Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

Posted by mikeberry | Agile Executives,Book Reviews,Leadership,Most Popular | Monday 10 December 2007 2:43 pm

I just finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss.  Timothy Ferriss is a 29-year old self-made millionaire, TV actor in China, athletic advisor to more than 30 world record holders, Chinese Kickboxing Champion, first American to hold Guinness world record in Tango, speaker of four languages, and a four-world champion cage fighter.   This book now makes him an author.

Ferriss’s book is about beating Corporate America, and becoming content and happy using the newer technologies available to us today.

He provides a formula for successful entrepreneurship.  One important point he makes is the need to find a market, before investing in building the product.  He suggests this successful pattern:

  1. Pick an industry you understand.
  2. Target a product you can Create, License, or Resell.
  3. Look at competition to see how you need to differentiate your product.  Examples:
    1. More credibility indicators
    2. Offer a better guarantee
    3. Offer a better selection
    4. Offer free, or faster shipping
  4. Micro-test your product (before you put any money into it), by using eBay, or Google Ad’s.  Microtesting is “probing” customers to see if they would buy the product.  Some examples:
    1. Put an add on eBay, then cancel the add minutes before the auction ends, to see how much people are willing to pay.
    2. Build a dummy website, with item, description, pictures, and pricing.  After the user pressed ‘purchase now,’ display a “Thank you but this item is temporarily unavailable.”  This enables you to test your conversion rate up front, without needing to invest in manufacturing, etc.

This way, you can determine up front if there is a market for your product.  He suggests putting the price on a separate webpage altogether so you can measure the effects that changing the price alone will have on your conversion rate.

Ferris goes on to explain how to transform managing a business into automating the business.  He suggests time management is a thing of the past.  The key to living better today is to remove distracting inputs from our lives.

He talks about outsourcing every part of you business and empowering the outsourcers.  He talks about only answering email one day a week, and having your cell phone message redirect people to you email.

The final part of Ferriss’s book talks about what to do after you have successfully started and automated you business.  He talks about getting out of your comfort zone, travelling, learning new skills, and new languages.

I think this book is an excellent read, and surprisingly cutting-edge.  It’s nice to read a business book about PPC, Google AdWords, and eBay microtesting.   Makes me feel understood.

Mike J Berry

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