What I Agree and Disagree with The Four Hour Workweek

I’ve been reading the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris over the past few days (again). And I’d have to say that he has some pretty awesome/useful information in there. But of course, I don’t agree with everything. Here’s what I agree with and don’t, and how it relates to investing.

Agree

Doing something unimportant well doesn’t make it important.

Completely true. Some people feel like they have to listen to the latest BS spit out my Jim Cramer. Don’t, because anyone can be a good listener, and it’s not important.

Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

There are many menial jobs  that can be outsourced. You only have 24 hours in a day, so don’t waste time doing something unimportant.

80% of all consequences come from 20% of the causes.

So true. That’s why you should not commit yourself to every opportunity that presents itself. Some people have the notion that they need to pursue every money making opportunity. Don’t. 80% of all stock market gains are realized by 20% of the investors and 20% of an individual portfolio.

Empowerment failures waste your time and the time of your employees.

Totally agree. Bureaucracy only slows things down, as every command and order needs to go down the ranks.

Move to once per day as soon as possible.

Delegate unimportant tasks such as checking email to once a day. The biggest time waster is constantly waiting for emails and text messages.

Not all customers are created equal. Evaluate your customers and thin the herd.

This can be interpreted two ways. If you’re a hedge fund manager, not all clients are equal. The guys who are bastards and give you hard time often are worth your effort dealing with. In a different light, those not all investment opportunities are created equal.

Disagree

Emphasize streghts, don’t fix weaknesses.

I completely disagree with this. Going from a 40% to a70% is easier than going from a 90% to a 95%. Sometimes, you must fix your weaknesses in order to be successful.

Put things on autopilot, and save time.

There is no such thing as successful autopilot investing. Period.

Partially Agree

Maintain a low information diet.

Don’t listen to every piece of market opinion. Doing so will only get your clear thinking muddled up, and confuse your thoughts. Don’t be obsessive over the latest piece of market data, because remember, it’s the price that drives the action, not the news.

However,  good investors are knowledgeable. We all know that. Personally, I listen to 10 hedge fund managers and individual investors that I really trust.

Life doesn’t have  to be hard. People jus tmake it hard.

Life doesn’t have to be hard. But there’s a weird conception that successful investing is easy. It’s not, or else we’d all but Warren Buffett!

18 thoughts on “What I Agree and Disagree with The Four Hour Workweek”

  1. “There is no such thing as successful autopilot investing. Period.” I take it that you disagree with mutual funds and index funds then?

    Personally, I think they’re a great way to invest. Not many people can beat the market average over an extended period of time.

  2. I a wee bit disagree that we all would be Warren Buffet, if the life would be easy.

    Many people have very little interest in financial independence. They just want to have Warren’s money and spend them all, that is it.

    And on things they do not need anyway. Very few have breathtaking real life project ideas.

    As far as the herd. Weill the hedge fund managers have been shaving the herd religiously but for some of them provided very little benefits. On top of that there was inflation and people who have been saving money all they life could not afford to retire.

    A colleague of mine lost 30% of his portfolio in 2008 and has not recovered despite being with reputable firm and actively managed portfolio. The manager who lost the money recently bought third home on Virgin Islands…

  3. I think there’s a difference between not fixing weaknesses vs. not focusing on them. Did he really say not to fix them? (It’s been awhile since I read the book.) I think it also depends on what the weakness is. If it’s something that’s really holding you back and is completely fixable if you just worked at it a little, I think you can gain a lot by doing so. But if you’re spending your time stressing out because you aren’t very good at say, public speaking, when you’ve only spoken in public once in your life and aren’t likely to again in the near future, that’s probably something to just let go.

  4. I agree with most of your opinions. I do have to partially disagree with your assessment on not fixing the weakness. Although it’s good to be well-rounded, but in order to excel, you need to focus on what works and forget about the things that don’t work. I think that’s what successful businesses do. Once they venture out and try to do something they’re not good at, that’s when everything goes downhill.

  5. I really liked this book. I think when he said move to checking emails only once a day I almost had a heart attack! lol I am constantly checking emails but I realized that I can be so much more effective when I leave the emails to once or twice a day. Next step is getting a virtual assistant.

  6. I do agree that we need to fix weaknesses in order to be successful. Otherwise, we will never utilize our full potential. Our weaknesses would eat up our energy that otherwise could have been directed towards some meaningful goal.

  7. I never understood when Tim Ferris said don’t focus on weaknesses. I am with you 100% on the fixing the personality quirks and your grammar. I had to adjust my personality a lot over the years to become an effective leader in business and marriage. Fixing your personality definitely works.

    1. I have had a similar journey. I have made a huge effort the last number of years on self improvement and it has paid off. It has made me much more successful and happier person. It is definitely worth it and important in my mind.

  8. On the strengths and weakness discussion. You should leverage your strengths in certain instances and fix your weaknesses at the same time. If I take a math test and know everything about there is to know about geometry, but nothing about algebra, I should be studying algebra intensely to improve my performance.

    Now in business, if you suck at sales, you can hire a salesman but that weakness still has to be dealt with or you won’t get any business so your strength in designing products is futile.

    1. I think it depends. If you’re talking about technical strenghts (e.g. coding, analysis work,), then there’s no poin in fixing those weaknesses, because it can be outsourced. But for certain things, such as personality weaknesses, or your grammar (if you’re a writer), then it’s best to fix those up.

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