The 4-Hour Workweek Summary In English

The 4-Hour Workweek

About Book

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek 

Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Workweek summary
The 4-Hour Workweek summary in English


Do you want to live like a millionaire? Do you want to work anytime, live anywhere, and do whatever you want? You do not have to work all your life to do so. You don’t even need to have millions in your bank account. You just have to join the New Rich.

In this book, you will learn who the New Rich is. You will also learn about lifestyle design, the 80/20 principle, and Parkinson’s Law. To live like a millionaire means having the freedom of your time, money, and location. You will learn tips on how to achieve that.

The 4-hour workweek allows you to take the deal of a lifetime. You can travel the world, go skiing, or go surfing while still being an effective entrepreneur or employee. You will see that to accomplish more; you have to do less. Let’s begin.

New Rich and Lifestyle Design

What if there was a way to have a stable income without having to stay 8 hours in the office? What if there was an alternative to spending your best years inside a cubicle? You may be a hard-working employee or a striving entrepreneur; either way, this book is for you.

You don’t have to wait for retirement to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can experience the best that life could offer while working and earning money. Timothy Ferriss was a 9-5 employee. That was until the day he made a choice. He didn’t want life to just pass him by. He didn’t want to end up decades later as an old man who was too weak to enjoy his retirement money. 

Tim Ferriss didn’t want you to experience that too. He gave you the invitation to join the New Rich. Who are the New Rich? They are those who went against the conventional way to success.

It has been accepted for many years that the road to success is to study hard, graduate college, and work 8 hours daily in an office. That was what people called the “real world.” That was the “good future” for most, but you can bend that reality. 

New Rich are those who live by their own rules and standards. Tim Ferriss and many others have proved that it was possible to live a life of luxury and still be a productive entrepreneur or employee. You can travel around the world or engage in leisurely activities and still support your family. You don’t have to be a millionaire. You only need to maximize your time and mobility.

“Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It doesn’t.” The New Rich are those who have embraced lifestyle design. What if you could work half of the hours you do now and get paid twice as much? What if you didn’t have to wait for retirement to relax and enjoy yourself? You have a choice not to work for the sake of work. You can work and have fun at the same time. 

Dale Begg-Smith was only 21 years old. He was both a successful entrepreneur and a professional athlete. He won the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics for skiing. Dale has performed a perfect backflip and broke the previous records. At a young age, he even owned a black Lamborghini. 

Dale originally came from Canada. That was where he founded an online I.T. company with his older brother. Dale was only 13 then, and his brother Jason was 15. They created the I.T. company to fund their dreams of joining the Olympics. After two years, the brothers’ business venture became the third most successful in its industry. 

As Dale’s teammates pushed their limits on training, he split his time to work on his business. On one occasion, Dale flew to Tokyo to drink sake with his Japanese clients. His coaches thought that he should give more attention to his training. Amidst the situation, Dale managed to deliver excellent ski performances. 

Dale could move freely between his Olympic dream and his business. He didn’t have to choose and drop one. It was in 2002 when Dale and his brother decided to migrate to Australia, the best place on Earth for skiing. The Australian ski team was smaller and more flexible. They had a legendary coach. 

Within three years, Dale gained his Australian citizenship. In a twist of fate, he competed against his former teammates in Canada. Dale Begg-Smith won every game and got the third winter gold medal for Australia. 

Choose not to be a deferrer. Do not work for work and find out later that you have spent 30 to 50 years of your life sitting at a desk. The lifestyle design gives you the option to control what you do with your life, where to do it, when to do it, and who you do it with.

Rules that Change the Rules

Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything popular is wrong.” The New Rich live on very different terms from the rest of the population. It doesn’t mean that they walk on their hands or wear underwear outside their pants. The New Rich has defined their rules. Here are 5 basic rules which you too can follow.

1.    “Retirement as a goal is flawed”. Why look forward to retirement? Looking forward to retirement can mean that you are not happy with how you are currently spending your time. By the time you retire, inflation will have decreased the value of your life savings. You have worked hard through most of your life; you will surely be very bored one week after you retire. 

2.    “Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive”. Do you want to look as old as Donald Trump when you’re 30 years old? Your career requires you to do the same thing for more than 8 hours every single day. You will likely grow old fast and have a breakdown. 

As a New Rich, you can choose to have “mini-retirements” in between the demands of your work. Instead of retirement after 50 years, you can travel or engage in your hobbies now and then. You can be productive and enjoy life at the same time. 

For example, Tim Ferriss aimed to spend one month living in another country. If not, he trained in tango or kickboxing. Tim did these mini-retirements every 2 months. 

3.    The third New Rich rule, “Less is not laziness.” When you apply lifestyle design, you will get rid of meaningless work; you can focus on the most important things. The New Rich spend fewer hours in the office, but despite that, they are more effective than most. Just because you are busy with something doesn’t mean that you’re being productive. 

4.    “Ask for forgiveness, not permission”. There will always be people to hold you back. It can be your partner, your parents, or your boss. Say sorry for the damage you will cost them, but don’t let them stop you. Chances are the damage is not permanent. Whatever it is, it can be fixed. You don’t need anybody’s permission to move.

5.    “Relative income is more important than absolute income.” There are two types of income, absolute and relative. Absolute income refers to your actual salary, while relative income considers both your salary and the amount of time you work to get it. 

For example, Jane and John. Jane has an annual income of $100,000, while John only has $50,000. If we only consider money, Jane is two times richer. We do not see the bigger picture. Jane works 80 hours weekly. She was being paid about $25 an hour. 

Meanwhile, John worked 10 hours weekly. He was paid the equivalent of $100 an hour. Who is truly richer then, Jane or John? 

“Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work.” We have been conditioned for many years to be ready for the “real world” and the sure way to success. If the recipe doesn’t bring about good results, would you still follow it? 

Conquering Fear

You now know the benefits that the New Rich enjoy. What keeps you from being one of them? It can be fear. It can be pessimism. It can be a tolerance for the lifestyle you have known and accepted.

Hans Keeling was a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles. He had been practicing for 5 years. Every single day, he had to wake up at the same time in the morning. Hans had 40 to 45 more years of this lifestyle ahead of him.

There was one time when Hans had to sleep under his office desk to finish a difficult project. He continued to work on it the next morning. Hans Keeling swore then to himself that if he had to endure two more projects like this, he would quit.

Hans spent a life-changing weekend in Copacabana. He flew 30,000 feet above the ground on a paraglider. As he took off, he realized that risks were only scary at first. That was when he decided that enough was enough. When Hans came back to the law office Monday morning, he turned in his resignation letter. 

Hans heard everything that his colleagues were telling him, he was throwing his life away, and he already had everything. What else was it that Hans was searching for? What did he want?

Hans didn’t know yet. What he did know was his job as a corporate lawyer was making him miserable. He didn’t want to attend one more dinner with his colleagues who compared their newly bought cars. Contrary to what they thought, Hans Keeling felt the peace of mind, a feeling which he hadn’t felt for a very long time.

One year later, Hans still received job offers from many law firms. He had entered a new chapter in his life. Hans began Nexus Surf, a leading surf-adventure business. He had relocated himself to the beautiful shores of Florianopolis, Brazil. Hans even met his wonderful girlfriend Tatiana. If he was not attending to his clients, he was enjoying himself under the palm trees.

Hans was already far from his overworked and under enjoyed life. The risk he took turned out to be the best decision he could have made. Hans had feared the future ahead of him when he quit being a lawyer. Little did he know that fear would lead him to paradise. 

Every day, Hans accompanied clients who were like his old self. They were mostly professionals who were escaping their stressful jobs. They told him, “I wish I could do what you do.” Hans always answered them, “You can.” After the thrilling surf session, they went back to saying, “I would, but I can’t throw it all away.” Hans Keeling knew better.

If you were in his position, would you have done what Hans did? Would you take that big leap in your life? Would you face uncertainty and fear of failure? Many would continue in their unhappy jobs and avoid uncertainty. If you quit your job or follow your passion, what is the worst that could happen?

You may worry too much. Whatever consequences your actions will have are surely not permanent. You can change them. By accepting the worst-case scenario, you can plan your steps to recover. You will see that taking that jump isn’t that bad. 

Taking the DEAL

You now know who the New Rich is. You got a taste of the lifestyle design. Leaping is scary, but it is worth it. After defining the New Rich, we move on to their three assets. That was freedom of time, income, and location. 

How do you gain freedom of time? You eliminate unimportant things that are taking too much of your time. How do you have freedom with your income? You automate the effective system, which will bring you revenue even if you didn’t always check on it. You outsource the tasks which other people can handle. You stop micro-managing people and processes. How do you gain freedom of location? You do that by liberating yourself. That is through escaping the usual 9-5 and taking mini-retirements. 

Essentially, you become a New Rich by taking the DEAL. The D stands for definition, E for elimination, A for automation, and L for liberation. In the next chapter, we will discuss elimination and gaining freedom of your precious time. 

Are you an expert on time management? Do you multitask every day? Here’s the thing. Tim Ferriss told you to forget all about it. Seems ridiculous? Let’s learn about the 80/20 principle and Parkinson’s Law.

80/20 Principle

What is the 80/20 Principle? It was proposed by the economist Vilfredo Pareto. The 80/20 principle was also called Pareto’s Law. To put it simply, it means that 80% of the total output comes from only 20% of the total input. 

If you have a business, you will realize that 80% of your profit comes from only 20% of your customers. They are those who always buy more of your products. If you are an employee, you will notice that you produce 80% of your results in only 20% of your office hours. Have you experienced accomplishing more on your 2-hour-overtime than your regular 8 hours? 

Tim Ferriss had experienced working 15 hours every day to keep his business going. He felt helpless and overwhelmed all the time. He got up before sunrise to call his customers in the U.K. In the regular 9-5 work hours, he would follow up on his U.S. clients. After that, he would be on the phone until midnight with the New Zealand and Japanese markets. 

At that point, Tim came across the 80/20 Principle. He had 120 wholesale customers. Only 5 of these customers ordered constantly, even if Tim didn’t persuade or follow up with them. They even purchased in bulk. Tim decided to focus on them. He let go of the majority of his customers who were only giving him a headache. 

Tim had 2 customers who always argued with him. They caused him to be angry and frustrated all day. Ultimately, Tim shut them out. Did he lose revenue? Tim earned more. The majority of his customers were high maintenance. They took up too much of his time and energy but did not order great amounts. 

By Pareto’s Law, only 5 of Tim’s customers gave him 95% of his profit. More customers didn’t necessarily mean more income. Tim stopped following the whim of his other customers. He focused on taking the large orders for the top 5. 

By eliminating his high-maintenance and low-yielding customers, Tim doubled his profit from $30K to $60K in just one month. He didn’t have to spend more because he had 5 dependable customers who regularly made bulk orders. The hours Tim spent working every week dropped from 80 to 15. More importantly, he became very happy and liberated. His business prospered more than ever.

Parkinson’s Law, Mini Retirements, and the Mobile Lifestyle

According to Parkinson’s Law, less time yields more results. As an employee, you are given 8 hours to finish your tasks. You will find that you waste the majority of your office hours doing irrelevant things. You do not need 8 hours to accomplish the tasks assigned to you. You roam around the office organizing files, talking to colleagues, and managing your e-mail. You’re not making any progress. 

“Time is wasted because there is so much time available.” It is not your fault. It is just the culture that the 9-5 office hours have created. Even as an employee, you can arrange for remote work. That is if you can deliver excellent results. You do not have to stay in the office for 8 hours. You can finish your task from home or even from another country. 

Dave Camarillo had been tech support at HP for more than 7 years. He handled the tech problems of customers from 22 countries and 45 states. Dave was 45 years old. He had no plans of quitting or starting his own business. He liked what he was doing. Then someone came to change his life.

That, someone, was Shumei Wu. Dave met her on a trip to Shenzhen, China, for a client meeting. Since then, Dave had fallen deeply in love with Shumei. They had been trying to make their relationship work for 6 months. How could Dave be with Shumei when she was 5,913 miles away? 

Gone were the days when Dave wanted to stay at home with his PlayStation wearing Spiderman underoos. He found the perfect girl whom he was willing to commit to for life. Dave began to receive his tech calls from home. Later on, he embarked on his one-week experiment. 

Dave bought a one-way ticket to China. He brought his reliable T-Mobile GSM tri-band phone. After crossing 12 time zones, Dave proposed to Shumei, and she accepted. 

For his second trip of a lifetime, Dave had to spend 30 days with Shumei’s family. No one at Palo Alto, HP noticed his absence since he was doing business as usual. Before he left, Dave had arranged for all calls to be forwarded to his mobile phone.

When Dave finally told his seniors, they said, “We’re not going to expense the phone.” That was it. Dave wasn’t fired or even yelled at. He earned the freedom to stay in China for 2 months every summer. He would take regular business trips to Europe and Australia. “I didn’t travel for 30 years of my life, so why not?” Dave said. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably also accustomed to the 9-5 office hours. Do you need to work long hours in the office to live the life of a millionaire? There was once an American business tycoon who had a vacation in a small rural village in Mexico. His doctor ordered him to do so for his health. 

The business tycoon received bad news from work on his very first vacation day. He went out to the docks to get some fresh air. There arrived one fisherman on his small boat. He had just caught several huge yellowfin tunas. The business tycoon greeted the fisherman and complimented his good catch. 

“How long did it take you to catch them,” the businessman asked. “Only a little while,” the fisherman replied. The businessman continued to ask, “Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” 

“I have enough to support my family and give to a few friends.” The fisherman said. “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” the businessman wondered. The fisherman explained that he took care of his children. He slept in the afternoon beside his wife. At night, he walked to the village to meet his friends. They played the guitar while drinking wine. 

The businessman laughed. He told the fisherman, “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you.” He suggested that the fisherman should spend more time catching fish. He could buy a larger boat with his extra proceeds. He would have a fishing line. 

With the large volume of fish, the fisherman would not need to deal with the middleman. He could bring home more profit by selling to his customers directly. He could even start his cannery. The fisherman should be the one to control, process, and distribute his product. Eventually, the fisherman could leave the small rural village. He could choose to live in Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City.

“But señor, how long will all this take,” the fisherman asked. “15-20 years. 25 tops,” the businessman replied. “But what happens then, señor?”

The businessman laughed. He said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what,” asked the fisherman.

The businessman told him that when he was already a millionaire, the fisherman could finally retire to a small rural village. There, he could sleep late and fish a little in the morning. He could take care of his kids, sleep in the afternoon with his wife, and then drink wine while playing guitar with his friends at night. 

Eliminate, Automate, and then Liberate.

Even a fisherman could be New Rich. The fisherman in the story caught enough yellowfin tuna to support his family. He did this only for a couple of hours. What did he do with the rest of his time? The fisherman spent time with his family and his friends. He enjoyed the beauty of his hometown. With his freedom of time, income, and location, wasn’t the fisherman living the life of a millionaire? 

If you’re an employee, you can escape the office like Dave Camarillo. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can always have mini-retirements like Tim Ferris. Here are a few more tips to eliminate tasks and automate your income.

•    Take the Low-Information Diet.

Refrain from taking in any information which isn’t relevant to your job or your business. It can be the latest gossip from your friends or social media. You can also refrain from watching or reading the news. Most of it is negative and out of your influence. You can still be a good citizen even if you don’t. 

•    Don’t let emails consume much of your time.

Do not open your inbox every time you receive an email. Limit yourself to checking it once a day. Set up an auto-reply. Unsubscribe yourself from forwarded messages. 

•    Learn the Art of Refusal

Politely excuse yourself from small talks and chit-chats. Whether on phone calls, emails, or one-on-one conversations, encourage people to get to the point. This way, you can address the issue at once. 

•    Avoid Meetings

Meetings are time-consuming. It is often that the problem remains unresolved in the end. Most matters can be discussed over video calls and emails. If you need to report, volunteer to be the first one and get out when you’re done. Set up a definite end time for every meeting or conference call.

•    Outsource tasks that you can assign to Virtual Assistants. 

You can outsource personal and business-related tasks. It can be anything from website maintenance to buying gifts for your loved ones. The list is endless. Just remember to be clear and precise when giving instructions. Also, if you’re an employee, make sure not to disclose any company information. 

•    Do not micro-manage.

If you’re an entrepreneur, train your people to be independent. Trust their judgment so they will not need to call you whenever they encounter a problem. 

•    Control customer options

Do not have many varieties of your product. Limit the payment and shipping options. In this way, you will have fewer complaints and cause stress. More importantly, you could find your ideal customers.  

The Model-T car from Ford Motors was considered the “bestselling car of all time.” Henry Ford was quoted to say, “The customer can have any color he wants, so long as it’s black.” Customer service isn’t about being a personal butler. It is about giving your customers the best product for an affordable price in the shortest possible time. 


You learned about the New Rich and lifestyle design. You learned about the 80/20 principle and Parkinson’s Law. You learned about mini-retirements and the mobile lifestyle. 

You also learned tips to eliminate tasks and automate your income. If you apply these tips, you do not have to spend the majority of your time at the office. You can liberate yourself from the 9-5 culture. You will see that there is more to life than work. 

When was the last time you spent quality time with your family and friends? When was the last time you went outdoors? When was the last time you did anything that was not related to your work? Take the DEAL. Join the New Rich now and live like a millionaire.  

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