If you are a person who is planning to become a “Digital Nomad” or if you are someone who wants to put life before work, Tim Ferriss’s “Four Hour Work Week” is a must-read for you.

I read this book when I had no clear understanding of what to do with my life. Though I didn’t like the 9-5 job, I did not have the courage to leave. I was also not sure what to do if I leave my work. 

At such a time, I read the book “The Four-hour Work Week”. I cannot say it completely changed my life. But it gave me hope. It showed me a path to follow and how to get there.

In my view, this is a “How-to” kind of book.

HOW-TO escape your 9-5 Job?

HOW-TO not get caught up in your startup and leave your life behind?

HOW-TO live like a millionaire without having millions in the bank?

HOW-TO manage time efficiently?

HOW-TO have a proper work-life balance?

HOW-TO not get caught up in the illusion of saving for retirement?

Yes, this book answers all these questions and many more.

Without further ado, let me share some key insights from this book.


Tim Ferriss talks about a group of people called the “New Rich”. These are the people who earn more while spending less time working. They do not work in the 9-5 working model but create multiple income streams that bring passive income. 

The New Rich view Retirement as “Worst-case Scenario Insurance”. In case you fall into a situation where you are totally incapable of working, only then the retirement fund is useful.

Tim gives two reasons for this:

1. As your retirement fund reduces by 2 to 4 percent because of inflation, you may not enjoy retired life as you expect.

2. If you can save enough money, it means you are a hard-working person. Retirement only brings boredom to you. Hence, you work again.

Either way, completely saving for retirement isn’t a good option.

Alternating periods of activity and rest are necessary to survive.

Instead of accumulating everything earned for the old age, The New Rich, takes mini-retirements throughout their life. They prefer working only when they are more productive thus multiplying both their productivity and enjoyment.

If you wonder how the New Rich affords these mini-retirements, let me tell you about something called ‘Relative Income’.

Relative Income is the hourly income while Absolute income is the yearly income. 

In terms of relative income, the “New Rich” are much wealthier than any professional. Let’s see how.

Now consider a software employee who works in the City and earns about 6,00,000/- per annum.

Then there is the freelancer who works from home in the village and earns about 3,00,000/- per annum.

In terms of absolute income, the software employee earns double that of the freelancer.

Now let us see how relative income works.

Suppose the software employee works 50 weeks per year and 40 hours per week. On calculating her hourly income comes down to 300 per hour.

Coming to the freelancer. If she works for 50 weeks per year and 10 hours per week. Her relative income becomes 1200 per hour.

4 times more than the software employee. 

As the software employee lives in the city, her expenses towards rent and other needs is quite high. Whereas for the free lancer these expenses are quite low.

If you want to join this new rich you have to follow 4 steps. 

They are : 

1. Define 

2. Eliminate 

3. Automate 

4. Liberate. 

This is called the “DEAL”. This order is for entrepreneurs. 

For employees the order of the steps changes to “DELA” i.e., to liberate before you automate.

Let’s look at these steps in detail.

#2. ‘D’ is for Definition.

Re-Define your Dreams, Fears, and Retirement plans.

What if there is no option of retirement?

How will your dreams and priorities change?

What will be your biggest losses if you follow your dreams?

What is the exciting part of your life? 

These questions help you figureout what you really want in your life.

People say, “I’ll just work until I have ‘X’ dollars and then do what I want”.

If you don’t define the “What I Want” alternate activities, the ‘X’ figure will increase indefinitely to avoid the uncertainty of this void. 


After you define your dreams set two timelines for them. 

One is for 6 months and the other is for 12 months. 

Each timeline has three categories. 

1. What do you want to HAVE? Physical possessions like house, car etc., come under this category. 

2. What do you want to BE? Becoming Singer, dancer, artist etc., come under this category.   

3. What do you want to DO? Go on a world tour, Do adventure sports etc., come under this category.

Define 5 dreams under each category for both the timelines

Now under each timeline highlight 4 most important or exciting dreams under all the three categories combined. 

Now, let us calculate the monthly income required to achieve these dreams. 

This is also called as the “Target Monthly Income”

First consider the 6 month timeline. 

Calculate the amount required o realize the four dreams we highlighted under this time line. 

To this add your monthly expenses. 

Multiply the total with 1.3. This 1.3 represents your expenses plus 30% buffer for safety or savings.

The total you get is your Target Monthly Income.

#3. ‘E’ is for Elimination

Now you know what to do with your free time, let us see how to create free time

Being Effective vs. Being Efficient 

Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. 

Efficiency is performing a given task – whether important or not – in the most economical manner possible.

What you do is infinitely more important than How you do it.

Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.

Remember two things here.

  1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
  2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

Our target is to eliminate unnecessary work and also to complete important work faster. 

We have two principles that help us achieve this. 

1. Pareto’s Law or 80/20 Principle 

According to this law 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time. 

This law can be used anywhere in life. For example 80% of company profits come from 20% of the products. 

Using this principle, identify the 20% tasks that are bringing you 80 % of your desired results and focus on them.

2. Parkinsons Law 

Parkinson’s Law states that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. 

If you have a deadline to complete a project report in two days you will work out a way and finish it in two days.

If you have a deadline of two weeks you will not complete it until two weeks.

Short deadlines help improve efficiency.

#4. ‘A’ is for Automation.

New Rich don’t just work smart. 

They create a system that works without them.

Now hat you have eliminated most unimportant tasks, you can allot time consuming, repetitive tasks to a Virtual Assistant so that you can focus on important works that matter most.

Remember  these things before you hire a virtual assistant.

1. Consider the expenses for cost per task rather than cost per hour. 

2. Prefer a VA with backup than a single free lancer. This helps you avoid last minute issues. 

3. Test your VA with small unimportant tasks before you assign them anything important .

Always remember to eliminate or automate through machines before you delegate the work to a VA. It saves your time and money.

Tim suggests 3 types of businesses that best supports this kind working style.

1. Resell a product. Get a product from a wholesaler and then resale it

2. License a product. Get license for a product created by someone else and then sell it.

3. Create a product. If you have to create a physical product always prefer an information based product. These are difficult to replicate so there is less competition. Books come under this category.

#5. ‘L’ is for Liberation. 

Once done with eliminating unnecessary work and then automating the repetitive work entrepreneur gets the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. 

This is not the case with employees. 

As mentioned earlier, for employees Liberation comes before Automation. 

Tim Ferriss suggests a 5 Step Model to achieve freedom from going to office. 

As this book is written prior to the pandemic, some people might have already achieved this Liberation. Anyhow, I will include the steps necessary incase anyone needs it.

Step 1: Increase Invesment

Many companies provide free trainings. Take as many trainings as possible given by the company. The more the company invests in you, the more they lose if you quit.

Step 2: Show better Performance out of office

During the pandemic many companies provided work from home/ remote work options. However, many companies are asking for Hybrid/Back to Office model working. 

Tell them how productive you were duing the work from home/remote working conditions.

Step 3: Showcase work from home as good business decision  

Make a bullet-point list of how much more you achieved outside the office with explanations. 

Present remote working as a good business decision and not a personal perk. You can show removal of commute and fewer distractions from office noise as reasons for increased performance.

 Step 4: Propose Trial Period to work from home

Propose to work from home for two days per week for two weeks. If the management do not agree ask for atleast one day per week.

As said earlier show increased performance when you are working from home. 

Step 5: Increase time spent remotely.

Gradually increase the trial periods to work from home showing increased output as a benefit to the company. 

Soon you can reach a stage where you will no longer need to go to the office physically. Thus achieving complete freedom to work from anywhere you want.

This is the detailed summary of “Four Hour Work Week” written by Tim Ferriss.

Tim Ferriss also gives many tips and tricks on how to achieve this ‘Four Hour Work Week’ Lifestyle. 

About the Author:

Timothy Ferriss is an American entrepreneur, investor, author, podcaster, and lifestyle guru.

He is the author of the “4-Hour” series of self help books.

I have provide the links of his books and blog.

DO read the book if you haven’t already. 

If you have already read the book, what do you think about it?

I would love to hear your opinions. 

Do check out other book summaries as well or some productivity and time management tips and techniques might interest you. 

Feel free to take a look around.

Adios Amigo 👋🏻.

Tim Ferriss’s Blog https://tim.blog/overview/

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