The Lie of The Four Hour Work Week

The Lie of The Four Hour Work Week

The promise of a four hour workweek magically righting all wrongs in your life, is a lie. Not only is it highly implausible, but if you ever do achieve a four hour work week, you’ll probably want to get rid of it.

Why is the Four Hour Workweek (4HWW for short) a lie? Well, there’s two reasons. Number one, it’s come to the attention of quite a few people that Tim Ferriss really defines “work” as something you don’t want to do. Mandatory, unpleasant, tedious, repetitive tasks that you’d rather defer or delegate to someone else. This is quite a narrow definition of work. I would be more inclined to say Tim’s definition of work is more synonymous with a chore.

So that’s the first reason. The second reason is this… The definition most people have of work is totally disempowering. It’s more in line with slavery, toiling and punishment. Work is seen as something you have to do to pay your dues. How many times did you hear your mom or dad say as a kid “I worked hard to buy/make/microwave this food and you better eat it!” We’re brought up with our parents making us think that work is some kind of grueling sacrifice they’ve done to “give us a better life.” (The intended message may have been to instill respect for hard work, but usually the outcome is feeling guilty for being born.)

Since work is seen as such a must — something we must do to pay the bills and to survive — we don’t realize that it’s not required that we see work as something other than a chore. Just because we’re born with a bad definition of something doesn’t mean we have to keep it. Work is more than just a chore, at least to me.

Work is sacred.

Work is giving yourself. It’s creative self-expression. It’s opening your heart and providing value to others. It’s exchanging a part of yourself with someone else. It’s a possibility for you to make a difference in the world.

Seeing work as just something to do to get by is like slapping yourself in the face.

Here’s why I just can’t slap myself anymore:

  • I don’t want to spend one third of my life living out of a sense of drudgery.
  • I don’t want to rent out my body and mind for five of seven days of the week.
  • I don’t want to spend every day counting down the minutes to lunch, then counting again to five o’clock.
  • But much, much, much more than that, I don’t want to confine myself to choosing work that isn’t meaningful and doesn’t matter to me.

And that’s really the biggest problem with seeing work as menial labor. By defining work as such, you incarcerate yourself in a narrow field of possibilities of what work could be. Yes, work can be tedious. Doing your taxes, filing receipts, stapling, responding to email, and doing repetitive tasks can be pretty damn boring. There’s no way to trick yourself into believing otherwise. (Non-resistance to the tedium, however, can make it a lot less painful.) But despite the tedium, work can be much more than that. The work you do can be the gift of what you leave behind on this earth when you’re gone. It can be the difference you make in other peoples lives.

Something different.

When you expand your definition of what work is to a mutually beneficial exchange of value, it becomes more of a blessing and an opportunity.

This is the way I’ve started to think about work; I ask myself, “With the work you do today, how can you create the biggest positive impact in other people’s lives, while fulfilling your own dreams at the same time?”

And if I have work to do that is truly boring (like figuring out how much taxes I owe) I ask myself, “I know this work isn’t what I’d absolutely love to do, but since it must be done, by not resisting it, can I make it less painful?”

I also have to be careful to distinguish between work that must be done (like taxes) and things that seem required, but really aren’t. For example, it might be a good idea for me to spend some time every day networking, but if it doesn’t feel authentic, it would be a waste of time. If I really felt like creating, rather than connecting, I should honor that feeling. When I express myself authentically, I naturally have a greater impact then when I force myself to do something because I think it would be a good idea.

When you start to see work as play, as giving yourself to the world, as being an agent of change, you completely shatter the perception of work as a burden.

Because that’s where all this seeking to escape from work comes from (which is really what the 4HWW is about). Whether it be counting down the days to your yearly two week vacation, setting up a four hour workweek or creating passive income; whether it be the desire to retire early, win the lottery or strike it rich, it’s all in the effort to escape from the obligation of spending your life in a state of endless resistance to doing chores. It’s like we’re six years old again, fighting with mom about cleaning up all the stuff we’ve crammed under our bed. Not much has changed, huh?

But when work becomes something reverent to you, you no longer to seek escape from it. Besides, imagine if you really did find that elusive escape. Would it really solve all your problems? Sure, you’d have a lot of free time, but is that really what you’re looking for? Just free time?

I think it’s something more than that. I think it’s the lack of purpose, the lack of depth in our work that leads us to chase ideas like a four hour workweek and autopilot income.

Guess what?

No amount of freedom of time will quench your desire to make a difference, to live with purpose.

As Rolf Potts represents in his awesome book, Vagabonding, you can only live so long sipping martinis on a beach. Sooner or later, you’ll be bored. You’ll want to actually do something that matters.

Despite all the head-drilling society does to make you think work equates slavery, there are many possibilities for work to be a joy.

One of those options is The Zero Hour Workweeka guide to getting paid to be who you are.

(Note: I did learn a lot from The Four Hour Workweek. I think Tim has some great ideas, like mini retirements, following a low information diet, etc. I also think he did an awesome job pointing out the stupidity of “work for work’s sake.” However, I do think the central idea of the achievement of a four hour workweek solving all of your problems is misleading. Tim defines work as something you really despise, and I just think that’s confusing things more, rather than bringing clarity to the situation. I guess it’s all about semantics, though, right? As Clinton said during the Monica Lewinski case, “Please define sexual relations.”)

Do you want to learn to create work you love doing and make enough to quit your job?

Join me for a free event later this month. I’ll teach you a proven strategy to work for yourself that I used to offer only in private coaching sessions.

This event is extremely popular and space is limited so sign up now to reserve your spot! Click here to sign up.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Derek March 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I actually had the four hour work week for about 18 months… I got so bored that I went and found a real job that paid me much less than I was earning from my four-hour work week business just because I wanted something to do.

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Evan January 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

@ Derek, the first poster:

You live a pathetic life with no imagination if you can’t find anything to do and have to find a “real job” to occupy your boring existence.

On a side note, this site is hilarious and definitely a good way to get paid through google adwords (or whatever form of paid advertisement you’re getting). Chances are the owner of this site HAS a four-hour workweek because of this site!

I don’t know about the rest, but I’d rather live my dreams and passions, and do CHARITABLE work that a four-hour-workweek provides me ;)

Darren Michaels February 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

You have GOT to be kidding me. Dude…get a life! I am trying so hard to get my book series discovered so that I can have a four hour work week just like Tim Ferriss describes. There is nothing I would like better than to spend my days golfing, flyfishing, or whatever the hell I want, and then writing at my leisure to churn out another book per year to fulfill my publisher contract.

I like my day job, and work still sucks. I want the freedom the FHWW describes and guides your towards. Sorry if you cannot fill your days, but don’t rain on everyone else’s parade!

Darren

Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Great! Tim, is misleading with his title. I think he does do a disservice by equating work and tedium. On the other hand he is simply playing into what probably 98% of the population believes. And he has done it successfully. I liked his book. I like his blog. I don’t believe he works 4 hours a week. I don’t believe anyone on their death bed will be satisfied with a life like that. That isn’t authentic happiness.

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Well, work is not inherently tedious but work means activity performed to generate a result. Most of the things we (and others) require in life are tedious or downright painful to generate, but we endure the pain because of the reward. Technically speaking, bathing is work. So is shitting. I like being clean, sometimes I enjoy bathing, but I wouldn’t really do it as often as I do now if it didn’t give me the reward of being clean. Since most of the things we need in life these days are produced by other people, most of the work we have to do is about satisfying the needs of others. And while you may need validation for your existence by “providing value to others”, some people have outgrown that silly idea and feel perfectly comfortable providing value -for themselves- instead. You could say it’s impossible not to work 24/7, as everything you do is technically work. It is however possible to shift the focus of your work and the quality of your rewards. That is what Tim talks about, doing massively productive work instead of filling your days with chores.

Duff March 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Right on, Jonathan.

Most people would freak out with all the “psychic entropy” if they had a 4-hour workweek. I know several rich entrepreneurs who did exactly that.

There is no end to your money problems as long as you are alive. Life is suffering. Accept it and find peace with it while giving your gifts creatively to the world.

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Most people would freak out with the “psychic entropy”? Maybe they should work on that. Get it…? I’m laughing my ass off! :) If you think “life is suffering”, you probably shouldn’t be providing anyone with advice.

Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching March 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for this post. I thought the point you made about work being portrayed by our parents as something they did just to clothe and feed us was a good one — it brought up for me how sometimes we tend to feel virtuous for the suffering we experience in our work, and how attachment to that suffering can limit us. Whenever someone says to me “I wish I had the luxury of doing what I wanted for work like you, but I have a family or loans to pay off,” this definitely hits home.

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Laurel Vespi March 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Just wow.
What a great post. Poet David Whyte says we are in three marriages/conversations in our lives – one with ourself, one with our significant other and one with our work. Kudos to your pal Penelope for encouraging you to do this post.

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Jun Loayza March 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Hey Jonathan, you have always had awesome content and thank you for pushing the envelope on these kinds of topics.

You’re right, Tim describes work as drudgery – something meaningless that we HAVE to do to survive. People HATE the 9-5.

I think that MOST people will never find a job that they’re PASSIONATE about. I know that your eBook hits on this exact topic, but most people will not be able to read your eBook or act upon it. I believe that Tim’s advice is for the masses.

Few people have the leadership qualities and the aspiration to change the world and make it a better place. The masses just want to get by in life and enjoy it along the way. For example, I have a friend who is content with going to work, eating dinner, and then watching Lost or TV or Hulu. He likes to party on the weekends and hang out with his girlfriend. I think this guy is the masses. Work will always be drudgery to this person because work is just a source of income for him. Tim’s book targets him because it would allow my friend to self-automate his income so that he can spend more time relaxing in life.

It’s hard to write the point I’m trying to make through a comment. I feel a post is more in order. Look out for a blog post response later this week.

I love the post either way and I’ll make sure to Tweet it out!

- Jun Loayza

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Yea, I think the point is being lost. What Tim talks about is the liberation that comes from automation. Like, as you learn a language your brain automates it, it becomes easy. Farming used to be done through long hours of manual labor, now it is to a huge degree automated. Tim talks about getting rid of the boredom from life. When he goes take a dance class, he is performing work. The results this work produces, the life experience, can’t simply be purchased, you can’t have someone else learn to dance for you. And yet you may not want to invest the kind of work into learning to dance that would be required to feed yourself through it. So these complaints about the idea of the 4HWW miss the point that the concept addresses, which is taking charge of your life, being its master and the producer of value in it, instead of living with a consumer mentality.

Greg March 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm

I couldn’t agree more that “work” should be something you enjoy. So many people tend to view work as a “chore” and therefore are not contributing their maximum effort. By continuing to work at a place that is not providing some gratification, you are impacting your life negatively in so many ways.

Nice post!

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malingerer March 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Penelope Trunk as inspiration, well, I guess we all have to get it from someplace.. Occasionally she has some interesting blog articles, once you get past her torn apart marriage, sexual promiscuity, and blatant self loathing…

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James | Dancing Geek March 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I’ve been amazed by how many people are simply confused or resistant when I express the idea of loving the work that I do. It seems such an alien concept that I sometimes feel I am alone in this pursuit.

Thank you for putting the words in my heart and head together so eloquently.

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chris zydel March 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Thanks Jonathan.

I love how you equate work with things like meaning and purpose and a sense of something sacred. And I laughed out loud when you made the analogy about our cultural attitude towards work being like a 6 year old trying to get out of doing chores.

Personally, I am very happy that I am longer 6. Being a grown up is so much more fun. And having work that allows you to feel like you are contributing to your community, where you use your talents and gifts to their best advantage, and where you experience fulfillment and self respect is a joy like no other.

It’s time that the whole concept of work was reclaimed by the adults of the world and I am glad to see you doing that here!

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Mike Stankavich March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Jonathan, your point is well taken – I quickly came to realize that the term “4 hour workweek” was a metaphor for constraining direct income producing activities to facilitate lifestyle design.

But I had not considered the implied negative view of “work” that comes along with that distinction. You are entirely correct that the 4HWW premise presumes a false dichotomy between producing income and engaging in activities that you want to do for intrinsic reasons other than income production. There’s a whole continuum there, not a hard distinction.

That being said, I do see value in automating and delegating activities (work or personal) that I do not find fulfilling or inspiring. There’s no virtue in spending any more time than necessary doing things that offer neither joy nor opportunity for growth. In that regard, I definitely agree with Tim.

Reframing work as purpose is what makes the difference. Once you make that paradigm shift, then the benefits that you mention become apparent. I’m plenty happy to work hard when I can directly link it to a meaningful objective.

One thing that you didn’t touch on is the psychological reframing that often happens when transitioning from hobby to business. There’s a tendency to see things differently when they are done in exchange for money. It alters the relationship between producer and consumer. A paying customer has much different expectations. Meeting those increased expectations can definitely bring negative emotions toward your work into play. This can be overcome, but it’s not automatic.

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Mike Kirkeberg March 17, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Jonathan,
Of course the four-hour workweek is BS. I have been thinking this ever since I got about 40 pages into the book. I think we can all work to lighten our load, slow things down. The exception to that is when we really find something that fits for us. Even then it makes sense to keep it in check. Why ruin a good thing?

Check out the TED video by Carl Fiore (I think that’s it) author of The Power of Slow.
Slow is a much more Illuminated point of view.

Thanks for saying out loud (so to speak) what I’ve been thinking of for some time.

Mike

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Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Jonathan, your visited links in comments are so pale blue I can hardly see them. I almost missed the names of people whose sites I had visited.

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Vered - MomGrind March 17, 2009 at 5:52 pm

@ malingerer: “Sexual promiscuity?” People still use that term to describe women who enjoy sex??

@ Jonathan: Except for insisting, as usual, that a 9-to-5, if carefully chosen, can be lucrative and fulfilling, I loved everything about this article, and especially “I think it’s the lack of purpose, the lack of depth in our work that leads us to chase ideas like a four hour workweek and autopilot income.”

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Mark Dykeman March 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm

I haven’t read The 4 Hour Work Week, so your post and Penelope Trunk’s post both provide interesting perspectives – good stuff.

Put simply, is it so much about not doing work or is it more about doing what you want to do instead of what you feel you have to do?

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Tony April 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

It is about releaving yourself of unexiting and uninspiring work for work sake and exchanging it for that which excites you. Its about automating your income while finding a life worth living.Example- One guy went from a corprate lawyer to giving guided tours around a tropical island.Its about freeing time to focus on bigger and better things, such as learning a new language and traveling to the country the language is spokken in, exploring your dream list or starting businesses that you are passionate about. One thing it absolutely is not about- being idol or lying around.Or you would, as others have said, be bored to tears.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher March 17, 2009 at 6:26 pm

This post speaks to the value and necessity of defining terms for ourselves.

If we do not define terms, such as success, wealth, rich, poor, retirement and work then, by default, we are being led by social conventions — the paved road.

I’ve not read 4HWW but it seems to feed into the desire to break from social conventions yet only leads others to follow someone else’s definition of “work.” This is not my idea of promoting independent thought, which is truly the path leading away from the paved road of social conventions.

“Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.” ~ Martin Heidegger

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curiousjessica March 17, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Jonathan,

Thanks for the reaity check…

I read the 4 hour work week and while did love the mini-retirement ideas, I didnt like the whole concept of work. To me, my writing brings me immense joy and I am moving towards full-time writing as my primary means of earning a living – but it is still work. The blood that I sweat while crafting chapters of my novel can attest to this. :)

On a related note, I’m really enjoying seeing this great mentoring relationship develop between yourself and Steve Pavlina. Kudos to you for being courageus and inspiring to all of us. You should be proud of yourself for stepping out of the box andtaking the opportunities that life presents! Coincidentally, Erin Pavlina and I have struck up a twittering relationship, although our favoutite topic happens to be how we can successfully stalk and kidnap our favourite actor, Jensen Ackles (supernatural). Hmm…

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Yes, But Still... March 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Compelling post, and I agree with it.

Sometimes I think of work as play, and only 4 hours a week wouldn’t be fun at all.

Read about it at: http://yesbutstill.blogspot.com/2009/02/work-is-fun-personal-musings-on-notion.html

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Marc and Angel Hack Life March 17, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I read that article from Penelope Trunk when she first posted it. I agree, it’s bold… but spot on.

Tim Ferris has some interesting ideas, but the key is NOT working LESS, but instead working MORE on things you LOVE.

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Matt March 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Hey man, just wanted to stop in and let you know that your blog is a huge inspiration for me as far as content goes.

This post is no exception. Thought provoking and well written as always.

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Gene March 17, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Yes!

“Work is love made visible.” — The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

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alexismichelle March 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I quite like 4HWW, but like anything else, wouldnt necessarily approach it as doctrine :)

Another recommendation: Life Entrepreneurs (http://www.lifeentrepreneurs.com/)by Chris Gergen and Gregg Vanourek. They explore a continuum that combines social entrepreneurship with lifestyle design. Its very inspiring!

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Chad@TheEffectiveSpirit March 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Great post Jonathan,

I started my day at 7am, and I’m still taking care of projects now at almost 11pm.

My commute is about 15 feet to my office and then another 100 feet to my studio.

I’m always working, but I don’t really “work” that much, if you know what I mean.

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IRG March 17, 2009 at 11:34 pm

A friend and co-worker once said to me: All work has value. I totally agree.

And it does, from the janitor and mailroom staff to those who do the endless (and generally unnoticed and unrewarded) stuff that keeps small and large companies alive. And our society moving along each day.

Here in the city, we could not survive without the garbagemen and the taxi drivers, for example, people who often take a lot of abuse from the very people who need and use them the most. And we all know how easily our days go from OK to awful after interacting with others who are miserable in their jobs.

I agree that it is important to focus on your passion and try to match your skills and experience in work (in its broadest sense).

But…and yes, there is a but. It is simply not possible for everyone to be engaged in work that reflects their passion. Because passion often exceeds ability, skills and opportunities (present and future). And that was before the economy went in the tubes.

It’s a harsh reality but one that many people working at or below the mandated wage face every day. Sometimes a job is just that: A job. Not a career. Not one’s passion. A way to pay the bills and if you are lucky, allow you the freedom in your spare time to pursue a hobby, interest, or passion for which you cannot make enough money to live, but can still enjoy and add meaning to your life. (and often that of others)

It’s a reality that many people who made above-average salaries and had really good and creative jobs have learned in this economy, when many are now baristas and retail sales clerks–jobs they never had before and are shocked to see how demanding and exhausting they can be (wow. The same 8 or more hours you worked before for thousands of dollars a week. Now you only get $10 an hour. Gee, now you know how all those folks you stiff, ignore and act nasty to in restaurants, etc. feel at the end of the day.)

I’ve worked all kinds of job from the most menial (mailroom staffer and go-fer to better paid office temp) to being a consultant for Fortune 50 companies, a VP of a PR firm that serviced one of the top five U.S. brands.
I had a good time doing them all, once I set aside how I was treated by some of the customers and staffers. None of them ever reflected what came to be my personal passion but I always threw myself into whatever I did 150% or more because to me, you did what you did VERY WELL. You excelled just because that’s the way you do things. Always improve, make it better. Even if you’re NOT paid to do so. Without attachment to the results. (When I worked in retail, I did not get paid commission as others did. I still outsold everyone else.)

What I saw was that how someone approached their “work” (however you define it) and how well someone did a job was not based on how much they were paid, but on their own professionalism. I saw a lot of professionalism in “low-level” employees and a true lack of it in many very well (and over-) paid execs.

It’s not your title, your actual job or who you work for that matters. It’s that old-fashioned thing called a work ethic. And a good work ethic doesn’t mean you have to recast what you’re doing into something it isn’t just to get through the day. It’s possible to do anything and not look down at it or, conversely, to make it more than it is to you (and that includes the well-paying jobs that many have but are still unhappy with). Work often is actual servitude, even with those who have a Zen attitude to life and deep gratitude.

You do the job as best you can, no matter how much you’re paid. You work well and with pride, whether you’re cleaning a bathroom (something I did as a VP because the owner of the firm refused to hire a cleaning person!)or making a pitch for a multi-million dollar account. You work as best you can, not to impress, to get a raise or to move up the ladder. But because it represents an investment of your time and energy and as such, you owe to yourself.

Pride in work comes from within.

It has to be that way because quite frankly, most people and companies you work for have NO respect for their employees; treat them like crap and drain them of their health, energy and well-being.

To pretend that many working conditions are not as bad as they are, or to use it as an excuse to NOT do your job–both are unacceptable.

If we all treated each other with more respect and compassion, without regard to title, position or income level, and with gratitude for the work that everyone does, we’d find that we wouldn’t have to focus on these semantics about what work is, and isn’t. It just is…

Some jobs are NOT about self-expression or creativity or passion,nor could they be. I’m not sure I agree with the choice of the word “sacred” as being one that describes all work.

All work has value and should be acknowledged as such. All people have value beyond what they do and what they are paid.

But I get mighty tired of people acting like “work” is not WORK. With all that implies. It is NOT an option for the majority of people, something that will always make it challenging for many reasons. And even though it can and does make a difference, it’s still often physically, emotionally and mentally tough. And there’s a big difference in how the world views the work of say a doctor or a subway clerk. Yet both have value.

Got a little off the track here, but this article just annoyed the heck out of me (possibly because it started off with a reference to Penelope Trunk. When she’s your inspiration, well, enough said.)

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Tiffany March 18, 2009 at 12:16 am

Well said, thanks for posting this!

It’s unfortunate that people won’t give themselves permission to have jobs that they actually enjoy. Most folks think that it’s impossible and Tim Ferris only feeds into this.

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Glen Allsopp March 18, 2009 at 3:57 am

Tim was honest about his title being nothing more than derived from a PPC campaign, it got more clicks than any other title.

Excellent post Jonathan, this is why you’re one of my favourite bloggers!

Cheers,
Glen

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Roger - A Content Life March 18, 2009 at 4:52 am

Great post!

I haven’t read Tim’s book, but I agree with everything that you said in the post.

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Rufus March 18, 2009 at 5:30 am

Hey Jonathan, thanks for saving me the four hours I would have spent reading the book and probably coming to a “WTF, I paid for this in time and treasure?” conclusion. It was on my list of books I should have read by now but was too busy having fun at work to get to. Instead, I’ll spend 13.5 minutes commenting on your blog. I love ROI :-)

I wonder how many people out there have to “sneak around” early mornings, late nights and weekends to “work” because those around them have a pre-defined notion that work is something you do in someone else’s office 9-5? I know two people off the top of my head who have to “hide” the fact they are doing work from their spouse, almost to the level of “I’m having an affair” covertness.

Work is not a bad word. My work is who I am. My company is who I am. Why is that not celebrated more often? My work makes it possible for the people around me to be who they are as well. Why is that bad?

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Dustin @ Beating the Grind March 18, 2009 at 8:28 am

The 4-Hour Workweek is a title that evokes a response and, as you mentioned, that is exactly why he chose it. In the book Tim points out that the title was voted on by the market using Adwords.

That being said the book really offers ways to leverage technology in business. How you choose to use the time it frees up is your own choice.

Overall nice article with some very good points!

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Bruce Elkin March 18, 2009 at 9:23 am

Hi Jonathon,
Great post. Your distinction between work as a chore, or burden, and work as illuminating and edifying play is a great one. As one of your commenters quoted, “work is love made visible.”

I coach people in the act of creating, and I like to use John Ruskin’s description of art/creating as a definition of “good work” — it’s the place where the head, the hands, and the heart all come together to produce desired results.

Thanks for this. Much appreciated!

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Jonathan March 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

@ Derek: I find that really interesting. You’ve confirmed my suspicions.

@ Stephen: No, he doesn’t work 4 hours a week. But he wouldn’t “define” that other “time” as “work.”

@ Duff: My new favorite word is psychic entropy. Where the hell do you come up with this stuff man?

@ Jun: I completely understand what you’re saying and I think you’re right. Most people are happy just keeping their heads down and grinding at out. I’m not one of those people though and neither are you. My only wish is that through the work you and I are doing, we can help a few other people see the light (not the fluorescent cubicle light).

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Jonathan March 18, 2009 at 9:27 am

@ Everyone: Thank you for your comments. I really get more out of reading the comments on this blog than with anything else I do. You guys are awesome.

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Tom Volkar / Delightful Work March 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm

This is well said my friend. “Work is giving yourself. It’s creative self-expression. It’s opening your heart and providing value to others. It’s exchanging a part of yourself with someone else.”

You know I believe that work ought to be delightful. Then it is a natural outpouring of who we are.

It’s good for you to take a stand on this. It’s a fine flag to rally round.

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The Happy Rock March 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I really love you way you expressed the true meaning of work, I appreciate the thoughtfulness. Tweeted!

On a side note, pay someone else to do those taxes! That way you create value for whoever loves doing taxes and you can spend more time on the work that directly provides the most value to you which in turn indirectly gives the most value to others.

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Wait… are you being serious by implying there are people who love doing taxes? Look, Tim outsources stuff and I’m sure those people rather have that income than not, but I very much doubt they love doing what Tim pays them to do.

James | Dancing Geek March 18, 2009 at 5:12 pm

@IRG – There is a lot of truth and sense in what you are writing, but it is mixed in with some very unpleasant emotions. I do not agree with the tone or the implied conclusions that you draw, and much of what you say actually does not disagree with Jonathan’s post.

I believe that your comment was intended as an emotional rant, rather than an attempt to persuade, refute or communicate. I do have a couple of points I want to express however:

1) Someone’s passion is not restricted to one job title. Someone can be passionate about teaching children and do that work as a fully qualified teacher, classroom assistant, private tutor, parent or other relative, after-school club leader, mentor, counsellor, friendly neighbour or freelance workshop leader. The economy and a person’s abilities will affect which options are open to them at a given time, but this does not mean that the route of passionate work is blocked to them altogether.

2) To choose to do work that pays the bills so that your passion may be pursued outside of working hours is also an option. A choice. It is one that anyone can make. The difference is between those who do so out of choice and those who do so by default. Their paid work is then something that supports their passion and as such is part of their great work for them, if only indirectly. Attitude here is what makes the difference.

3) Following your passion does not mean you will become famous, wealthy or entitled. It means that you connect with your work in a meaningful way. This is not limited to any particular job role, social level, pay bracket, or other social categorisation.

I felt very angry when I first read your comment, I feared others might listen to you and not realise where there were errors in your thinking. To write that way affects those who read your words and can be damaging to others. I hope you will be more considerate next time you share your thoughts.

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

You are using a very idealized definition of “passion”. Most people are not passionate about anything that might provide them with income. For example, I like children but I would rather commit Harakiri than have to work with them 40+ hours a week. Looking at people who do, it is clear they grow bitter simply from the weight of how much time they spend at it. Take the financial rewards out of it and there are very few people that actually “love” working with children. If you ask the average man their idealized work is “porn star”, but even sex with beautiful women gets old. Look at gamers; what they spend their time doing often looks a lot like work, sometimes menial work (Facebook games?). They enjoy it because it’s something they can start and stop as they wish.

Amanda Linehan March 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Hi Jonathan, I have to admit – I also tend to think of “work” as something you have to do, but don’t want to. But, I think the idea that you presented in this post, that “work is sacred” is a much better way of perceiving what’s really work. Making a contribution with something that you love to do is the best possible “work” scenario that I can imagine. Thanks a lot.

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Andresito March 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

“…if you ever do achieve a four hour work week, you’ll probably want to get rid of it.”

This captures the essence of the whole article, well done.

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Clay March 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Jonathan! What an honor to be included in this list. Thanks so much for thinking of me and for the sweet sweet link.

I’m calling you tomorrow, bro!

–Clay

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Rufus March 19, 2009 at 4:21 am

@James Dancing Geek In my opinion, your point #2 is not true for a lot of people. The fact that you and I are able to exchange opinions on a blog, using a computer AT OUR LEISURE, using respectful language is a “choice” that is not afforded a lot of folks in this country. We really do take that for granted.

I know a few “happy garbage men” and have met quite a few “happy hotel cleaning staff” but I’m pretty sure they did not “choose” to do that work, even though it is honorable as @IRG argues.

We tend to take this concept of “choice” for granted from positions of privilege. What we consider now basic life needs (cell phone, Internet, laptop, education, command of language) many in this country don’t have. And that limits their choices through no fault of their own.

@IRG Dead on with your comment on Penelope Trunk :-) She enables GenY into thinking they own the world and have power beyond their experience.

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Martynas March 19, 2009 at 5:02 am

Nice post. I think it is a very to-the-point speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

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Ezalor March 19, 2009 at 5:05 am

I have some opinions to express (I have not read 4HWW):

-This is highly subjective: some people will have plenty of things to do at home, while others will get utterly bored sitting at home. We are all different and I am sure that hobbies and dreams make a big difference. But I agree that most people will get bored without a job. The question really boils down to that we need something engaging for our minds.

-I cannot see work as a “gift” to others. People produce crap and consume crap, most of it is anyways :P
But if you fight hunger in Africa, then I agree that you are a gift to others.

-”Waiting for vacation = being a 6-year old”, is a highly annoying and stupid thing to say in my opinion. I say keep on dreaming! But of course we are also all different in this matter.

-I believe that a majority of all jobs ARE boring and that sad fact cannot be changed. GZ to everyone that have a job they like!

-The feeling of being useful is often just an illusion IMHO, society tells us that we have to achieve stuff to be worthy. Free yourself from this :P

-There is an ecological aspect to this: This whole system is based on using, exploiting, natural resources. Also, how much additional resources are needed to create jobs for 6 billion people: transport, buildings, materials, energy etc.?
This system cannot last IMHO, when it crashes our jobs will be, once again, to gather food.

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Andre January 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm

“-The feeling of being useful is often just an illusion IMHO, society tells us that we have to achieve stuff to be worthy. Free yourself from this :P” +1 Ezalor

Charlton March 19, 2009 at 6:52 am

There’s so much that the western world doesn’t understand and takes for granted. I’m exceptionally lucky to be born in the UK and have a service based job.

Most people in the rest of the world work simply to survive; you think that the men, women and children that made your clothes, iPod, laptop and the seat you’re sat on love their job, and have time to worry about hobbies? 12-16 hour work days, 6-7 days a week are extremely common in many parts of the world and these jobs that us westerners have outsourced are rarely glamorous and almost never pay enough for a hobby.

Most of the world works simply to make ends meet. You’re just lucky enough to be from a part of the world where that’s not always the case.

It’s absolutely essential that the rest of the world does the jobs we tut and think we’re too good for, and gets paid just enough to afford a roof and a small amount of food every day, so that we can continue to wipe our asses with luxury toilet paper, earn money by typing and talking to each other, and complain when the bus is 4 minutes late.

I feel guilty purely for being born, and I hope that everyone who’s born healthy and in a developed nation feels exactly the same.

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Carlos October 27, 2010 at 8:05 pm

@ Charlton – “I feel guilty purely for being born, and I hope that everyone who’s born healthy and in a developed nation feels exactly the same.”

This notion, and I know it’s not yours alone, makes me feel ill. I wonder how someone with this mentality could ever truly be a productive member of society. How terrible it must be to be you, living the good life in the UK. How dare you? How dare any of us!?!

Your comment shows a complete lack of understanding of simple economics. Those jobs that us Westerners have outsourced to the poorer nations may not pay enough for a hobby, but there will be food on the table of those lucky enough to be assembling my television. We don’t live in a perfect world Charlton. Fix what’s broken if you can, but stop with the guilt for being born bs!

Carlos

Mary/GoodlifeZEN.com March 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

Great post, Jonathan!

Most people spend most of their time doing passionless work. In contrast, I wake up each morning and think eagerly, “Is is too early to start writing yet?”

Just imagine someone were to offer me a four-hour work week in which I’d only be allowed to write for four hours each week. I’d hit him on the head!

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Erin Slusher March 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

Johathan I am always inspired by your posts. It is true, work is not bad. I have had jobs that sucked the life out of me and then jobs where I felt I soared. Life is now. We should all be soaring. Thanks for your work in elevating the human condition.

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Guerrilla Billionaire™ March 19, 2009 at 11:18 am

Maybe it’s just me, but I caught on immediately that the title is nothing more than a catchy marketing gimmick. It’s very memorable. The point of Ferriss’s book is to teach you how to set up multiple online businesses in such a way that each of them requires no more than 4 hours of your time, on average. It’s also about offloading the responsibilities you hate to people who thrive on them.

From what I do know about Tim, he’s a worker who puts in long hours each week and has a lot of fun doing so. He is by no means suggesting that anyone work only 4 hours, even if they could afford to do so.

If Tim is guilty of anything, it might be that he used the tried and true marketing tactic of appealing to people’s inherent laziness with the book’s title. Everyone wants a free lunch. Few people want to work hard at anything. However, a reading of the book past the front cover reveals that his system is designed for active high energy hustlers. After all, a sophisticated system such as his doesn’t just drop out of the skies.

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Tiffany March 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Thanks, as always, for perspective.

I think it’s also worth saying that you can make a job that feels like a chore feel more like play, just by changing your mindset and your daily activity. So, get your “tasks” done as fast as you can, and then actually interject play into your work. Here’s a post I actually wrote – at work! – about some ways to play on the job :) http://tr.im/8h0i

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Grant March 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Why does this sound so familar… oh yeah, Vaynerchuck alluded to it the day before you at SXSW. Tim’s a pretty sneaky guy. He’s smart but I wouldn’t trust him with my life.

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Sara March 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Jonathan,

Thank you very much for this post. I was feeling very guilty about ignoring Twitter because I wanted to write instead. After reading this post, I give myself permission to put social networking aside for a day or two…well, actually it’s been a bit longer…but hey at least I am writing.

I really liked this line, “Just because we’re born with a bad definition of something doesn’t mean we have to keep it.” Oh, there are so many things this applies to:~)

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Martin March 19, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Jonathan,
Great article. You have changed the way I will define my work/job.

This could be life changing.

Thanks.

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Jesse Hines March 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Jonathan,

You said if you do escape from work that:

“Sure, you’d have a lot of free time, but is that really what you’re looking for? Just free time?”

Tim Ferriss makes it clear throughout the book that he’s not encouraging people to simply create gobs of free time just for the sake of it.

In both the beginning of the book, where he encourages readers to define what they really want to spend their life doing, and the end of the book, where he looks at the issue of greater purpose, he’s clear that more time isn’t the goal–rather, more time to do what we’d rather do is.

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MoneyEnergy March 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Good stuff! I agree! I wouldn’t say Tim’s *lying*, though…. he’d agree too…

I retweeted this.

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Jason March 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm

@Jonathan

After reading your original post, I feel a need to defend Tim Ferriss a bit. I think your post is engaging in “semantics,” meaning that it makes it appear that there is more disagreement than there actually is, by defining words differently.

Specifically, you use “work” to represent sacred, passion-driven, creativive activities that generate value for self & others. Time Ferris uses the word “work” to represent the drudgery-filled jobs most people engage in. So obviously the sentences you each type about “work” are going to be different. But I don’t think your end-goals really are.

You’re all about following your dreams here. So is Tim Ferriss. In fact, the first exercise in his book is “dreamlining,” defining dreams one wants to realize and doing some broad-brush outlining on what it takes to achieve them. The rest of the book is filled with techniques for making that happen, by creating time, income & mobility. What you spend your “free time” on is up to you. Ferris suggests travel, lifelong learning and service. In any case, he is clear that the point isn’t to create time to sit on your butt – he says excess free time is a poison! – but to create time to do what is really important to you.

The main difference between the two of you is that Ferris is up-front about the possibility that what you love, what you’re passionate about, and your dreams aren’t necessarily going to correspond with what the rest of the world is willing to pay you for. Even if you figure out a way to make money off your passion, you may still spend much or most of your time in other activities. For example, you might produce a product related to your passion, but if you spend most of your time managing, advertising, marketing and shipping, most of you work time is still not actually spent on your passion itself. Or you might, say, paint, but to make money you end up painting what others want to buy, not what you yourself want to create.

(Penelope Trunk, incidentally, talks about the same problem. Her suggestion? Give up on doing your passion full-time, get a not-dream job, and follow your passion as a hobby only – a pretty far cry from your perspective here at Illuminated Mind.)

What Ferris primarily proposes is a way to separate INCOME from ACTIVITY. That means you can stop doing a lot of money-producing things, things you don’t want to do, and can instead do what you love, what you dream, what you’re passionate about, without having to worry about either being a “starving artist” or contorting your passion into a cash machine.

If your passion pays pretty directly, that may not be necessary. But if your passion cannot pay, or can’t pay in its pure form or the form you dream of, then having an automated income stream may be the most efficient way to stay true to yourself.

That may not be the path you’ve chosen, but it does seem to be leading up the same mountain.

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Carlos October 27, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Yes! Ding ding!!

YOU WIN!!

Amit March 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

I am offended by the arrogance of this post. The idea that work can be a sacred passion is an insult to the 9-5 worker who scrapes by to take care of his family. Career exploration and pursuing passions is something that only the privileged and young can have, and to generalize career to this larger, idealistic concept is inaccurate.

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Carlos October 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Amit, I believe you speak for the masses. One might not come to that conclusion browsing on paidtoexist2.loc, but ask the common person on the street – any street!

Jonathan March 21, 2009 at 9:23 pm

@ Jesse Hines: I’m aware of that and I agree with Tim completely in that sense. The creation of free time shouldn’t be in the pursuit to create a vacuum. It should to make more room for the things you’re interested in.

My only qualm is the way Tim defines work. If he wants to define it as such for himself, that’s fine. I just think it does the value of work a disservice when it’s seen as something you simply want to get rid of.

@ Jason: That’s probably the best comment I’ve ever gotten, ever. Wow. I do agree that monetizing your passion will inevitably involve types of work that you probably don’t find very fascinating or enjoyable. Maybe outsourcing those portions of work is the answer, maybe not, I don’t know. I don’t claim to have all the answers as I’m still trying to figure this out for myself. I just believe that defining work as *just* a chore is kind of lame.

@ Amit: Wow, I’m sorry you feel that way. It wasn’t my intention to be arrogant at all.

I personally am neither incredibly young, nor privileged, but I am finding the time, making the time, to pursue my passion. Many people don’t have the opportunity to pursue doing what they love for a living, I’m well aware of this. But doesn’t that fact just fuel the motivation to pursue doing what you love for a living, for the simple fact that you do have the opportunity. That’s an amazing gift, and I think to squander that does an injustice to the people that aren’t born with that opportunity. It’s like throwing away good food when other people are starving. Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

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Wouter Meyers March 22, 2009 at 3:16 am

I think that you and Tim aren’t as opposed as you make it seem. Tim Ferris clearly makes a distinction between work that you do to make a living and a vocation, that which you do because it fulfills you. I know that Tim is working hard on bringing more education to third world nations, something that he finds very important and that I’m sure he spends more than 4 hours a week on.

Anyway, I could type a lot more, after rereading your article I really have the feeling you misread a lot of what the 4HWW is about (it’s not about sipping martini’s at a swimming pool, or getting loads of free time) and that rereading it would be a good thing for you to see how much you guys have in common in your ideas!

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Jim Bathurst March 22, 2009 at 8:51 am

Yes, there’s definitely flaws in Tim’s ideas (specifically his method for making a “muse”), but I know for me the books was more a call to arms to grab hold of my life. I agree with a previous post that this is a bit of a semantic argument.

For those who have broken out and are working and making a sole living on something more meaningful to them, I’d say one problem is being overwhelmed with new projects. You love you work so much that you overextend yourself. I know that’s my problem. I need to learn to say no, and better leverage the time I have. I think the 4HWW can help a bit in this matter (talk of VA’s).

If you don’t learn to do this, I think you create a lot of stress for yourself. You could consider it “good stress” because it’s doing something you love. But it’s still stress nonetheless.

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Yusuf March 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm

You have to be living the Silicon Valley rat race to fully appreciate Tim’s message. According to Marcus Buckingham, only 20% of people enjoy what they do which means most of us unhappy with how we spend major part of our life. His book is a wake up call for those of us on the hamster wheel, working in a soul crushing, emasculating, corporate environment on the deferred life plan.

The title has nothing to do with the message. The title came from testing as to the best way to market the book. In fact, while I love your message and blog, I have to wonder if your own marketing/PR savvy isn’t at play here? I say that because your message actually aligns with Tim’s quite nicely in carefully choosing how you invest your valuable labor. With such a similar message, rebuking Tim rings of a straw man argument. Refuting the title is fair and Tim would likely stipulate that point. However the core of his message is in harmony with yours.

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Carlos Garbiras March 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Hey Jonathan, great post as usual! You have a great way with words. I agree with you that we need to redefine the concept behind the word but I think that you are missing the point behind 4hww, Tim’s ideas revolve around Pareto’s Principle, instead of trying to do everything just strive to do the few activities that brings you the most results. If you read tim’s blog you will also see how he explains that he spends between 4 and 6 hours a day writing and he goes on to clarify that the idea is not only to work 4 hours and then do nothing but to have more time to do the things that really matter to you.

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Beth March 23, 2009 at 5:17 am

The Four Hour Work Week is absolutely about finding meaningful work. I’m thinking that you either didn’t read the whole book or you chose to ignore that part of it.

The whole premise of the book is to automate your income so that you can do work that may not pay well but that you love and you can still provide for your lifestyle.

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Beth Partin March 23, 2009 at 9:15 am

Thanks for this post–it’s the second one this week that mentions Finance Your Freedom.

I like the idea of adding value to other people’s lives.

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Abbie March 23, 2009 at 4:05 pm

The only reason I know about *your* blog is because of Tim Ferriss’ blog… talk about “biting the hand that feeds you”.

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Erik March 23, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I second the commenters, saying that your and Tim’s view align pretty well. I read the 4HWW and found the idea of “financial freedom” or “independance from income” very fascinating. The reason being: you can be anywhere in the world (travel is costly….), doing the things you love and be refreshed whether “working” (= doing the things you love) or sipping martinis at the pool to relax and gather new zest for the things to come, which I think both things are fine in their own right – it is a dream life which does not rule out at all that you can be of service to others and contribute to the world.
I simply says “don’t you (ever) worry about money any more” – after achieving financial freedom you are completely free to become and do pretty much whatever you want and whatever you do – and I don’t think this is only for the “young and handsome” – read about Steve Pavlina who finances his “more of free time with his family” with his Blog by providing great content about what he loves – after all he promotes passive income also.
I think that passive income is the best way to live your dreams – even if that means working in a company (!) that you love, 9-5 – the vacations you can take from your added passive income allow you to travel the whole globe – so I don’t think that there is anybody who would not profit from passive income ;).
Your post complies with one of the basic “making noise”-rules (in the good sense) in the blogosphere and elsewhere: polarize people(!) – I for one liked the 4HWW pretty much and just had to comment on your post (well done here :) ). Where Penelope goes over the top in my opinion (won’t read any of her other posts – too much senseless ranting for me), you strike the right balance. Keep it up!

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John Holme March 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

I believe it can be done, working less and making much more money. It is all about the mind set.

Cheers

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Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome March 25, 2009 at 6:18 am

Thank you!

I haven’t read the book, but have felt the exact same way about it. Even if it’s something I love doing it’s still work. Most definitely. And it’s hard work.

Well said. Woo hoo! (Can you tell how happy I am you published this post? ;) )

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Tiffany March 25, 2009 at 8:40 am

I totally agree with your opinion and began reading that book but found it to be boring. I was a stay at home mom for while and could not take it after about 6 months. The lack of people interaction was mind numbing and I missed going to the office and taking trains. Nothing like a cup of joe from a cart on the corner. For those who like to go out, meet people and feel passionately about everything they do, that lifestyle would not be ideal. For instance, I am just an Administrative Assistant but no matter where I go or what I do, I try my best to do it well and build relationships inside and outside of the office. My dream job would actually require working probably 60 or more hours out the week since I would like to manage a hotel. Someone like myself would find the book and that lifestyle very unsatisfying.

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Dennis Dalton March 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I agree with you definition of work and your take on Tim Ferris’ book. Strangely I just wrote a post similar to yours. http://tinyurl.com/davw9n

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Luke Barry March 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Two quotes from Tim Ferriss’ 4HWW
#1 “..and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is.” pg. 22
#2 ” The student who elects to risk it all – which is nothing – to establish an online video rental service that delivers $5000.00 per month income from a small niche of HDTV aficionados, a two-hour-per-week side project that allows him to work full-time as an animal rights lobbyist.”
Seriously man, did you even read the book? You have completely missed the point. The title, as you implied, is a marketing tool to invite controversy not the thesis of the book. You’ve completely neglected the idea of lifestyle design that Tim Ferriss emphasizes to replace “working for work’s sake”. Absolutely, you should do what you love and be immersed in it. But if it can’t pay the power bills or feed six kids then it’s time to automate income and separate your time from it. And the reality is people’s passions wane and a change of career might want to be made. If one’s income is automated there is no problem with this move and no monetary stress.

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Ben Lurkin March 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm

This is very noble sounding, and perhaps what your regulars want to read, but it has very little to do with the world most of us live in.

Work is sacred according to most of the world’s spiritual traditions. Why is it, then, that our society so often turns work into something profane and dehumanizing? It’s sad, but true, at least in the corporate world, that most jobs are designed to achieve the polar opposite of what you offer as the ideal for work. Is it any wonder that so many working people become so miserable and sick?

What about all those jobs that nobody really wants to do? How many more of them can be outsourced?

The four-hour work week is false advertising, agreed. So is the notion that everyone can become self-actualized through work. There are many, many factors that exclude the possibility of this utopian view.

I’d like to live in such a world, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

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Geri Michelic March 28, 2009 at 7:51 am

What happened in our society that we came to believe human beings were widgets? That our passions should be squelched, or never even discovered, in the interest of earning a living? Thank you for sharing your insights around work being sacred. I love the one about renting out our minds and bodies! Yet for many of us (it’s happened to me) it keeps us from looking inside. For if we look inside we might find that we DO have a passion and purpose and then, we have to TAKE CHARGE and make it happen! We have to be our own CEO rather than waiting for our company’s CEO to make our lives better. Ouch!

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Puerhan March 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Wow great article. There are so many ways of loving your work even if you have no apparent choice about what you actually do. I count myself as someone privileged to be able to do a job I love, with great people and feel like I am making a decent contribution at the same time. (Eco-architect, mostly designing schools.)

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Dennis March 30, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Another quote from Tim’s book that the author of this post might consider:

“Full-time work isn’t bad, if it’s what you rather be doing. This is where we distinguish ‘work’ from a ‘vocation’. If you have created a muse or cut your hours down to next to nothing, consider testing a part-time or full-time vocation: a true calling or dream education. This is what I did with this book. I can now tell people I’m a writer rather than giving them the two-hour drug dealer explanation.” — 4HWW, p 278

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Kevin April 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I love the work I have been doing the last 4.5 years. The years before that, I always found jobs where I’d figure out a way to enjoy it, but this job is just great. See, I’m raising a piece of software. Literally. As it grows, I grow. Like a parent and child.

I still try to keep things simple. Sleep, live, work. And since I am a libra who loves balance, it’s 8 hours for each. I don’t mind that at all.

Often times, I’m not sure which piece of my pie I like most, considering I love all three as much.

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Farhan Rehman April 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Interesting perspective..

I don’t know what it was about the book, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it, and something in it just didn’t sit true, as being completely authentic. I think the idea of having a 4 hr work week just doesn’t ring true.. Working, for the sake of working equally doesn’t sound rewarding, but at the same time finding a vocation that engages you, and satisfies you does.. That is what life should be, working hard at what rewards you personally, however it is that you choose to engage with your work..

The Richest Man in Babylon also drives home that “need” to work, and turn the “labour” of work, into a pleasure, and cultivate the desire to excell and whatever ones mind is put to..

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Jay April 13, 2009 at 9:11 pm

First off this review is not accurate. Number one you are taking his out of context. Reminds me of why there are 50 million religions. that is because when people read something they interpret it the way they want to. What tim is saying is that work is a excuse to do more of work. Hence the upward divorce rates, children going crazy, ect. This is because when people get away from the arena of self, they can focus on the people they affect around them. Work is a sorry excuse to feel busy. And if you don’t feel bored after working 4 hours then you are not focusing your time correctly. At the end of the day this is not to bash this website. I can say because of applying tim ferris principles I now have left my job that I was sad, My relationship was suffering, my mom was sick. and now that I work less I can enhance these. So before writing a horrible review think and understand first. Tim has changed my life. He has given away $5,000 dollar information for 19.95. He has told you how to get a assistant for 4.00 this information pricless for other people it means nothing. Be blessed to success.

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Ron S April 17, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I truly think the author of this blog has taken the entire book for only its title. To borrow the cliché, you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Yes, Tim did a smart thing by creating a controversial title. Consequently, he also had many readers who presumably did what this reviewer has done by taking the book to be merely another “work sucks, be free” ranting.

In no place do I see where the book undermines the value of hard work. Its true focus appears to be around the premise of *defining* “work”, thus allowing and encouraging you to, in fact, do MORE work!

For Tim, he gets his personal value from learning new things and setting new goals to accomplish, as many of us do. There is no more anything wrong with his selection of non-”work” related goals than there is the selection of nearly all-work related goals from a highly driven business individual.

I don’t find that Tim discriminates or solely targets those who do not wish to venture deep into the business world.

What Tim suggests is to not simply do “Work for work’s sake” (W4W) thereby increasing your efficiency and ability to accomplish even more work, whether that work be learning to build massive corporations or learning to speak fluent Yiddish in Yidland (that’s where it comes from, right?)

Does Tim only work 4 hours per week? NO! He’s accomplished more than most anyone I know, and by his own admission, he is technically a workaholic. I know I just lost somebody in that statement, so let me explain. Tim’s ‘work’ is to learn something efficiently and achieve massive goals he sets for himself. His drive to find the most efficient path to accomplish these goals proves the near “addiction” of accomplishing goals. Thefore, New Rich = Efficient Workaholic. With me now? Good.

I feel that where one can gain even more respect for Tim is that instead of suggesting that one simply “do what you love and watch the money follow”, as many books do, this presents a balanced perspective. It offers the reader the option to be more efficient at anything (love it or hate it), thus being able to do more of what they love. It also awakens the mind with the questions that we all must face.

Is this worth the time I’m giving it?
Is my LIFE going where I WANT it to go?

With due respect to the reviewer, as I understand that everyone will have their own personal opinion, I will also offer my own opinion. If the primary message you got from this book was to be lazy or that work is evil, my guess is that this struck a nerve in your own work life or you simply did not read it thoroughly.

If you like your 9-5 just as it is, don’t want to travel more or do anything extra that would require more time in your life, don’t need more time with the family, don’t want to be more efficient and accomplish more in your workplace, etc, then do not worry about taking heed to the concepts in this book. I honestly can’t speak against anyone in this situation, because if you feel that way about where you’re at in life right now, you are a blessed individual. As for myself, I am always looking to add more value to my life and to each of my work projects.

I encourage anyone to read this book and re-define “work” to something you enjoy. Find the time to live your dreams and goals, making them what you work on whilst balancing your life the way you want it!

Whether you who hate your job and get the urge to burn the building down by filling the water machine with gasoline, or you simply just want to free up an extra day or two to play with the kids, learn a new language, or become the pogo stick champion of Montana, this book will help you.

Just $0.02 from someone whose quality of work was superb, but whose sole life definition slowly became stemmed from “busyness”, not from accomplishment. Thanks Tim, for being one of the influential pieces in the puzzle of finding more peace and real satsifaction from life itself!

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Slick April 20, 2009 at 8:12 am

You are a true hater. This book was eye-opening on a countless number of levels. It provides practical advice for all people stuck in “cubicle nation.”

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Michael April 20, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Shame on all of us for wasting this much time on a semantic argument. We are using at least three different definitions work and never actually criticizing and of the processes described in the book.

The few legitimate disagreements in these comments have little to do with anything in Ferriss’s book other than he uses the word ‘work’.

Also, “I haven’t read the book, but…” WTF? How can you agree or disagree with Ferriss’s philosophy (and not the definition of the word ‘work’) if you have not read his work–HA! Number 4!

I be we could get out of here if it weren’t for all these trees…

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Mat Siems May 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

I completely agree with Micheal’s last post. It is basically a semantic argument about the word “work”. Both Tim ferris and the author of this blog are heading more or less in the same direction, and that’s what is really important.
All the best!

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Donovan May 11, 2009 at 8:23 am

Jonathan,

Love your blog and really feel in sync with your ideas on life and how to live it mindfully. You seem to take a broad view most of the time. That is why I am so surprised with whom you think your thoughts align.

Perhaps you could dig a little deeper here. Both you and Tim seem to me, to be a possibility oriented, philosophers of life, bent on adding more meaningful moments to your time on earth. On the other hand, Penelope Trunk just seems like she is overly angry and in a bad place.

Judging from your comments section, I’m not the only one thinking this.

Would appreciate some insight why I or we are mistaken.

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bob corrigan May 22, 2009 at 8:09 am

Work is sacred? Do you have that printed on a great big sign at one corner of the sweatshop you run? I imagine this was the same line the guy banging the drum fed to the slaves chained to the oars. Work is sacred my a$$.

The heart of Tim’s book is an assertion that you must live in the now – to embrace your dreams in the now – and to never defer your happiness for some murky “future”. “Work” as is generally understood is a social convention designed to maximize the output from uninspired laborers. As long as “workers” feel “grateful” to “employers”, the convention is reinforced and perpetuated.

As someone who is waking up to the lie, I was and am inspired by Tim’s ideas. The core thesis is that your time is sacred – not work. So make the best of it.

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IRG June 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Dancing Geek comments on IRG’s original post:
“I felt very angry when I first read your comment, I feared others might listen to you and not realise where there were errors in your thinking. To write that way affects those who read your words and can be damaging to others. I hope you will be more considerate next time you share your thoughts.”

Wow, dancing geek, I have no idea what might provoke such anger and such a response based on what I wrote. Clearly something pushed your buttons. But it has nothing to do with my post.

You slammed me from your opening comments:
“There is a lot of truth and sense in what you are writing, but it is mixed in with some very unpleasant emotions. I do not agree with the tone or the implied conclusions that you draw, and much of what you say actually does not disagree with Jonathan’s post.

I believe that your comment was intended as an emotional rant, rather than an attempt to persuade, refute or communicate. I do have a couple of points I want to express however:”

James, the people who post here are expressing personal opinions. You don’t have to agree or like them. But you also don’t need to be judging and labeling them, which you are doing.

You can respectfully disagree without attacking me personally, which I feel you have done.

I wrote to express opinion. Mine. Not to influence or persuade. Expressing opinions freely is communication. I did not diss or disrespect anyone in my post. In fact, I spoke of the importance of honoring all work. I may have disagreed with some points of the article, but so what? That is what people do in commenting.

I don’t know what you were reading, but I believe you didn’t hear anything I was saying.

You also seem to think that my words have some power to convince others, and that simply is not the case. An opinion does not make it so for anyone else.

Errors in thinking? Again, opinion, James. To which you disagree, which is just fine. I don’t need you to validate my opinion. Here, or elsewhere.

My only problem with you is this comment from you:
“I feared others might listen to you and not realise where there were errors in your thinking. To write that way affects those who read your words and can be damaging to others. I hope you will be more considerate next time you share your thoughts.”

There was nothing inconsiderate in my comments. NOTHING. Nobody was damaged by reading them. (Why would you even think so?) Whether they agreed or not.

And it’s not your place to chastise me here for speaking my opinion.
???? Be more considerate when I share my thoughts?

I think you are the one who needs to practice that, James.

I truly don’t know understand how anything I wrote could provoke your attitude and comments.

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Christine June 11, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Your awesome! I argue with my parents about this stuff all the time (I’m on your side). =)

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SEO 'n' Chips June 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I work a 65+ hour week.

It doesn’t feel like I do, because I love my job – also because I own half of the company I work for, so all the hard work put in is directly in my own interests.

If you hate your work or feel flattened because you ‘work too much’ you probably don’t need to work less, or not work so hard – you need to work differently.

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KevinT June 20, 2009 at 7:52 am

“All sides of opinion, feed an open mind. Your values are twisted, let us help you unwind.” Peter Gabriel

I appreciate all the comments on this blog except those from people who have not read, or completed the book. There are too many uninformed opinions out there and this just drives that point home for me.

I also find it very interesting that someone who is promoting his own philosphy on this subject, and has a book of his own, is so objectional to anothers work. Seems a bit self-surving to me. Especially since it definitely appears that your philosophy aligns so well with Tim’s. As I said, interesting.

I am interested in pursuing your material as well since I am not one to read one book, or accept one persons views, as the Holy Grail of life. It appears that you have alot to offer and as my opening quote suggests, I am open to all sides of an argument. In fact, that is why I came to this article. How much research did you do to determine the “click” value of your title? :)

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KevinT June 20, 2009 at 8:33 am

Correction, it’s, “All SHADES of opinions, feed an open mind. But your values are twisted, let us help you unwind.”. It has been awhile since I have listened to this and something just didn’t ring true after I wrote it.

BTW, it’s from “Not One of Us” off the US defacto titled “Games Without Frontiers” album.

Enjoy

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Joe June 21, 2009 at 12:50 am

The logic in this article is flawed. You realize the problem is that people don’t like work. Tim Ferriss also realizes this in his book and offers a solution. But you simply offer a different solution to this problem and do not explain why the four hour work week is a lie.

Also, you try to redefine work. Its gonna take a lot to pull that off.

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Nonexistent June 27, 2009 at 9:35 am

Good points.
However I could be content with reading comics and watching movies all day and have no problem.

I prefer not to have personal contact other than online so that would suit me nicely.

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Lino1 July 17, 2009 at 1:38 am

you don’t like Tim, so you can’t understand his ideal

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Guitar Lesson Reviews July 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Your post is valid however I believe Tim’s book is targeted towards the majority of people who don’t view work with your definition. Most people don’t like their job, and some do dream of travelling to distant lands. A lot of people haven’t discovered their passion or purpose yet know grinding away 40 hours a week for someone else isn’t there thing. I think Tim’s book helps these type of people think outside the traditional square which they think they know.

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John Munson July 21, 2009 at 9:13 am

The book is misleading, using The 4 Hour Work Week, but the points that are not:
1. Get off your XXXX and do what you want or have a passion or dream. Action.
2. If anything change your thought process, look at things from a different angle.
3. In today’s economy, how can you open a business and be cost effective by not outsourcing.
4. Becuase of the economy, more new businesses will be started over the next twenty years by those who no longer believe working for someone else is the answer.
Forget the 4 hour work week, think of it as anyother self help book. Did it cause you to think, but more important, did it inspire you to do something. If you did do something, the books value is twenty fold.

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Matt Konig August 9, 2009 at 12:02 am

I disagree with you, and most of the comments people have made.

Firstly I’m not sure you have read all of the book. Tim talks about doing something you are passionate about, or that is your purpose. Stopping doing something that is inline with your core is not the purpose of the book.

But in saying that I’d say less than 1% are truly in their ideal career that is the perfect representation of their personality type, their strengths, their purpose and their passion. The book is for the 99% of the population.

But I understand that everybody is different.

I’m a real outdoor adventure type. I love dangerous stuff, challenges, and being in the world around me. I’m also training in dance to win competitions, I’ve been dancing for 12 years, and really am passionate about it.

Creating a passive income, outsourcing, and doing pretty much exactly everything in the book is perfectly ideal for me. The problem with most people is that they have no idea what to replace work with. They are so conditioned to work all the time, and are so out of touch with themselves, that they need work to be even slightly fulfilled and occupied.

Its one of the best books ever written in my opinion. The thing though is that it won’t work if everybody does it, it takes an ability to implement, and its not easy setting up your passion income. Thats a side point though because the best thing about the book is that it gives you a much better end goal than just working more.

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Leslie August 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

The 4 Hour Work week completely opened my mind up to a new way of thinking about life and work. I think the book is really, really good. I think people get hung up on some of the specific things he says rather than the spirit of the book. The book is written from the perspective of a physical young man and some of the things he’s into aren’t the same things I am because I’m a 40 something woman. I still saw the spirit of what he was talking about and looked to ways I could break out of my own limiting thinking. Also, being an artist, he opened up a world of thinking about money that had eluded me.

Frankly, after spending the past year studying Internet marketing, I’m finding I want to go back and read the 4 hour work week again.

This is my first visit to your blog and you seem like an intelligent, searching person so I don’t want to criticize you, but I wonder if using the provocative title wasn’t a little unfair to Tim Ferris? He certainly doesn’t advocate that you spend the rest of your week smearing cocoanut butter on your stomach, but that you are freed up to do the things you are passionate about.

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Heather September 3, 2009 at 7:56 am

This was written by a liberal I am guessing.

“….Work is giving yourself. It’s creative self-expression. It’s opening your heart and providing value to others. It’s exchanging a part of yourself with someone else. It’s a possibility for you to make a difference in the world…”

Really? In his discription of “sacred work”, he never mentions earning money at all”

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James September 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

The problem is Tim is a liar. he hasn’t done half of the things he claims in the book. Anyway he is a great marketer and there are plenty of stupid people out there who believe him – so why not?

and for the people that are trying to get to a 4 hour work week – Tim is gone for a long time. With the money he made he has invested in start up companies, and now he hangs out with some of the popular leaders of the silicon valley. This is the way he gets around: going after leaders, use them, and then dump them.

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Justin September 10, 2009 at 10:21 am

I think the way you said some things may be the reason some people took this post offensively or the wrong way. Especially having “lie” in the title. But that’s your choice of course.

I think I understand what you are saying though, and I agree on both your side and Tims. I think what you are talking about is work as a passion, if you are doing your passion and working at it and getting paid for it, then work is not dreadful. Yes. But, for me being a artist, having a passive income wouldn’t create the time to go lie on a beach and drink margarita’s, it would create the time and offer me the creative freedom to do what I love, which is create, learn and study art. By working 9 – 5, its almost impossible, besides nit picking at my passion. Some people though may be looking for freedom to be lazy.

I would say, have a passion, create passive income or some sort of continuous income so you can focus on the work you love to do, with out worrying about the stress and going to your 9 – 5 job.

Or, Take action, work your ass off at your passion while you are working 9 – 5, then take action and start your own business related to the work you love.

Maybe the book opened up people minds, the lives of the ones who do not have dreams, but have now created them.

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EdgarX October 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Opinions can be swayed but verifiable facts cannot be disputed. Has anyone here applied Tim’s principles successfully? Has anyone even tried? If so, please sound off. Debate can go on forever, but seeing (even if just once) is believing.

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Living the 4 hour work week October 29, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I read the book a short while ago and really enjoyed it. Mr Ferriss has an enthusiastic and contagious writing style and he gives some good advice on how to implement the concepts outlined in his book.

However, none of the ideas are new and some of his assertions are plain wrong, for example, to suggest that the 80/20 principle has been forgotten is just plain silly.

In spite of all of this and without the desire to leave my current job (or work only 4 hours a week) I am in the process of trying to implement the techniques described.

I can tell you that it isn’t easy, in large part because old habits are hard to break.My idea is simply to gain a little extra income every month and not to become a millionaire so I’m not aiming for a mega-business but it’s still tough going..

The real challenge isn’t breaking old habits though. Instead it is developing the business idea into a viable business. Mr Ferriss advocates an informational business rather than products but that basically means writing a book – not a simple task.

I’m still battling through it though because I reckon that I can achieve a small passive income by implementing the ideas. So, it won’t be a 4 hour work week for me but perhaps I’ll be able to take the family away from the city a few more times a year.

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Laughable November 17, 2009 at 10:27 am

Your two points for why the 4HWW are a lie are YOUR opinions/perspectives. Your presentation of work as sacred has precisely the same tact as Ferris’s arguments; you’re shaping the perspectives of your readers.

Work is no more sacred than it is a chore; it’s opinion akin to “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

I can respect your opinion; it’s what YOU think of the 4HWW. Try to be a little more mindful, however, that what may not work for you won’t work for someone else.

Your opinion does not prove something to be a lie.

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Eric December 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm

This post is mindless and vague considering how abstractly the blogger claims how “work” is so valuable with not one real life example or anecdote. Ferris provided plenty of examples of eliminating time at work (which he defines as time used to generate income) so one could pursue their passion or travel the world. Please inform me how that statement is “wrong” as dictated by the title of this post? One more question: what is the bloggers mode of generating income? Does the author desire more income? Probably. And Ferris’ tried and true ideas could help that

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Clinton Skakun January 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Hi, I love your perspective on the book and Ferris’s ideas.

I’m reading the book now and have loved it so far. I don’t think we need to take the idea of a 4 hour workweek as literal, a 14 hour workweek might be more realistic, or even a 24 hour workweek. Some people who have built wealth in their lifetimes have 1hr work weeks.

What I found as I started reading the book is that Ferris is like most of us, he looks to get more done and wants to enjoy life as well, in an over extreme way. I personally don’t care about sports that much or all that other stuff he talks about in his bio. HOWEVER, I would like to take more time to enjoy myself and vacation in places like Fiji or California, spend more time with friends and family and do other things I’ve always wanted to do etc etc.

This doesn’t mean that we have to view work as something to eliminate. I think I’d want to do what I was doing even if I was FI. I actually have plans for a mini retirement(image that at 19:D), coding open source projects and contributing my skills for nothing in return(both as servitude and because I love doing it). I could do this at home, at an office or laying on the beach with a cigar and a laptop.

I AGREE with you that work is sacred, but there are different definitions of work as well: no one says it has to be 4hrs and no one says it has to be 40hrs a week. Some work takes longer than other work. Some people’s work is building their wealth, other people’s “work” is ruthless discipline for a shot at the Olympics. I might agree with you more than I agree with Tim’s view on work. I like his no bs view: “don’t focus on the minutia” but most people would be bored out of their skulls with Tim’s life, basically because most people haven’t got a clue what to do when they don’t have work. And that can be OK, but not when there’s other things in life out there that should be enjoyed.

Overall if you take bits and peaces out of this book and apply it to your own work/career life you can benefit. You don’t need to live his life but I believe something valuable can be taken from this book. Somehow it’s almost like E-myth. The only thing I get confused on is this concept of working only 4hrs a week, up front he presents it as a novel idea, once you’re in the book you realize this is nothing new, people have been finding ways to leverage their time and resources for years and years. And the fact that he used the Internet doesn’t make it any newer an idea, it’s just another way to make money. Just as realistic as, 100 years ago, creating a car company and selling model T’s or starting a bank.

It all depends on where you want to go, what you’re working for, and what else life has to offer you/what else you want to experience.

Enjoyed reading your article:)

Cheers, and Happy New Year!
Clinton Skakun

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Heather January 12, 2010 at 7:31 am

I found this article funny; was the author a liberal?

It seems that to make his point he has to redifine everything. I guess he thinks it depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

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Sonicsuns February 13, 2010 at 12:32 am

This does not make sense.

Tim defines work as “stuff that you don’t want to do, (but you do it anyway to make money)”
According to you (and I agree), most people define work as “[akin to] slavery, toiling and punishment. Work is seen as something you have to do to pay your dues”

So, what you’re saying here is: Most people agree with Tim’s definition of work.

Then you state that Tim’s definition is too narrow.
But most people agree with Tim.
Words are typically defined by what most people think. (“duck” only means “duck” because people believe that that’s what it means)
Thus, it’s not that Tim’s definition is too narrow, but rather that your definition is too broad!

Where you say “work”, most of us would say “activity”

So when Tim says we’ve got to do less work, you interpret this to mean that we should do less activity, i.e. have boring lives. This leads you to write: “Sure, you’d have a lot of free time, but is that really what you’re looking for? Just free time?”

Of course not! Ferris devotes a whole chapter to the pursuit of meaningful activities once work (what you would call “chores”) has been minimized. That chapter is called “Filling the Void”. Here’s a quote: “Isn’t more time what we’re after? Isn’t that what this book is all about? No, not at all. [...] For some, the answer will be working with orphans, and for others, it will be composing music. I have a personal answer to both – to love, be loved, and never stop learning.”

It seems to me that you and Tim agree on almost everything! The only thing you disagree on is the definition of “work”. And for that you call him a liar.

It just doesn’t make sense.

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Denver February 17, 2010 at 7:26 am

I really enjoyed reading this and I think you have a lot of insightful commentary… with that said, I think you should also consider what the average person does for ‘work’ and what their options are. I can’t really imagine Susie in HR finding the statements: ‘Work is giving yourself. It’s creative self-expression. It’s opening your heart and providing value to others.’ to really apply to her. I personally really enjoy my job and can relate to a lot of the comments you make, however if you showed me a way to do my job more efficiently and spend more time on the golf course or traveling or spending time with loved ones – i’m almost 100% certain i’d take you up on it. Stop romanticizing the working world – its a grind for the majority of people in it – we’re not all artists that can ‘give ourselves and self express and give our hearts to our jobs…’ just not practical.

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simon February 27, 2010 at 6:17 am

I really like it when people define their terms upfront. But when people start throwing accusations around about definitions and perspectives…. It’s childish. Furthermore, I am sure you picked the title of this post for much the same reasons that Tim picked his title for. In short, you are being a hypocrite. So much simpler to write about the how your perspective changes when you define this differently.

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Dean March 11, 2010 at 5:05 am

I think that Tim’s book is a good idea. I think after reading it he is very astute in pulling lots of ideas together and sometimes there is a slight feeling of cut and paste. For me I have worked as a systems analyst so understand the process mentality. This is something I have noted to be part of NLP but essentially both are about redefining a problem. My own personal view is that all of the time I work for someone else I stop earning when I am not working. If I can either automate my business or work with other people to make use of the automation I provide then I am earning even when I am not working. My idea is simple. Create a store on Ebay and sell items, automate the processes for managing stock based on previous sales figures and % markup. Repeat this 5 times using the same process. So far I have one site up and running and I am just to complete the automation. I am very happy with this.

It might be more than 4 hours but I can grow the business when I am not working for other people so make good use of this down time.

On the concept of work and the above exposition of why Mr Ferris is wrong I would say that his view matches the classical view of work streatching back into Roman times. 1 – Work is essentially tedious 2 – Other tasks requiring effort arent work, including charity working and I would contend all of the work I am doing in automating my business. I just love it, it fascinates me and ultimately it will mean that I can go for a swim instead of working.

So I dont think it is a lie and as a body of work it is robust enough for me to recommend to other people who might do their own thing and therefore come away with different thoughts.

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Jimmy Wang March 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Hater!

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Pat April 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm

The idea that your life will be all roses and light if you get rid of your job is of course inane.

Is that really what Tim was saying..? I don’t think so. Get off your high horse already.

If you happen to free yourself from a job that you can’t stand, barely covers your rent, leaves you scared to even get sick because you have no health insurance….this can only be BLISS in my book!

You can still be productive doing something other than holding a job you hate, living like a sheep and call yourself noble.

I did it- got myself free and make my living online. Did it solve all of my problems..? Of course not. I never expected it to.

I can tell you one thing though….I’ll never clean another bathroom where supposedly intelligent, successful people smear crap on the wall.

Now that’s noble.

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Timo April 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Hi, I think most of you take 4HWW much too litterally.

Book is not about hating jobs, it’s about doing things you love. It could also be working! Yes it’s provocative, but that’s just to make a point to stop for a while and think why you are doing the things you are. Many seems to be stucked with the book title and don’t understand it. The book covers ideas how test and build you thing, including marketing. The title of the book is exactly that, it’s couple of words that sells the idea, not the message itself. The message is in the book if you care to read it. I didn’t buy everything in the book, but I started to think little bit more out-of-the-box and that’s fine result from one book.

For me the main point in the book was to beginning to think about value creation which is not directly connected to spending your time. Tradiotional working usually links those things together.

BTW this blog is exactly Tim’s idea in use. So while we are writing, we are taking part of blog owners “muse” :)

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Huub van Zwieten May 10, 2010 at 1:57 am

Hi Jonathan,

I spoke to Timothy about this, and also about your eBook. It was nice to hear his response and I think we are actually all very much share the same ideas here. Tim is just helping people to avoid having work for work’s sake, for pure financial purposes. To free yourself in order to do the things you want, which can be Your Work as well.
I found that an interesting insight to better understand and appreciate his book (and other things he does)

Listen to the full audio file of the interview here: http://twurl.nl/d6gfax

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Charlene Jaszewski May 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

The thing that bugged me about 4HWW was that he didn’t start from 4hr workweek to make his money. He happened to get into vitamin supplements at the beginning of the craze, and is now rich, and he can now do whatever the hell he wants within his 4 hour workweek.
That said, I did agree with some of the info about not being a slave to your email, etc.

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Yemi Ogunbase May 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Liked this article a hell of a lot more than that negative, hateful, passive aggressive drek from that woman you linked to.

I’ll be reading your eBook in the next 3 days as well.

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Anders May 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Total distortion of Tim’s meaning. He is very clear that one should not become a vegetable, but should engage in interesting, challenging, fulfilling projects. Furthermore, simply redefining work as a “mutually beneficial exchange” does not make it so. If you’ve ever worked in an office and had to perform repetitive, mind-numbing and soul-killing chores, you would know exactly what Tim is talking about. I think you’re just jealous of his success.

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Matt May 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Agree with Anders. You’ve made an entire blog post based on a willful misinterpretation of the title of the book without looking at the underlying message. This is all the more disappointing as I hoped there might be some substance to this critique but all I see are semantics.

4HWW is not about working 4 hours a week or about the fact that work is inherent negative, it’s about having freedom of choice to do the things you want to do by being proactive and disciplined in your approach to getting there.

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Carmen May 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more. When you love what you do it’s not work. Enough said.

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Rhonda Swan June 15, 2010 at 3:30 am

4 Hour work is just guidelines we modified a little bit. Book actually Inspired us to take a 3 year trip around the world with our portable business. We are Currently on month 18. Come Follow Journey WE ARE LIVING THE 4 HOUR WORK WEEK.

Rhonda Swan
Unstoppable Family

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Sandi June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

Kudos Jonathan for the straight talk! Like Penelope (although much less intensely) I disliked The 4 Hour Work Week; thought there was something left unsaid and I did feel kind of slimed by the end of the book.

I much prefer your take on it, that work is sacred. This reminds of how Seth Godin talks about “giving away your gifts” in Linchpin.

thanks for having the balls to write such a great post!

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Scott Dinsmore July 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

I must admit that I read this article because the title got me riled up. The 4HWW has been more impactful for my life than any other book I’ve come across. It’s gotten me to quit my job to do something more fulfilling (personal development blogging, coaching and running an investment partnership), I’ve outsourced a ton of stuff, 80/20ed my life and begun to value my time on this earth and the value I add to society in a much bigger way.

But one thing it did not teach me is how to have a 4 hour work week. Semantics indeed. Tim spends a ton of time doing things that make him money. But he loves them so they are not work for him. Keep in mind he chose that title because it got the most clicks in his google tests. I think he really meant the 0 Hour Work Week as well. I’m about to dive into your ebook by the way.

I love your spin on this. The most important takeaway is to be doing what you love and what fulfills you. Then the workweek disappears.

Well done,
Scott

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DanielR September 2, 2010 at 2:46 am

The protestant work ethic seem so profoundly engraved in people’s minds that they would find any reason in the world to convince themselves it is the right attitude in life.

Work as per Tim Ferris’ 4HWW definition is something that you do to sustain financially your dreams (whatever they are). Whether your dreams are to sip martinis on a beach all day long or to make a difference in the world (whatever you mean by that), the work should serve strictly that dream. It is your choice.

The final test for deciding what is work and what is not is the following: if you would do the same thing without any pay of material benefit it is not work it is a hobby/passion, otherwise it is surely work regardless the pleasure and enjoyment you derive from it. Just take the money out and see what remains from what you love doing, and that whould clearly whow you what is work in your life and what is not.

The 4HWW of Tim Ferris is actually about creating a different lifestyle and about seeing the opportunities life offers you.

The 4HWW as per work defined as above is an attainable and honourable aim. Nothing keeps you doing a difference in the world once you have the means and time to do it without any material motivation and this is the point most 4HWW critics miss.

If you attained a 4-hour workweek and got bored to death this is not proof that a 4-hour workweek is not a good thing, it is just proof that you’ve been unable to “fill the void” as Tim Ferriss warned us in his book.

A 4HWW approach to life is useles and boring without “filling the void”.

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Sripathi September 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Hello Friend,

After Reading your comments……I mostly agree with you …..There is a lot of hype these days with these kind of books……

Yes life is meaningful only when we pursue our purpose …….here is where I slightly disagree with you ….because there are many whose only purpose is money, enjoyment and nothing else ….for them I think these kind of suggestions are valid ….

Sometimes in our jobs we don’t have sufficient freedom ….like taking a week off sometimes ….somewhere employers need to understand this other wise world will become weird with this kind of stupid suggestions coming up ….

No offense friend wrote what i felt.

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kari October 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

I think your article has some valid points, but for me, I much prefer the 4hww lifestyle.

While a lot of people seem to agree with you about the whole if you love the work you do, then it is not work, I have to disagree. I remember a quote from the Movie, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, where Nick and Norah are in her dad’s recording studio:

Nick: Is this the job that you have lined up?

Norah: It’s mine if I want it, yeah.

Nick: Well, how could you not want this?

Norah: I don’t know, I love music, you know what I mean? But I feel like if I work in it in here… I might not love it the same way anymore.

That’s how I feel about a lot of the things I “love”. Work is work no matter if I love it or not and personally I don’t really want to work.

I have been fortunate this last year to have a job cocktailing at a bar on weekends, while a lot of people think this is a pretty low job, I think I make more those weekends than someone who works 40 hours a week making $10 an hour. Is everyone making $1O an hour? No but the point I’m trying to make is that with only 12 hours a week, I was making more than I would working behind a desk for 40 hours entry level.

So your probably wondering, okay is that all you did? Heck yeah. From Sun-Thurs I would wake up at noon, eat whatever, work out sometimes, veg out in the front of the tv, surf the net and post of forums and just generally do nothing. Of course I had household chores I needed to do, but thats about it.

One thing that I have to point out is that my “lifestyle” was very appauling to my boyfriend I live with. He lives the whole 8-5 weekends off and really despises that I don’t do anything. I have tried to bring up the whole it doesn’t have to be this way thing, trying to make him read the 4hww but he doesn’t care. He thinks I am really lazy.

Rewind a year back and I was working 8-5 plus OT at a corporate job I absolutley hated. Every day I would day dream at my desk, thinking what could I be doing now? How would I enjoy my free time right now if I didn’t have to work? I really contemplated jumping from the 2nd story window, thats how depressed I was. And I don’t think it was exactly WHAT I was doing, it was more like how much TIME I was giving away to this business.

I of course thought that it was WHAT I was doing, so I started modeling a little. I had to do an event with a lot of other models and we had to be at the event for 8 hours. At first, I was like yay this is fun. Getting my hair done, makeup done, walking around taking pictures. This is the life. Yeah right. About 4 hours into it, I was over it. This job was EASY, smile and wave take pictures, shmooze and look good. Although I was having fun, in the back of my mind I kept thinking, I could be in my P’Js curled up with some popcorn watching a good movie. How pathetic is that?

I think that it has a lot to do with just being told what to do and not having the freedom to do what you want. It sounds ridiculous but even at that modeling job, there were rules, be here by 6, no gum chewing, you leave here 8 hours later, blah blah blah. What I am trying to say here, is I just couldn’t show up at anytime I wanted, work as much as I wanted and do what I wanted, it was work because it was designed as a job. Yeah its a fun job, but its a job. You still have rules to follow and people to answer to. As I am writing this, I am just realizing that maybe I need to be my own boss somehow…but I would still have to work hard and commit a ton of my time to things I still don’t want to do!

Now the above example is very different compared to say trying to make a difference in the world, whether its for a good cause, working to help the homeless, working at an animal shelter, visiting a nursing home etc. I have had the opportunity to volunteer and to work for organizations like that. Same thing. No matter what I love, no matter how much fun it is. It’s still work to me and I can’t wait to get home so I can live by the rules I set.

So yes, with the 4hww, all I am wanting to have is free time. Free time to do whatever I want because I have the freedom to do so. I don’t think it is boring at all. I have been working at my cocktailing job for a whole year, with those exact same hours and couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, I recently lost it so of course deciding to try and do the whole office thing again. I recently went on an interview for a 9-5 so it is equal to my boyfriends schedule and I freaked out. Freaked out because I have to spend 8 hours every day at a place I don’t want to be with people I don’t want to be around. I am sooo used to sleeping in really late, eating, surfing the net, watching tv and now having a new pet, playing with it. All of that flashed before my eyes realizing that my “lazy” lifestyle is going to dissapear. Which of course is not what I want. And if there was someway to gain a good income hardly working, I will do it. I simply cannot stand working and will work the minimum to avoid it.

A lot of you are probably thinking I don’t know the meaning of good hard work. Yes I do, as previously referenced above, I worked at a hell office job. But years before that while a senior in High school, I worked 2 jobs juggled 6 classes and was starring in the school play, all because I wanted to be “busy” and the car I had purchased my senior year had to be paid off. I know what it’s like to work hard and I value my experience in the work force, but I think I am burnt out.

And also, to touch on “meaningful work” I know there are lots of people who couldn’t care less about a fufilling job that is meaningful and helps others. Why? Because I read the book: Get Motivated!: Overcome Any Obstacle, Achieve Any Goal, and Accelerate Your Success with Motivational DNA by Tamara Lowe. This book based on a study that involved thousands of people, indicated what kind of person you are, and what motivates you. Sounds like nonsense but I really tried hard to overcome the “laziness” that I supposedly have.

What really interested me was the author wrote that there are two types of people regarding internal awards and external awards. Internal people are the ones who are compassionate, who want to make a difference in the world. Most of these jobs are social workers, doctors, nurses, non profit sectors and many others. The other type is the External, these people want to be rewarded in tangible material ways, expects to work hard to achieve their compensation. Example jobs are investors, bankers, CEO’s etc. I really doubt that external people really want to make a difference in the world, there are so many people who just care about a paycheck.

One of my best friends just got recruited, (yes I say that because it sounds like they brainwashed her) becoming employed with one of the biggest financial services/investing firms in the country. They are on the fortune 100 best jobs to work for. I really pity her because of the grueling labor she has to endure for the next couple of years to really start making income. Going door to door and cold calling, bleh not for me. But the only thing she has in her mind are dollar signs and she keeps telling me that 3 or 4 years down the road, she is going to be making a 6 figure salary guarenteed. Good for her. She is a great example of someone who only wants to work for monetary gain vs. working somewhere that could make a positive impact in the world today.

So if sipping martini’s on a beach is what I want to do forever than so be it. Right now the lifestyle I have had for a year hasn’t bored me yet and I doubt it will bore me down the road. Hopefully if I apply the 4hww I will have a chance at this permanent lifestyle.

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Joy December 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Am I just lucky or what? I love what I do. The idea of setting up businesses sound great to me not because I want to take vacations from them, but because I want to do what I love to do. Right now, I have a job that I love, so I’m not in such a hurry to set up shop. Talk about a great life. It isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but love makes up for everything.

I somehow pity Tim Ferris. Did he really ever find what he’d love to do? In the meantime, I’m here enjoying myself despite my regular salary.

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free December 29, 2010 at 10:37 am

Hi Jonathan,

Some interesting points have been written here. I agree that unfortunately “work” is seen as a negative activity in our society and for some people, work is the very thing they look forward to each day. Where their social friendships are form, where they get to make a valid contribution and difference to our world.

However, the four hour work week isn’t talking about this latter idea of work…it is referring to the masses of people that wake up every day to the irritating sound of an alarm, gulp down a few espresso before entering a job they hate, only so they can receive the money to pay for the mortgage/rent, holiday, food, their children’s higher education etc. The four hour work week is for the masses of people that would like to automate the way they receive money. Not the other half, that would probably still go to work every day even if they weren’t getting paid for! It refers to automating and minimising the time spent on making “money”, so that you do things that you enjoy and not just do things for the money. If that consists of sitting on the beach all day, then so be it! However it could quite easily consist of working with orphans in south africa. Note that I used the word “working”…but the difference is that this form of “work” would most likely be free. The four hour work week would not consider this to be work, because it does not generate cashflow.

Money can be such a hindrance to progression. The four hour work is there to help you solve the money generation issue, so you can concentrate on your progression.

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Kate Bacon February 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

“No amount of freedom of time will quench your desire to make a difference, to live with purpose.”

This is brilliant Jonathan – I remember working with a coach a number of years back who advocated the 4HWW in quite a big way. My question always was – well what the heck will I DO when I have all the free time in the world.

Perfect, thanks!

Kate

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Daniel Penner March 6, 2011 at 2:45 am

I’m a little dumbfounded when people equate the title of Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Work Week with its’ content. To be clear, he employed an A/B split testing approach for choosing his title. I would say intellectual people should judge a book by its content and not by the cover or the title :)

The Four Hour Work Week is an idea that your life could be what you dream it to be. Plus his book is full of practical tips on many business and personal affairs.

TIM FERRIS IS BRILLIANT!

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Rick Hendricks March 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks for posting this; it’s not far from some of the thoughts I had regarding the book.

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Nakeisha March 13, 2011 at 11:49 am

I think the point of the four hour work week was lost on some of you. It’s not about not doing thing it’s about doing what you want to do and not have to do. The freedom, to do this lost art they call manual thinking. Now for some of us happiness is doing what you’re told to do, you know letting someone else tell you you’re worth and what you’ll be doing with your most precious resources. Expand your mind and your abilities, choices and ultimately your world will expand with it.

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Adam March 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm

To the genius who wrote “The Lie of the Four Hour Work Week”

Did you even read the entire book, or did you just glance at the front and back cover? You are misinterpreting the entire crux of the book. The whole point is not to become entirely devoid of responsibilities that you deteriorate from boredom. The point is to NOT spend 20-30 years working in a 9-5 so that one day you can retire and supposedly live the good life. Having time and freedom means you can live your dreams and fantasies in the NOW, whether it’s moving to Barcelona for 8 months to finally become fluent in Spanish, or get certified in scuba diving and spending 3 months diving at the world’s best sites. Who in their right mind would want a meaningless life with complete freedom and nothing purposeful to do? The point is that many people indefinitely postpone what they really desire to do because they trap themselves in the illusion of “If I can only make X amount of money I’ll be able to retire and finally live my dreams.” Good luck doing that with the standard 2 week vacations US firms tolerate each year. I know work can be incredibly rewarding, I am not knocking that. Everyone wants to feel that they can make a difference and that their life has a purpose in the world; without purpose human beings cannot survive. I think the point of the book is that if you can develop a self-sustaining lifestyle where you can live comfortably and have freedom of time – you can REALLY make your life the one you have always wanted. Whether it is making a difference by volunteering to plant trees in Israel to stop desertification or joining the peace corps. The reality is that unless that is your profession, most jobs will never allow you to be able to do this kind of work.

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DanielR March 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

“Tim defines work as something you really despise”

Tim defines work as something you wouldn’t do if you wouldn’t be paid for it.

Granted, you may love your work, but if your employer stopped paying your salary, would you do it for free?

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Erlinda April 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I have to admit, I’m a fan of the 4HWW. In later chapters, Tim addresses the “dilemma” of having an excess of free time. He talks about doing other things in life that matter.

Honestly, I have never thought work as “mutually beneficial exchange of value” or “creative self-expression.” It’s a total paradigm shift, for sure.

“Work” and “job” in our culture are linked. We all know that boring, meaningless jobs suck. But work can be a good thing.

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Amber Jones April 26, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Wow! what a powerful post and great responses. I think the books has great ideas, and one could use the 4hww to do what their passion is…even if it is work, like volunteer work, writing etc. Im not done with the book yet, however I feel I will learn some great techniques.

Thanks again

Amber Jones

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lmno April 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm

You guys love your jobs so much they arent really jobs GOOD FOR YOU. Now for real if you didnt enjoy your four hour work week because you got bored–how come you didnt enjoy your job so much you had to go get paid for it? Get real. You guys lack creativity to truly live so you put this idea down. You deserve to work and be in the bubble, what perfect slaves.

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Leo Tabibzadegan May 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Interesting perspective! I’m going to have to check out the Zero Hour Work Week ASAP!

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myurbanzen May 30, 2011 at 2:58 am
momekh July 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I have a question, if I may: IF you have rightly pointed out the inherent fault in the title of the book the 4HWW then why are you towing the line by giving out a ‘zero hour workweek’ ebook? :/

I understand that it works. In fact, Tim Ferris himself tells us that he tested the title (using Adwords) to see which one was more appealing (the title before The FourHourWorkWeek was Drug Dealing For Fun & Profit or something). It works to get people ‘interested’, and using it to get a point accross is understandable, and sometimes even acceptable. But the problem with the4HWW is that it doesn’t clearly spell out the definition of work as taken by Mr Ferris.

Just a question; if you don’t agree with it, then why use it?

(I do like your writing and am subscribing to your blog! :) )

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theAndrewSawyer October 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I’m new here, and I know this is an old post but I had to comment. I’m glad I found this! It put some things into perspective for me as I go down the road to becoming location independent myself, and helped me get real with my own expectations and reasons for it all.

Cheers

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wieser_d December 20, 2011 at 3:10 am

I totally agree…and while talking to others who had achieved some “muses” which make “40.000 per month”, I finally get an impression of the whole system.You know, Tim is right: He doesn’t have to work anymore. He has enough. Why? Because everyone is buyin his books (or through amazon affiliate links).

You see: The whole system is “chasing a dream”, and the reader will always chase that dream.

But you make only money, to “sell that dream” to others.

So just create any product, say: “I’ve done it! Finally! Check out my ebook! (or book) Find it out know, the real success strategies!” – Tim wil promote these “muses” on his web, and someone will finally buy them…The strategies Tim offers only work in theory, as you have to do a lot more, than sell your “muse” and get rich. However, I would recommend the following book: http://amzn.to/ue3iXX

It’s not mine btw, lol xD.

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tedoymisojos January 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

If you ask me the ONLY thing I want is free time, my answer is YES. HELL YES. Then I have the FREEDOM to do whatever the hell I want with that time, as opposed to HAVING to go to work every single day, for at least 8 hours, getting out of work so tired that you only want to hit the sack, for the next day to start that all over again – OR ELSE, I dont eat. – Hell to the yes I want free time. This article felt like a slap to the face.

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JRSP February 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm

 @tedoymisojos Nobody wants to work for the dream. You mind as well go to a communist country… Then you will complain that you don’t have XYZ… Idiot… So work 80HWW and DO something that will help you retire early.

freebee February 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I have some words that i would like to share. I have read 4 hour work week, yet haven’t experienced how the ideas presented by Tim can be applied in real-life. Though, i realize one simple truth that Tim in some ways point out. There are time wasted in workplaces, It’s not the work that is the problem but the way we work and the intension that we put in it. I understood when Tim pointed out most of the time we work for work’s sake and i have experienced this in my own business. I personally think Tim Ferriss is a smart and determined guy. His ideas about work are really sharp and lean. His style of writting show us how direct and fast this guy can work his dream out. For a little conclusion, please read the book yourself and understand him right,

P/S: Please don’t take this personal, as i believe the ideas presented in the 4HWW is more realistic and profitable than the idea 0HWW, eventhough both have the same value.

Thanks for reading this.

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meyert11 February 15, 2012 at 6:15 am

Just finished the 4HWW and its mostly about tricking people. He tricked his way to become a kickboxing champ by manipulating his weight and pushing people out of the ring. He tricked people into thinking their buying products to do free advertising. He tricks people into thinking he’s an expert. I’m glad I torrented the book, ha.

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sjhutter April 26, 2012 at 7:05 am

 @meyert11 and i guess you tricked your English teacher into letting you graduate?

theblobby February 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

xxxx

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theblobby February 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

It,s about having the ‘balls’ to do it. Most people sit behind their desks and ‘wish’. I wish I had more money, wish I could do this or that.  Wishing negates ‘action’ and is a form of avoidance and procrastination. Dream your dream, make decisions and take ‘ACTION’.  Move, get off your butt- imperfect action is better than no action. Fear of failure is endemic. We want to succeed but this involves taking risks- getting out of your comfort (or uncomfortable) zone, letting go of the chains of conforming to the expectations of others or society as a whole. If you love what you do you will change and so will the world around you. If you love your job/career, good for you. If you dont you have two choices – accept your fate or change.  Change is scary, because as we float along the river of life, we fear what is around the next bend. The easy answer is to stay on the straight highway, be a good citizen, go to work, earn money, buy consumables we think we need, bring up the kids to do the same. We see the end of the highway as an enlightened retirement, where after
decades of work we ‘ go out to pasture’. No thanks.It does not  have to be the 4HWW. What about 10HWW.
Personally I have a 15HWW  which I am able to do anywhere. It is possible. Just do it.
 
 

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JRSP February 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

If you were to create a poll and ask the people who praise this “4HWW” and ask them, socialism or capitalism… over 95% would say socialism. The whole “4HWW” is about manipulating people with lies. In the society we live in, people don’t want to work for the dream instead they lie and are dishonest to others. Birth certificates do not say “Life is fair”. Our society is getting worse and worse where people feel they deserve to be handed down things. NO! Life is about survival of the fit. I do dream about retiring early however unlike others, I DO SOMETHING about it and work hard for it. This book is a great example of the lies that people read. You PAY for the book, the author becomes rich (he works a 4HWW) NOT YOU… Lies lies lies… People are so naive.
 
For the people who do work 4HWW, they had to work 80HWW to get there… I think I’ll have to write a book about working 80HWW to get to 4HWW. I bet I could sell millions of copies to 99% dreamers and 1% doers…

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bazlj July 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

 @JRSP then do it

Jr. April 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

This post completely changes the way I am beginning to see things. And it doesn’t necessarily confine itself to a day job either. This ‘thinking’ can be applied in all things that we think/feel are boring chores in our lives. Aiming to make an impact with everything that we do, at work, at home, anywhere… will drastically change our perception of things we thought we hate. The excitement and purposefulness comes back again, or maybe for the first time even. This is gold Jonathan, thank you.

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AlanSparks May 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

the title of this blog doesn’t agree with your views…..Tim didn’t lie. He told his story in an effort to get us to look at some things differently. He got you to look at some things differently too.

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WebTalker June 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

People like being lied to because it gives them hope. What is sad is that so many smart people waste a good college education just to “con” people with stupid mind tricks that leave them feeling good, but will not help them with anything. It’s like aspirin that makes you feel better until you forget you’re sick – so the body can heal itself. 
 
If you want money – work for it. If you want more money – work smarter or harder.  You can’t have all the money and all the time  at once. If anyone tells you differently, it’s a lie. The 4-Hour Workweek is an aspirin. Don’t take it unless you’re sick! If you are sick, what a great pill. It will help you through the tough times with a renewed look at work and life until you get back on your feet.
 
You can’t outsource or automate work if you’re broke!
 
Don’t be no fool, ok!

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Leif Croonquist July 17, 2012 at 6:53 am

I figured out that hum-drudgery and plodding along in life to ‘complete the circuit’ (school, college, marriage, children, retirement, death) was absolutely nonsense many, many years ago.

Work has always something I choose to do.

This article really goes after a critical point and that is the psychology of the word ‘work’.
Excellent perspective.

I am on board to have the zero hour work week. I think mine is about 30 minutes a week so I have to see where I am ‘going wrong’ :)

Thanks!

Leif

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Priska July 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I was one of those parents who worked hard and suffered for twenty years so that I could pay the mortgage and educate the children.
I dreamed of escaping in the Winnebago and having a four hour work week.
But then I remembered being a young child cooking, building, writing stories and creating wonderful things. I derived great pleasure working toward something, deeply enthralled.
But when I reached adulthood all of that enjoyment was stifled, lost when reality hit in the real world of work.
I have taken a mid life gap year and am at base camp re negotiating the world of work.
I am ready to unpack my backpack to rediscover that great fulfillment and pleasure one feels from getting back into the flow of discovery.

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David Bingham July 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I think your right on some level. Really anything can be turned either way (ying-yang) The idea of the book “The Four Work Week” is to stop working for work sake and be able to trade your J.O.B. for time freedom. Whether you spend that time freedom sipping martini’s or helping starving children in Africa is up to you. I think it comes down to self assessment. If you authentically believe you are living your full capacity working a regular job then go for it, but if you are only contributing half as much as you could be, dropping your 9-5 to build a cash flowing business is the way you need to go. Do not fool yourself, going in reverse is a byproduct of fear.

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Leanne Regalla | Make Creativity Pay July 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

Really love this Jonathan. It’s refreshing to me to see someone who “gets” how resistance to some tasks really slows us down. Once I learned this concept and really started to do my best to apply it, life got so much easier.

When I first started my business, I got into a fair amount of debt (inventory, etc.) The ironic thing is that suddenly I needed my full-time job more to pay it off. We all make mistakes and learn from them. But now that I’m finally ready to launch into 100% self-employment, I know this non-resistance/acceptance is what really has kept me sane, motivated, and moving forward.

As far as work being sacred, I agree. It’s how we will change the world. One of my favorite quotes here –

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” – James Michener.

Rock on!

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Financial Samurai July 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

Gotta admit though, it’s a GREAT marketing gimmick!

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ND August 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

I’m almost finished reading The Four-Hour Workweek, and I can tell from reading your post that you’ve never finished the book, if you ever started it.

If Tim read your post, I feel like he would agree with your premise. As he discusses, the people he’s met who get the most out of automating their income in order to live freely are the ones who incorporate service into their lifestyle as a key element.

He chose the title of his book well—it gets people talking. But there’s much more to what he advocates than simply “eliminating ‘work.’”

I’ll leave you with this question: If money did not dictate what you did with your time, would you produce at a higher or a lower level as a result?

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Chris August 8, 2012 at 1:56 am

I think many of you should actually read the 4 hour work week.

@Jonathan, You ‘really’ need to read the 4HWW again, in depth, and actually pay attention to what Tim Ferriss says. The ‘lie’ you base this whole post on is just your opinion that you have taken out of context. Lol, Tim Ferriss does not have this view on work and he does understand that achieving the 4HWW will be an effort. You need to read his book again and stop lying to these people.
This is clearly just a marketing ploy in itself in order to bring attention to your blog. You make me laugh :)

Chris
Not a fan

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Alex S October 3, 2012 at 6:41 am

I don’t agree with you. If this was the last day of your life would you work today?
Either you are lieing to yourself that work is fun, or you have one of those jobs where you don’t really work.

4 hours a day is on step towards real freedom.

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Matt October 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I don’t know about it all of this, although this was the first post of yours I’ve read. I think you and Tim are really after the same thing, which is a life doing what matters to you and what makes you feel good. 4HWW definitely talks about what you do with the free time you can achieve and to be honest I find it hard to believe that you can completely remove tedium from our lives.

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Freddie January 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Anyone who is anyone in cage fighting can be found on sherdog…I cannot find Tim anywhere…
In his list of achievements right at the top …no holds bar cage fighter vanquisher of four world champions. I’ve trained with 4 pros including Royce Gracie 3 time UFC champ…anyone have any details on his MMA experience ???not saying that he isn’t a MMA pro but I’d like to know the details!

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Rory January 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm

This posts demonstrates a complete and utter misunderstanding as to what 4HWW is saying. Work that you enjoy is more accurately called a vocation. The problem with vocations is that they often don’t pay well, if at all. The whole point of the 4HWW is to give you the freedom to do what you love, to pursue the dreams you have always had (in Ferriss’s case, living in nice parts of the world and learning languages for the most part [neither activity is exactly well known for its income generation]). It’s not anti-work, it’s anti-drudgery, and I think that is a perfectly understandable aim.

I think the short response to this is that the author has missed the point. He makes some excellent points, however – all of which are, conveniently, also made in the 4HWW.

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Elxar January 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm

“We work jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” -Tyler Durden

I think the point of the book is not eliminating jobs we hate so we can explore options and do things we really want. The “Muses” are meant to finance your dreams and basic needs. So you can quit your work, find another work or a tim says “vocations” that you would really love or enjoy. Lets admit it some jobs we really want to do cannot support are basic needs or lifestyle, that’s why we opt for a higher value and lesser enjoyment of job. For the automation part I agree with automating your muses/business but I rather keep tabs on my personal life.

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Z January 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I just want to say that I find it offensive that your entire point in criticizing 4HWW is so you can push your own book the Zero Hour Workweek. The fact that you don’t see the hypocrisy of basically copying Tim Ferriss’ book title but “one upping” him, and redefining the word “work” so outside the scope of how any other human being on the planet defines it makes me think it isn’t Tim that is “tricking” and “lying” to people (as so many have implied in the comments thread here.)

Also, how is a “zero hour work week” more noble than a 4 hour work week? If you think work is something “sacred” and “giving of yourself” and blah blah blah… then why would you want to do zero hours of it or suggest that anybody else should do zero hours of it? Could it possibly be that JUST LIKE TIM FERRISS you are using a title that is “marketable” and isn’t REALLY what the BOOK is about?

What’s worse is… you didn’t even have to come up with your own title. You just used Tim’s title and changed the number from 4 to 0. Brilliant. Copy him, then piss on him.

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Daniel February 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

The 4 hour work week is possible.

A case study is musictacherhelper.com – a site that makes $30k per month and owner works 4 hour per week on it (because he outsources everything which is a key of 4hh)

Tim Ferriss has told many wrong/bullshit/lies, especially his slow carb diet, but 4 hour work week is possible, but only for the very lucky few!

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Gab March 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

I wish to say that the author of this piece may have not read the book properly. In it, Tom even address the issue of a man spending over 5 million dollars on bets in Texas, and made it clear to readers that that is not the idea of his book. To get rich and spend it frivolously. No,it is to use your free time to develop those aspects of you that actually feel like fun but in the real sense is work you love. Tell me if running a mountain race is just fun for everyone or painting like Michaelangelo upside is merely exploring your talents? They are jobs which we love, which our societal or man created to live existent job deny of us. If the four hour week is a lie, it better be proved properly how.

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Craig Dewe April 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Hi Jonathan,

You explained Tim’s point at the beginning of your post… most people define work as disempowering. It is a daily drudgery to them which they need to pay the bills.

It seems your website would define this as a “job” since all your ads link to offers to fire your boss and quit your job. However many people actually have fulfilling jobs that they enjoy doing. Yet you define it as something that should be escaped?

It seems you are saying the same thing with different words. I think both of you have valid points about escaping the drudgery and doing things that have meaning for you and the world around you. This may be defined as work by some… or a job… or play… or “art” as Seth Godin likes to call it.

And at the end of the day if you can get enough stuff done to pay the bills in 4 hours a week while choosing what to do with the rest of your time… well that’s the overall goal isn’t it? Doing more of what we love? :)

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Sir Pencilot April 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I was going to give the author a piece of my mind, but several dozen people far smarter and more articulate than me beat me to the punch.

I rather love the book, and wish to defend it from being dismissed as “lies” because I intend to use Ferriss’s ideas to generate so much free time that I’ll be able to play Call of Duty and sip Stella Artois for 8 hours a day in my underpants, while still making rent and raising money for PETA.

May we all find our calling.

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Jon May 10, 2013 at 5:12 am

Dear Author:
You said,
“When you start to see work as play, as giving yourself to the world, as being an agent of change, you completely shatter the perception of work as a burden.”

What happens to pay? To compensation? Would you consider working at a job for free for the rest of your life?

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moya May 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

to all young people out there-most work is slavery ,you are easily replacable.the four hour week could free up your time to build a house for the homeless or do some other meaningful service. you are probably working for some nameless bureaucrat who doesnt even know your name.I say -get Tim s book and live a little while you re still young. I m doing this now at 63 and I advise my kids to do it . Life passes in a flash . There is a whole world out there waiting for you ,so enjoy.

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moya May 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I also meant to say that my favourite part of Tim s book was the part of only keeping 20% of the stuff we own .Even if you decide not to travel just yet I believe this idea alone will create more freedom in one s life to spend time doing things we enjoy. Shakespeare said “Getting and spending we lay waste our powers” This idea also helps you to stop wasting money on stuff that clutters your life , weighs you down and keeps you further from that dream .[so now you know how to afford that trip] ha ha.

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Matt June 9, 2013 at 10:41 pm

If you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life? If you love your job it’s not work? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I don’t really think it matters too greatly what job you have, it is all the same. A means to an end for financial purpose. What if a job you love is unattainable? Are you meant to grow to love being a house cleaner? A salesman? A manager at a grocery store? Clearly if you don’t like these jobs you must change right?

No matter what we need income to survive, so why not create a way to make it with minimal work? Then maybe you can start doing things you enjoy, find a new career path.

Also anyone who is going back to work for small salary doing a job they don’t like because all the freedom got boring. You are a moron.

How does the saying go . . A bad day’s golf is better than a good day at work . .

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relaxed man June 10, 2013 at 3:25 am

I use to work 20 hours PER DAY. Clocked in at 12pm and clocked out at 9pm…drove home, slept till 930 or 940 and then woke up to drive to my over night job in a FACTORY, punch in at 10pm clock out at 6am….then fall asleep till 1130am wake up and REPEAT.

Trust me, you do that for 6 months and your soul will be dead. To top it off, I had no time to eat right or sleep right. I lost 30 pounds pretty fast. Most days I had to hide the fact that I was falling asleep on my DESK!

I did it only to get ahead, and it’s working. Best part of all, there are always lots of crappy fallback jobs if times get too tough. Follow me on my 4 hr work week…or rather 20-30 hour work week right now (doing the things I actually enjoy!).

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Fabio Bracht June 11, 2013 at 7:24 am

If anyone ever reads this comment so down the page, I’d like to ask: isn’t it possible to apply some of the lessons from Tim Ferris’ book in order to simply have a more streamlined process as waste less time, even you’re doing a work that you love?

I haven’t read the book yet (will start later today), and I agree that work just should not be synonymous to “chore”, and that a 4-Hour Work Week would actually be a suffering if I love my work. But I’ll start reading it just to see if it’s possible to work few hours, doing something I love.

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Lehua June 19, 2013 at 2:23 am

I agree– a lot of the lie is in the semantics. Work does not equal tedium or drudgery. I think a better shift would be to strive toward work we love, which doesn’t FEEL like work… hence the perception that we are working less. With that said, escape from work is not something to strive for, but rather, a shift in our definition of what work -is-.

Also, I don’t believe for a second that Tim works only four hours a week. I also agree with those above who believe that most people would be utterly bored with just four hour workweeks. We weren’t meant to live that way, at least I don’t think so.

Cheers to a great post (even though it’s very belated since it has been released)!

Lehua

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Lane Boland June 25, 2013 at 7:29 am

This may have been brought up but rather than arguing over definitions of work-perhaps it would be more intellectually valuable to debate Tim Ferriss’ intent regarding “work”.

Let’s accept Tim’s definition of “work” is more closely a “chore”.

Let’s also accept Jonathan’s assertion that work is a sacred act of giving oneself to the world.

Tim is seeking to replace time spent on chores in order to pursue activities that meet Jonathan’s definition of “work”.

So if you’re a tool like Derek (first poster)–you sit around playing call of duty munching Cheeto’s while sucking down Mountain Dew.

….none too inspiring.

That being said, achieving The 4 Hour WorkWeek is incredibly demanding and I don’t think Tim does justice to the amount of brains, sweat, tears and loooong hours it takes to build a successful muse.

The wierdest feeling is “when you’ve arrived”–the free time is almost maddening. So before you start your journey–figure out what you want to do which meets Jonathan’s definition of work before breaking ground on your muse.

Afterall, begin with the end state in mind and remember “the problem contains the solution”.

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taking classes online July 8, 2013 at 2:05 am

Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading?
I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the
blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

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onetoone July 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

If you have achieved the 4 Hour Work Week and you are “bored”, you simply lack creativity.

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jamesie August 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

Guys, you have obviously not read all the book as you missed a chapter called filling the void???
and to the guy above who said he had the 4 hour work week and gave it up for a real job which paid less, yea i really believe that, nobody would be dumb enough to do something like that.
You are all missing the point, sure the title was aimed to sell as many books as possible because people do see work as something they dont want to do, but the whole point of the book is that you do not need to be living a meaningless 9-5 life, there is other stuff, lots of other stuff you can do, as pointed out above, wouldn’t it be great to have enough income from working 4 hours per week so you could do charitable work?
Why do so many people do the lottery? there are some people who love their jobs but the majority of people hate monday mornings and live for friday evenings and spend the weekend in a drunken haze only to restart the process over again the next Monday.
I’m sure there are weeks Tim Ferriss works 4 hours, and i’m sure there are weeks he works 40 hours, the whole point is, you have a choice…

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don September 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

Technically it’s not a lie.

Basically you’re article is saying (hypothetically) that if you did what you loved it wouldn’t feel like work (0 hours) and what Tim Ferriss’ book says (in a nutshell) is: “outsource and/or automate all your work so, you only spend around 4 hours week on your actual job.

Both methods are completely viable. Just because you automate all the grunt work doesn’t mean you’re going to be the type to just travel everywhere all the time.

For instance, say you own a “4 hour work week” business and you just so happen to have a passion for helping homeless people. You can donate time at your local shelter (or anywhere else for that matter) without the fear of being homeless yourself.

Just sayin

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don September 24, 2013 at 9:08 am

OH MY

I just realized that you have all the positive comments showing up first and I’m guessing you are editing the contradictory posts to the bottom.

Although I applaud you for great promo, I no longer respect you.

Make that money off the sheeple ;)

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Jonathan September 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

Nope. It’s just based on when they’re posted. The oldest comments get shown at the top and the most recent get shown last. This is pretty standard.

Garrett November 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I recommend, as others have said, actually taking the time to sit down, read the book, and DO THE ACTIVITIES.

They’re all big ones. One of the biggest? The 7 day Low Information Diet. Do it. Do it. This, alone, has a high chance of changing a LOT of things in your life. Then while you’re on the Low Information Diet, finish the rest of the book, and keep doing the activities. If you do what he says, it really forces you to look at yourself, and clear away the crap in one’s life. It has a LOT of potential. I’m on my second read through, whilst on the Low Information Diet.

I’ve been able to Eliminate a significant amount of junk from my life, as well as both emotional and physical baggage that I had been holding on to, and take a good hard look at how I do everything in my life.

It’s done a lot of positive things for me.

I really recommend that you truly read it. Don’t skim it over, and neglect the activities. Do them. They’re in there for a reason. It is an awesome book.

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Mary Catherine George November 13, 2013 at 9:12 am

Amazing, I just stumbled on this blog and truly embraced the wonderful concept of work as sacred.. Yes, because the work you are doing is connected to your personal vision, passion, imaginative creative self. Yes, it can be repetitive and lack luster, but only if I choose to see it that way. I am always holding the bigger vision of where that repetitive action will take me. With everything giving, sending, receiving with passion can’t be work, but joy. I am working in a job that doesn’t make me happy, but I am shaping and carving small steps in the job towards the elements of what I do that make me excited and inspired. Thank you so much for your blog post…

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Heather January 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

Odd article. First it suggests that everyone who is happily retired is some how a crazy person…… Second it fails to explain those individuals who seem content making welfare a lifestyle option……..

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Jared January 31, 2014 at 8:00 am

First thing you need to understand, the book is intended for an audience. People with specific types of jobs and/or goals in mind. It’s “not for bricklayers” as I’ve heard Tim put it.

Second, the definition of work is so irrelevant! When Tim says “work” he is referring to a TYPE of work. As you stated, the things you don’t want to do. As much as you want to put mind over matter here, there will always be work you don’t want to do. Also, this definition merely serves as a platform to get the point of the book across.

Third, the whole reason for reaching this autonomy that the 4 hour work week provides is to allow you the time to do the things you WANT to do with yourself. Do things that mean something to you. Something that you clearly value.

Which leads me to ask: did you REALLY read the book? You do state after all your criticisms that you actually learned a lot from this book, in which case, are you just using the title for page views? Either way, you can do better than this…

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Allan March 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I am 38 years old and retired, living in Costa Rica with my wife and twin boys. You would think that I wouldn’t have a care in the world. I can go surfing anytime I want. However, I miss work and for a very basic reason: it makes you feel important. Before quitting my job, I was running high stakes,complicated projects that significantly effected 1,000′s of people. I made and met my professional promises and had fun sticking it to those that were paid to try to show I was full of shit.

Dale Carnegie said that sex and feeling important are the only two real motivators of the human psyche.
I agree with him.

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Josh Ross March 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Great post Jonathan! Very provocative and thought provoking

I love the 4HWW, Tim Ferris, and his blog. I think your post and ebook gives another important distinction about how we should make the most of our lives. It is important to note that Tim’s book does discuss the importance of filling your time will fulfilling activities including charity. And he warns against idleness.

Ultimately, I think you both agree that the ideal situation is to have the time, financial, and energy freedom to do what you love, give back, and spend QUALITY time with your loved ones. If you can accomplish this from day to day, you are RICH in my book…

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Anthony March 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I read the book and my interpretation of the book is that its main idea is about finding “work” that is most valuable to you. It was noted in the book that excessive idle time is poisonous, and I agree with that. Most of us strive for meaningful work.

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writeaboy April 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

 @JRSP What is with the communism comments in this thread? Calling someone a communist  with no justification is as baseless and useless as calling them a witch. @Jonathanmead, are you concerned that your site would host such drivel? I have been working through the 4HWW and I am beginning to implement many of the tactics that are suggested. I believe the advice  of extricating the time wasting activities that we all have in our life is useful when all to often we allow them to simply creep in like weeds. I have no doubt that many of the suggestions do not apply to all situations, but I can personally attest to how they have helped me accomplish more every day. In short, elevate the conversation and cite facts against the book and philosophy, as I can provide statistics on how I am closer to living the dream after reading than before.

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