The 4-Hour Workweek

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The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
The 4-Hour Workweek (front cover).jpg
Author Tim Ferriss
Cover artist Barbara Sturman
Country United States
Language English
Subject Self-actualization, Self-employment, Self-improvement
Genre Non-fiction,
Published 2007 (Crown Publishing Group)
Pages 308 pp
ISBN 978-0-307-35313-9
OCLC 76262350
650.1 22
LC Class HD6955 .F435 2007
Followed by The 4-Hour Body

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (2007) is a self-help book by Timothy Ferriss, an American writer, educational activist and entrepreneur.[1] The book has spent more than four years on the The New York Times Best Seller list, has been translated into 35 languages and has sold more than 1,350,000 copies worldwide.[2][3][4] It focuses on what Ferriss refers to as "lifestyle design" and a repudiation of the traditional "deferred" life plan in which people work grueling hours and take few vacations for decades and save money in order to relax after retirement.


Ferriss developed the ideas present in The 4-Hour Workweek while working 14-hour days at his sports nutrition supplement company, BrainQUICKEN.[5] Frustrated by the overwork and lack of free time, Ferriss took a 3-week sabbatical to Europe. During that time and continued travels throughout Europe, Asia and South America, Ferriss developed a streamlined system of checking email once per day and outsourcing small daily tasks to virtual assistants.[6] His personal escape from a workaholic lifestyle was the genesis of the book.[7]

The format of The 4-Hour Workweek took shape during a series of lectures Ferriss delivered on high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University, his alma mater.[8] The lectures (and book) focused on Ferriss' own experiences in company automation and lifestyle development.[8]


In the book Ferriss uses the acronym DEAL for the four main chapters.[9] It stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.

Definition means to figure out what a person wants, get over fears, see past society's "expectations" and figure out what it will really cost to get where a person wants to go.

Elimination is about time management, or rather about not managing time. This is achieved by applying the 'Pareto principle' or '80-20 Rule' (80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts) to focus only on those tasks that contribute the majority of results, and using Parkinson's law (work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion) to limit the amount of actual time spent working. There's a difference, Ferriss says, between efficiency and effectiveness. The book's emphasis is on effectiveness.

Automation is about building a sustainable, automatic source of income. This includes techniques such as drop-shipping, automation, Google AdWords, AdSense, and outsourcing.

Liberation is dedicated to the successful automation of one's lifestyle and the liberation from a geographical location and job. Incidentally, Ferriss notes that if somebody has a regular job, the order of steps will be DELA, not DEAL.

The book asserts that technology such as email, instant messaging and Internet-enabled PDAs complicate life rather than simplify it.[10] It advocates hiring virtual assistants from developing countries such as India and Philippines to free up personal time.[11]


For the launch of the book, Ferriss created a blog also titled[12] Though he has since written subsequent books, it remains the title of his blog and covers many topics besides those in the 4HWW. It now has more than 25,000 RSS subscribers.[13]

The release of his book moved Ferriss' blog to the Top 1000 on Technorati.[14] Ferriss stated, in a Fast Company interview, that 4HWW is read by many of the "top tech CEOs in the world".[15] The blog has since featured articles written by many entrepreneurs, authors and thinkers including Chip Conley, Neil Strauss, Ramit Sethi, Ryan Holiday, Noah Kagan of AppSumo, Chase Jarvis and others.[16] The resulting influence of such posts on book sales and other metrics has been dubbed the "Tim Ferriss effect".[17]


In addition to spawning countless entrepreneurial careers, Ferriss’ book was the inspiration behind J. F. Hussey's entrepreneurial fiction novel The Point of Escape: A 4-Hour Novel. The novel humorously chronicles the challenges faced by protagonist Jerrod Beams as he puts Ferriss’ advice into practice and transforms himself from a timeserving government wage-slave into a self-directed entrepreneur.[18]


The 4-Hour Workweek is one of the 10 most highlighted books of all-time on the Amazon Kindle.[19]

The New York Times noted that Ferriss spends far more than 4 hours per week in blogging and self-promotion, which Ferriss describes as “evangelizing.”[20]

Wired praised the book's ideas for telecommuting and its pre-retirement advice, but faulted it for "formulaic writing" and that "nearly every idea [is] taken to extreme. No sense of work being anything more than a paycheck".[21]

USA Today commented: "If it all sounds too good to be true, maybe it is. Or maybe not. Clearly, selective ignorance, farming out chores and applying the 80/20 principle have paid off for Ferriss." [22]

Leslie Garner of The Telegraph noted that the book had a "punchy writing style" and that Ferriss had "struck a chord with his critique of workers' slavish devotion to corporations."[23]

The book received coverage also through Fast Company,[24] ABC News,[5] The Today Show, Newsweek,[25] and MSNBC.[26]

Charity donation[edit]

In the book's dedication, Ferriss announced that he would be donating 10% of all author royalties to educational charities such as DonorsChoose.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ferriss, Timothy (2007). The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-35313-9. 
  2. ^ Best-Known Projects. Publishers Marketplace.
  3. ^ Hardcover Business Best Sellers. The New York Times. May 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Bio.
  5. ^ a b Maney, Kevin; Chapula, Andrea. Tim Ferriss Wants You to Get A Life. ABC News. October 11, 2007.
  6. ^ Rosenbloom, Stephanie. The World According to Tim Ferriss. The New York Times. March 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Ohannessian, Kevin. Leadership Hall of Fame: Tim Ferriss, Author of "The 4-Hour Workweek". Fast Company. January 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Hall, Cornelia. Ferriss '00 takes the day off. The Daily Princetonian. May 9, 2007.
  9. ^ Ferriss, Timothy The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich' Crown (2007) pg Index
  10. ^ Williams, Alex (November 11, 2007). "Meet the Press". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-04.  "Most fundamentally, Mr. Ferriss turned ruthless against e-mail."
  11. ^ Ferriss, Timothy The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich' Crown (2007)
  12. ^ "The Four Hour Work Week". 4 Hour Workweek. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  13. ^ 7 Reasons to Subscribe. FourHourWorkWeek.
  14. ^ Technorati profile: 4hww
  15. ^ Dannen, Chris (September 2007). "Seven Questions with the 4-Hour Workweek Evangelist". Fast Company. Retrieved 2008-04-24. "My blog is on the blogroll of some of the top tech CEOs in the world."
  16. ^ Posts [1][2][3][4][5][6]
  17. ^ Ellsberg, Michael. The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons From My Successful Book Launch. Forbes. January 11, 2012.
  18. ^ Hussey, J. F. (2014). The Point of Escape: A 4-Hour Novel. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. ISBN 978-1500415983. 
  19. ^ Most Highlighted Books of All Time. Amazon Kindle.
  20. ^ Williams, Alex. Too Much Information? Ignore It. The New York Times. November 11, 2007.
  21. ^ Tweney, Dylan. Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek? You Should Be So Lucky. Wired. June 15, 2007.
  22. ^ Archer, Michelle. Review: You, too, can enjoy 4-hour workweek, author says. USA Today. June 10, 2007.
  23. ^ Garner, Leslie. Tim Ferriss: the clock watcher. The Telegraph. May 7, 2008.
  24. ^ Scoble, Robert. Timothy Ferriss and 4-Hour Workweek. Fast Company. March 3, 2010.
  25. ^ Jerry Guo, The World’s Best Guinea Pig Jan 4, 2011
  26. ^ 4-Hour workweek: How to escape your 9-5 job. June 25, 2007.
  27. ^ Ferriss, Timothy The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich' Crown (2007) pg 'dedication'

External links[edit]