When I first saw the title of this book, I read it as “The 4-Hour Work Day,” and I still thought it was outrageous. But no, this entrepreneur-turned-author really does aim to show you how to work a 4-hour work week.
I’m a great believer in the power of books to change your life, and I just couldn’t pass this one up. Turns out it’s well-written, funny, and full of good ideas. And, yes, it has changed my life.
The book’s central premise is that the 8-hour work day is an artificial construct, that there’s no reason on Earth why you have to work the same schedule as everyone else.
Hell, I’ve known that my entire working life. I’ve never held a full-time job, preferring instead to pick up short-term engagements that will allow me to pursue my own goals. I started out as a temporary secretary while still in college, switched a few years later to contract writing because it allowed me to work at home, and never looked back.
Ferriss goes further than that, though. Slip away from the watchful eye of an employer, and there’s no reason on Earth why you actually have to do the work yourself. Hire it out. Better still, hire it out to someone making pennies on your dollar. To someone, say, in India. In other words, outsource your work.
Well, I’m not about to outsource the writing of my magazine articles and books. But the idea intrigued me. Why not outsource whatever else I could? Case in point, I’ve been invited to deliver a PowerPoint presentation at the Perimeter Institute next month, complete with exciting photos and video clips.
Even as a temp, I never worked with PowerPoint much. In my previous life as an actor and playwright, I always avoided what theater folks call “tech” as much as possible. Tech goes wrong. Tech relies on techies to run those lights and sound cues. Tech costs money. So I distilled theater to its most basic elements: one man in a room in front of an audience. No props or costume changes, and only a single, straight back chair for a set.
I’ve taken a similar tack with my book-related talks. Until now. These guys want PowerPoint with video, and by God, they’re going to get it. I gave an Indian outsourcing firm Ferriss recommends in his book a whirl. They did okay, about what you’d expect from a temp flying by the seat of his pants. I could relate.
But it still wasn’t what I wanted. So I went local, hired my buddy Mark Greene at Pecos Pictures to work it out. He’s a video guy. He knows this stuff. Sure, he costs more than the generalists in India, but he’s worth it.
My friend and fellow writer Jeff Davis is a big believer in hiring local whenever possible. It’s a way to give back to the community that supports you, he says, and it gets you better quality work. I think he’s on to something there.