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It’s been a bit of a quiet start to the year. Still lots to do, but a lot of it relies on other people and, to me, it’s still a little early for following up on things. (That’ll be next week.) So I thought today I’d review a book that I’ve been meaning to do for some time – The 4-hour work week.

As part of my journey to improve my business, my life and myself as a human, I’m reading a few books as well as listening to the podcasts and reading the blogs that I’ve mentioned here before. So once in awhile (whenever it’s a slow-news week!) I’ll let you know my thoughts on what I’ve read most recently.

The 4-hour work week

I actually read The 4-Hour Work Week back in the summer, but there’s been plenty to report since then.

I believe it’s a bit of a cult book and pretty well known to anyone interested in business/entrepreneurship and/or self-improvement. Tim Ferriss (the author) seems to polarise people – he’s quite a character. (I also listen to his podcasts and subscribe to his blog – both of which I really enjoy.). But anyway, back to the book.

The whole premise is about living a ‘rich life’ – which ultimately means working less and having more time to do the things you want to do – not necessarily having more money. He does talk about money – ways to earn it, ways to spend it – but his focus is on gaining more time for more life experiences (such as travel). There are actually some pretty good tips in there for living a rich life (living abroad, for example) on a budget.

The book was originally published in 2008. I read the updated version (2011). Despite not being that long ago, some of it did still seem a little out-of-date to me. For example, Tim’s suggestions on technology to use to become more efficient – things have moved on a lot in 6 years.

Don’t be put off reading it if you have no desire to work for yourself. I actually think it’s probably more relevant to anyone who’s either employed and wants more freedom and/or to free up time to also have a side-business. There’s a lot of tips in there about increasing how much you can work from home, for example. (With the ultimate aim, being to work in a completely different country, without anyone noticing!)

Uncomfortable advice

Some of it may seem extreme, some of the advice feels uncomfortable (but perhaps only because implementing it would, for lots of us, feel like stepping way outside our comfort zones), but I do still believe there’s something in here for anyone who wants to free up a bit of time, to do things they enjoy. Which, I think is most of us.

For me personally, it gave me the nudge to use Amazon to store and deliver my stock (as it’s automated and I do nothing, other than get paid at the end of each month). I also took Tim’s advice around email overload and only check my emails at set times (or thereabouts) during the day, with my iPhone set to ‘pull’ emails when I open the inbox, rather than ‘push’ them as they come through. Small things can add up to quite big time gains, plus stop distractions.(Getting easily distracted is one of my weaknesses!)

Overall, I’d say it may not be a book you’ll read cover-to-cover (I can’t see the entire book being relevant to many people), but it’s definitely worth picking up a copy and seeing what works for you.

So, what do you think? Have you read it? What changes have you made if so and how did they work out for you?