The Wikipedia article on Tim Ferriss reads like a list of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” jokes. He’s an investor or adviser to an impressive list of successful young companies. He once won a national championship in Chinese kickboxing using unconventional strategy and dramatic weight manipulation. His books have been wildly successful. The New York Times at once compared him to business giant Jack Welch and to a Buddhist monk. I normally shun the self-help section at the bookstore (my friends say I’m pretentious about books), but I consider Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek required reading for entrepreneurs.
Subtitled Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, the book preaches a lifestyle more than a business strategy. Ferriss offers solutions to proactively maximize efficiency. He talks about eliminating wasted time and identifies inefficiencies it’s easy to fall into. His ideas have legitimate research behind them (he did go to Princeton, after all), but many of them also seem self evident once he lays them out. The strategies he outlines are great for entrepreneurs, who are often pulled in several directions at once, but I was an hourly employee when I read this book, and I found it relevant to my situation as well. Anybody looking to maximize effectiveness and stop wasting time can benefit.
Mr. Ferriss goes further than recommending ways to be efficient. He recognizes that while your business may sometimes feel like it consumes your life, it’s really just part of your life. Your business should add to the richness of your life, and 4-Hour Workweek is about cultivating a satisfying, enjoyable, existence more than it is about just running a company. Even if you don’t go so far as to follow in the exotic, adventure filled footsteps of the author, his wisdom on work life balance is invaluable.
Everybody’s business is different. Everybody’s life is unique. You may find some of Tim Ferriss’s ideas to be a little outlandish. Don’t throw the baby out with the extreme, thrill seeking bathwater. 4-Hour Workweek is full of useful, practical advice and tools to improve your effectiveness, leadership, and, above all, satisfaction with your time. Start on his website, where he’ll spot you the first fifty pages of the book in exchange for an email address.