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Pro-tip: There are no "new rich"
am 23. Juni 2011
No big surprise what Tim Ferriss promises in this book: A new, simple way to make money (and lots of it) with just four hours of work every week. The thing is, it's not new, and anything but simple. Of course, his "secret" is to found an Internet business. Nevermind the fact that every single day, thousands of new websites are created, with dozens of them selling something. Nevermind that online marketing is expensive and that in order to sustain a niche, you need to have a solid product that cannot be replicated easily. (Did I hear "patent?" Sure, if you can afford a patent lawyer.)
I'm not against e-business ' not at all ' but you need to be determined, and have at least some knowledge about business to make it work; not to mention the countless hours you have to put in before that business can get started ' far from a 4-hour workweek. Even so, just because it is scalable (a point that is very important to Tim), doesn't mean you will automatically have thousands of customers. And I won't even talk about his ideas on outsourcing, which are basically true but, again, ignore the fact that these things cost money.
The adage always stays true after reading such books: There are no shortcuts in life. (Other than illegal activities and cheating; Tim Ferriss seems to be very fond of the latter')
On to his claim that it's possible to live anywhere. He recommends booking last-minute flights, since they're cheap; but didn't we already know that? Now, is it feasible to live anywhere on a relatively tight budget? Sure. While having a great lifestyle? Forget it. The reason why living is less expensive in many parts of the world is because they have little to offer of what might be called "western lifestyle." Unless you'll be staying in a hotel, which is expensive, anywhere. Great for a vacation, without a doubt, but living there? Once again, Tim Ferriss simplifies too much and forgets about the little problems. So, you've just arrived in a foreign country with just a bag of essentials and then you're supposed to just find an apartment for a year or more, when even locals view that as a challenge (since the best apartments are always taken or reserved). What about furniture, or kitchen furnishings? Or are we supposed to always eat out? Sounds like the life of a bum with too much money, not of a rock star. I understand that I have a biased view of this particular topic, but he mentions the word "vagabond" several times in the relevant chapters. Well, vagabonds were ' and are ' seen as lowlifes.
So, why am I rating this book with 3 stars? Because there is a lot of useful information in it: How to be more productive, how to outsource (which is invaluable for any business), and that it's critical to enjoy life now instead of waiting for retirement. Certainly, the Internet would allow us today to do our work more effectively than ever from home; I really hope that many companies are going to embrace this opportunity to free their employees from the utterly boring and unnecessary 9'5 routine. Human beings can indeed be more productive when they work in short bursts than in constant 8-hour shifts.
To conclude: By all means, go ahead and buy this book if you are dissatisfied with your current work situation. But don't expect things that just aren't realistic (and that are harder than Tim makes them out to be). They don't become realistic simply because the author says so. (Unfortunately.)