My Virtual Notebook: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

I just read The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. Here are the things I learned from the book:

Featured quotes:

  • “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”–Mark Twain
  • “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”–Albert Einstein
  • “Many a false step was made by standing still.”–fortune cookie
  • “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”–Benjamin Disraeli
  • “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?'”–Seneca
  • “You have comfort. You don’t have luxury. And don’t tell me that money plays a part. The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort.”–Jena Cocteau
  • “‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.’I don’t much care where …’ said Alice.’Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”-Lewis Carroll
  • “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”–Samuel Beckett
  • “Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”—Antoine de Saint-Exupery


1. The New Rich

  • “The currency of the New Rich: time and mobility”

2. Comment about the drudgery of 9-5 work

  • “The question no one really seemed to be asking or answering was, ‘Why do it all in the first place? What is the pot of gold that justifies spending the best years of your life hoping for happiness in the last?'”
  • “Is it really necessary to work like a slave to live like a millionaire?”


1. Goal of the new rich

  • “To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is.”
  • “To be neither the boss nor the employee, but the owner. To own the trains and have someone else ensure they run on time.”

2. Definition of the new rich

  • “The employee who rearranges his schedule and negotiates a remote work agreement to achieve 90% of the results in one-tenth of the time, which frees him to practice cross-country skiing and take road trips with his family two weeks per month.”


1. “Do the uncommon within the rules.”

2. Why wait for retirement? If you are used to working hard, you’ll be bored once you retire. “Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn’t it?”

3. Work more efficiently

  • “By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable.”

4. Life plan

  • “I aim for one month of overseas relocation or high-intensity learning (tango, fighting, whatever).”

5. Laziness redifined

  • “Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is not laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.”


1. Don’t wait

  • ” Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.”
  • Waiting for money to come is “laziness. “If only I had more money” is the easiest way to postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment—now and not later.”

2. Don’t be stuck in meaningless misery

  • “John, I’d love to talk about the gaping void I feel in my life, the hopelessness that hits me like a punch in the eye every time I start my computer in the morning, but I have so much work to do! I’ve got at least three hours of unimportant e-mail to reply to before calling the prospects who said ‘no’ yesterday. Gotta run!”


1. Definition of relative income

  • income you get relative to the hours you spend working


1. “The collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits.”

2. The challenge:

  • contact a person who is impossible to contact, someone famous, someone great
  • ask a thought provoking question
  • develop a personal relationship

3. Dreamlines: Create a timeline of dreams

4. Create a doing list

  • place to go to
  • “one thing to do before you die”
  • do everyday
  • do weekly
  • want to learn

5. Dreams calculated

  • Determine the amount of money needed to do the things you want to do
  • Add total monthly expenses x 1.3 (30% for savings)
  • EQUALS: Target Monthly Income (TMI)
  • Divide by 30 to get Target Daily Income (TDI)


1. Do something uncomfortable, and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable

2. Challenge

  • Eye gazing–look into people’s eyes


1. Follow the Pareto’s Law

  • Everything is divided into 80% and 20%
  • Important questions:
    • “Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?”
    • “Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?”
  • eliminate the unproductive things that make you unhappy so that you can focus
  • Work only for less than eight hours per week

2. “Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline.”

3. Ask yourself:

  • “Am I being productive or just active?”
  • “If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?”

4. Free yourself from poisonous friends

  • “You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.”


1. emails

  • automate response: tell them you only check email at 12nn and 4p.m.
  • Batching: let emails accumulate and check email once a week
  • “group similar tasks and batch them”
  • Calculate: cost of batching in number of sales-(batching hour x per hour rate)
  • If hours saved > cost of batching=OK

2. Price

  • price high and justify

3. Advertisement

  • look at repeat advertisements because that means the ads are profitable

4. Information products are the most profitable products

Watch out for more My Virtual Notebook.

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