The 4-Hour Workweek | Timothy Ferriss (Book Summary)

The book shows you how to reduce your work without working like an ordinary 9 to 5 worker.

Doing less is not laziness

Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is not laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.

Few people choose to do less. Despite fewer hours in the office, we can produce more meaningful results than burying ourselves in work.

Let’s redefine laziness anew — to endure a non-ideal existence to let circumstance or others decide life for you or to amass a fortune while passing through life like a spectator from an office window.

Emphasize strength, Don’t fix weaknesses

It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.


List up to 5 things you dream of having, (including material wants, house, care, clothing), being and doing. Do not limit yourself.


One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.

Check email twice per day, once at 12:00 noon and again at 4:00pm are times that ensure you will have most responses from previously sent email. Complete your most important task in the morning before 11:00am. Create an email autoresponse.


Liberating yourself means you would have to automate most of the things.

Think of a time when you felt 100% alive and undistracted — in the zone. Chances are that it was when you were completely focused in that moment on something external: someone or something else. Sports and sex are two great examples. Lacking an external focus, the mind turns inward on itself and creates problems to solve, even if the problems are undefined or unimportant. If you find a focus, an ambitious goal that seems impossible and forces you to grow, these doubts disappear.

I believe that life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.

Each person will have his or her own vehicles for both, and those vehicles will change over time. For some, the answer will be working with orphans, and for others, it will be composing music. I have a personal answer to both — to love, be loved, and never stop learning — but i don’t expect that to be universal.

License a product

There are two parties involved in a licensing deal, and a member of the New Rich could be either. First, the is the inventor of the product, called the “licensor”, who can sell others the right to manufacture, use or sell his or her product, usually for 3–10% of the wholesale price (usually around 40% off retail) for each unit sold. Invent, let someone else do the rest, and cash checks. Not a bad model.

The other side of the equation is the person interested in manufacturing and selling the inventor’s product for 90–97% of the profit: the licensee. This is, for me and most newly rich, more interesting.

Henry Ford once said, referring to his model-T, the best selling car of all time, “ The customer can have any color he wants, so long as it’s black.” He understood something that businesspeople seem to have forgotten: serving the customer (customer service) is not becoming a personal concierge and catering to their every whim and want. Customer service is providing an excellent product at an acceptable price and solving legitimate problems (lost packages, replacements, refunds, etc) in the fastest manner possible. That’s it.

The more options you offer the customer, the more indecision you create and the fewer the orders you receive. Here are few methods to reduce service overhead by 80%:

  1. Offer one or two purchase options: basic and premium.
  2. Do not offer multiple shipping options. Offer one fast method instead and charge a premium.
  3. Do not offer overnight or expedited shipping.
  4. Eliminate phone orders completely and direct all prospects to online ordering.
  5. Do not offer international shipments. Spending 10 minutes per order filling out customs forms and dealing with customer complaints is not fun.

It should cost the customer usd $50 — $200 (myr 200–800). The bulk of companies set prices in the midrange, and that is where the most competition is. Pricing low is shortsighted, because someone else is always willing to sacrifice more profit margin and drive you both bankrupt. Besides perceived value, there are three main benefits to creating a premium, high-end image and charging more than the competition.

  1. Higher pricing means that we can sell fewer units — and thus manage fewer customers — and fulfill our dreamlines, it’s faster!
  2. Higher pricing attracts lower-maintenance customers (better credit, fewer complaints/questions, fewer returns, etc.) It’s less headache. This is huge.
  3. Higher pricing also creates higher profit margins. It’s safer.

Aim for an 8–10X markup, which means a $100 product can’t cost more than $10-$12.50. High has its limits, however. Price range of $50 — $200 per sale provides the most profit for the least customer service hassle. Price high and then justify.

Comfort Challenge

Get phone numbers. Being sure to maintain eye contact, ask for the phone numbers of at least two (the more you attempt, the less tressful it will be) attractive members of the opposite sex on each day. Go to a mall if you want to get some rapid-fire practice — three people in a row within 5 minutes.

Example script:

“Excuse me, i know this is going to sound strange, but if i don’t ask you now, i’ll be kicking myself for the rest of the day. I’m running to meet a friend (ie I have friends and am not a stalker), but i think you’re really (extremely, drop-dead) cute (gorgeous, hot). Could i have your facebook/instagram/wechat (phone number)? I’m not a psycho — i promise. You can give me a fake one if you’re not interested.”

Eat a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking and go for a 10-to-20 minutes walk outside afterward, ideally bouncing a handball or tennis ball.

Good marketing goes a long way

Niche is the new big. Here’s the secret: It’s possible to niche market and mass sell. iPod commercials don’;t feature dancing 50-year-olds, they feature hip and fit 20s to 30s but everyone and his grandmother wants to feel youthful and hip, so they strap on Nanos and call themselves Apple users. Who you protray in your marketing isn’t necessarily the only demographic who buys your product -it’s often the demographic that most people want to identify with or belong to.

People can dislike you — you often sell more by offending some- but they should never misunderstand you.

The main benefit of your product should be explainable in one sentence or pharse. How is it different and why should i buy it? ONE sentence or phrase, folks. Apple did an excellent job of this with the iPod. Instead of using the usual industry jargon with GB, bandwidth and so forth, they simply said, 1000 songs in your pocket. Done deal. Keep it simple (and stupid) KISS and do not move ahead with a product until you can do this without confusing people.

Sarawak Blogger

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