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Book notes: The 4-hour workweek

Book notes: The 4-hour workweek


I don’t read book summaries. Neither should you. The following are mostly notes to myself, and are my interpretations.

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

  • An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. —NIELS BOHR, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

  • Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —ALBERT EINSTEIN

  • To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognise that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is.

  • To be neither the boss nor the employee, but the owner. To own the trains and have someone else ensure they run on time.

  • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. —RICHARD P. FEYNMAN, Nobel Prize–winning physicist

  • Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom multiplier.”

  • Options—the ability to choose—is real power

  • Everything popular is wrong. —OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest

  • Different is better when it is more effective or more fun

  • Focus on being productive instead of busy

  • If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?

  • What are you putting off out of fear?

  • What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do

  • CHARLES ATLAS, strongman who sold more than $30 million worth of “dynamic-tension” muscle courses through comic books

  • Only those who are asleep make no mistakes. —INGVAR KAMPRAD, founder of IKEA, world’s largest furniture brand

Starting up & side-projects

  • What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10 times smarter than the rest of the world?

  • Create two timelines—6 months and 12 months—and list up to five things you dream of having (including, but not limited to, material wants: house, car, clothing, etc.), being (be a great cook, be fluent in Chinese, etc.), and doing (visiting Thailand, tracing your roots overseas, racing ostriches, etc.) in that order.

  • What would you do, day to day, if you had $100 million in the bank? b. What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning to another day?

  • One place to visit one thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime) one thing to do daily one thing to do weekly one thing you’ve always wanted to learn

  • If financeable, what is the cost per month for each of the four dreams

Pareto & effectiveness

  • Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.

  • It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.

  • EFFECTIVENESS IS DOING the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible.

  • What gets measured gets managed.

  • 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs.

  • Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? 2. Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

  • Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20).

  • Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law).

  • The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.

  • THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE and Parkinson’s Law are the two cornerstone concepts that will be revisited in different forms throughout this entire section.

  • What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness?

  • There should never be more than two mission-critical items to complete each day.

  • Learn to Propose. Stop asking for opinions and start proposing solutions. Begin with the small things.

  • Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated


  • I only read accounts that are “how I did it” and autobiographical

  • Read the sections of the book that were relevant to immediate next steps

  • How to Read 200% Faster in 10 Minutes

  • Two Minutes: Use a pen or finger to trace under each line as you read as fast as possible

  • Three Minutes: Begin each line focusing on the third word in from the first word, and end each line focusing on the third word in from the last word

  • “Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?”

  • Focus on what digerati Kathy Sierra calls “just-in-time” information instead of “just-in-case” information

  • 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

There are a lot of actionable links, resources and step-by-step guides on testing new ideas. I'll revisit the pages when I have something to try out.

© Copyright 2023, I guess.

© Copyright 2024, I guess.