Book Review: The 4-hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris – Genre: Self-help


This book promises to show you the right path to achieve a life balance in which you can work only four hours per week and still make enough money to accomplish your deepest dreams, from writing that novel you’ve always wanted or learning how to cook, to enjoying the favorite clichés like traveling around the world, climbing the Mount Everest, running with the Pamplona’s bulls, etc. If you thought the promises from other books of the self-help genre were unrealistic, the 4-hour Workweek takes it to another level.

It sounds too good to be truth and it certainly is, but come on, how naïve do you have to be to honestly believe that a book that can be read in a week will instantly give you the secret to obtain the fantasy life of the rich and famous. I’m relatively a new reader in the self-help genre, but it seems pretty obvious that the best you can hope for from these titles is to obtain a few new tips for yourself or be reminded of some good old advices you forgot, and who knows, maybe they’ll help a little in your daily life or even will be the difference between a good and a bad decision in the long run, but that’s all.

The good

The book has some interesting concepts that make sense, the first one, the idea that a rich man is not really the man who has millions of dollars in his bank account and spends all of his time worrying about those same millions and keeps working for more money in a straight and unhealthy path to an early grave, instead, the book invites you to pursue the richness of working as less hours as possible but still making enough money to enjoy your free time however you want, it encourage you to be smart and use the tools of outsourcing and technology to maximize your productivity in order to become what the book calls the ‘New Rich’, is not really a new concept but it’s something to keep in mind.

When I said technology, I was refereeing explicitly to the internet, another concept that you may have heard many times before, but the book does tell you about some interesting programs, webpages and apps that you may not know about. Personally, I ended up including in my life ‘Rescue Time’, it’s a web, an app and a program which purpose is to keep track of the amount of time you spend on the internet and the programs you use, in order for you to start focusing on some real work instead of wasting your time on Social Media.

The bad and the ugly

The general tone of the book is pretentious, it spends too much time praising itself about its own concepts and tries to cover too much information in the form of advice-pills. It never goes deeper than a self-help advice slogan, the author tries to convince you that he has all the answers for success but it seems that he’s trying too hard, as if he was still trying to convince himself.

Like a salesman that seems enthusiastic at the beginning, this book starts with some contagious energy, however, when you start to ask questions and it doesn’t know the answers, that enthusiastic salesman becomes forceful and annoying.

It is also not directed for everyone, if you wanted to follow many of his advices you would have to be in a stable position, even with a few thousand dollars in your bank account, the author encourage you to “be smart”, he tells you that with just a few bucks you can get a personal assistant, a manufactured product, a web, etc. Maybe but, what if you don’t have those “few dollars”?, well, until you do, 80% of the advices from the book are useless, and I wouldn’t ask for a loan to follow what seems to be the advice of a stranger you just met in a bar.

The really ugly part, and I may differ with other readers being beauty a subjective thing, is that I found the writing style boring, the tone is too high and superficial and it never changes, I read another review that said it was like the mixture from the character of Brad Pitt in the movie “Twelve Monkeys” and an infomercial, and I couldn’t agree more.

The recommendation

Don’t buy it, it isn’t worth it. Is not the worst book I’ve ever read, and if you’re technically fair there are some interesting advices like I mentioned in “the good” part, but “the bad and the ugly” part, are too much.  Also, there are many summaries of the “good part” on the internet, specially YouTube, just watch them take some notes and move on.

If you’re still interested, borrow it or get that free sample that Amazon offers first, who knows, perhaps the writing style just wasn’t right for me and it is right one for you. However, if a friend asked my honest opinion I would tell him to watch the videos, keep his money and invite me to eat something in return for saving him from some hours of boredom.


Here are some of the videos I mentioned: