The 4-Hour Workweek: Book Summary

Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.


  • Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.
  • People don’t want to be millionaires; they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy.
  • French economist J. B. Said in 1800 — An entrepreneur is one who shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher yield.

Chronology of a pathology

  • "An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." —NIELS BOHR

Chapter 1: Cautions and Comparisons

  • "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." —ALBERT EINSTEIN
  • "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool." —RICHARD P. FEYNMAN
  • 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.”
  • “Civilisation had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them.” —BILL COSBY
  • “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life." — JOHN F. KENNEDY

Chapter 2: The Rules That Change The Rules

  • “Everything popular is wrong.” —OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.
  • Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn't matter how good a cook you are.
  • Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness.
  • Focus on being productive instead of busy.
  • The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of it's way to line up all the pins for you.
  • Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you really screw up.
  • Emphasise your strengths, don't fix weaknesses.
  • In excess, most endeavours and possessions take on the characteristics of their opposite.
  • Money alone is not the solution
  • Relative income is more important than absolute income
  • Distress is bad, Eustress is good.

Chapter 3: Dodging Bullets

  • “Many a false step was made by standing still.”

Chapter 4: System Reset

  • Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
  • The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
  • There is just less competition for bigger goals.
  • Deal with rejection by persisting, not by taking my business elsewhere
  • Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!

Chapter 5: End of time management

  • 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
  • Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
  • Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
  • What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.

Chapter 6: The Low-Information Diet

  • Problems, as a rule, solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.

Chapter 7: Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal

  • Do your own thinking independently. Be a chess player, not the chess piece --Ralph Charell
  • Having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
  • It is your job to train those around you to be effective and efficient. No one else will do it for you.
  • If you are a micromanaging entrepreneur, realise that even if you can do something better than the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean that’s what you should be doing if it’s part of the minutiae.

Chapter 8: Outsourcing Life

  • A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
  • Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. —MALCOLM X
  • Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems.

Chapter 9: income Autopilot

  • Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed. --VIDA D. SCUDDER

Chapter 10: Testing the Muse

  • Test the idea before lunching with landing pages
  • People saying they like your product is different from them giving you money for it.

Chapter 11: Management by Absence

  • The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. --WARREN G. BENNIS”

Chapter 12: Disapearing Act

  • “It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains." —THOMAS H. HUXLEY
  • “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." —GEORGE BERNARD SHAW”
  • “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him." —THOMAS J. WATSON
  • Do not accept a vague refusal. Pinpointing the main concern in detail enables you to overcome it.
  • Friday is the best day to be in the office. People are relaxed and tend to leave early.
  • Don’t jump to the defensive after an objection. Acknowledge the validity of a boss’s concerns to prevent an ego-driven battle of wills.
  • When you get rejected, ask this “What would I need to do to [desired outcome]?”

Chapter 13: Beyond Repair

  • “Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer." --NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI
  • “If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time." —CHINESE PROVERB
  • “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure." —THOMAS J. WATSON
  • “Only those who are asleep make no mistakes." —INGVAR KAMPRAD

Chapter 14: Mini-Retirements

  • "The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research."" -- ROLF POTTS
  • "There is more to life than increasing its speed." --MOHANDAS GANDHI
  • There are tons of things in your home and life that you don’t use, need, or even particularly want.

Chapter 15: Filling the Void

  • There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do. —BILL WATTERSON
  • Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another. —ANATOLE FRANCE
  • People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. —JOSEPH CAMPBELL
  • Lacking an external focus, the mind turns inward on itself and creates problems to solve, even if the problems are undefined or unimportant.
  • If you find a focus, an ambitious goal that seems impossible and forces you to grow, these doubts disappear.
  • What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and strugling for a whorthwile goal, a freely chosen task.
  • Life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.
  • To live is to learn. There is no other option.
  • Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike. —OSCAR WILDE
  • Service is doing something that improves life besides your own.

Chapter 16: The top 13 New Rich Mistakes

  • “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake." —FRANK WILCZEK
  • 13 Mistakes
    1. Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work's sake
    2. Micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time
    3. Handling problems your outsources or co-workers can handle
    4. Helping outsources or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with non crisis problemns.
    5. Chasing customers particularly unqualified or international prospects when you have sufficient cash flow to finiance your non-finanical persuits
    6. Answering e-mail that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by an FAQ or auto-responder.
    7. Workfing where you live, sleep or should relax.
    8. Not perfmorming a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks for your business and personal life.
    9. Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, wheather in your personal or professional life.
    10. Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work
    11. Making non-time-senstive issues urgent to justify work
    12. Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence
    13. Ignoring the social rewards of life.

The Last Chapter

  • There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; There is nothing harder to learn. -- SENECA
  • Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose -- Steve Jobs
  • When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there.
  • When you worry and hurry through your day, It's like an unopened gift thrown away.
  • Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.