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Final Essay: 4 Hour Work Week

Final Essay: 4 Hour Work Week

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Cultural Implications of the Information Society - Final Essay: 4 Hour Work Week - (Information Science)
Cultural Implications of the Information Society - Final Essay: 4 Hour Work Week - (Information Science)

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Published by: free testbank on Aug 20, 2010
Copyright:Public Domain


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The Four Hour Work Week
In the 14th century it was William Occum, the originator of Occum’s Razor, who believed
“it is vain to do more what can be done with less.” (65) The technology has changed since
Occum’s time, making it possible to do even more with less, but culture can take time to catch up
to technology. Timothy Ferriss, in The Four Hour Work Week, provides a shift in cultural
thinking, opening a pathway to a new lifestyle he calls “New Rich”.
These New Rich make up a subculture that live by a very uncommon set of rules by
today’s standard. For example how could a lifelong blue-chip employee escape to travel the

world for a month without his boss even noticing? He would use technology such as outsourcing,
e-mail, and video conferencing to hide his tracks. Even a college student, such as myself, can use
this technology to their advantage. Currently, I run a website design business, although all I
really do is draw up the websites and market to potential consumers. I outsource the
programming and actual design work of the sites to offshore professionals. This keeps my time
available to concentrate on my studies, play racquetball, and have a fair amount of income on the
side, all with minimum effort on my part. A motto repeated in The Four Hour Work Week is to
work smarter, not harder and I strongly believe in using technology to attain that ideal.

Due to the massive increase in publicly available technology in the past 50 years, the way
we work and do business has changed, yet the outdated industrial business hierarchy and model
are still being used by major corporations. Tim Ferriss’ solution to change pathways is DEAL, or
Definition, Elimination, Automation, Liberation. By following the outline he provides it is more
than possible to leave the 9 to 5 lifestyle and join the New Rich.

The first step in the pathway is to define where you want to go, because if you do not know where you want to go or do not care where you go, your like an unguided missile and could go anywhere. One of the most interesting points in the definition chapters of the book

discuss “deferred retirement” and “mini-retirements”, and challenging the status quo of waiting

to retire until you have accrued enough wealth over the years to live off it. The New Rich way is
to have many mini-retirements throughout life. My first reaction to this was similar to the time I
tried guacamole for the first time, I looked at it in disgust but when I swallowed my pride and
tried it I never looked back (I now eat guacamole on almost everything). I actually thought it
would not be possible to have such a mini-retirement getting paid what I do now, but it is
surprisingly cheap if you leverage yourself into other economies.

Discussing mini-retirements with a close friend of mine who had lived in Thailand for
over two years, it idea came out of the surreal and into the possible. Using a friend who worked
in the airline business and a few of my Thai friends of a friend we were able to calculate a three
week mini-retirement (including airfare) for less than $600 USD. Considering I pay almost that
on rent each month, it was a no brainer to arrange the trip and if all goes as planned I will be
leaving in late May of this upcoming year.

After you know where you are going, you can start to eliminate. One of the key points in
this section of the book is the “low-information diet” or the idea that instead of spending time

gaining useless knowledge, only absorb critical knowledge and spend your time other, more
productive, ways. It would be more efficient to use auto-responders, frequently asked questions,
and only check e-mail at specified times. One of my favorite quotes included in the book is from

Albert Einstein, “Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative
pursuits, Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of
thinking.” (82) This makes me think of high school when you are taught to absorb and

regurgitate useless information. I absolutely love being at a university because the teach you to
do the opposite, use your head and see what you can come up with, rather than regurgitate what
you have already been told. Even more importantly is that university teaches you to find the
importance and reasons behind actions and events more so than the actions and events
themselves. Thinking for yourself is one of the key themes Timothy Ferriss attempts to get
across throughout the book.

With all of the excess trimmed from your work life, it makes it easy to automate the rest. The book has a surprising amount of resources for any field of work, if you have a job that you do not want to lose, you can outsource most of your work for a fraction of the price. If you are between jobs, Tim Ferriss outlines how to select product niches, get provisional patents, and invent information products. A real life example of this is at my job as a marketing consult for a real estate investment firm, instead of writing marketing plans from scratch, I instead have them fill out a short form and than that form auto-propagates a marketing plan with minimal work for me to just fill in the remaining blanks. The process of automating very basic tasks is the key to achieving maximum potential in the work environment and life in general.

With all of the possible tasks automated and outsourced, it is now possible to liberate
yourself from the workplace and be where you want to be, when you want to be. It is ironic that
what sounds so simple, just walking away from work, is actually the hardest step.
Psychologically I believe we have a desire and a need to be productive in life and that people are
not inherently lazy. The Four Hour Work Week calls this desire “work for work’s sake”, which
roughly translated means that some people work just to feel like they are working, and not
actually for the sake of being productive for their organization. In the liberation chapters discuss

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