Thursday, November 7, 2013

Self Help - The Four Hour Work Week

So recently I started listening to The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris on audiobook, mostly because I got it for free and it was recommended by Youtube vlogger PhillyD.

I'm only half way through but so far it follows the same line that most self help/live better/achieve your dreams/become wealthy type books follow - take a few genuinely strong pieces of advice, sprinkle in a little bit of bullshit to make sure you actually have enough content to get it published, and flesh it out with a ton of self promotion.

Alternate Title:  
"Success through four hours a week of actual work, and 90 of self promotion."

These books always make my blood boil because they almost always tell me valuable things that I need to hear (like Ferris's advice to stop trying to fix your weaknesses and spend your time capitalizing on your strengths) but it's surrounded by so much chaff it's unbelievable.  The Four Hour Work Week in particular is about how to save time and make your life more efficient; while it contains some good tips, I wish I had saved myself several hours by paying someone $10 to read  the book and writing down all the genuinely useful stuff in a two page synopsis.  In fact, the book itself recommends treating most things in life like that.   Maybe the book is just trying to be an effective object lesson?

I remember being a fan of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and if nothing else, books like this are good for helping you understand the way wealth in the world works (that being that hard work does generate wealth, but only if you're working hard doing the right things, and most people aren't), even if some are better than others at demonstrating how to come by any.

Where Ferriss succeeds is making a very strong point - why spend your life being miserable with the hope of being content in retirement, when you can set up your life to be content now?  Where he falters is where many similar authors do:  practical steps to take someone from a crappy office job or blue collar work into the life he recommends.  He makes a lot of helpful suggestions and offers some good tips, but it doesn't come together into any sort of cohesive working plan.

I'm torn.  Part of me wants to say "don't get this book" and part of me wants to say "get this book and a highlighter, highlight the useful stuff, and ignore the rest."

Maybe something will happen in the second half to really surprise me, but with the sheer volume of self praise and self-referential promotion so far, I'm not expecting much different for the rest of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment