Review: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

September 13, 2020

Who is Tim Ferriss?

Timothy Ferriss is an author, entrepreneur, and podcaster. His best-selling books include The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Workweek. Via his books and podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, he has inspired many to forgo the conventional forms of work and prioritize two new currencies; time and mobility.

In The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss shares how we can travel more, create another income stream, and transform our professional lives. For example, by using technological advancements, we can outsource many parts of our lives to virtual assistants overseas. Additionally, Ferriss explains how we can increase our efficiency by focusing only on important tasks and delegating the rest.


With millions of online followers, Tim Ferriss has inspired many to increase their productivity and enjoy the time and mobility traditionally reserved for the rich. In our review of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, we will discuss his idea of “the new rich”, and how they enjoy a luxury lifestyle full of freedom.

Review Of What You Will Learn In The 4-Hour Workweek?

Time Management (The 80/20 Principle and Parkinson’s Law)

Two of the biggest issues that Ferriss has with traditional work schedules is how arbitrary 9 AM-5 PM/8 hours a day is, and how much time is wasted in a normal workday. To combat these two societal mainstays, he encourages us to incorporate two old principles in our lives. These are the 80/20 principle or “Pareto’s Law”, and Parkinson’s Law.

“Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs.”

Ferriss, page. 71

“Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline.”

Ferriss, page. 77

By analyzing which 20% of your work produces 80% of your output, you can completely change your work schedule. Additionally, giving yourself close deadlines can increase your efficiency and urgency on projects.

 Maintaining a Low-Information Diet

Because Ferriss prioritizes productivity, he has chosen to live a life of what he calls “selective ignorance”. This means that he does not consume daily news much, if at all. Additionally, he makes sure to only check/answer emails at certain times. While this may sound unusual or even irresponsible, he provides us with ways in which he is able to make up for this, quickly and effectively.

“Lifestyle design is based on massive action-output. Increased output necessitates decreased input. Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence.”

Ferriss, page. 87

Outsourcing Life

Delegating tasks to others and hiring virtual assistants are extensions of Pareto’s Law (mentioned above). These help to continue eliminating useless tasks and redundancies in your work schedules. These can be useful for non-entrepreneurs as well (personal tasks such as e-mail, online errands, etc.).

“Becoming a member of the NR is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.”

Ferriss, page. 128

Needless to say, the possibilities created when you delegate to virtual assistants are endless! You have the time and leisure to live how and where you want. The ability to travel while you work can also create some geo-arbitrage opportunities. Where you relocate to take advantage of lower costs on essentials (such as healthcare or food) and cheaper currencies.

“Fun things happen when you earn dollars, live on pesos, and compensate in rupees, but that’s just the beginning.”

Ferriss, page. 127

Automatic Income Streams

A crucial element to building the life you want, on your own terms, is building an automated income stream. Ferriss calls these “muses” and their sole purpose is to provide cash flow passively.

“This chapter is not for people who want to run businesses but for those who want to own businesses and spend no time on them…Our goal is simple; to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.”

Ferriss, pages. 153-154

How to Escape the Office

Many of us have physical work settings or offices where we’re expected to be during work hours. Ferriss helps us negotiate these unwritten agreements and pitch our new-found productivity and efficiency to our superiors with templates and examples.

“The guard is changing. Being bound to one place will be the new defining feature of the middle class. The New Rich are defined by a more elusive power than simple cash – unrestricted mobility.”

Ferriss, page. 229

Common mistakes by the “New Rich”

Once former 9-5 employees reach new rich status, they tend to repeat old habits. These include failing to maintain a low-information diet, filling empty time with meaningless tasks (like email), etc. Ferriss reminds us of why we pursued this new lifestyle in the first place.

“It requires fighting impulse after impulse from the old world of retirement-based life deferral.”

Ferriss, page. 302

Bonus “Not-To-Do” List

As a bonus section, Ferriss includes a list of habits he encourages to stop. These include agreeing to meetings without an agenda, checking email constantly (especially in the early morning or night), etc. These habits are not only inefficient but stopping them will put us on the path to joining the new rich!

Final Verdict: 9.5/10

My favorite thing about The 4-Hour Workweek is that it really is a step-by-step guide. It is extremely practical and includes examples and templates to help us escape our 9-5’s and join the “new rich”. I also love how critical Ferriss is of the traditional work environment. There is so much wasted time and inefficiencies, and it is holding us back from living the lives we want and deserve!


Whether it’s negotiating a remote work schedule, creating an additional income stream, or hiring a personal chef, technology allows us to create freedom for ourselves. With the tools in this book, we can and should eliminate wasted time, increase our passive income, and live on our terms. After reading this blueprint, you’ll be well prepared to do so.

Comment what you think below and check out our other book reviews here.

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