Why The 4-Hour Work Week Is A False God

It sounds oh so enticing. Find some simple way of making money to replace your salary, automate it and outsource all the work, then travel the world while the credit cards sales get deposited into your bank account nightly. Hey, sign me up...right? Tim Ferris shares some great ideas in his best-selling book The 4-Hour Work Week. But frankly, I'm growing tired of the cult of wannabe entrepreneurs that have taken up the cause. It's clear that many don't 'get it'.

In fact, it's very clear that many of the 4-Hour Work Week faithful, never made it past the title.

The goal is not to avoid work.

In fact, Ferris is clear about that. His aim is to build a business that serves him, not the other way around.

I couldn't agree more.

It's got nothing to do with how many hours you work and it's got everything to do with intentionally designing your business from the ground up.

In fact the travel, mini-retirements and extreme activities that Tim describes in the book are critical to the success of his business. It provides the story for his book. It's his brand persona. And, it certainly gives him the eclectic input required to be highly creative, a core requirement for his business.

In your business these things may or may not be important. There is no single answer. But the answer has little to do with hours worked and everything to do with what you put into those hours.

Here are the time tested principles that Tim uses to build his business. This is the message of the book, and they have nothing to do with avoiding work.

  1. Businesses should serve the wants, needs and desires of the entrepreneur (before you flame me...I didn't forget the customer, they're critical, but why create it if it doesn't fit you and your goals).
  2. Figure out what you and only you can do (hint...follow the money), and do that. Delegate everything else.
  3. Ruthlessly control access to your time. Don't allow time bandits like email, pointless meetings and staff interruptions keep you from doing what you must do to reach your goal.
  4. Create systems for everything. The counter argument is that systems kill creativity, but this misses the point. A lot of the work that happens in business should not be done creatively. It should be formulaic. Create the formula for this stuff and free your people to be creative where it counts.
  5. Marketing is still and will always be primary...you couldn't have picked a better title to sell boat loads of books. Tim hit the aspirational nerve in every cube jockey on the planet. As a marketer, you can't help but look on in awe.

Stop counting hours and go build a business that works for you and delivers some value to someone on the planet.