Bootstrapper’s Bookshelf: The 4-Hour Workweek

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by Tim Ferriss, available as Paperback and Hardcover.

In a way, my entrepreneurial journey started with Tim Ferriss. I started looking for interesting podcasts, and I quickly found the Tim Ferriss Show. It wasn’t long into listening to the spectacular and insightful interviews that I picked up Tim’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek. I remember finishing the book within two days. I emerged from reading this book with a new perspective on what was possible, on what I could accomplish.

The book makes an ambitions claim in the title: it talks of escaping the 9-5, living anywhere, and joining the new rich. Being in total control of my life sounded enticing to me. Why postponing a life of joy and fulfillment right into a late retirement when you can have it right now? You definitely won’t have to work for 40 years in 40-hour workweeks to get to a life of flexibility and mobility.

Ferriss essentially tells his own success story, and he is quite practical about the advice he gives. The book is full of examples and URLs that are updated and revised in each edition. The book is aimed at liberating the reader from the chains of gainful employment and all the limitations that come with a regular full-time office job.

The foundation of The 4-Hour Workweek is the DEAL formula, short for Definition/Elimination/Automation/Liberation. You need to define your own rules, eliminate distractions and roadblocks, automate your business as much as possible, and then liberate yourself by escaping the office. Each step is described in great detail in a chapter.

Ferriss makes sure to explain the “why” behind the DEAL concepts as well as giving you strategies on how to apply them while still being locked into your 9-5 job. That is the magic of the book: it’s a guide not just to a new life, but also a transition manual to get there from where you are right now.

If you follow the steps and advice in The 4-Hour Workweek, you will end up with a fully automated business that you can work on for a few hours a week, from wherever you are. That is the promise.

And for me, it worked out. Reading the book lead me down a path of learning more about becoming a bootstrapped entrepreneur. I started thinking of a business as something to be automated from the beginning, and every effort that I put into building FeedbackPanda with my partner Danielle was aimed at making it a business that worked for us instead of us working for it. When we sold the company in July 2019 just after two years of running and growing it, we had almost everything completely automated and could run the business from wherever we were.

If you need proof that The 4-Hour Workweek is real and can be achieved, FeedbackPanda would be a prime example. It definitely can be done. I recommend reading this book as the first step into your bootstrapped entrepreneurial journey. It’s eye-opening.

You can find more books on bootstrapping and detailed reviews on the Bookstrapper’s Bookshelf.