Read The 4-Hour Workweek Online

Authors: Timothy Ferriss

Tags: #Non-Fiction, #Self Help

The 4-Hour Workweek

For my parents,

DONALD AND FRANCES FERRISS,

who taught a little hellion that marching to a different drummer

was a good thing. I love you both and owe you everything.

PREFACE TO THE EXPANDED AND UPDATED EDITION

The 4-Hour Workweek was turned down by 26 out of 27 publishers.

After it was sold, the president of one potential marketing partner, a large bookseller, e-mailed me historical bestseller statistics to make it clear—this wouldn’t be a mainstream success.

So I did all I knew how to do. I wrote it with two of my closest friends in mind, speaking directly to them and their problems—problems I long had—and I focused on the unusual options that had worked for me around the world.

I certainly tried to set conditions for making a sleeper hit possible, but I knew it wasn’t likely. I hoped for the best and planned for the worst.

May 2, 2007, I receive a call on my cell phone from my editor.

“Tim, you hit the list.”

It was just past 5 P.M. in New York City, and I was exhausted. The book had launched five days before, and I had just finished a series of more than twenty radio interviews in succession, beginning at 6 A.M. that morning. I never planned a book tour, preferring instead to “batch” radio satellite tours into 48 hours.

“Heather, I love you, but please don’t $#%* with me.”

“No, you really hit the list. Congratulations, Mr. New York Times bestselling author!”

I leaned against the wall and slid down until I was sitting on the floor. I closed my eyes, smiled, and took a deep breath. Things were about to change.

Everything was about to change.

Lifestyle Design from Dubai to Berlin

The 4-Hour Workweek has now been sold into 35 languages. It’s been on the bestseller lists for more than two years, and every month brings a new story and a new discovery.

From the Economist to the cover of the New York Times Style section, from the streets of Dubai to the cafes of Berlin, lifestyle design has cut across cultures to become a worldwide movement. The original ideas of the book have been broken apart, improved, and tested in environments and ways I never could have imagined.

So why the new edition if things are working so well? Because I knew it could be better, and there was a missing ingredient: you.

This expanded and updated edition contains more than 100 pages of new content, including the latest cutting-edge technologies, field-tested resources, and—most important—real-world success stories chosen from more than 400 pages of case studies submitted by readers.

Families and students? CEOs and professional vagabonds? Take your pick. There should be someone whose results you can duplicate. Need a template to negotiate remote work, a paid year in Argentina, perhaps? This time, it’s in here.

The Experiments in Lifestyle Design blog (www.fourhourblog.com) was launched alongside the book, and within six months, it became one of the top 1,000 blogs in the world, out of more than 120 million. Thousands of readers have shared their own amazing tools and tricks, producing phenomenal and unexpected results. The blog became the laboratory I’d always wanted, and I encourage you to join us there.

The new “Best of the Blog” section includes several of the most popular posts from the Experiments in Lifestyle Design blog. On the blog itself, you can also find recommendations from everyone from Warren Buffett (seriously, I tracked him down and show you how I did it) to chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. It’s an experimental playground for those who want better results in less time.

Not “Revised”

This is not a “revised” edition in the sense that the original no longer works. The typos and small mistakes have been fixed over more than 40 printings in the U.S. This is the first major overhaul, but not for the reason you’d expect.

Things have changed dramatically since April 2007. Banks are failing, retirement and pension funds are evaporating, and jobs are being lost at record rates. Readers and skeptics alike have asked: Can the principles and techniques in the book really still work in an economic recession or depression?

Yes and yes.

In fact, questions I posed during pre-crash lectures, including “How would your priorities and decisions change if you could never retire?” are no longer hypothetical. Millions of people have seen their savings portfolios fall 40% or more in value and are now looking for options C and D. Can they redistribute retirement throughout life to make it more affordable? Can they relocate a few months per year to a place like Costa Rica or Thailand to multiply the lifestyle output of their decreased savings? Sell their services to companies in the UK to earn in a stronger currency? The answer to all of them is, more than ever, yes.

The concept of lifestyle design as a replacement for multi-staged career planning is sound. It’s more flexible and allows you to test different lifestyles without committing to a 10- or 20-year retirement plan that can fail due to market fluctuations outside of your control. People are open to exploring alternatives (and more forgiving of others who do the same), as many of the other options—the once “safe” options—have failed.

When everything and everyone is failing, what is the cost of a little experimentation outside of the norm? Most often, nothing. Flash forward to 2011; is a job interviewer asking about that unusual gap year?

“Everyone was getting laid off and I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel around the world. It was incredible.”

If anything, they’ll ask you how to do the same. The scripts in this book still work.

Facebook and LinkedIn launched in the post-2000 dot-com “depression.” Other recession-born babies include Monopoly, Apple, Cliff Bar, Scrabble, KFC, Domino’s Pizza, FedEx, and Microsoft. This is no coincidence, as economic downturns produce discounted infrastructure, outstanding freelancers at bargain prices, and rock-bottom advertising deals—all impossible when everyone is optimistic.

Whether a yearlong sabbatical, a new business idea, reengineering your life within the corporate beast, or dreams you’ve postponed for “some day,” there has never been a better time for testing the uncommon.

What’s the worst that could happen?

I encourage you to remember this often-neglected question as you begin to see the infinite possibilities outside of your current comfort zone. This period of collective panic is your big chance to dabble.

It’s been an honor to share the last two years with incredible readers around the world, and I hope you enjoy this new edition as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

I am, and will continue to be, a humble student of you all.

Un abrazo fuerte,

TIM FERRISS

San Franciso, California

April 21, 2009

First and Foremost
FAQ—DOUBTERS READ THIS

Is lifestyle design for you? Chances are good that it is. Here are some of the most common doubts and fears that people have before taking the leap and joining the New Rich:

Do I have to quit or hate my job? Do I have to be a risk-taker?

No on all three counts. From using Jedi mind tricks to disappear from the office to designing businesses that finance your lifestyle, there are paths for every comfort level. How does a Fortune 500 employee explore the hidden jewels of China for a month and use technology to cover his tracks? How do you create a hands-off business that generates $80K per month with no management? It’s all here.

Do I have to be a single twenty-something?

Not at all. This book is for anyone who is sick of the deferred-life plan and wants to live life large instead of postpone it. Case studies range from a Lamborghini-driving 21-year-old to a single mother who traveled the world for five months with her two children. If you’re sick of the standard menu of options and prepared to enter a world of infinite options, this book is for you.

Do I have to travel? I just want more time.

No. It’s just one option. The objective is to create freedom of time and place and use both however you want.

Do I need to be born rich?

No. My parents have never made more than $50,000 per year combined, and I’ve worked since age 14. I’m no Rockefeller and you needn’t be either.

Do I need to be an Ivy League graduate?

Nope. Most of the role models in this book didn’t go to the Harvards of the world, and some are dropouts. Top academic institutions are wonderful, but there are unrecognized benefits to not coming out of one. Grads from top schools are funneled into high-income 80-hour-per-week jobs, and 15–30 years of soul-crushing work has been accepted as the default path. How do I know? I’ve been there and seen the destruction. This book reverses it.

MY STORY AND WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

—MARK TWAIN

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

—OSCAR WILDE, Irish dramatist and novelist

My hands were sweating again.

Staring down at the floor to avoid the blinding ceiling lights, I was supposedly one of the best in the world, but it just didn’t register. My partner Alicia shifted from foot to foot as we stood in line with nine other couples, all chosen from over 1,000 competitors from 29 countries and four continents. It was the last day of the Tango World Championship semifinals, and this was our final run in front of the judges, television cameras, and cheering crowds. The other couples had an average of 15 years together. For us, it was the culmination of 5 months of nonstop 6-hour practices, and finally, it was showtime.

“How are you doing?” Alicia, a seasoned professional dancer, asked me in her distinctly Argentine Spanish.

“Fantastic. Awesome. Let’s just enjoy the music. Forget the crowd—they’re not even here.”

That wasn’t entirely true. It was hard to even fathom 50,000 spectators and coordinators in La Rural, even if it was the biggest exhibition hall in Buenos Aires. Through the thick haze of cigarette smoke, you could barely make out the huge undulating mass in the stands, and everywhere there was exposed floor, except the sacred 30′ x 40′ space in the middle of it all. I adjusted my pin-striped suit and fussed with my blue silk handkerchief until it was obvious that I was just fidgeting.

“Are you nervous?”

“I’m not nervous. I’m excited. I’m just going to have fun and let the rest follow.”

“Number 152, you’re up.” Our chaperone had done his job, and now it was our turn. I whispered an inside joke to Alicia as we stepped on the hardwood platform: “Tranquilo”—Take it easy. She laughed, and at just that moment, I thought to myself, “What on earth would I be doing right now, if I hadn’t left my job and the U.S. over a year ago?”

The thought vanished as quickly as it had appeared when the announcer came over the loudspeaker and the crowd erupted to match him: “Pareja numero 152, Timothy Ferriss y Alicia Monti, Ciudad de Buenos Aires!!!”

We were on, and I was beaming.

THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL of American questions is hard for me to answer these days, and luckily so. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be holding this book in your hands.

“So, what do you do?”

Assuming you can find me (hard to do), and depending on when you ask me (I’d prefer you didn’t), I could be racing motorcycles in Europe, scuba diving off a private island in Panama, resting under a palm tree between kickboxing sessions in Thailand, or dancing tango in Buenos Aires. The beauty is, I’m not a multimillionaire, nor do I particularly care to be.

I never enjoyed answering this cocktail question because it reflects an epidemic I was long part of: job descriptions as self-descriptions. If someone asks me now and is anything but absolutely sincere, I explain my lifestyle of mysterious means simply.

“I’m a drug dealer.”

Pretty much a conversation ender. It’s only half true, besides. The whole truth would take too long. How can I possibly explain that what I do with my time and what I do for money are completely different things? That I work less than four hours per week and make more per month than I used to make in a year?

For the first time, I’m going to tell you the real story. It involves a quiet subculture of people called the “New Rich.”

What does an igloo-dwelling millionaire do that a cubicle-dweller doesn’t? Follow an uncommon set of rules.

How does a lifelong blue-chip employee escape to travel the world for a month without his boss even noticing? He uses technology to hide the fact.

Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD).

I’ve spent the last three years traveling among those who live in worlds currently beyond your imagination. Rather than hating reality, I’ll show you how to bend it to your will. It’s easier than it sounds. My journey from grossly overworked and severely underpaid office worker to member of the NR is at once stranger than fiction and—now that I’ve deciphered the code—simple to duplicate. There is a recipe.

Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It really doesn’t. Most people, my past self included, have spent too much time convincing themselves that life has to be hard, a resignation to 9-to-5 drudgery in exchange for (sometimes) relaxing weekends and the occasional keep-it-short-or-get-fired vacation.

The truth, at least the truth I live and will share in this book, is quite different. From leveraging currency differences to outsourcing your life and disappearing, I’ll show you how a small underground uses economic sleight-of-hand to do what most consider impossible.

If you’ve picked up this book, chances are that you don’t want to sit behind a desk until you are 62. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, real-life fantasy travel, long-term wandering, setting world records, or simply a dramatic career change, this book will give you all the tools you need to make it a reality in the here-and-now instead of in the often elusive “retirement.” There is a way to get the rewards for a life of hard work without waiting until the end.

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