How you can adopt the 4-hour work week

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

The most important investment you can make is in yourself – Warren Buffet

Recently, I read a powerful book called the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

4-hour work week? Stop it. This must be a BS book with a catchy title.

Stop being unrealistic and get real!

That’s what I thought of initially, until I took a quick glimpse of the book while at Kinokuniya, my perspective was overhauled.

Because of the epiphany I’ve had while reading the book, I figured that I might as well jot down some ideas from the book so that you and I can learn together, talk about efficient!

Hopefully, it will bring some “aha!” moments in you as it had for me.

Read between the lines. Here it goes.

1. People don’t want to be millionaires – they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy. $1,000,000 in the bank isn’t the fantasy. The fantasy is the life-style of complete freedom it supposedly allows.

2. The 80-hour-per-week, $500,000 per year investment banker is less “powerful” than the freelancer who works ¼ the hours for $40,000 but has the complete freedom of when, where, and how to live. Options – the ability to choose – is real power.

3. Aim to distribute “mini-retirements” throughout life. By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable.

4. Less is not Laziness – Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.

5. “If only I have more money” is the easiest way to postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment.

6. Uncertainty and the prospect of failure can be very scary noises in the shadows. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

7. Most who avoid quitting their mundane jobs entertain the thought that their course will improve with time or increases in income. This seems valid and is a tempting hallucination when a job is boring or uninspiring instead of pure hell. Pure hell forces action, but anything less can be endured with enough clever rationalization.

8. Usually what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be – it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.

9. The cost of inaction – How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed ten more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfil you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the greatest risk of all.

10. Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic – 99% of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals.

11. When you’re five years old and say you want to be an astronaut, you parents tell you that you can be anything you want to be. When you’re 25 and announces you want to start a new circus, the response is different: Be realistic: become a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor, have babies and raise them to repeat the cycle.

12. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important; requiring a lot of time does not make a task important – A person who checks email 30 times per day and develop an elaborate system of folder rules and sophisticated techniques may be efficient but far from effective. What you do is infinitely more important that how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.

13. Even if you work 10 hours a week and produce twice the results of people working 40, the collective request will be, “Work 40 hours a week and produce 8 times the results.” This is an endless game that one needs to avoid. The way around this is to make it more painful for the company to fire you than to grant you raises and a remote working agreement.

14. Many people feel that they should be doing something from 9 to 5. How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work? What they don’t realise is that working every hour from 9 to 5 isn’t the goal but it’s simply the structure most people use, whether it’s necessary or not.

15. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action

16. Parkinson’s law – If we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours, if we had 15, we will fill 15. If we have an emergency assignment that needed to be completed in 2 hours, we miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours. Without deadlines that create focus, the minor tasks forced upon you will swell to consume time until another bit of minutiae jumps in to replace it, leaving you at the of the day with nothing accomplished.

17. Am I being productive or just active? Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important? What are the top-three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive.

18. You are the average of the five people you associate with most

19. Cultivate selective ignorance – Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence. Letting other dependable people synthesize hundreds of hours and thousands of pages of media and asking them for information will be akin to having dozens of personal information assistants.

20. Learning to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.

Disclaimer - The above 20 ideas are from Timothy Ferriss and I have no intention to plagiarise his content.

The book also teaches practical tips for increasing productivity at work such as avoiding unnecessary back and forth email, outsourcing of duties to virtual assistants, elimination of time-wasting meetings, automation of repetitive tedious work, using productivity tools etc. – All of which serve to enhance one’s efficiency and effectiveness in accomplishing his daily tasks (either as an entrepreneur, employee or even a domestic engineer).

There are just too many other valuable concepts and examples from the book that I simply can’t list them all.

I highly recommend that you purchase a hard copy of this mind-blowing book for your own enrichment.

I know some people like to download books illegally from online sources. The problem is the books online may not be the latest edition and outdated information can hurt, on top of the risk of a virus attack on your computer.

Also, there is a generally a lack of commitment to read if the content comes free.

What’s more, you can fill your own bookshelf with this valuable book and prevent any virus attack from your illegal torrent download.

The book is currently selling for $40.95 (non-members) and $36.85 (member) at Kinokuniya.

I am selling away a new copy of this book at $32.99. Visit my Carousell page at

Meet-up or mail delivery in Singapore

Mail delivery will be 2-5 days.

$1.15 for non-standard mail without tracking and

$3.14 for registered mail with tracking.

If you want to get the book for personal growth, drop me a message at +65 81264322 or email me at

Frankly speaking, merchandising on this blog is not meant to seek profit. The little money doesn’t really justify my effort to have to meet you or prepare the package delivery.

My true intention is to network with like-minded people dedicated to life-long learning and to facilitate your learning at a discount.

I want to also bring reality back into your perspective, in case you find yourself lost in your daily routine.

I hope you had some aha! moments and had learnt something from this post. The following video below also highlights the key-learning points from the book. Enjoy!

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