EFP 55: Is The 4HWW Still Relevant In 2013?

Justin Cooke July 11, 2013

You can’t deny that Tim Ferris’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek” was a game-changer for many of us that became disillusioned with traditional life scripts and were looking for a fresh way to live, work, and build businesses…but are the principles in the book still relevant in 2013?

Just How Effective is The 4 Hour Work Week Today?

That’s the question we set out to answer in a round-table discussion this week. We were happy to invite our friends Damian Thompson from Linchpin.net and Dan Andrews from the LifestyleBusinessPodcast.com on the show to knock around some of the major points discussed by Tim in the book and to see if some of the key points still ring true.

If you’d read the book or at all involved in lifestyle design, bootstrapped business, or living the expat entrepreneur lifestyle…you’re gonna dig this show.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As


“It’s a lot easier to automate yourself out of a 40K/month business than to create one from scratch” – Dan – Click To Tweet!

“The idea that you’re gonna wait until this magical time, years down the road…is just ridiculous” – Damian – Click To Tweet!

“The big takeaway for me (from the #4HWW) was the idea of empowering your employees.” – Joe – Click To Tweet!

“That’s where our opportunity lies today…filling in the hole left by the defunct ‘Supposed To…” life scripts” – Justin – Click To Tweet!

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • A muse business – Does this still fly?
  • Why the term “lifestyle design” worked and “new rich” did not
  • Mini-retirements and the deferred life plan
  • Offshore outsourcing – is it really that simple?
  • Email auto-responders – How to piss off your partners/customers/employees/_______
  • Going on a media diet (or fast)
  • What skills are required or in demand?
  • Dumping the “Supposed to…” life scripts and filling the hole

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So…what do you think is still relevant regarding the 4-Hour Workweek? What do you think needs to be updated or changed? Let us know on Twitter, drop us a message, or leave us a comment below!


  • I actually just started reading 4HWW. If anything, I feel that Tim’s book has been an inspiring look at thinking outside of the normal lifestyle choices that many people generally accept. Yea, some of his concepts don’t hold 100% accurate today, but overall I look past that and enjoy the book for what it was. Anyway, love your guys’ breakdown. You should do more podcast like these! I’ve been scavenging for some really good books to read lately.

    • Check out Free by Chris Andersen. I just finished The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni, more of a management book, but still good if you are running a team. I’m currently into Built to Sell by John Warrilow, which has really hit home with Justin and driven some of our changes in 2013.

      For a nice change of pace check out Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan. Real science to back up some hard facts about human sexuality. It will blow your mind.

      • Awesome! Thanks so much. I’ll definitely put those on my list of things to read, especially that Sex at Dawn book! I recently read Launch by Michael Stelzner. I had it for a couple years, even before I ran wsotesters.com, but I had never read it, haha. Anyway, I finally got down to reading it and I would definitely recommend that one to anyone especially if they’re just starting out.

        • Justin Cooke says:

          Hey, Josh! Long time, no chat! This comment came in while I was on vacation and I missed it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see you’re up and running again at a new site!


          I watched WSOTesters in horror when you guys took the hit – I saw that you weren’t far enough along to recover and really felt for you. Joe and I had a pretty massive business failure/setback with our mortgage business and it was devastating (financially, psychologically…in almost every way, heh)

          Glad to see you’re back at it…interested to see where you take things, man! Keep in touch, eh?

          • Hey Justin, yea, the new site is up and running. Yea, it was quite a doozy to have everything collapse on me, and I think I would’ve been able to recover, but the timing was really bad as I had some personal things to worry about at the time – but who doesn’t, right? I’ve been trying to catch up with all the exciting things that you have been doing here. I love the new look!

            I think the apprentice gig is an exciting opportunity for whoever wins it. When I saw it, I thought to myself, DAMN, if only I didn’t have a baby on the way, haha.

            I’ll definitely be keeping in touch and trying to stay updated with you and empire flippers.

  • Matt Inglot says:

    Great dissection of the book!

    On the point of how realistic Tim’s ideal of a muse is: I do think you can disappear from your business for 6 months, but if you aren’t collecting perpetual royalties or strictly shareholder in a company (which basically means you have outsourced management to the CEO and team) or one of a few other truly passive forms of income, if you aren’t working for 6 months you are neglecting your business. The impact of that 6 month disappearing act can show up a year or two down the road when you realize the growth opportunities you passed up and that your competition has slowly surpassed you while you have been sipping Mojitos on the beach.

    It’s not a bad thing as long as yourecognize that the party must end and that a business run as a muse can’t sustain forever, I met a guy recently via a Couchsurfing meetup who has been travelling 3 years straight with no job thanks to a business he built. That’s coming to an end soon, but he’s had a great 3 years and started his trip understanding it will be time to go back to work at some point. People get hurt when they don’t understand this though, either because this dream doesn’t come true, or comes to a much more sudden and sobering end.

    • Therein lies part of the problem Matt. We didn’t go into this much on the show, but after that 3 year hiatus, who is going to be willing to hire your couchsurfing friend? Will he have enough runway to start the next business? Will he have the drive and chops to start all over again after three years of sitting on a beach?

      Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, objects at rest tend to stay at rest. My bet is 3 years from now he will be struggling.

      • Matt Inglot says:

        Yea exactly. I do think he’ll get hired or start his own biz and be OK, he’s a smart guy and he’s done it once, so he’ll do it again. But that’s exactly it, he’s basically bought those 3 years with the momentum he developed. And now he starts again from a standing point, which isn’t a cheap price to pay.

  • Daniel Christian says:

    Great episode. Totally agree. Funny enough, just finished re-reading 4HWW on my flight a few weeks ago.

  • Chi says:

    One of my favourite episode of the podcast and I’ve been a fan for a long time. Really appreciate all of your insights into the 4HWW

    • Glad you liked it Chi! We tried not to be too harsh on Mr. Ferris, because afterall there some great strategies in his book. Still I think some of it needs to be thought of in the time it was written and how the audience has changed.

  • Don Shelton says:

    This was a tremendous idea for a podcast; agree or disagree with Ferris on specific points, he has had a tremendous influence. I’m in the middle of re-reading 4HWW for the 4th time so it was especially on point. I agree that in many ways Ferris either had advantages we don’t have (best line was about being easier to automate out of a 40K job than create one – I’ve certainly had better luck automating my real world vocation so far than in creating muses from scratch), or not everything in 4HWW works for everyone. However, certain truths – automate as much as possible, don’t work for work’s sake, be willing to write your own life script, etc. are timeless. You all covered so many topics, I’d like to see future podcasts where you dig a little deeper on one or two at a time, especially things you (or your guests) have specifically tried to do.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Don!

      Agree with your points – I definitely like the idea of narrowing down on one or two topics and hashing through them – something we’ll have to consider for a future episode, for sure!

  • Robert Longley says:

    Great discussion. I think you should go back to Tim and discuss a “4HWW Revisited” . Most people don’t know that after the first version came out he set up a Wiki to create the second version and invited people to edit and provide content. I ended up being one of the stories in the final version. As someone who is constantly reinventing himself, I could see Tim being up for taking 4HWW to the nest level through community input.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Robert!

      A couple of months ago, I saw that Tim posted on his FB wall asking for feedback about what they’d like to see included in a future version or follow-up to the 4HWW and I was glad to see that’s on his radar.

  • Hey guys , what’s up ?

    Glad to hear so many familiar voices at once .

    BUT , I have to be honest with you . I am completely disappointed with this podcast . With a subject like that all you do is to exchange well thought and expressed arguments , insightful thoughts on the subject and no bs personal experiences ?

    Oh , come on people ! I was expecting someone to call out Tim Ferriss . I wanted accusations . I wanted blood , GORE ! Especially from you Mr Thompson . You had a reputation to live up to .

    Anyway , this time I forgive you , but it’s the last !

    Be healthy and smile . 🙂

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Ilias!

      Funny enough – there was someone on Twitter that thought we were WAY too harsh on Tim here. (He obviously didn’t actually listen to the episode!)

  • Terry Lin says:

    Awesome one gents!

    One thing Tim Ferriss definitely left out is the importance of finding a community of like-minded people. In the book it comes off as a solo effort that magically “happens” via outsourcing, without hearing anything about the push-back form family, friends, and others who are not in the same mindset.

  • Vanson says:

    I love both Empire Flippers and Tim Ferriss! Great podcast! You guys are awesome!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Vanson!

      Yeah…Tim Ferriss really helped to define a movement, for sure. Glad you dug the episode!

      • Vanson says:

        I listened to all and every single episode of yours! You guys simply rock – can say you are the “Hackers of Podcast”. Mark Zuckerberg always used that term on people who work out of the box, and you guys are these amazing, inspiring people!

  • Great podcast. A great time to have those “watch a full season in one day” days is when you get a little burnt out from working a lot. Great way to recharge.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Totally agree – I love to have a good “cave day” every now and again…especially if it’s a show or program I can really get sucked into and the show absorbs me. I love that! 🙂

    • Yeah, I got a bit tongue tied, “Binge Watch” was what I was looking for… great as a recharge tool.

  • Bruno says:

    One of the parts I really liked about the book was when he said do not work just for work sake. Sometimes I find myself doing completely useless thing just because I want to work until 10pm or just to feel that I did something. Anyway that’s a great book for openminded people to appreciate, but like in anything else you cannot take everything for the absolute truth. Great podcast as always!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Shit, Bruno – that’s probably something we should have discussed.

      Honestly, the “work for works sake” problem is (I think) one of the biggest issues entrepreneurs have to face. This is especially true for those who come from corporate backgrounds. Thanks for bringing it up! Worth a podcast episode or blog post on its own, I think…

    • Dan says:

      Agreed I dig this point and the discussion around ‘effective’ vs. ‘efficient’

  • Hi guys

    I thought you all had great insights to the book and resonated with my thoughts on the book.

    I “retired in 2003” for 5 yrs was the plan big mistake whilst it was awesome travel and tick off bucket list items, getting back in the game was really tough.

    A month off maybe but that’s about it. Also I like work it was the specific situation that I didnot. Lesson learnt.

    I really liked some of your summarises Justin

    And great to just listen in four thoughtful commentaries



    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Steve!

      It’s funny…Joe and I are often considering the skill sets we’re building as we continue to build out our business. It’s actually a consideration before we head down a new revenue path – is this really something we want to learn and build on? If not…why are we doing it?

      • Hey, that’s a great thing to do. I do that more and more. I like the granny test and Conference test idea.

        Its killed off many edgy projects ive thought about with great revenue but.. An example was when pay day loans started up here in the UK many many years ago. Some charities invested then realized that the companies were charging 2000% interest if you exceeded 20 days.. so pulled out.

        BTW love that supervisor idea. my 0.0005$ worth is thing strongly about brining somebody inside that can be positively disruptive on the “tribes” that have formed. A were all one tribe message from a new leader will ring more true than an insider that’s already got a tribe? or hire an outside contractor to super charge the change over.

        Its summer time in england 30 degrees lol :_)

  • Moreno Hugo says:

    Do you guys have a YouTubechannel? would make it easier to listen

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