The second book was the first one I pulled from the shelf at the library, solely based on the fact that I recognized the title. This turned out to be a mistake, but at least I can put it on my ‘books I can admit to having read’ list. That being said, I’m not going to be searching out anything else Timothy Ferriss has written.
The book is a more traditional hardback size (8.1 x 5.6), unlike Meatball Sundae, and is 298 pages long. The copy the library had was Published in 2007, but I believe there are more current editions out there.
I have to say, my first impression while reading this book was that Timothy was a jerk. He won a kickboxing championship by abusing the rules (throwing opponents out of the ring instead of kickboxing), advocates lying to your employers to make it look like you’re more efficient when telecommuting (working harder at home and slacking off while at work), and getting discounted advertising by short-paying the invoices (refusing to commit until the last moment, but leading the magazine along thus reducing the chances they can fill your slot if they don’t take your cut-rate offer).
He’s manipulative, dishonest and self-centered because it is the easiest way to get what he wants… but the frustrating thing is that he obviously can do things ‘the hard way’ as he proved by putting in long hours over five months to prepare for the Tango World Championship.
He might have a four-hour workweek, but to do it he’s made choices a lot of the rest of us won’t (not can’t, won’t.) I’m glad I read the book, but only because it will help me identify coworkers who are trying to pull the same scams.
Ranting aside, the book is split into four sections: Definition, Elimination, Automation, Liberation and the recommended order for working through these steps varies depending on if you are employed or unemployed.
Definition focuses on that fact that the traditional ways of making a living, running a business, and what ‘success’ looks like aren’t always true. Aside from the blatant disrespect for anyone that doesn’t agree with him, this is pretty much the same message you’ll find in most current business books and blogs.
Elimination focuses on the fact that most of a ‘normal workday’ centers around things that aren’t really important. There is the traditional trumpeting of the 80-20 rule, examples of how the little things distract us without producing results, and several interesting ways to piss off your coworkers (refusing to answer email and telling them to call you, refusing to answer the phone and making them leave voicemail, etc.)
Did I mention he starts out this section with an example of how he used to bully his teachers into giving him A’s in college?
Automation focuses on outsourcing, and was by far the most useful section of the book for me. I had been reading out the personal/small-business outsourcing movement in vague terms and this really broke down some of the opportunities it offers.
This section also covered pricing issues, how to become an ‘expert’ in a field, and other actually useful tips and tricks.
Liberation focuses on how to inject mobility into your job and the concept of taking mini-retirements through your worklife instead of saving them all for the end. It also advocates lying to your employers in order to get that mobility, but hey, that’s pretty much what you expect by this point in the book.
Read this book. Even if I think he’s a jerk and some (if not most) of the suggestions will get you fired if anyone catches on, there are some good bits buried in the bad ideas– plus it’s good to know what you’re up against. There are plenty of Timothys in the world now and the better prepared we are to deal with them the better!