Thursday, 17 July 2008

The 4- Hour Work Week - really?

Passing through Waterstones bookstore tonight I chanced across a book and concept which has previously passed me by - Timothy Ferriss's New York Times bestseller 'The 4-Hour Work Week'. Arriving back at my desk I looked him up - what's his secret to doing less and earning more I wondered - wouldn't we all like to share in that secret?

For £10.99 Timothy Ferris will tell you about e-commerce, outsourcing the chores in your life to a personal PA in India for $5 an hour and how it costs much less than you think to enjoy the luxuries you mistakenly believe only millionaires can afford. The author advocates abandoning the 'deferred life plan' based on the ethic 'slave, save, retire' and proposes regular 'mini retirements' so you can enjoy life now, not later. Readers in the US have apparently just loved his book.

Actually I didn't spend £10.99 finding this out (sorry Mr Ferriss) I simply visited his website read his blog and checked the reviews on Amazon. 'Can you actually make any money out of writing a blog about that stuff?' asked the Chief Executive's partner. As usual she asks a good question.

A blog reference to a typical Timothy Ferriss's working day suggests that he actually works more than 4 hours a day. He explains that some of this stuff isn't work - because he enjoys it. Some of us are lucky enough to enjoy our work, some not. Whichever, I'm not sure that it stops counting as work just because we enjoy doing it. So maybe the title is a misnomer, but the real question for me is how Mr Ferriss really makes his lifestyle pay.

I earn money from my blog - because I email posts to Chief Executives - who when they investigate the complaints I make - decide to make refunds or send me money. This year I've had money from companies including Abbey, o2, BMI, Norwich Union Direct, Direct Line and Sainsbury's. But I couldn't for a minute claim sufficient money to retire to a hammock strung up between two palm trees - as Mr Ferriss's book jacket imagines.

Perhaps if I sold you my Adventures in Consumerland secrets in book form at £10.99 things would be different?

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