I have read more than my share of business books, most of which seem to repeat the others in new, less-interesting ways. The information in these business books is valuable, but repetitive and, ultimately, less rewarding the 18th time you read the same thing by a different author. The 4-Hour Workweek, on the other hand, was completely original, fresh, and even groundbreaking with some of the ideas presented. It is one of the best books I have ever read on business and probably the first one I will recommend to any one asking me for advice on a business book. It is excellent and 90% of what is talked about can be used right away.
Tim Ferris, after taking the traditional route in business and coming up wealthy but empty, reshapes his thinking about business and calls it Lifestyle Design. The entire concept is revolutionary for many readers, but is breath of fresh air in a society obsessed with work for work's sake.
Some of the key concepts that I took away from this book:
- The 80/20 Rule in Life - 80% of what you do is unproductive, so get rid of it.
- Focus on quality of work, not quantity.
- Enjoy life. Take a vacation.
- Rethink technology. Are the constant Blackberry interruptions necessary?
- Spend time doing what you love.
- Take a long vacation.
- Create jobs for others. Doing everything yourself is bad for everybody.
- Rethink retirement. Work and vacation should be a rhythm set throughout the course of your life.
As a Christian, all of these are great ideas, all things that I definitely support. This will be the first business book I recommend to others with two caveats in mind: One, recognize the goal is not cut your work down to where you have more time to waste. The goal is to have more time to be more productive, doing fulfilling work. Two, work is not a bad thing. Work is a gift from God, given to man pre-curse, not post-curse. Work elimination should not be the goal, but rather work redistribution. You can be much more effective and stop wasting time, period.
On a side note, I think this book would be really interesting for Christian Missionaries to read. The ideas of long-term international travel and how it is accomplished could easily be applied to missions and create more independent, sustainable organizations.