What is Tim Ferriss’ book ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ about? Read the GreatBooks&Coffee book review and summary of Ferriss’ book ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’!

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Book Review & Summary:

‘The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich’ – Timothy Ferriss.


‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss is a reference book when it comes to self-development and business books. The book explores the idea (shared by many) that we should not live to work, but that our work life ought to be an accessory to live the life we want to live. Here is my book review!



“The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich” by Tim Ferriss is one of those best-selling books everyone knows about.

The first time I read it’s 400 pages (hardcover version) I was traveling from London to Paris. I know, lucky me… And I ended up feeling frustrated because I didn’t have anything to write on and take notes on the hundreds of ideas I picked from the book.

At the time my reading methods were not as sharp as they are now and reading that book took me days. But it felt smart, so obvious, so relevant and so inspiring that I read it again with, that time, a pen an a notebook!

Timothy Ferriss (Tim Ferriss) is an American entrepreneur, a business angel and investor. He originally set up a nutritional supplements online business and sold it to a private equity firm in 2010. He is also a bestseller author – the 4-Hour book has become a series of books based on the “4-Hour” model. Ferris furthermore runs a show (The Tim Ferriss Show) and is known for the success of his podcasts.

In short, his reputation makes no doubt and when I started to work on GreatBooks&Coffee writing an article on that book seemed… Logical.

So here we go! (Keep reading)

Book review and summary of The 4-Hour Workweek (TimFerriss)


The 4-Hour Workweek – Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich’, by Timothy Ferriss, explores the idea (shared by many) that work ought to allow us to live the life we want to live.

Ferriss writes about his experience as an entrepreneur. He writes about his successful shift from 80 to 4 hours of work per week. He explains how he still made his business more profitable. All this, of course, comes with tons of tips on how to live like “the New Rich” and change life.

The book discusses methods to change our life routine to live a life of fun instead of living a life of hard labor.

The style is very accessible because the book targets a large public. Ferriss tells his own story and backs it up with examples borrowed from the community he built around his book. Hence, while the book is fairly long, it remains easy to read, very practical and inspiring.


Tim Ferriss’ book discusses one major topic: how to become a “New Rich” and live a different life. But he approaches this ideal through four main themes or break-downs.

The first theme focuses on defining the rules of the new game. The second theme claims that elimination is essential to a new lifestyle. What matters is to drop those occupations that make you waste your efforts and time. In a logical way, the third theme flows from the latter. Automation is one solution to putting cash flows on autopilot-to use his own terms. The fourth theme is “liberation” or the ability to enjoy the time and money we make through what Ferriss calls “mini retirements”. All of this, of course, while escaping the traditional “boss model”. Let’s look into this more precisely.

As usual on my GreatBooks&Coffee book reviews, I’ll go deeper with the first big theme of the book here, but for more insights on the other themes please have a look at my book summary of Tim Ferriss’ ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ – which you can get for just $3,99 with your 20% member discount! Isn’t that beautiful?


Anyway, Tim Ferriss first focuses on explaining what our life should be about: becoming the “New Rich”.

The term “New Rich” is usually used in a critical and pejorative way but to him it incarnates the idea that we should all escape the 9-5 system. The “New Rich” describes the few who dare going for a new lifestyle.

The typical working person is a “deferrer”. Understand, someone who works hard to try and make the most of their lives, later. They work hard now with the aim of retiring young, if they reach their goals. They think about becoming the boss and have more, and they work hard for that, without enjoying.

The “New Rich”, in contrast, are those who try and do with as many options as possible. They organize their life and efforts NOW to reach the greatest results as soon as possible, with the smallest involvement. They aim for cumulated breaks and “mini retirements” throughout their lives. They want to enjoy NOW and do NOW what others might do later. They do not aim to be the boss but the owner; they opt for more quality but are not interested in just having more.

In other words? The difference between “deferrers” and the “New Rich” is that while the former aim for success, the latter aims for freedom. The “New Rich” choose when, where and how to live their life.

To Ferriss, “the ability to choose is thus the real power” and becoming a “New Rich” requires understanding several things.

First, you need to change the rules of the game, challenge your own status quo and stop being stupid with your life. The normal retirement model is the worst scenario. One, your energy and interests work in cycles. So, chances are that you will never do in twenty years what you have in mind now. Two, the time to do things is never right. This means that you should live NOW. Ask for forgiveness later instead of asking for permission.

Ferriss also insists on the idea that money should not be the issue or the excuse for doing nothing. What matters in becoming a “New Rich” is not to accumulate money. What matters is to focus on your relative income, i.e. the money you make in comparison to the time you spend making it.

Second, it is necessary to escape the paralysis created by pessimism. In short, most people do nothing (and don’t even try doing things) because they fear change. Hence, we should start from a series of questions! What is the worst-case scenario? What could be the benefits? What B plan do we have if we lose our job anyway? What is the actual cost of postponing our lives?

Third, we all need a reset. We must go for the unrealistic, aim for “unusually large” goals because, in Ferriss’ words, “if the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort”. This leads to another important set of questions. What do we want? What are we excited by? What would we do (something crazy) if we couldn’t fail? What is our dream? What do we want to have, who do we want to be?

Ferriss does not merely ask questions, though. He provides guidelines to help the reader calculate financial targets capable of contributing to reaching our own goals.

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The 4-Hour Workweek Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich’ a must-read if you are interested in motivational, productivity, self-help, personal development or career change topics.

The book is a praised manifesto on the art of working less while (and this is the key element of the book) freeing time to live the life we all want to live.

It provides many opportunities to think about what we want to do in life, about whether our work / life balance makes any sense (or not), about who we want to be, and about the crazy things we would start doing tomorrow if we knew they would succeed.

As Tim Ferriss writes it himself, “Gold is getting old. The New Rich 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”.

Ferriss’ definition of a “New Rich” is not about becoming wealthy by accumulating or making more. The main idea here is that people do not seek (and do not need) to be millionaires to succeed.

What matters is to experience life and enjoy our time. Hence, being rich is not about having cash, it is about generating the means to do things we usually give up on doing.

The ultimate goal is to make profit to have some fun, the goal is not to work. Getting to 4-hour workweeks is the goal, it’s written on the book!

Beyond the motivational aspect of the book, the strength of the book is the many examples it provides. In terms of methods (where to start, how to do this or that). And in terms of examples (how this worked for him, how that worked for someone else). In short, ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ is a good opportunity to start making plans.

Talking about that, if you are thinking about making new plans – or if you are making new plans already, two other books by Chris Guillebeau are really worth reading. I strongly suggest that you take a look at my book review and summary of ‘The $100 Startup’ and at my book review of ‘Side Hustle’ as both books exclusively deal with the art of starting something from nothing. Just saying!


That’s it for now, but don’t stop here! The next step for you is to move on and learn something!

The Amazon link to the book is provided just below if you’ve made up your mind already, but if that’s not the case, my book summary of Tim Ferriss’ ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ really gets into the details and will help you find out more about what the book is about. Just click below!

Get the book summary of The 4-Hour Workweek

With this summary, you get:

  • My takes on why the book is worth your time and money!
  • The original book’s main themes, questions and conclusions, a summary of the author’s ideas, and insights to help you put the book in context.
  • In 30 minutes!
  • Available in a mobile-friendly pdf, as a .mobi file and as a .epub file so you can read it on any eBook reader. Make sure to use my ‘send-to-kindle’ and my ‘send-to-dropbox’ tools, they’re free!
Get the book summary of The 4-Hour Workweek
Get The 4-Hour Workweek from Amazon.com

As always, I hope you enjoyed this book review! Please let me know what you think with the comment box down the page, especially if you read the book, if you feel like buying it, or if you read my summary!

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GreatBooks&Coffee. The book reviews blog. What else?

I am a thirty-something PhD and I read a lot. GreatBooks&Coffee is my books blog! Because nowadays most people never finish the books they buy, I am sharing my reading experiences to help you pick the right books you will want to read up to the last page!

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Posted by:Antoine Martin (PhD)

Hey there, I’m Antoine, I’m a 30-something PhD and I read a lot. Politics, society, technology, business, self-development, you name it! This is my food-for-thought blog, and I bet I’ll Make You Think SMART, one book at a time! Read smart, think smart!

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