The 4-Hour Workweek Book Review

Book cover for The 4-Hour Workweek book reviewWho isn’t enticed with the promise of the 4-hour workweek?  The book has sold more than 1,350,000 copies worldwide [Wikipedia], and has remained on the Amazon Best Seller’s list from the year it was first published. Just for the marketing savvy of the title alone, this book deserves a read.*

And the book does have good points entrepreneurs can implement about outsourcing and automating, making it worth a read. The problem comes from Ferriss’s definition of ‘work’. It’s obvious from any article written about him that he works almost non-stop. As this The New York Times article noted,  Ferriss spends far more than 4 hours per week in blogging, speaking and self-promotion, which Ferriss describes as “evangelizing.”

‘Work’, to Ferriss, is doing something you don’t like to do, solely for the purpose of making money. While it is perfectly reasonable that you would want to minimize the time you spend on disagreeable tasks (and certainly something I train my clients to do), the entrepreneurs I work with like their business, in much the same way Ferriss must like the blogging, speaking and self-promotion he refuses to call ‘work’.

And those regular “mini retirements,” ideally a month off for every two months of work, that Ferriss touts in The 4-Hour Workweek are alluring. But evidently more of a goal than a reality; a 2013 Inc. article reports that Ferriss hadn’t had ‘a proper mini retirement in more than a year now.’ [Inc. April 2013]

What you can take away from The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich is the basic idea of creating some form of passive income to serve as a base for the things you enjoy doing in your business and life, and outsourcing the things you don’t like to do.

On a personal note: His policy on outsourcing felt a bit ‘icky’ to me. Not because there is anything wrong with outsourcing to someone in another country, but because his motivation seemed to be to take advantage of their financial insecurity and pay them a pittance. Reminded me of a WalMart mentality – and that’s not how I want to run my business.  I have outsourced work occasionally (through ODesk, now called Upwork) to other countries, but I paid what I felt was a competitive rate. The majority of my outsourced work now is to a Virtual Assistant in the United States.

Bottom line: Read The 4-Hour Workweek, use it as an inspiration for what you can outsource, and consider what you can do to create passive income as an income base.

* Ferriss used Facebook polls to test title ideas


  1. It sounds like “dreamtime” – but I do understand that 4 hours of doing stuff you don’t like can be considered work.

  2. Hi Maura,
    Thanks for this review. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but was in doubt after reading so many different reviews.. I’ll give it a go now.

  3. Thanks for the review. I have the book on my bookshelf and now I’m going to actually read it!


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