Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

How to Live Life Your Way — The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (BOOK NOTES)

Sarah Cy
Sarah Cy
May 15, 2018 · 21 min read
The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link)

About the 4-Hour Workweek

In this book, first published a decade ago, and recently updated for a new generation of entrepreneurs and New Rich, author Timothy Ferriss lays out some of the principles and procedures he used to free himself from the 9-to-5 grind. From batching emails to testing products to outsourcing to personal assistants to passive income streams, Ferriss shares stories and lessons from his own life and those of others, and goes into great detail. This book is mostly geared toward those working traditional office jobs, but includes tips and strategies that are more widely applicable as well.

My story and why you need this book

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect — Mark Twain

  • There is an epidemic: job descriptions are self-descriptions
  • New Rich: follow uncommon set of rules.
  • “Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It really doesn’t.”
  • Reality is negotiable.
  • Outside science/law, all rules can be bent or broken without violating ethics
  • The step-by-step process to reinvent yourself: DEAL (see below)

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field — Niels Bohr

  • Karooshi in Japan: people literally working themselves to death


CHAPTER 1: Cautions and Comparisons: How to Burn $1,000,000 a Night

These individuals have riches just as we say that we “have a fever,” when really the fever has us — Seneca

  • Mark: spent 30 years with people he didn’t like to buy things he didn’t need = living dead

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool — Richard Feynman

  • To become one of the New Rich: replace assumptions

Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist — Pablo Picasso

CHAPTER 2: Rules That Change the Rules: Everything Popular is Wrong

  • Don’t be different for the sake of being different. Different is better when it is more effective or fun.
  • Retirement is worst-case-scenario insurance.
  • Interest and energy are cyclical
  • Few people measure the results of their actions and their contributions in time
  • The timing is never right. If its something you want to do, just do it.
  • Ask forgiveness, not permission, as long as whatever “it” is won’t devastate those around you
  • Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses.
  • Things in excess become their opposite (pacifists will become militants, blessings become curses, help becomes hindrance, more becomes less)
  • Money alone is not the solution, because RELATIVE income > absolute income. Relative income is based on money + time.
  • Distress is bad, eustress is good: don’t a void stress or criticism. Seek helpful stress/criticism

CHAPTER 3: Dodging Bullets: Fear-Setting and Escaping Paralysis

  • Cut through your ambiguous anxiety by defining your worst case scenario and you won’t be so afraid anymore.
  • Then consider the possible outcomes/benefits of more probable scenarios?
  • Fear itself is fear-inducing. So people use optimistic denial instead.
  • Don’t save it all (free time, retirement) for the end. There’s every reason not to.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened — Mark Twain

  • What are you putting off out of fear? Usually what we most fear doing is what we most need to do.
  • It’s important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction/postponement. (Financial, emotional, physicial)
  • What are you waiting for? If you use the “good timing” excuse, then it’s actually fear holding you back.

CHAPTER 4: System Reset: Being Unreasonable and Unambiguous

  • Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic
  • It’s lonely at the top, most people think they’re incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre.
  • If you’re insecure, so is the rest of the world. Don’t overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You’re better than you think.
  • Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides endurance to overcome trials. Realistic goals are uninspiring
  • Most people never know what they want. Unless you ask: “What do you want to do in the next five months for language learning?”
  • Don’t shoot for happiness. Too vague. The opposite of happiness is boredom. Shoot for excitement.
  • When you say “I’ll just work until I have $X and then I’ll do whatever I want.” If you don’t define “whatever you want,” the “$X” will keep increasing to fill the uncertainty void.
  • Boredom, not failure, is the enemy.
  • Dreamlining: apply timelines to what most would consider dreams. Like goal-setting, except:
  1. Goals have defined, not ambiguous, steps
  2. Goals are unrealistic
  3. Goals focus on activities that fill the vacuum when work is removed. DO things, don’t just OWN things.
  • Google CEO Eric Schmidt, when asked when he had been happiest in his life: “Tomorrow.”
  • How to connect with big shots:
  1. Find their personal email often through little-known personal blogs, send a 2–3 paragraph email showing familiarity with their work, ask simple to answer but thought-provoking questions (related to work or life philosophy). Don’t ask for help until 3–4 exchanges later.

Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try again, Fail again. Fail better.

  • Most people can do awe-inspiring things.
  • What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10x smarter thahn the rest of the world.
  • TASK: Create 2 dreamlines. One is what you want to HAVE (material things, etc), BE (fluent in a language, cook, etc), and DO (travel, etc)
  • If you can’t think of something, think of what you hate/fear. Exercise in reversing repression. Don’t judge or fool yourself. Write what you really want, not what you think you should want.
  • What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning?
  • Brainstorm for the DOING category:
  1. 1 place to visit
  2. 1 bucket list item
  3. 1 thing to do daily
  4. 1 thing to do weekly
  5. 1 thing you’ve always wanted to learn
  • Convert each BEING goal into a doing, something actionable. (Ex: BE a great cook → make Christmas dinner without help)
  • Highlight the 4 most important/exciting dreams from each column. Have a 6- and 12-month dreamline
  • Determine necessary income to achieve these dreams.
  • Determine 3 steps for each of the 4 dreams in your 6-mo timeline and take the first step now.
  • Ferriss recommends not long-term planning but 3- 6-month dreamlines.
  • Tomorrow becomes never. Take the first step now.
  • The most important actions are never comfortable. Condition yourself to discomfort and overcome it.
  • Learn to gaze into other people’s eyes, even when uncomfortable. 3 minutes at a time, no speaking allowed.
Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash


CHAPTER 5: The End of Time Management: Illusions and Italians

Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • You shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day.
  • Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding critical, important, but uncomfortable actions
  • To be new-rich, you follow the DEAL acronym (see chapter headings) but current employees need to implement DELA, because they must liberate themselves from the office environment before reducing work hours.
  • Effective vs Efficient: Effectiveness = doing things that get you closer to your goals. Efficient = doing things economincally.
  • The default mode of the universe: being efficienty ywithout effectiveness.
  • Pareto’s Law: 80/20 principle applies to many things. 80% of the wealth held by 20% population, 80% output from 20% input.
  • Ask yourself which 20% are causing 80% problems/unhappiness? Which 20% result in 80% happiness?

Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.

  • Parkinson’s Law: a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for completion. Ex: if we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours.
  • How to increase productivity:
  1. limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20)
  2. shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law)
  • Ask yourself: Am I being productive or just active? Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
  • The key to having more time is doing less, by:
  1. Defining a TO-DO list
  2. And a NOT-TO-DO list
  • Ask yourself: if you had to work 2 hrs per day, what would you do? If you had to work 2 hrs per week, what would you do? If you had to stop 4/5 of time consuming activities, what would you remove?
  • What top 3 activities do you use to fill time to feel productive? Which 20% of people give you 80% enjoyment/propel you forward, and which 20% hold you back?
  • If this is the only thing you do today, will you be satisfied with the day?
  • Don’t multitask.
  • Challeng: Learn to propose: stop asking for opinions and propose solutions. Start with small things (restaurant choices) and move up.

CHAPTER 6: The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating Selective Ignorance

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking — Albert Einstein

Information consumes attention. So a wealth of info = poverty of attention — Herbert Simon

  • Learn to ignore all unimportant/irrelevant interruptions
  • Increased output requires decreased input, and lifestyle design is based on massive output.
  • Go on a media fast.
  • Ask yourself: will I use this info for something immediate and important? If not, don’t consume the info.
  • Don’t finish books /articles that aren’t worth it anymore.
  • Challenge: Practice getting phone n umbers, of opposite gender.

CHAPTER 7: Interrupting Interruption

  • Not all evils are created equal:
  1. time wasters (can be ignored with no consequence) Check email 2x/day and turn off alerts. Use 2 phone numbers: one for nonurgent office things and one urgent cell number. Don’t chitchat on the cell line. Treat everything as urgent and force people to state their purpose quickly.
  2. time consumers (repetitive things that interrupt high level work. Like emails) Batch them. Answer all emails at one time per day, even per week.
  3. empowerment failures: when people need approval to make something small happen — Give them responsibility and tell them you trust them.
  • The Puppy Dog Close: if someone likes a puppy but is reluctant to change their lifestyle, tell them to take the pup and return it if they change their mind (they usually don’t). Same approach with proposing things like no more meetings or other time savers people aren’t comfy with.
  • Create systems to limit your availability and deflect inappropriate content.
  • Tools and tricks: Evernote (reads text in pictures. So file business cards, notes, etc by photographing them and sending to Evernote). GrandCentral + YouMail filter unwanted calls. Doodle + Time Driver helps with scheduling meetings. Xobni is a free Outlook program hepful for batching emails. Jott + Copytalk helps you capture thoughts, to-do’s, reminders witht a toll free phone call, transcribing your voice notes to any email. Freedom is a free app that disables internet for 1–480 min.
  • Challenge: Practice saying no to all requests for 2 days. Default to no for every request unless it’ll get you fired.
“A vintage red sign in Ropley” by Gemma Evans on Unsplash


CHAPTER 8: Outsourcing Life: Off-loading the Rest and a Taste of Geoarbitrage

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone — Thoreau

  • For automation, hire a Virtual Assistant.
  • Getting a personal assistant helps you learn to give orders and command. Practice remote management and communication. It’s a litmus test for entrepreneurship.
  • Remember to eliminate before you delegate: don’t automate things that can be eliminated, or delegate what can be automated/streamlined
  • How to delegate:
  1. Each task must be time consuming and well-defined
  2. Have fun, delegate to your PA unusual things like coordinating lunch with your friends
  • How to choose a VA: developing countries are cheaper, but test a few assistants. VA firms are better than solo VAs.
  • How to use a VA: give precise directions, request that they check in to show they know what you want, use Parkinson’s Law and assign deadlines, prioritize your list of tasks, have them confirm they understand what you want
  • Where to find a VA:, CVAC (Canadian VAs), Elance, Guru VWorker, AskSunday, b2kcorp, taskseveryday, yourmaninindia
  • ID your top 5 time-consuming non-work tasks and 5 personal tasks you can delegate for fun.
  • How to keep your calendars in sync: BusySync, WebEx Office
  • Criticism Sandwich: praise the person, deliver the criticism, praise again. Use terms like “I wanted to thank you,” “I appreciate,” “You’re good at,” “here’s the thing…” (use passive voice to avoid using “you” to accuse people) “could you help me” “that means a lot to me” “Before I forget [compliment here]”
  • Best times to send email: late in the evening or right before 8am. Email is mail, not chat.

CHAPTER 9: Income Autopilot 1: Finding the Muse

  • This chapter is for people who want to own businesses and spend no time on them.
  • 2 currenciese: cash flow + timemake all else possible.
  • Plan and test products, don’t just invest and hope for the best
  • The more competing resellers there are, the quicker your product goes extinct. Selling exclusively helps maintain product at a premium. Or else rogue discounters will hurt you.
  • It’s illegal to control how much someone sells your product for, but you can dictate how much they advertise it for. (include a Minimum Advertised Pricing policy [MAP] in your General Terms and Conditions [GTC])
  • STEP ONE: Pick an affordably reachable niche market
  • Creating demand is hard. Instead, find a market: define your customers and then develop a product FOR them.
  • Niche: If everyone’s your customer, no one’s your customer.
  • Strive to be the first, largest, or best in a precise category. Invent your own category to be the first. (Tim’s ex: “neural accelerator” niche)
  • How to find your niche:
  1. what social, industry, p rofessional groups do you belong to, understand, etc?
  2. which groups of the above have their own magazines?
  • STEP TWO: Brainstorm, don’t invest in products
  • Ideal product ads:
  1. capture main benefit in one sentence
  2. it should cost the consumer $50–200
  • Shoot for an 8–10x markup
  • Higher prices = higher profit margin, attracts lower-maintenance customers
  • Take 3–4 weeks at most to manufacture

3. It should be fully explainable in a good online FAQ

  • Options: Resell a product (buy wholesale); License a product; Create a product (especially info products — low cost, fast to manufacture, time consuming for competitors to duplicate)
  • How to create info products:
  1. combine info (paraphrasing) from several books on a topic
  2. Repurpose public domain content
  3. License content or pay an expert to help create content
  • Aim for a combination of formats that can cost $50–200, like 2 CDs + 40-page CD transcript+ 10 page quickstart guide
  • Think narrow/deep instead of broad
  • What skills would people in your market pay to learn?
  • What experts can you interview and record to create an audio CD?
  • How to be a perceived expert: 1) join a couple related trade organizations with official sounding names, 2) Read the 3 top books on your topic and summarize each 3) Give free 1–3 hr seminars 4) Write for trade magazines 5) Join ProfNet(journalists use it to find experts to quote)
  • Comfort challenge: Call a potential superstar mentor per day for 3 days. Email only if calling doesn’t work. Call before 8:30 or after 6 to avoid gatekeepers.
  • Tips: Use “I know this may sound odd, but…” (piques curiosity), “I’m a fan of…” (you must have a relationship with that person)
  • Sites to help you confirm sufficient market size:,,,, Standard Rate and Data Services (
  • Finding products to resell or manufacture: Clickbank, Commission Junction, Amazon Associates, Alibaba, Worldwide Brands, Thomas’s Register of Manufacturers,,,,,,
  • Public domain work: If you modify 20% of a domain work, this new work can be copyrighted.
  • Public domain sources: Project Gutenberg, LibriVox
  • Recording seminars or phone interviews: HotRecorder, Call Recorder (for Mac), NoCost Conference, JingProject, DimDim, Camtasia
  • Licensing ideas to others for royalties: InventRight, Guthy-Renker Corporation
  • Searching patents:,,
  • Becoming an expert: ProfNet via, HARO, PRWeb Press Releases,

Failure is not an option — Apollo 13 (movie)

CHAPTER 10: Income Autopilot II: Testing the Muse

The yeoman work in any science…is done by the experimentalist, who must keep the theoreticians honest — Michio Kaku

  • To get an accurate indicator of commercialviability, don’t ask people if they would buy, ask them to buy.
  • Micro test your products: Google Adwords (Pay Per Click)
  • Looking up related terms and derivative terms: Google Adwords Keyword Tool, SEOBook Keyword Tool
  • How to differentiate yourself from competitors: more credibility indicators (media, associations, academia, testimonials), Create better guarantees, better selection, free or faster shipping?
  • Use to create a one page testimonial of your product, then test the ad by selling on eBay (cancel before people actually pay)
  • You can set up a small Yahoo Store for $99/mo and use paypal to accept credit cards instead of a bank merchant account
  • New Rich summary: 1) Market selection, 2) Product brainstorm, 3) Micro-test 4) Rollout and automation
  • Comfort challenge: practice rejecting first offers and walking away at a farmers’ market. Go near closing time.
  • Create forms to test checkout with or without payment: Wufoo
  • LLCs and S-Corps are preferred by smalll businesses.
  • Legal documents for company formation, trademarks, etc:, Corporate (dmoestic overseas company formation)
  • How to sell downloadable products (ebooks,video, audio):, Lulu, CreateSpace, ClickBank
  • Hosting services: 1and1, BlueHost, RackSpace,
  • Royalty free media: iStockPhoto, Getty Images
  • End-to-end site solutions with payment processing: Shopify, Yahoo store, eBay store
  • Simple payment processing for testing pages: Paypal Cart, Google Checkout,
  • Software for understanding web traffic: Google Analytics, CrazyEgg, Clicktracks, WebTrends
  • A/B Testing software: Google Website Optimizer, Offermatica,, Optimost
  • Low cost toll free numbers: TollFreeMAX, Kall8
  • Check competitive site traffic:,,
  • Freelance designers, programmers: 99Designs, Crowdspring, eLance, Craigslist
  • Other helpful sites: Freshbooks (invoicing), TrueCrypt (keeps laptop data secure while on the road), RememberTheMilk (daily tasks), Fastest way to market an idea:

CHAPTER 11: Income Autopilot III: MBA — Management by Absence

  • Most entrepreneurs don’t start with automation as a goal →mass confusion
  • Start with the end in mind.
  • Goal: not to create the biggest business, but the business that bothers you the least
  • Customer service: providing a great p roduct at an acceptable price, solving legit problems asap
  • Don’t give customers too many options. More options = more indecision, fewer orders.
  • The customer is an equal trading partner, not to be pleased at all costs. Be professional without kowtowing. Prevent problem customers from ordering. Be leery of those who spend the least and ask for the most. Those who spend most complain least.
  • Make your customer base exclusive and treat members well once accepted.
  • Instead of 30 day guarantees, use lose-win guarantees and risk reversal (Ex: Delivered in 30 min or free!)
  • How to look Fortune 500: 1) Don’t be the CEO/founder. Call yourself a VP/director. 2) put multiple emails/contact info on the website. 3) set up an Interactive Voice Response remote receptionist (, RingCentral) 4) Don’t provide home addresses. And replace “PO” with “Suite”: PO box addresses can become Suite # …
  • Comfort challenge: Relax in public by lying down in the middle of a crowded public place and don’t explain yourself.
  • Useful sites: CD/DVD duplication (AVC corporation, SF Video), local fulfillment (, Call centers (LiveOps, West Teleservices, NexRep, Triton Technology, CenterPoint Teleservices, Stewart Response Group), Credit card processor — merchant account through bank needed (TransFirst Payment Processing, Chase Paymentech, Trust Commerce, PowerPay), Affiliate programs (MyAffiliateProgram), discount ads (Manhattan Media, Novus Media, Mercury Media, Euro RSCG, Canella Media Response TV, Marketing Architects, Radio Direct Response)
  • When providing guarantees for returns, longer times are better for customers to consider or forget the product. (Ex: Ginsu knives 50-year guarantee)
Photo by Sidney Pearce on Unsplash


CHAPTER 12: Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Office

  • The question everyone should be asking: WHY NOT?
  • How to free yourself from the 9–5:
  1. Increase the company’s investment in you
  2. Prove increased output offsite (use sick days and work hard through them — make them the most productive period ever)
  3. Prep a quantifiable business benefit (show hos much you accomplished on your sick days)
  4. Propose a revocable trial period
  5. Expand remote time
  • Entrepreneurs struggle with Automation because they give up control, but employees struggle with Liberation because they fear taking control

CHAPTER 13: Beyond Repair: Killing Your Job

  • Some jobs are unredeemable. Sometimes getting fired is a blessing. Better to leave now then get stuck and die slowly 30–40 years
  • Phobias that keep people on sinking ships:
  1. Quitting is permanent: Nope. You can come back whenever you want.
  2. Won’t be able to pay bills: You can. First develop a cash flow before quitting current job.
  3. Health insurance and retirment accounts will disappear: Nope. You can transfer your 401K to another company.
  4. It will ruin my resume: Nope. Do something else interesting for your resume.

Formula for success…Double your rate of failure — Thomas Watson, founder of IBM

  • Mistakes of ambition: doing things with incomplete info
  • Mistakes of sloth: not changing a bad situation when you already have all the facts

Only those who are asleep make no mistakes — Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

  • Helpful sites:, Retirement accounts (Franklin-Templeton, American Funds), investing (Fidelity Investments, Vanguard), Health insurance for self employed (Ehealthinsurance, AETNA, Kaiser Permanente, American Community Mutual)

CHAPTER 14: Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle

  • Story of the Mexican farmer: fishes half a day then spends time with family. American businessman asks why he doesn’t increase his work time, earn more money, so that he can retire…and spend time with family.
  • Traveling the world and doing things you want does not always have to be delayed
  • Why not take the 20–30 year retirement and redistribute it through life rather than save it for the end.
  • Mini retirement: relocate to a place for 6 months. It’s recurring. It’s a lifestyle.
  • True freedom isn’t just having income and time to do what you want — it’s also freedom from materialistic addiction, time-famine mindset, comparative impulses
  • Traveling around the world can even save you money
  • Travel can be relocating to a second home, not airport and hotel-hopping
  • Many things are perception, not reality (like how dangerous a foreign country is)
  • Saving on airfare: buy way ahead or last minute, and return/leave between Tues and Thurs (Orbitz, Kayak, Priceline)

Human beings have the capacity to learn to want almost any conceivable material object — Jules Henry

  • There are many things in your home you don’t use, need, or want. Clutter creates indecision and distractions.
  • Pack less. Buy what you need when you arrive (pack for 1 week)
  • Biggest risk in life is not mistakes but regret

Boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his route as to the novelist who is overcertain of his plot — Paul Theroux

  • Fear-set: think of worst case scenarios and evaluate real consequences. Most are avoidable or reversible.
  • Use GoToMyPC for remote access to your laptop. (Or WebExPCNow, DropBox)
  • Remember to scan all your ID information/cards and send/email to yourself to be safe.
  • Brainstorming mini-retirement places: Virtual Tourist, Escape Artist,, Grid Skipper, Lonely Planet: The Thorn Tree, Family Travel Forum, US Dept of State Country Profiles, US Dept of State Worldwide Travel,
  • Travel sites: TravelZoo Top 20, CFares, 1–800-FLY-EUROPE, (Europe: ryanair, easyjet)
  • Free worldwide housing: Global Freeloaders, Couchsurfing Project, Hospitality Club, Home Exchange International
  • Paid housing: Otalo,, HotelChatter, Craigslist,
  • What to do overseas:,,,,,
  • Language learning:,,, italian[or any language]

CHAPTER 15: Filling the Void: Adding Life After Subtracting Work

To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for…the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass — Anne Lamott

There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do — Bill Watterson

  • Man is made so that he can only find relaxation fromone kind of labor by taking up another — Anatole France
  • Subtracting bad doesn’t create good. It creates a vacuum. Living and becomoing more is the goal.
  • Retirees get depressed because of boredom and social isolation.
  • Think of a time when you were 100% in the zone and undistracted.
  • Without an external focus, the mind turns inward and creates problems to solve, even undefined, unimportant problems.
  • Most big questions we feel compelled to face are too undefined, attempting to answer them is a waste of time.
  • If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task — Viktor E. Frankl

  • Life exists to be enjoyed: love, be loved, and never stop learning
  • 2 components fundamental to enjoy life: 1) continual learning 2) service
  • To live is to learn. Pick a physical or mental task
  • Language learning is great for clear thinking, and it’s not hard. Adults who focus can learn faster than children (without 9–5 work), even in 3 months.
  • Service: improve someone’s life besides your own. No cause is better than the other cause. Downstream effects are unknown. Improving lives is as important as saving lives.
  • Make no apologies for the cause you choose.

Adults are always aking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas — Paula Poundstone

  • Forget “what should I do with my life” and pursue something fun/rewarding
  • To escape the goblins of the mind, you must face it first.
  • Charity sites: Firstgiving, Charity Navigator, Network for Good
  • When upset or anxious, ask yourself why 3x. Undefined/ambiguous self-doubt is often what hurts most. REcording concerns also takes it from your mind.
  • Where to go and what to do? Ask: what makes you most angry about the state of the world? What are you most afraid of for the next generation? What makes you happiest? How can you help others have the same?
  • Travel/volunteer sites: Hands on Disaster Response, Project Hope, Relief International,,,,,,
  • Revisit dreamlines: what are you good at? What could you be best at? What makes you happy? What excites you? What makes you feel accomplished? What are you most proud of doing in your life? Can you repeat or develop it? What do you enjoy sharing/experiencing with others?
  • Recapturing the joyo/excitement of childhood is required.

CHAPTER 16: The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes

  • losing sight of dreams and doing work for work’s sake
  • micromanaging and emailing to fill time
  • not outsourcing problems
  • chasing unqualified customers
  • working where you live/sleep/relax
  • not doing a thorough 80/20 analysis every 2–4 weeks
  • striving for endless perfection instead of great/good enough (personally or professionally)
  • viewing one job/project/product as the beall and end all of your life.

Life is too short to waste, but it is also too long to be a pessimist or nihilist.

  • ignoring social rewards of life
  • justifying work with non time sensitive/small issues
“A woman in silhouette jumps for joy against dark mountains and a pink and purple sunset.” by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

The Last Chapter: An E-Mail You Need to Read

  • Ask: “If today were the l ast day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If the answer is “no” too many days in a row, you have to change something
  • If you’re confused about life, you’re not alone.
  • Don’t be too focused on making pieces of a nonexistent puzzle fit and miss out on the real fun.
  • Read David Weatherford’s “Slow Dance” poem

Last But Not Least

The Best of the Blog

  • Often to do the big things, you have to let the small bad things happen
  • If you don’t have attention, you don’t have time. Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.

Things I’ve Loved and Learned in 2008

  • You don’t have to make money back the same way you lose it.
  • A universal cause of self-doubt/depression: trying to impress people you don’t like
  • slow meals with loved ones= life
  • Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it
  • If you do anything interesting, expect a small % of people to criticize
  • You’re never as good or as bad as they say.
  • Be optimstic but stay hungry
  • Manipulate environmental causes of poor responses instead of depending on error-prone self-discipline
  • Don’t invest in public stocks where you can’t influence outcomes
  • when overwhelmed: Are you having a breakdown or breakthrough?
  • Rehearse poverty (meals, money use) so you can take risks without fear
  • It’s better to keep old resolutions than make new ones

How to Travel the World with 10 Pounds or Less

  • Never buy if you can borrow

The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm

  • Barry Schwartz’ Paradox of Choice: The more options you consider, the more buyer’s regret you’ll have
  • Recommend: make nonreturnable purchases.
  • Income is renewable but attention and other resources are not.
  • Too many choices = less productivity, appreciation, more overwhelm
  • don’t postpone decisions to avoid uncomfortable conversations
  • don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action
  • Set rules to automate as much decision making as possible
  • fast decisions preserve usable attention for what matters
  • Exercise is results-driven/routine, while Recreation is enjoyment-driven that benefits from variation.

The Not-to-do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now

  • Not to do lists can be more productive than to do lists.
  • What you don’t do determines what you can do
  • Prioritize. Don’t check email first or last thing. Don’t fill a void with work when relationships and activities are supposed to fill it.

The Margin Manifesto: 11 Tenets for Reaching (or Doubling) Profitability in 3 Months

  • Don’t be bland average. Don’t water down messages to appeal to everyone. Niche is the new big.
  • Peter Drucker: What is measured gets managed
  • Pricing before product.
  • Focus on creating demand so you can dictate terms. Outside of science/law, most rules are common practice and you don’t have to do what e veryone else does.
  • Make others negotiate against themselves “Is that the best you can offer?”
  • Fire high maintenance customers
  • Deadlines over details — reliability over capability. Decent projects on time > perfect projects late

If you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery — AA

Photo by Chaz McGregor on Unsplash

Living the 4-Hour Workweek: Case Studies, Tips, and Hacks

  • Reality is truly negotiable
  • If you believe the impossible can b e possible, it will happen

Restricted Reading: The Few That Matter

  • David Schwartz: The Magic of Thinking Big
  • Dan S. Kennedy: How to Make Millions With Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur’s Guide
  • Michael Gerber: The E-Myth Revisited
  • Rolf Potts: Vagabonding
  • Thoreau: Walden
  • Goldian Vandenbroeck: Less is More
  • Randy Komisar: The Monk and the Riddle
  • Richard Koch: The 80/20 Principle
  • Harbard Business School Case Studies
  • Peter Bieler: This business has l egs
  • Roger Dawson: Secrets of Power Negotiating
  • Response Magazine
  • Jordan Whitney Greensheet
  • Bo Burlingham: Small Giants
  • Hope Dlugozima: Six Months Off
  • Verge Magazine

Bonus Material


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Sarah Cy

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Sarah Cy

Daughter, writer, perpetual learner. Become a brilliant writer!