Roughly one third of Tim Ferriss' book reads like an infomercial but one can see example after example of how applying Pareto's Principle to everything we do in our work and personal lives gives us the opportunity to maximize our return on effort.
In the interest of being brief, here is my distillation of the key points raised in The 4-Hour Workweek:
- The concept of eustress, or good stress. This is something I can relate to as I thrive on a certain degree of urgency in my work life. I've never been a fan of clerical work and I think that is partially due to it's wholly unexciting nature.
- Do you want to be a millionaire or do you want to have the options you believe a millionaire has in terms of freedom of choice?
- Don't underestimate yourself and overestimate the competition.
- Parkinson's Law- a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in the time allotted for it's completion.
- 3 times per day ask yourself two questions: Am I being productive or just active? Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
- You have to be prepared to deal with an uncomfortable emotional reaction as you consider difficult choices and resolutions.
- If you are the average of the 5 people you interact with most, then who are you?
- People are smarter than you think. Give them a chance to prove themselves.
- Using a Virtual Assistant to take care of research and personal chores could be a great boost to personal productivity.
- MBA= Management by Absence
- "Process Driven" rather than "person driven" allows others to make things happen without delays caused by you (acting as a bottleneck)
- Make non-fatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible. Fast decisions preserve usable attention for what matters.
- Regret is past tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret.
Some other useful things you'll find in this book are various websites and services which are listed in each chapter with reviews, helpful hints and potential pitfalls, so that you can make immediate use of the strategies you're exploring.
If you are a person dedicated to getting things done I'm not sure that The 4-Hour Workweek holds an abundance of wisdom for you since you likely already employ many of the concepts in the book. One of the major weaknesses of the 4-Hour sales pitch is the assumption that everyone detests their job but lacks the creativity or desire to do something about it. The concepts and habits that Mr. Ferriss asks you to adopt would be quite unmanageable for most people, in my opinion, because they are too aggressive and emotionally uncomfortable.
A few weeks ago I attended a local Chamber of Commerce meeting and one of the attendees joked that she had received a copy of 4-Hour Workweek several years ago as a gift, had read a few chapters, and the book still sits half-read on her nightstand. During this time she has grown her educational services business from a one person operation to dozens of employees, with recent state accreditation. She enjoys what she is doing and has no need for the deceptive escapism that is often part of the 4-Hour plan.
The 4-Hour Workweek has plenty of interesting things to say but I would advise you to figure out what it is you love to do (Eustress), and go do that. The rest should follow.