The book has some interesting ideas worthy to be incorporated into one's lifestyle... and yet, the book must be placed in perspective relative to your situation.... I find much of the criticism warranted... as well as much of the praise...I am posting this because some of the ideas are really good... one just has to scour past the not so good ones..
Two helpful comments:
"The Four Hour Work Week seems to have stirred an undeserved amount of controversy. While I agree with the points of many of the negative reviews, I think there is still a lot of value in reading this book, as long as the reader retains their perspective and does not believe all of the promises in the book.
The book starts out with a very promising and hope inspiring view of the way people work. Is it really necessary to work 60-70 hours weeks to attain happiness and career success? What are people truly risking when they stay on the safe course instead of pursuing their dreams?
I had two big take-aways from the beginning of the book, or Definition section. One: The idea of deferring happiness until some faraway retirement is outdated. In the modern work world, with people switching jobs every 3-5 years, the concept of a mini-retirement is especially tempting and possible. The author explores this concept in a very persuasive way and provides details on how to make it happen.
Two: Examining risk as the ultimate downside vs. the total upside. What is the worst possible outcome if you pursue your dreams and quit your job? You would lose your savings and a year of time, but would learn a lot in the process and at least have tried pursuing your passion. After all, you could always get a similar job as the one you quit if you fail after a year. On the flip side, what is the best possible outcome if you pursue your dreams and attain success? Actually doing what you want for a living and having a better life and happiness.
However, the book can be very much of the "Get Rich Quick" variety. I do not believe that the idea of creating a "New Rich" who solely resell someone else's product is a sustainable model, which is the author's suggestion of the way to obtain financial independence. People working the grind, creating many innovative ideas and products provide an infinitely valuable service to society, which won't happen if we were all middle men. The book also mostly appeals to young, unattached people who can take larger risks. While the author addresses this issue in the book, the type of lifestyle recommended by the author does not seem feasible for everyone who is married with children.
I actually agree with the author's idea of outsourcing parts of your life. Despite many reviewers' claims of "exploitation", if you are paying a willing party for doing work, where is the victim? If you can make yourself more productive and pay someone for the service, then both parties will benefit. Furthermore, many of the wages paid to Virtual Assistants are much higher than the average wages elsewhere in the country. For those who don't agree with outsourcing to foreign countries, information about outsourcing within the US and Canada, at higher wages, is also given.
So despite the sometimes negative reviews of this book, it is definitely worth a read, but do not get to carried away thinking this is the end all, be all of the way to change your life. "
"This book gets off to a good start, by making the valid (if trite) points that one should not defer all gratification indefinitely; and making money should not be an end in itself, but rather a means towards making it possible for you to do the things that you want to do. It also offers some useful (if basic) ways to save time, such as not checking email constantly, but rather dealing with it all at once at fixed (and not too frequent) times.
Now, you might be wondering, what is the secret to having a 4-hour workweek? It's easy: sell worthless junk over the internet, and outsource all of the work. Don't have anything to sell? No problem, make an informational video and sell that. Lack the necessary expertise? I quote from the book: "Expert status can be created in less than four weeks if you understand basic credibility indicators and what people are conditioned to equate with proof of superior knowledge...It took a friend of mine just three weeks to become a 'top relationship expert who, as featured in Glamour and other national media, has counseled executives at Fortune 500 companies on how to improve their relationships in 24 hours or less.'" Detailed instructions follow.
Unfortunately, at this point I was too disgusted to continue reading. (I wouldn't have touched this book at all, except that once I was sitting with a sleeping baby on my lap, and it was the only book in reach, and when I started reading it, I was so annoyed by some of the things that I read that I wanted to read the whole thing so that I could write a scathing review, but after that quote I just couldn't stand it anymore, sorry.) If you don't see anything wrong with the above quote, then you might love this book. (Speaking of credentials, if you are impressed by the description of the author in the jacket as a "Princeton University guest lecturer", you shouldn't be; this means that he ONCE gave a guest lecture in a course he had previously taken, to discuss what he had done in the real world with the ideas he had learned in the course. I'm a guest lecturer at dozens of universities, by the way.)
The book does give a lot of practical guidance on how to sell stuff over the internet. I don't think it can work for most people, but maybe you can get lucky like the author did, and then you will have time to do what you want. For example, the author boasts about how he won the gold medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championships, by bending the rules as much as possible, using extreme dehydration techniques prior to weigh-in to get in three weight classes lower than he should have, and then pushing opponents out of the ring to take advantage of a loophole in the rules and get them disqualified. Is this really something to be proud of? Is this achievement any less empty then earning a pile of money that you don't know what to do with?
There is also a nice chapter about how to outsource work to virtual assistants in India and other places. The author writes in a gleeful, power-tripping tone about how you can get virtual assistants to do almost anything for you, including organizing kid's birthday parties, writing apology letters to your wife, etc. Isn't it great to have slaves overseas doing your work for you while you sleep?
Later chapters discuss how to escape from the office and have mini-retirements; sounds good, but I couldn't get that far."