My 4 Hour Work Week Journey: Book Overview and Preface Chapters

This is day 3 of My 4 Hour Work Week Journey

The Preface Chapters of the Book

Chapter: FAQ – Doubters Read This

In this, the first chapter of the book, Tim opens by explaining a quintessential idea of the book:

Lifestyle design which, according to my understanding of the book, I would define as manipulating the various elements that influence your life in such a way that you can be, do and have whatever you want whenever you want. I can also define it as designing your dream lifestyle now as opposed to “the deferred life plan” a.k.a. retirement.

The chapter was written to answer specific fears of potential readers including:

a) Do I have to quit my 9-5 or be a risk taker? In short, Tim says no, the book is written to teach you to design your ideal lifestyle, no matter what that ideal is. If you want to work as little as possible and earn a full time income, the tools are here. If you love your office job but just want some extra time off, the tools are in the 4 hour work week.

b)Do I Have to be a single 20 something to apply the book’s principles: This probably wouldn’t matter too much because most of you reading this are single 20 somethings but in short the answer is no. Browse around for Ferriss interviews and you realize he gets interviewed by his fair share of middle aged family individuals and the book has interviews with family men and women who have applied the book’s principles.

c) Do I have to travel? I just want more time?: As I said before, Tim says the book is a manual to teach YOU how to create YOUR desired lifestyle whatever that is.

d) Do I need to be born rich? Would the book have even sold a copy if the answer was Yes? Clearly this is a book written to appeal mainly to the middle, and to a lesser extent, lower class ambitions and problems.

e) Do I need to be an Ivy League graduate? Me and Acolyte have argued about the importance of formal education in guaranteeing success in life, let’s watch and see as I go through the book………….

Chapter:(Tim’s Story) and Why You Need this Book

The book begins with what I like to call a this-is-why-I’m-cool-and-you-should-listen-to-what-I-have-to-say story that talks about him participating in the Tango World Championships in Argentina while also briefly touching on other fantastic things Tim’s done such as Kickboxing in Thailand and scuba diving in private islands in Panama.

Tim then introduces a quintessential idea in the book:

The New Rich: These are people who increase the amount of time they have to pursue their heart’s desire and couple that with enough income to live that lifestyle and the ability to move and travel wherever they please to live the life they dream of NOW rather than saving it for retirement. Lifestyle design is meant to help people join the New Rich.

It should be noted that his examples of the new rich include cubicle workers as well as millionaires so he is clearly trying to make this book appeal to as broad a spectrum of people as possible.

Important Distinction

An important thing that Tim touches on that is rarely discussed is:

When we go off in pursuit of a million dollars, we are not in pursuit of one million pieces of green paper BUT instead in pursuit of the lifestyle and the freedom we believe the money will give us.

The book claims it isn’t about creating millionaires, its about giving you the lifestyle of a millionaire in the here and now by using time and mobility to increase the value of one’s income.

Another cool idea that comes out of this chapter:

The Dealmaker Mindet: Reality is negotiable. Outside of the law, morality, ethics and science, all rules can be bent or broken.


DEAL and DELA refer to the two ways in which one goes through the lifestyle design process

If you are entrepreneurially minded you would go through the process in the following order:

1) D for Definition

2) E for Elimination

3) A for Automation

4) L for Liberation

If you are an employee interested in lifestyle design, the order would change slightly and become:

1) D 2) E 3) L and then 4) A; so you would strive for liberation (which has to do with the ability to be mobile and travel) first before striving to automate.

Clearly, seeing as I am a terrible employee, I will be going through the process in the D-E-A-L order.

Lack of Common Sense and Testing

Lastly, Tim discusses how a lot of the ideas in the book will seem very contrary to “common sense”. He says he is aware and proposes that one micro-tests one’s assumptions and micro-tests the ideas of the book before dismissing them.

I propose the same thing: conduct tiny little experiments with minimal risks with me and let’s see where we’ll be a few weeks from now.

There are many other important concepts that he introduces in this chapter but I’ll get to them in due time.

Chronology of a Pathology

This is pretty much a breakdown of Tim’s life from birth to how he arrived at the ideas of the book. If you have listened, read and/or watched interviews with Tim Ferriss you know everything you need to know.

Alright day 4, we got straight into step 1: D for Definition. To ensure you don’t miss a moment of my four hour work week journey make sure you subscribe to this site via RSS or email.

See you there,



  • By Ssembonge, June 30, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

    I’ve never seen a rich person who did not put extra hours to get where they are. I’d also be surprised if the same does not apply to those who feature in Forbes or Time rich lists. 4 hour week sounds like lazyness to me. If you think I’m wrong, kindly point me towards any individual who got rich by working 4 hours a week.

    PS. The newest billionaires (Google & Facebook founders), toiled day and night to beat the competition.

  • By Mwangi, June 30, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

    @Ssembonge: Tim isn’t interested in creating decamillionaires or billionaires in the book, rather he is interested in teaching people how to have more time and greater ability to move around so they can live like millionaires on less. In fact, I remember when someone asked him the question, can you create huge companies on 4 hours a week, his response was to first ask the person who asked the question , “Do you really need to build a 100 million dollar company and why?”
    There is one company though, where the CEO does almost all the work from home and has done so for more than two decades that’s mentioned in the book – I can’t think of it now but I’ll talk about it as I go through the book.
    But definitely, this book isn’t about building billionaires or captains of industry, its about giving you a great lifestyle in the here and now.

  • By Ssembonge, July 1, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

    The reason I want to be rich (read millionaire/billionaire) is so that I can help others. The richer I am, the more people I can help. I already have enough for myself.

    PS. The background color is much better now and it’s much easier to read your blog.

  • By Mwangi, July 2, 2008 @ 4:26 am

    @Ssembonge: As I said before, thanks for the feedback on site design. If it weren’t for you brining it to my attention, I never would have known that the old background was causing problems in reading.
    As for the whole, I want to be rich because that’s how I think I can help people, I think I’ll remind you of the little article I wrote on aid organizations some time back and ask a question:

    Doesn’t it appear that money isn’t usually the factor that seperates those who have huge positive impact on society from those who don’t?

Other Links to this Post

  1. My 4 Hour Work Week Journey: D for Definition (The Rules of the Game) » The Displaced African — July 7, 2008 @ 9:03 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment