do you do with all of your free time? Some of us enjoy our work and don’t mind it. Sometimes too much free time can be a problem. Staying busy isn’t such a negative as long as you find time for yourself and the things that you enjoy.
I understand how someone can be turned off when they read bold claims about how you can make thousands of dollars a month and only work a few hours a week. This is probably why it took me so long to actually purchase this book and read it. I’m naturally highly skeptical of any book or person that writes about getting rich with little effort. I often feel that the person is simply getting richer by selling the “how-to get rich” product. I’m not surprised if the title of the book or the bold claims on the cover have turned you off from it.
I’m really not sure why Ferriss hates communicating with others so much. I love responding to reader emails and checking out the comments on the blog posts. Sure I don’t get a fraction of the readers that he does, but I couldn’t imagine outsourcing talking with readers. Speaking from experience, it goes a long way when I email a blogger and they actually take the time to respond. Auto-responder or being ignored totally sucks.
For me, the 4-Hour Workweek is a book that you shouldn’t read from start to finish (as mentioned by Tim Ferriss). The best strategy for reading this book is to pick out the topics that resonate with you. While I personally did enjoy the 4-Hour Workweek, I wanted to present the other side of it here. What did you guys think? What side are you on?
(photo credit: rinse)
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