I recently read Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week, colloquially called 4HWW. The book is short, dense with ideas, and easily worth the $12 price. I recommend the book in spite of:
- Questions about the veracity of Ferriss’s claimed accomplishments
- Criticisms that some of his techniques are not as broadly applicable as he makes them sound
- The fact that the author apparently fell for a bogus chain-letter email and reprinted it on page 284. Ooops – how embarrassing!
- I’d guess he’s spending more like 80 hours per week promoting his book over the last few months, with many media appearances, interviews, etc.
Among his main points (outsource more, delegate more, sell products rather than services, travel, etc.), the key idea that stood out for me is the “low-information diet”: read less, watch less, surf the web less. This is nothing new of course (I even touched on it myself in an earlier post), but Ferriss makes a compelling case.
Unfortunately, upon self-examination the truth hurts:
- I read too many books, even though I’ve gotten rid of many recently
- I read too many magazines.
- I read too many web sites.
- I subscribe to too many RSS/Atom feeds.
- I check email too often.
In my defense, I also somehow write a lot of software, solve many customer problems, and much of the information I consume is at least tangentially related to those sources of value. I read quickly, and I don’t watch television, so this excessive consumption is not as time consuming as it could be.
Still, I need something closer to Ferriss’s low-information diet. I don’t have the guts to go cold turkey, and part of the service we offer to our customers is fast response to problems, so I won’t go as far as he suggests. I will spend less time consuming input and more time producing output.
Update in 2009: This remains an ongoing struggle, but I do quite often manage entire days of producing most of the day and consuming only in short breaks.