Book Review and Context Part A: The 4-Hour Work Week
The Edition We Read: Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich, Vermillion, London, 2007.
Business/Self development books bring to mind sheep in wolfs clothing; they’re a better fit with ‘auto-biography’ than the ‘fix it’ genre.
What they represent is life experience pulled together, bowerbird style, into a personal ethic, philosophy, research paper, manual, etc.
The unifying theme is: ‘buy my book/ebook; CD/DVD; workshop/seminar, and, I’ll show you how you too can get:
- up early/up yourself;
- colour coded/colour integrated;
- multiple orgasms/organised;
- the perfect job/the bosses job;
- a 3rd mortgage/a 3rd bankruptcy;
- a dodgy song into Eurovision/a colonic irrigation @ FutureLifeVision;
- a cubicle on the window side (when Roger retires)/a $50 million hand-shake (only a few of these)…
They are published, for better or for worse, because the author wants us to feel as good as he does when we replicate his life, buy (sic) following his process/rituals/acronyms/advice.
At first reading, he Four Hour Work Week fits this genre: work less/play more; increase income/decrease hours; more freedom/less accountability.
Move on, you’ve read it all before; you know the drill!
But wait! This time it may be different.
Sure, Tim Ferriss walks his talk (lots do), tells it like it is (very Gen Y), has zero tolerance for ‘idiots’ (envy it), and yet, on second (and third) reading, there is more, much more here.
It’s rests in what Tim Ferriss doesn’t say.
It’s what he, and a few others of his generation, (unwittingly) demonstrate in who/how they connect, commit, commune and communicate with their species; in the way they engage life.
What Book Rapper is flagging is perhaps something that you don’t yet know you will want to know.
The way we see it is that the global perception and practice of work has undergone a seismic shift.
We’re in the beginning of an ‘Industrial’ Revolution (we’ve had several of them; a major one was the 40 hour work week) and the 4-Hour Workweek concept makes the Short Time Movement look like an all day sucker!
The Short Time ‘8 Hour Day’ movement grew out of the atrocious conditions of England’s Industrial Revolution’s factories.
With working days of 12-16 hours commonplace Robert Owen launched a plan for an 8 hour day way back in 1817.
His innovative vision was for a 24-hour-day plan comprising 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play and 8 hours rest.
Whilst skilled workers in Australia and new Zealand were awarded a union negotiated 8 hour day as early as the 1850’s it didn’t become a typical day for all workers until around 1920.
One hundred and fifty years later, the end of the 9-5, M-F 40 hours work/live for the weekend lifestyle is rolling into a workplace near you…
Like Owen, Tim Ferris has posted a radical vision – a 4-Hour Work Week – and it’s close to the mark of the promised ideal offered at the beginning of the Information/Knowledge Age.
Remember the Age of Leisure (freedom) with which visionaries of the recent past have tantalised and motivated us?
Well, Ferriss shows us that he has achieved it; he’s pulled the plug on an 80 hour, office bound week and freed himself to live his ideal lifestyle.
Continued in Part B…