Selby Group | Jennifer’s Book Corner
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Jennifer’s Book Corner

Jennifer’s Book Corner

Since the first book corner was such a hit, I’ll do it again. This week I’m reviewing The Four-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferris.

This young man has a very different set of assumptions about work than do the Boomers, and this is what makes his writing so intriguing. I believe it took a young person to write this book, to question assumptions made by the previous generation, and to ruffle a few feathers, and Ferris has no fear of ruffling those feathers.

Many Boomers (and those of us on the cusp between the generations) place a high value on work and seek a sense of purpose and meaning in our professions. In my experience, I see many Boomers become absolutely distraught if their work loses its sense of meaning and purpose. The two are tied very closely together for this generation.

By contrast, Ferris makes the assertion that the best job for most people is just the one that takes the least time, so you can get out and experience the rest of your life.

Pro’s:

  • Those of us who happen to enjoy our professions (and yes, find meaning and purpose in them) can still broaden our perspectives and pick up useful tips from this book.
  • Ferris explains in great detail his methods for maintaining his lifestyle by working very few hours in a specific manner.
  • His methods clearly would work for self-employed individuals who sell products (not services – sorry to all the consultants who read this eZine!), for individual contributors whose jobs are truly independent of other employees, and for those with talent and passion for marketing or product creation.
  • His stories provide an interesting and useful primer in product creation and internet marketing.
  • For those of you interested in the lexicon of Psychological Type, I believe Ferris may be that rare author of the ISTP variety, or perhaps of the ESTP variety. Excitement and freedom are his key themes. I rarely come across books written in such a concrete and energetic manner, so this alone gives me a different perspective. It’s a business book that’s actually fun to read.

Con’s:

  • Some of Ferris’ business methods, while legal, do push the envelope a bit too far for my comfort level.
  • I am not entirely comfortable with the idea that I would outsource all headaches to a hard-working, low-paid team while I dink around in Buenos Aries, sipping coffee and taking tango lessons.
  • It is very difficult for me to imagine how his approach could apply to someone whose talents lie in operations. In fact, the complete outsourcing of these functions is a key part of his strategy, because they are impossible to streamline into a very short workweek.
  • Likewise, leaders need to be visible, and that takes more than four hours a week.
  • Many people get great personal satisfaction from working with their team mates. Working for a company satisfies personal needs for belonging, inclusion, and connection. For those considering a very short workweek, it would be essential to face up to how much interpersonal satisfaction you get from your current work and have an alternative way to meet these needs, or you will find yourself feeling lonely and isolated instead of excited and joyful.
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