Monday, April 11, 2011

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy FERRIS

François TOMAS, Senior HR Consultant at Hudson, told me this book is useful to HR professionals because it shows us, in a quite radical manner, how the Y generation considers works, life and mobility.

So I bought the book and read, on top of its cover, a quote of Stewart FRIEDMAN, of whom I am a big fan, saying « This is a whole new ball game. Highly recommended ». Like FRIEDMAN's Total Leadership (commented in a previous post), this « 4-Hour Workweek » has the potential to transform the way you manage yourself.

Their style is different, though: while FRIEDMAN is a very wise professional, an accomplished scientist, I would rather call FERRIS a smart guy.

Very smart indeed, as he tells the readers all the tricks he has used to work less (much less), earn more (much more) and live his dreams. How do you make money while sipping a cocktail on a Brazilian beach?

Tim FERRIS calls his field "lifestyle design" and his method “DEAL”, as in:

  • Define: identify your ideal lifestyle, your most important dreams, and the revenue you need to generate to accomplish them.
  • Eliminate: PARETO's law says that 20% of your efforts yield 80% of your results. So if you are clever enough to identify the right 20%, maybe you can afford working five times less and still keep 80% of your revenue. Virtually eliminating meetings, reducing email processing to a few hours a week, delegating administrative tasks to a cheap Indian virtual assistant are other tricks to save a lot of time.
  • Automate: FERRIS shows how to set up a business process that requires a very minimal level of intervention from its owner: set it up, check once a week the indicators and answer a few questions by your subcontractors, then let the money flow.
  • Liberate: FERRIS tells you, among many other things, how to have your boss authorize you to work from home, even when, eventually, your home gets to be at the other end of the globe because you have always dreamed of learning tango in Buenos Aires or martial arts in Korea.

How Is This Book Useful to an HR Professional?

I see three ways an HR Manager could use this book:
  1. As François told me, it helps you understand some fascinating trends about the Y-generation and the future of work: mobility, independence (even boldness), a sense of meaningful purpose, etc.

  2. You can become a more productive professional by using some of FERRIS' tricks and tools about time management, process-design, or e-marketing. You'll find other tricks useful for your private live, especially those about traveling.

  3. You can take the book on the first degree and really try to design your lifestyle so to work less and live like a millionaire.

Personally, I chose option 1 first and I am currently contemplating options 2 and 3... Don't tell my boss! ;-)


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