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Issue 6.1


Book: The 4-Hour Workweek

Issue: 6.1 (November/December 2007)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,326
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 6105
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Full text of article...

The 4-Hour Workweek is to me an annoying title. I don't have a problem with working, and I don't like books that promise big returns for little effort. They tend to be shams. This book's cover illustration, a person lounging on a hammock slung between two palm trees, didn't allay my preconceptions.

The book came highly recommended, so I started it anyway. the first few chapters were what you'd expect from, say, any diet book. Lots of hype, lots of promises. Little substance. I grew frustrated.

And then things changed.

The substance started flowing. Ferriss stopped talking about how to take it easy and started laying out a cohesive plan to start your own business online. He gave an outline of steps to take. He gave contrasting examples. He gave sources. He showed how to build up your reputation. He told exactly how to name products for greatest impact and where to test your product names for impact. He gave website resources galore. He related, chapter and verse, exactly how to maximize an online business from start to finish.

The book itself is an example of his strategy. Ferriss uses himself as a reference. One example really hit home when the author discussed how to test product names for the biggest search engine impact. He gave several examples and the websites to use, and then said "How do you think I picked the title for this book?"

Ah, so that's how it goes.

The book is as much about philosophy of work as it is a blueprint for business development. The author harps on how you should consider yourself self-employed, even if you work for an employer. This is one of my favorite themes, so it rang true for me. Considering yourself to be a contractor for hire makes subtle shifts in your thinking. Opportunities present themselves differently to you. Ferris gets this.

In addition, Ferriss makes excellent use of the 80/20 rule. I hadn't seen it applied to a person's workload in quite this way. Basically, if you look at your workload, 20% of your time accomplishes 80% of your workload. Once you identify this, you realize that 80% of your time accomplishes very little, the other 20% of your work. Ferriss goes one step further. He proposes that the other 20% of your workload may not be very important to you, an if you could get rid of it, your could spend 205% of your time getting your entire job done. That's an oversimplification, but it's the basic idea.

Once you free up 80% of your time, what else could you do with it? He recommends several things, including travel (he's a travel nut), education, or other fruitful endeavors like the side projects you never have time for.

In the end, the book proved very valuable for me. As with any book, I would take it with a grain of salt. Regardless, I think there are many things to be gleaned from it. Ferriss has really given some valuable advice for both starting a business and maximizing your efficiency, and it's well worth the money to buy the book (or take it out of the library).

End of article.