The Tim Ferriss Show: The 4-Hour Workweek Revisited

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Intro
  • This is a special episode where Tim revisits questions and common misconceptions relating to his book,  The 4-Hour Workweek
    • He also talks about what he might expand upon if he were to rewrite the book today
  • His friend, Adam, interviews him
Why has The 4-Hour Workweek had such great success?
  • The 4-Hour Workweek is the most highlighted book on the Amazon Kindle
    • Tim acknowledges the fact that because it’s a nonfiction self-help book, people are more likely to highlight it
  • “I wrote the book very personally to two of my friends” – that’s why it was successful
    • He did this by literally writing the first few chapters as if he were writing an email to them
    • Many people comment on how they felt the book was written just for them, it’s like Tim is speaking to you personally
  • The book was largely written in Argentina
  • The first drafts of the book, were “awful”
    • Tim was trying to write for as many people as possible, which you shouldn’t do
    • He first tried to sound very smart/sophisticated, and this didn’t work
    • Next, he did a complete 180 and tried to be too funny
    • Then he found his niche by writing, as mentioned above, with just two friends in mind
  • “The target is not the market”
    • Tim targeted the book to tech-savvy males ages 25-35
    • But, when the book came out, similar groups seemed to highly enjoy it
    • The original market was very narrow, but that doesn’t mean it can’t expand later
Why hasn’t Tim updated the book?
  • He did, in 2009
  • As soon as he updates the tech/tools, 6 months later it will be outdated
  • If you understand the core principles of the book, you can come up with strategies to solve problems
    • “If you understand and focus on the principles and strategies, you can figure out the tools and tactics. If you are an entrepreneur, you are going to have to do this anyway.”
  • Tim also says the book really came together in almost a magical way, and he doesn’t want to mess with this
If he had to update parts of the book, which parts would he update?
  • The parts on automation (business outsourcing, delegation tools), and testing (developing/launching/iterating a product)
  • It’s hard to update the section on automation because once Tim recommends a given automation service, it can give them way more business than they can handle, and completely destroy it
If Tim were to rewrite the book, is there a section he’d add?
  • He would expand the section titled “Filling the Void”, because he thinks it gets overlooked, and would try to make it more clear that this is mandatory reading
  • This section answered the question – “What should I do once I create a fully automated business, that satisfies my cash requirements, and I have location flexibility with time?”
  • Many people, once they “succeed” will continue to work for work’s sake
    • It’s important to think about how you will occupy your newfound surplus of time before you end up in a challenging emotional and psychological position
    • “It’s very rare that you find someone who’s been in sixth gear for a very long time, then retires, and is really good at chilling the fuck out”
    • Learning to relax, and to enjoy other aspects of life, and engage with people around you – these are skills you need to practice and develop
    • “If the business has been your identity for some time, and all of a sudden you want to replace that – if you don’t have a compelling replacement, you will continue working because you don’t want to sacrifice that identity”
How do you build a mindset that prepares someone for a reality they might not even think is real? How do you prepare someone for the reality of a hands-off lifestyle design business?
  • You’re going to need to throw a lot against the wall with your business to see what works
  • Try many, many things to see what you’re good at and what you’re enthusiastic about
  • Once you have a business you can grow in a meaningful way…
    • Build a business you can sell, even if you don’t plan on selling it – Tim recommends the books: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It and Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You 
      • “When you look at your business as another product that you will ultimately sell, you remove single points of failure and you emphasize process instead of results”
    • Ask – How can you automate certain things and create recipes and policies that replace you as someone who needs to make one off decisions
    • Think about starting to diversify your identify 
      • “With many people, their only identity is their start-up”
      • Have a consistent physical practice that is goal based – when Tim was writing The 4-Hour Body, he followed a very strict dead lifting protocol
      • This allows you to have multiple independent silos in which you can win. That way, if one of them fails, it’s self-contained. “Do not wait until your single silo fails, to try to build the other two.”
      • “Be around other people – this is undervalued”
What would Tim Ferris right now, tell the Tim Ferriss who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek”
  • He wouldn’t tell him anything until the book was done – he wouldn’t want to step on that one butterfly that might change the course of the book
  • “We think of life changing as big events, but almost every single decision you make, is by definition life changing”
  • He might tell him – “Everything is going to be okay. You can probably get what you need done, but dial back the anxiety and worry at least 20%”
  • “Sometimes you need life to save you from what you want, so you can get what you need” – One of Tim’s key take aways from Tribe of Mentors 
How do you temper emotional reactivity and practice reframing failures?
  • Practice stoicism
  • Identify the primary questions that you ask yourself as a means of dictating behavior
    • These are often subconscious – “Am I good enough?” or “What’s wrong with me?”
    • These questions result in debilitating thought patterns and sabotage relationships
    • Once you figure these out, craft new default questions – you have to practice this stuff. Tim’s new default question – “How can I even more so appreciate this as a gift?” 
      • This is to be used when you’re frustrated, or when things happen which you might normally look at as a problem (like missing a flight)
If someone were to go back and re-read the book, or read it for the first time, what would Tim tell them to keep in mind as they were reading through it?
  • If the “29 year old aggressive Tim” annoys you, you’re not alone
  • However, the principals, strategies, and approaches work – “Absorb the message without getting obsessed with the messenger”
  • The tools and practices (fear-setting, the 80/20 analysis) are not one and done, they need to be done frequently
  • Focus first and foremost on the core principles of the book, and the reframing of assumptions – don’t get too bogged down with the tools and tactics
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