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How to Be a Millionaire, the Four-Hour Workweek and the New Rich

The Four-Hour Workweek, a new book by Timothy Ferriss, is for people who were not born rich, people who want more free time and want to live like a millionaire. The most entertaining part of the book is the author’s own work history and the way he created his own business for himself.

In a nutshell, Ferris says that, by distancing yourself from time-fillers and by cultivating financially rewarding activities, you, too, can become a millionaire, one of the New Rich, or at least live like a millionaire. Some readers may not buy into the author’s philosophy of life. But, no matter how you regard the author’s career and values, the book is a good read.
Named must your fear be before banish it you can.
–Yoda from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back
Are you a wage slave working 8 to 5 in a job that doesn’t fulfill you? Are you tied to a job for the next 40 years until you can retire? For most of us, the dream job is the job that takes up the least time. Happiness comes when we escape the boredom of our daily routine. Ferriss says that most people don’t want to be millionaires for the money itself. What people want is to experience the millionaire lifestyle, with champagne and caviar, exotic travel, and exotic adventures. So how can you live the millionaire lifestyle without actually having the big bucks? Ferriss suggests that you rework your plans to include a mini retirement regularly in between periods of work. The goal is to combine fun and profit. He calls this lifestyle the New Rich.

The New Rich

The Ferris program shows you how to afford the lifestyle of the New Rich. He calls this the big DEAL, an acronym that stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation.
  • Definition. The New Rich can be an employee or an entrepreneur. The New Rich do the minimum work necessary for maximum results, rather than staying bogged down in work for work’s sake. To realize this , the New Rich make changes in the way they work. And they take regular vacations, have adventures and do what excites them.
  • Eliminate. Ferris suggests that you replace the notion of time management with better techniques. He says that if .you make your hour of work 10 times more productive, your 4 hours of work will be as productive as a 40-hour week.
  • Automation. Automate by putting your cash flow on autopilot. Find a business opportunity that does not require your daily oversight. Outsource your tasks. Delegating authority across the board. Free up your time, by letting other people handle the decisions.
  • Liberation. Escape from the oversight of your boss with the Ferriss strategies. Use technology to travel where you want, live where you want and keep your business up and running.

The Millionaire Mindset

Accumulated wealth is not the measure of success. Success is being able to do what you want and having the means to do it. It’s not about having more money that you need, but about a change in your status quo. The new objective is to make the same money working fewer hours. For Ferriss, the objective is to make $1,000 per hour, working only 4 hours a week.

Don’t postpone your dreams until your 65 and unable to follow them. Doing what you’re supposed to do, what others expect of you, being “realistic” and “responsible” and listening to criticism are behaviors that keep you from the life you crave. Don’t ask for permission from parents, partners or bosses. These people oppose any change of the status quo. Instead, proceed with your plans.

It is fear disguised with optimism that keeps the workforce tied to their jobs, fear of the unknown, fear of poverty and fear of failure.

The Author Develops a Millionaire Mindset

The author practices what he preaches, and has an amazing life to show for it. Ferriss is an adventure hunter and serial entrepreneur. He took his fantasy trip around the world after he conquered his fears and let go of the reins.

Ferriss had an inauspicious childhood as an average student with a bias against authority. From his first job cleaning up at an ice cream parlor, he was fired because he thought he knew better than the boss. Then he volunteered for an exchange student program and spent one year living in Japan. Admitted to Princeton despite lackluster SAT scores, he switched majors from neuroscience to East Asian studies. He showed an entrepreneurial instinct by creating an audiobook called How I Beat the Ivy League. Sales never materialized and he was stuck with an inventory of 500 tapes.

After his next job as a bouncer, he tried to sell his own speed-reading seminar, which was unsuccessful. He closed up the business after two months and quit Princeton.

From there, his career zigzags forward with three months working at Berlitz, followed by a position at a firm researching political asylum. A brief stay in Taiwan came next, where he tried to open a gym. Back in the US again, he learned Chinese kickboxing and won the national championship with the unorthodox strategy of pushing his competitors off the stand. He returned to Princeton and graduated.

Again he was fired after a brief stint at a database company doing telephone sales. Then he followed his interest in physical fitness by researching dietary supplements for athletes. In 2001, Ferriss began an Internet business called BrainQUICKEN LLC that sold supplements to build faster minds and stronger bodies. BrainQUICKEN is a product designed to improve mental performance for students and athletes by quickly increase the speed of neural transmission and information processing with a prolonged effect of 2-6 hours following each dosage. Its slogan is “Improve Your Mental Performance with the World’s First Neural Accelerator.”

Remember that speed-reading course he offered at Princeton? Today, he is still selling it , on the Internet. His goal was to make $1,000 a day, all the while he traveled and pursued alternate activities. He asserts that within two years of launching BrainQUICKEN, he was making more the $10,000 a month. He lived overseas for more than a year, with his company running on autopilot. When people ask him what he does for a living, he answers tongue in cheek, “I’m a drug dealer.” In fact, He speaks six languages, runs his business from wireless locations worldwide, and has been a world-record holder in tango, a national champion in Chinese kickboxing, and an actor on a hit television series in Hong Kong. He is twenty-nine years old.

The Millionaire's Mind

It's time for the world to take advantage of this revolution, Ferriss says. Travel the world without quitting your job. Eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours. Trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent "mini-retirements. "Set the goal of a high hourly income, so that you don’t have to work as many hours Get free housing worldwide and airfare at 50–80% off.

Once you’ve created free time for yourself, you should fill the void and create a meaningful life outside the office. The first step is to reate a dreamline, which is something like a timeline chart. Include your best dreams and list the steps to accomplish them. Most people settle for mediocre goals. It is easier to achieve a lofty goal than a mediocre goal, because there is less competition. Most people think they’ll work until they have X dollars and then do what they want. But if they don’t decide what they want, if they don’t take the plunge to make it happen, they never break out of the rut.

The Millionaire Strategy

Until that lucky day when you become a millionaire and can shake off the shackles of a 9 to 5 job, Ferriss suggests ways for you to improve productivity and increase earnings. Even if the 4-hour workweek doesn’t come through for you, these ideas will be valuable.
  • Comfort Challenges are skills that develop confidence on your way to the New Rich. These include the Criticism Sandwich, expressing criticism along with compliments.
  • Another Comfort Challenge is Eye Gazing. Practice looking people directly in the eye.
  • Improve the productivity of your sales calls. Only make them between 8-8:30 and 5-5:30 to bypass the gatekeepers and assistants. You will get more sales if you talk to the decision makers.
  • Work expands to fill the time allotted. How much work on your desk is necessary, and how much is a time-filler?
  • Do less of the meaningless work. Ignore the unimportant tasks. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. And requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
  • Avoid meetings, and if you can’t escape, set an agenda and keep them brief.
  • Cut out time-wasters like TV and newspapers. Cultivate selective ignorance, and create time, with a low-information diet.
  • Don’t check your email more than twice a day. Send out an autoresponder to say that, due to your high workload, you’ll respond to all emails at 4:00pm daily.
  • Keep your phone calls brief. When you answer your phone calls, say that you’re right in the middle of something. Then ask how you can help the caller.
  • Discourage visitors to your cubicle by wearing headphones and pretending to be on the phone. Or handle visitors the way you handle phone calls.
  • Schedule your tasks with very short and clear deadlines. Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time available.
  • Find a business that does not require your personal input 24/7. Ferriss suggests an Internet sales business, which can be an automated store. Use vendors who will drop-ship orders to your customers. Ferriss runs his Internet supplement business, BrainQUICKEN. He calls this business his “cash flow muse.”
  • Busy professionals, as well as small and mid-sized firms, can outsource their work to increase their productivity and free time for more important commitments. He uses overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour for much of his work.
  • Convince your boss to let you try working from home, starting with one day a week. As long as you are productive, your boss shouldn’t care how many hours you actually spend at the job. Train your boss to value performance over presence.
  • Ditch the customers who are creating most of the problems and little income. Concentrate on the 20% of your customers who bring in 80% of your income.

I hope life brings you much success. I wish you a very happy day.

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