4-Hour Work Week or Why You Should Re-Read Your Books

Several years ago, in 2010, an odd title caught my attention in the business section of Stockholm Airport bookstore. Four-hour work week? Really? That sounded like the typical, Internet get rich quickly scheme. For some reason, I checked it out. While still not entirely convinced, I decided to give it a try. It wouldn’t be the first useless book on entrepreneurship that I bought. It turned out quite the opposite.

Upon finishing it, I seriously considered quitting my job.

Saner thoughts prevailed and I didn’t. Without further ado, I bought a copy for my best friend. She came back to work after weekend all fired up, as after reading it with her husband, they were looking for automated business idea. If I remember correctly, their first thought was to import, seemingly unknown in Poland at the time, fake hedge from Czech Republic. My concept was even farther off the scale of lunacy (Korean cars performance parts web store). Luckily, none of us pursued these first thoughts.

But this was something Tim Ferriss’ “4-Hour Work Week” (4HWW) did to twenty-something people back then. Full of tips, tricks and real-life examples, written in captivatingly witty style. This single book literally pivoted my approach to life, upgrading my (seemed to be) corporate style career with additional dimension of control. Since then, I bought and read several dozens of business books, gave at least fifty copies to my friends and failed (“tested”) two ventures. I really don’t think it would’ve happened that fast hadn’t it been for the 4HWW. The book also catapulted Tim’s career, gave the world three more fantastic books by him, interesting blog and the most valuable podcast ever.

Which is where I could end this review and simply recommend you to get one.

However, for some reason, I did read it again, in 2013. Just to go through and recap the good old times. To my surprise, my conclusions were different this time. When I first read it, what I found was pure mechanics. Specific things to do in a specific situation to achieve specific goals. Three years later, what I found was mindset, a way of thinking. And you know what? Another three years later, I read it again. Then, I understood what Tim might’ve not been aware when he wrote it. This book is about life philosophy. On the other hand, it lost its revolutionary charm. I didn’t really feel like dropping my big clients this time. My next reading is scheduled for 2019 – that might be interesting.

How was it possible?

It’s simple. Each time I picked 4HWW off the shelf, I was another person. More experience, more knowledge, updated social network. When reading through the material one already knows, this new person will inevitably take another angle.

I highly encourage you to get back to books that had an impact on you years ago. They’re not the same anymore.

And, even though it’s now decade old, I recommend you to read 4HWW. At the very least, give Tim’s podcast a shot. And if you’re totally lazy, just listen to the one episode I find to be the very best of them all – the first episode with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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