4 Hour Work Week – Ferris

The thing I couldn't help but marvel at when reading 4 hour work week, was his true strength, that which is similar to Robbins; amazing self promotion. In a voice that seems to border on the verge of vanity, yet somehow remain acceptably inspirational, he describes his achievements through a lens of awe. This is not a criticism at all. I think Ferris, like Tony, have learn't to tap into the core of who they are, and focus all their energy on broadcasting that.

While Ferris is not master with the pen, there are times when he drops into something quite elegant and profound such as this:

"One cannot be free from the stresses of a speed- and size-obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mind-set, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place."

While reading this on my first "mini-retirement" in Japan, much of what Tim says resonates with me. Again what stood out most was the disparity between how I convey things as to how Ferris does; his without a doubt being more inspiring and motivational. When describing what I was going to do in Japan for three months, I told people, "live like a retired Japanese man". However, Ferris takes this idea and builds a whole movement around it: the New Rich (NR).

Reading this I also couldn't help but notice the parallels between this and both books Rework & Remote by Basecamp. It feels like this is the sloppy precursor to those more holistic and better written books.

Core Ideas:

  • Mini-Retirements: Rather than taking you retirement in lump-sum at the end of your life when artheritis sets in, take it incrementally every year. Spend your retirement 3 months a year, while your body is able and healthy, doing the things you want to do.
  • Muse: In order to be able to do that (since society is not setup for it yet), you need a muse: a business that generates passive income for you and requires very little time (if not none) to maintain. This will allow you to work remotely most of the year and do mini-retirements when you wish.
  • Ask for forgiveness, not permission
  • Work-for-work: we work not for an end goal but because it is the normal structure.

Reading Notes:

  • 80/20 Evaluation: Using the 80/20 rule (80% of output comes from 20% of input), evaluate your life to find the 20% of things that bring you 80% of your happiness and the 20% of things that bring you 80% of your suffering. Focus on the 20% of happy things and remove the 20% bad things from your life.
  • Focus on your strengths and automate/delegate your weaknesses.
  • D is for definition. Remove self limiting assumptions about the world. Replace them with new rules and objectives that are built on the reality you want, not the beliefs that were passed down to you.
  • E is for elimination. Eliminate the unnecessary to make more time. We spend much of our time on unnecessary things that we think we "have" to do. Don't do them.
  • A is for automation. Cashflow is king. Cashflow without effort is God. Automate the things that need to be done to create passive income.
  • L is for liberation. Create mobility in your life. Work remotely. Take yearly mini-retirements.
  • Focusing on passive cashflow before big payday, ensures that even if the payday never comes, you have lived a full life of your cashflow.
  • Ways to improve reading speed: 1) Use a pen to trace under each line as you read as fast as possible. 2) Begin each line focussing on the third word and ending on the third last; using your peripheral vision to read the rest. 3) Once comfortable with above, practice taking one two snapshots of the line (known as fixations) per line on the first and last intended words. 4) Practice reading too fast for comprehension but with good technique for five pages before reading at a comfortable speed.


  • "Reality is negotiable. Outside of science and law, all rules can be bent or broken, and it doesn't require being unethical."
  • "Think big but ensure payday comes everyday; cashflow first, big payday second"
  • "Focus on being productive instead of busy"
  • "Ask for forgiveness, not permission"
  • "What we fear doing most, is usually what we most need to"
  • "Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe"
  • "Doing something unimportant well does not make it important"
  • "I was working because I felt as though I should be doing something from 9-5. I didn't realise that working every hour from 9-5 isn't the goal; it's simply the structure most people use, whether it's necessary or not. I had a severe case of work-for-work"
  • "Rather than seeking to see the world through photo ops and foreign-but-familiar hotels, we aim to experience at the speed that lets it change us."
  • "I needed a to-do list to feel productive, so I put down things like 'eat dinner'"
  • "One cannot be free from the stresses of a speed- and size-obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mind-set, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place."



Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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