While this audiobook may have a few helpful hints here and there for managing your time and energy, Ferriss clubs the listener/reader over the head with talk of his life spent climbing mountains and being anywhere but the office. What he's advocating is the supremely selfish lifestyle - you can start a business and put it in motion, after which point you're pretty much totally useless for everything except receiving money. Don't be fooled with talk of anyone being able to do what Ferriss does - slick talk and smooth assurances mask the fact that he both depends on and walks all over the network of subordinates he's put together to run his life while he plays around.
I listened to this audiobook and kept waiting for the author to get to the part which made it clear why he picked the title he did. He spends most of his time speaking about three things: outsourcing odd jobs to india, convincing boss to let you work from home some, and taking mini retirements of a year or so. the only trouble is that most bosses arent going to let you spend 36 of your 40 yours out of the office and still keep you job and most people who are interested in building a life are not going to be able to uproot and just travel to some distance location of the globe (the author gives useless advice about using online travel cites etc to get good deals). it seems this books simply is the authors way of living his own advice. he did not want to work for a living so he through together a bunch of random examples from his own life and bunched it together to sale to us suckers to fund his next year long mini retirement.
If you want to read this book, do so in print: at least that way you can easily skim it. It has only a few points, which you will most likely get out of any newspaper or magazine review. The key point of the book (and I doubt I'll be able to find the details) is that you should find a job that lets you work remotely. Once you have that, you can be creative to reduce your "work load" to its core, which is only a few hours of real work a week. This can be achieved through entrepreneurship, outsourcing, or just working from home where nobody is watching your hours. You are then free to intersperse your "retirement" throughout your life, doing things you enjoy.
The rest of the book, as far as I can tell, is platitudes and case studies that are light on details. In the print copy, I'm certain you can skip all that junk, but in the audio version, you'll want to listen to it at 2 or 4x speed, if you can. The only redeeming feature of the audio version is that the narrator does try to add drama to the reading.
In general, this is an entertaining listen. The story seems to be told from the perspective of - quit your job and start an internet business which runs itself. I don't think Tim is trying to say this is the path for all of us. The point is that most of us spend too much time with tasks which are neither important to us nor urgent. Tim really takes his approach to the extreme, and could because his company was capable of running on auto-pilot.
I've applied his principles simply by unsubscribing to a dozen mailing lists I rarely read anyhow - and wasted time responding to when I did. They clogged my inbox and slowed my daily progress. This is the sort of thing one should look to get from this book.
It would have been nice if the author had spent more time articulating potential examples which are more realistic to those of us who are not going to make $10,000 a month with an internet business.
The potential to have a shorter and more productive work week is definite. This book is an entertaining listen of how one person accomplished it. Applying this to one's personal life will require some effort but is very feasible - just don't expect to get yourself to 4 hours per week unless you start an internet business or have capitol to hire others to do all the work.
I believe Tim was successful in his approach because he had put in the time to establish a successful business and then put it on auto-pilot. If you have a successful business this book could give you some great ideas.
I've listened to The 4-hr work week more than once since I downloaded it last week and I just now ordered the hard copy since there are so many sources of information cited which I intend to use. This is inspirational and motivational material. If you are a believer in the work smart not hard concept then you will truly appreciate this book. The author walks you through the neccesary steps to start living your dreams.
If you have no imagination and lots of self doubt then you will be skeptical and you probably won't take action.
If you believe in yourself, that you deserve to live your dreams and are willing to start dreaming then you will be left feeling inspired, enlightened and empowered.
On the "pro" side:
(1)This book is often humerous and entertaining (2)The lists of service websites are a valuable time saver when looking for available resources for your business.
(3) Its motivational value (mostly from motivational quotes) and fear analysis chapter is helpful.
But on the "con" side I'm afraid Tim Ferriss is like many other successful Type-A persons who want to credit a "plan" or "program" for their success (you can SELL this) rather than the more likely reality: He marketed the right product to the right people at the right time.
While getting this, the listener must endure some rather crude humor and somewhat unethical suggestions. HIs 'liberation' from the office job really only applies to cubicle dwelling underperformers whose jobs are almost entirely phone calls and web based. This simply wouldn't apply to most careers.
I gave it a 2 because I think it falls far below its promises. If the book was entitled "A brief biography of Tim Ferriss" I would have given it a 4 or 5.
what a load of self-aggrandizing rot. it would have taken many fewer words, and quite a few less irritating kick boxing anecdotes, to say "e-commute. work smarter, not harder. get a blackberry and a laptop and travel the world."
At times it was pompous, it was all about Tim Ferris and his singular experience and the delivery was stilted and choppy. This is not something that many of us can or will replicate. It was a re-hash of most "rags-to-riches" stories and not unique or that well presented. There were some useful tips - but not enough to set Ferris apart from better works like those from Tom Peters or Brian Tracy. And they are much more entertaining at the same time.
The content of this book has been well reviewed here and on other books sites. There are some very very interesting topics in this book, some of which are things I could actually implement and some that are not practical for me.
My biggest complaint is the reading of the book. The reader actually reads out the names of URL's for web sites which is really a time waster and very annoying. Audible should create a companion link for each book that contains any URL references and mention it in the beginning and end of the reading as well as list it with the book information on this site. That would save a lot of time and make the audio experience much more enjoyable.
I've read many books on a similar topic, and while the concepts are similar - Tim goes way beyond into real life, nitty gritty detail about steps to accomplish the goal of streamlining and stripping away unnecessary tasks; testing goals before setting out to achieve them; and finalizing it all into a life plan. Highly recommended!