The 4-Hour Workweek

Here’s my mantra:

Balance is more respectable than focus. Anyone can put their mind to something and achieve it using a combination of ability and hard work; but true achievement is to get there without allowing family, friends, body, and soul to notice.

This is out-of-whack with the whole self-help genre that pushes the idea of focusing on goals (written in pen and reviewed regularly, of course) and envisioning success. I don’t set goals, I don’t have a lot of focus, and I don’t do a lot of envisioning; which has probably resigned me to a life of rampant mediocrity that I construe as balance in my own, warped mind. So be it.

That’s why I don’t read many self-improvement books. But for some reason I linked to this blog post by the author. I don’t travel much, but his take was very interesting and lined up with my view of packing light. I travel light. I mean one-bag light. I’m talking “no toiletries because there’s a Walgreens everywhere” light. That’s really light. I eventually followed the blog through to the 4-Hour Workweek.

The book sounded interesting, but I didn’t buy it, just coveted it. Then, my wife gets it as a birthday gift. Cool. Since we’re married, that’s just like me getting it, so I cracked it open and started reading it the next day.

In short, it’s a manifesto for becoming part of the New Rich. Here’s his definition:

The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.

Does that make sense? Ferriss proceeds to give details on how exactly you can go from a stressed-out corporate drone to a vagabond traveler with plenty of disposable income.

I’m not a stressed-out corporate exec and I don’t want to be a vagabond traveler, but having plenty of disposable income would be nice. You know, just enough so I can play more golf, read more books, and watch more college football. I’m a simple man.

His plan is four steps with the acronym DEAL:

  1. Define – cost out your dreams and calculate your target monthly income
  2. Eliminate – don’t try to do more each day, try to do less
  3. Automate – outsource your life
  4. Liberate – work from the home or the road

I don’t think I would classify this in the self-help genre; after reading it, it’s just as much an entrepreneurial handbook. Here are some topics he goes into in detail:

  • Personal productivity
  • Hiring a personal assistant
  • Building a business using the Internet, call centers, and fulfillment companies
  • Promoting your business efficiently
  • Firing your most burdensome customers
  • Convincing your boss to let you work from home
  • Traveling the world via hostel for dirt cheap

I like some of these topics. I’m a small business owner and somewhat of a tech junkie that would like to work from home, coffee shop, and remote office, so it lined up well with me. The guy has a lot of good ideas and I think I can apply a few of his theories. We’ll see. I’m going to subscribe to his blog and bat things around for a while. Good stuff.