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37 comments

  1. tarotbythom says:

    Whoa. This. Is. AWESOME.

    Am I allowed to be little bit proud of you for telling it like it is here? This book sounds like the epitome of American, ethno-centric, privilege-assumed, capitalist apathy and sloth that is not only giving the U.S. a bad name, but inciting hate from the rest of the world. And is it any wonder? This book represents all that makes me sometimes ashamed to be an American, frankly.

    After reading your interview with Emilie Wapnick, and seeing her “most recommended” book titles, I was thinking about investigating/investing in them. SO GLAD YOU SAVED ME THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE.

    [Quote:] “God forbid you connect yourself as a living breathing consuming participant in human life to anything happening to a-person-who-is-not-you-or-exactly-like-you. Social inequality, international tension, human rights abuses that arise directly from the technology you use to facilitate your lifestyle – these things are in Ferriss’ words ‘irrelevant, unimportant or inactionable.’”

    This kind of says it all. If you have no empathy for your fellow brethren (no matter their ‘difference,’ or third-world affiliation, or socio-economic class, or plight for having been born somewhere other than the child of a hedge-fund manager)… selective or not, how can you call yourself a human being at all? And then you–you wonderful, eloquent woman–sort of discovered the dumbfounding, typical American response, which is listing some façade-sympathy-placating charity that makes people think that some sort of independent, personalized charity is involved and that Justice has been executed… when really, IT HAS NOT. Time and again, these “charity” organizations are all proven to be lies and fronts for simply shifting money around that eventually falls into the hands of warlords, or corporate contractors, or the marketing departments of big oil companies, or simply evaporates as none of the promised charity ever… gets… done.

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    It’s more than enough to break one’s heart.

    So where you found on Ferriss’s website that he “lists the worthy causes he supports,” and that he also provides “a helpful post on his blog called ‘Karmic Capitalism’ [*spew*] explaining that ‘giving is like investing with compound interest’ and ‘giving is an investment in yourself,’” you’ve discovered his placating cover story that allows him to lead his fans to believe that he’s actually making a difference with his “trickle-down economics.” When, really, as you noted from the bragging in his book, he is doing no such thing. He’s spending his money [blatantly] selfishly and not giving a rat’s ass about how his sexist, heterosexist, privileged, chattel-mongering, apathetic lifestyle affects other fellow human beings on the same planet.

    I can’t wait for his Wheel of Fortune to keep turning and ultimately dump his apathetic a$$ over the other side and under the spokes… (That’s uncharitable of me to say as a Christian, but if it does happen to him, maybe I’ll take Ferriss’s own advice and simply consider that it’s “irrelevant, unimportant or inactionable” for me to be concerned with his plight.)

    Thanks for your wonderful [real] work!

  2. BRILLIANT review. This is one book I couldn’t finish – or stomach. Although there may be some wisdom on efficiency in that book, the idea of starting a business only to collect money and work as little as possible seems rather absurd. Why not start a business you love that allows you to provide a real service that helps people? Why not be available for your clients instead of passing them off to someone else? Why not give a shit enough to show up? While there may be plenty of ways to do business “easier and smarter”, this book has very little to offer in that regard. A four hour work week may seem like a dream and perhaps to some it is but to many of us, we love our work so much, we actually like spending plenty of time doing our thang.

  3. Totally agree with The Tarot Lady here. Great review, and compliments on your writing generally since it’s a longish post and kept me all the way through. And congrats on making it through yourself since this guy’s attitude probably makes your queer self want to scream in agony. 🙁 I think I’ll go re read your ‘productivity’ article now….do your ideas! I like that.

  4. I have not read this book but my boyfriend who is very spiritual and a great guy has this one and his four hour body. I am glad I never had the urge to pick it up. He sounds like a dick.

  5. Erin says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking the internet productivity bullshit machine and pointing at all the shitty cis/white/$$parents parts of it.

    It’s so much more pleasant to read your paragraph of golden nuggets rather than slogging through another book that clearly ain’t aimed at me.

    <3 you're a peach.

  6. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful review. I’ve always side-eyed this book, even though it comes up OVER AND OVER. You’ve articulated so well why I have never been drawn to it, I was afraid of this:

    “The main aim of this book is to show you how to adopt the smug, self-involved, hyper-masculine, dollar-colonialist attitude of the obnoxious dudebro who wrote it.”

    How is this book so influential when so much of it is about commodifying women? Really? Fuck. Can we have a new reality? This one is depressing me too much.

  7. This review made me laugh so hard. Thank you for the warning! I’ve heard this book recommended by several people, and now I’m so glad I haven’t wasted any time on it. Sounds dreadful!

  8. Thank you for taking the hit for all of us, and culling the most useful tidbits out of this book. It sounds like if I were to read this, I would throw it across the room.

    I just don’t get it… why be a world-traveler if you choose not to know the world’s current events? Ugh.

  9. chloetarot says:

    Hilarious review! I’m glad to say I’d missed all the hype for this. While I have been getting “business-y” emails of late, at least the ones I get tend to be heart-centred – love what you do, have a mission, live your passion to help. It’s got its own form of wankiness, but at least it isn’t this self-absorbed!

  10. This review made my day. I read this when it was first published and it made me feel like I was failing at life. I have a couple of friends who have followed his business advice and it’s sad to say that it’s changed them for the worse. This review puts the book in it’s place!

  11. I picked up this book while killing time in a Barnes & Noble across the street from where I was having my tires replaced a few years ago. I was in the early stages of taking my business more seriously, trying to make it full-time, so this kind of thing seemed attractive at the moment. I came to the same conclusion as you. With this philosophy, there’s no room for loving what you do for a living, spending time developing talent, actually building something sustainable. Great review! Thanks for the chuckle, and the reminder!

  12. Ironically, if you follow his career it becomes apparent that he must far more than 4 hours a week himself, between his research, writing, tv show/podcast, etc. My guess is that he makes more money than most of us, but I don’t really think he works all that much less than the average freelancer/entrepreneur, which is to say, he probably works more than 40 hours a week. He just enjoys his “job” more than someone who punches a time clock or works in a cubicle.

    • Yes, I should acknowledge that this was written quite a few years ago and these days it seems Ferriss has a rather illustrious career doing daring things while people watch (oh the glorious cult of the rich white man).

    • The point of 4HWW is not to ‘literally’ work 4 hours per week. It’s to give up the slave mentality and choose your own path. If that means you work 90 hours a week on something you’re passionate about – tarot cards perhaps? Then that’s fine too. Hard-quoting the title as some kind of guideline is a huge misunderstanding of the core message in the book.

  13. I am so, so over men with these outdated, unkind, and just plain dangerous attitudes getting accolades and money for writing total bullshit. Thank you for the first honest and accurate review I’ve seen about this book!

  14. That has got to be the best book review I have ever read, Haha!! I’ve had Four Hour Workweek on my shelf for about a year and I’ve never even cracked the cover, now I guess I won’t bother. Maybe I can use it as a door stop or to stand on the next time I need to reach something that’s high up. 😉

  15. Malea says:

    Sometimes Pinterest just delivers little surprises from the Universe! I don’t know how I got here, but I LOVE THIS. Hilarious and true! I’m going to delve in and see what other snarky, real and delightful things ya got 🙂

  16. Claire says:

    I listened to it on audiobook this summer and didn’t love it. If you think this one’s bad you should listen to his “4 Hour Body” – about how to be hawt and hunky only working out 4 hours a (week? month? Month, I think). Hint: it involves lying in bathtubs full of ice cubes. Too white, heteronormative, upper-class privilege for words.

  17. Didier Foucher says:

    The 4-Hour Workweek will help open up your mind to the idea that there are better ways to escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and enjoy those who enjoy the freedom to control their life. My blog Strangest Secret Formula provides a way to escape and realize wealth, leisure, and travel.

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    • Thanks for the link Didier.

      The 4-Hour Work Week ‘opened my mind’ to two things I already knew. 1. it’s possible to not have a 9-5 job (as half the internet will demonstrate) and 2. some rich white men are really sexist, racist and repulsive (as half the internet will demonstrate).

  18. lomokev says:

    I have heard the title of this book banded about and though it sounds like utter bullshit. Thank you for confirming this for me and saving me the time of reading it.

  19. Beth,

    I know that this is a few years later, but that was a good review. I am reading a similar book right now called The Unchained Man by Caleb Jones (don’t know if you’ve heard it or not). While I agree with some of the points he makes (especially about not getting married), it seems to me that he thinks that anyone can start their own at-home business. That’s just not possible.

  20. I was thinking of buying the book in my local bookstore as it seems as the most hyped book there is for most bloggers.

    I am so glad I’ve stumbled across your review, it certainly saves me the money and I’d be able to spend it on something less hyper-masculine. Although there are key takeaways which you along with one other blog reviewer had commented, I’d definitely have no need to know about his story.

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