How To Quit Work! A 4-Hour Work Week Book Review

The 4-Hour Work Week was an awesome read about how to quit work, that really concreted the path that I am trying to pursue. Instead of trying to pursue financial independence through extreme savings he espouses the method of determining your living expenses and then figuring out a way to cover your living expenses per month.

If you have gotten a chance to read my retirement drawdown strategy, you will remember that I am planning on retiring with only $400,000 – $500,000 in the bank, but am working to develop income streams to cover my expenses until “retirement age”. This strategy is exactly what Tim Ferris, the author of the 4-Hour Work Week details in his book.

  1. Compute your average monthly expenses
  2. Multiply by 1.3 as a safety factor
  3. Figure out a way to generate your monthly expenses by starting a business and  then automating.

This book sometimes gets a bad rap, but I can say it was an enlightening read. Some of the resources are slightly outdated, but the ideas are timeless. I loved it and highly recommend reading it and following all of his exercises.

With that said, here is a selection of awesome and inspiring quotes from The 4-Hour Work Week.

Quotes:

Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier”. ~Tim Ferris

I believe we all want to be able to control the W’s that Tim is referencing here. We all want to be able to decide for ourselves what we do, when we do it, where we do it, and with whom. Without the freedom multiplier, we can have all the money in the world and it really won’t matter because we are not free. This quote really nails down what we all seek financial independence for. The number of W’s we control really is the degrees of freedom that we have to determine our own life.

Everything popular is wrong.   ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

When we decide that we want to pursue freedom we are turning away from the societal norm. We will be told that what we are doing is stupid, will never work, crazy, etc. Follow Oscar Wilde’s advice and just forget it because everything popular is wrong. It is still useful to hear some of the negative feedback to keep us grounded, but we need to decide for ourselves what is important.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.  ~Mark Twain

We can worry about so many things. There are always possibilities that can happen if you wonder about it. Don’t let the “what ifs” scare you off from pursuing freedom. Everybody will tell us it is crazy and wrong and won’t work, but Mark Twain hit the nail on the head with this quote. What ifs can happen, but chances are they will not. If they do, just roll with the punches and keep moving forward.

Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference.  ~Tim Ferris

Indeed, most things make no difference. The “what ifs” in life are too numerous to wonder about and most of the time they make no difference. We can always adapt to new situations. In a money perspective, not buying that new whatchamacallit you have been lusting over will make no difference in your life. You may even be happier. We are ultimately in control over our own happiness, no one else.

Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity. ~Tim Ferris

Everybody in the US seems to fall into this trap of thinking that if you are working a lot and sacrificing your time, you must be super important and very productive. It is simply not true. We fill the vast amount of our time at the office with official pencil pushing and bureaucratic red tape. Is that productive? Not at all!!!!  We can cut out the non-productive work that is piled up and no one will really care. They ask for it to be done, but if it is not done, no one notices. Streamline your work life and you will clear your head and prepare for freedom.

The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom. ~Tim Ferris

When we finally get to the point of retiring, we may wonder about what we are supposed to do. Sitting around and just enjoying not going to work will be nice for awhile, but we need something to keep us from being bored. Mrs. Atypical can attest to the negative power boredom can have over your life. When we came to China she became an expat wife in a foreign country without her passion for horses, so she was bored and unhappy. Once she found things to fill her time with and more people to share her time with, she became happy.

“Here are two truisms to keep in mind:
1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. ”           ~Tim Ferris

I just had to laugh at this quote from Tim because it so perfectly embodies my impression of work. So many people think they are important because of all the “work” they are doing even though it is all meaningless, but takes a long time. Tim catches the true essence of bureaucracy. Part of what drives so many of us to hate work is not the acutal work, but the bureaucratic red tape and all the extras that we didn’t sign up for.

The bureaucracy creates all the unimportant work to be done that takes a long time and makes all the official pencil pushers feel super important. In the end, they are just filling out meaningless forms and helping others to also waste their time filling out those forms correctly.

Remember, profit is only profitable to the extent that you can use it. For that you need time. ~Tim Ferris

I have said this to my bosses in different words when trying to negotiate for more vacation time. Basically, all the money in the world doesn’t matter if you have no time to spend it. I had a professor in college that regretted his 15 years on wall street making millions because he missed his children’s childhood. All the money in the world can’t buy time back once it is gone.

It just seems in US society, that the end goal is to amass a huge pile of money or a huge pile of things that we bought with that money. However, if we have no time to enjoy it, what’s the point?

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. ~Malcolm X

Only you have your best interests at heart and only you truly know your personal situation. No one is going to tell you to just step away from work when you are 30 or 40 or even 50. If you want to make early retirement a reality, you have to grab it and take it. Malcolm X may have been fighting for equality based on race, but everybody also wants to be free from the man.

Companies go out of business when they make the wrong decisions or, just as important, make too many decisions. The latter creates complexity. ~Mike Maples, cofounder of Motive Communications and Tivoli

Complexity makes things inefficient. If we want to save for early retirement and actually be able to achieve it, we need to keep it simple. When we make things complex it only confuses us causing more mistakes and raising the probability of failure.

It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains. ~Thomas H. Huxley, English biologist; known as “Darwin’s Bulldog”

Will early retirement work out?

Who knows, but I know it will be better than slogging through day after day of working for the man, spinning the monster hamster wheel. We can adapt to whatever happens and make the best of our situation. If everything really does fail, we can always go back and work for the man. Just think of the stories you will be able to tell at an interview when you come back to the workplace after 2-10 years of early retirement traveling and learning. Better to have a short mini-retirement early in life when we are strong then to wait until we are old and feeble to enjoy our life.

By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day. ~Robert Frost, American Poet and winner of 4 Pulitzer Prizes

I see this in my bosses. They show up super early every day and then leave late. Is that something you really want to do? I don’t think it is worth the stress or the money, so I have no desire to become a manager to work more. It just makes me wonder whether people actually want to work more as a manager, or if they feel they “have to” work more because they are a manager?

Most people aren’t lucky enough to get fired; they die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating mediocre. ~Tim Ferris

An early career firing when you are pursuing FIRE may be the best thing to happen to you. You can get a taste of early retirement, learn how to make money outside of the normal system and really get to live. Too many people waste away their prime years working for the man and retire at 65 to wonder where their life went.

It may be a setback to your dreams of early retirement if your early retirement is forced before you are prepared. But being thrown to the wolves will also help you to start your side income strategy sooner and you may never have to go back. Just look to examples like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income who was let go during the last recession and has never looked back.

TL;DR

Tim Ferris brought about a whole new way of thinking about retirement with The 4-Hour Work Week and I fully believe that it is possible. There will be deniers and naysayers galore when you decide to pursue freedom, but only you are able to decide whether it makes sense or not. Nobody will give us the freedom we are looking for. We must do our best preparing and then take it by the horns and proclaim, freedom is mine!

Check out Tim’s book the 4-Hour Work Week and go through all of his exercises and you will be well on your way to designing your early retirement life. He goes through all aspects of preparation and also what to do once you have made it to early retirement.

Below is a summary of all the quotes if you missed it above.

Have you read The 4-Hour Work Week? If so, do you agree with the philosophy or do you think it is far-fetched? Let me know in the comments.

QuoteAuthor
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier”.Tim Ferris
Everything popular is wrong.Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.Tim Ferris
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.Mark Twain
The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.Tim Ferris
Here are two truisms to keep in mind:
1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
Tim Ferris
Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.Tim Ferris
Remember, profit is only profitable to the extent that you can use it. For that you need time.Tim Ferris
Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.Malcom X
Companies go out of business when they make the wrong decisions or, just as important, make too many decisions. The latter creates complexity.Mike Maples, cofounder of Motive Communications and Tivoli
It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains.Thomas H. Huxley, English biologist; known as “Darwin’s Bulldog”
By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually et to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.Robert Frost, American poet and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to get fired, and die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating mediocre.Tim Ferris

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