Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Personal MBA Update - The 4-Hour Work Week

Personal MBA Update - The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss: I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time and I finally got around to reading it. It was also part of my Personal MBA self education journey which was a bonus as well. I really liked this book a lot. I am sure this book gets a lot of criticism from the typical naysayers who think that people who write books like The 4-Hour Work Week just write them to make money. It is one of those books that gets you pumped up to get started. To go do something. To change your way of thinking. However, I couldn't help but think throughout the entire book that Timothy walks the talk. You can learn more about him here. He must be doing something right. There were a few key points that I took away from this book that I think are permanently embedded in me. First was the emphasis on the new rich. The new rich is all about a lifestyle design. People think they have to be rich to do the things they always want to do so they slave away in the corporate world for years sacrificing a lot of years of their lives to have a good life post retirement. This book encourages people to live how you want to live NOW. I kind of have this mentality already but I definitely could be better at actually living it out. This book provides a far end of the spectrum view of living a four hour workweek and creating your ideal lifestyle design. But if the book is the furthest point north, just head that direction. If you get anywhere closer from where you are it was worth it. The other huge lesson I took away from this book was the purposeful creation of a business with automation in mind. The goal should not be to start of business with you as the vortex of all business operations. The goal should be to create a system that runs itself and provides you with a mindless stream of income so you can pursue the things you have always dreamed of. A very simple concept but very enlightening. Obviously the book is a lot easier read than done but that shouldn't deter a reader from learning from its valuable lessons. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to aspiring entrepreneurs as they are susceptible to starting a business that creates a life they don't enjoy instead of freeing them from one they don't enjoy. Here are my notes from the book.

- " Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain
- "Anyone who lives within their means suffers from lack of imagination." - Oscar Wilde
- What I do with my time and what I do for money are completely different things
- The new rich 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. This is an art and a science referred to as lifestyle design.
- People don't want to be millionaires they want to experience what they believe only millionaires can buy.
- What is the pot of gold that justifies spending the best years of your life hoping for happiness in the last?
D for definition turns misguided common sense upside down
E for elimination kills the notion of time management
A for automation puts cash flow on autopilot
L for liberation is mobile manifesto for the globally inclined
- Entrepreneur is one who shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher yield - JB Say french economist
- "An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." Niels Bohr
- "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." - Heinrich Heine
- "Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein
- "These individuals have riches just as we say that we might "have a fever" when the fever really has us." - Seneca
- "I also have in mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters." Henry David Thoreau
- The new rich can be separated from the crowd based on their goals, which reflect very distinct priorities and life philospohies.
- "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 can control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. Called the freedom multiplier.
- 80 hr per week investment banker making $500K may be worth less when we look at lifestyle output of their money.
- Options: the ability to choose is real power
- "Civilization had too many rules for me so I did my best to rewrite them." Bill Crosby
- "Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life." JFK
- " I cant give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." Herbert Bayard Swope
- "Everything popular is wrong." Oscar Wilde
- Kickboxing champ by exploiting the rules
- If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and results are sub par this is the time to ask what if I did the opposite? Don't follow a model that doesn't work. If recipe sucks it doesn't matter how good a cook you are.
- The basic rules for successful new rich are surprisingly uniform and predictably divergent from what the rest of the world is doing.
1. Retirement is worst case scenario insurance
a. Predicated that you don't like what you are doing now b. most cant maintain a good standard of living for 30 years c. if you cant maintain your ambitions you'll be so bored you'll be out of retirement anyways so why wait?
2. Interest and energy are cyclical
3. Less is not laziness
4. The timing is never right
5. Ask forgiveness not permission
6. Emphasize strengths don't fix weaknesses
7. Things in excess become their opposite
8. Money alone is not the solution
9. Relative income is more important than absolute income
10. Distress is bad eustress is good
- "Many false step was made by standing still." Fortune Cookie
- "Named must your fear be before banish it you can." Yoda
- "Action may not always bring happiness but there is no happiness without action." Benjamin Disraeli
- "Set aside a certain number of days during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: "Is this the condition that I feared?"" Seneca
- "Theres no difference between a pessimist who says, oh its hopeless so don't bother doing anything and an optimist who says don't bother doing anything its going to turn out fine anyway. Either way nothing happens." Yvon Chouinard
- Are you better off that a year, month, week ago? If not things wont be better by themselves. Fear is disguised as optimism
- What would seem like a disaster from the outside was the most life affirming epiphany he'd ever experienced: The worst really wasn't that bad. To enjoy life you don't need fancy nonsense but you do need to control your time and realise that most things just aren't as serious as you make them out to be.
- "I'm an old man and have known great many troubles, but most of them never happened." Mark Twain
1. Define your nightmare
2. What could you do to repair the damage?
3. What are the outcomes or benefits?
4. If you were fired today what would you do to get things under financial control?
5. What are you putting off out of fear?
6. What is it costing you financially and emotionally and physically to postpone the action?
7. What are you waiting for?
- Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic
- If you are insecure guess what the rest of the world is too. Don't overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself.
- Dreamlining: 1. The goals shift from ambiguous wants to defined steps 2. The goals have to be unrealistic to be effective 3. It focuses on activities that will fill the vacuum when work is removed. Living like a millionaire requires doing interesting things and not just owning enviable things.
1. What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10 times smarter than the rest of the world? 6 Months and 12 months 5 things you dream of having being and doing
2. Drawing a blank?
3. What does "being" entail doing? Convert into actionable items great cook-make Xmas dinner without help
4. What are the four dreams that would change it all?
5. Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your target monthly income
- Sample page 56
6. Determine three steps for each of your 4 dreams and take the first step now
- There is a direct correlation between an increased sphere of comfort and getting what you want
- Comfort Challenge: Learn to Eye gaze 1. Focus on one eye and blink so you don't look like a psycho or get your ass kicked 2. In conversation maintain eye contact when you re speaking easier when listening 3. Practice with bigger or more confident people
- "Once does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity." Bruce Lee
- "Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away." Antoine De Saint-Exupery
- "It is vain to do more with more what can be done with less." William of Occam
- A few words on time management: forget about it.
1. Doing something unimportant well doesn't make it important 2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important
- What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important but is useless unless applied to the right things.
- "What gets measured gets managed." Peter Drucker
- Pareto: 1. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? 2. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?
- Being busy is a form of laziness - lazy thinking and indiscriminate action
- How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work? It isn't. 9-5 is arbitrary.
- Parkinson's law - a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion
1. Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time 2. Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important.
- At least thee times a day ask the following question: Am I being productive or just active? Or am I just inventing things to do to avoid the important?
- Define a short to do list and a not to do list
1. If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day what would you do?
2. If you had a second attack and worked two hours per month what would you do?
3. If you had a gun to your head and had to remove 4/5 of different time consuming activities what would you remove?
4. What are the 3 activities that I use to fill time to feel as though Ive been productive?
5. If this is the only thing I accomplish today will I be satisfied?
6. Put a post it or outlook calender reminder to alert you 3 times a day with the question "Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?"
7. Do not multitask
8. Use Parkinson's law on a macro and micro level
- Comfort Challenge: Learn to propose - stop asking for opinions and start proposing solutions. Both personally and professionally. "Can I make a suggestion?" "I propose" "Id like to propose" "I suggest that...what do you think?" "Lets try....and then something else if that doesn't work."
- "There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant." Ralph Waldo Emerson
- "Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace." Robert J Sawyer
- "Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player not the chess piece." Ralph Charell
- "Meetings are an addictive, highly self indulgent activity that corporations and other organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate." Dave Barry
- Bully example page 91
1. Time wasters 2. Time consumers 3. Empowerment Failures Principle Int eruptions
- limit email to 2 times a day noon and 4pm
- limit outgoing phone calls
- master the art of refusal and avoiding meetings
1. Most are non urgent so make order of communication email, phone, in person
2. Respond to voicemail via email when possible
3. Meetings are only to make decisions not to define a problem
4. Define an end time for a meeting
5. Don't permit casual visitors to office
6. Use the puppy dog close
- Create systems to limit your availability via email and phone and deflect inappropriate contact
- Batch activities to limit setup cost and provide more dreamline time
- Set or request autonomous rules and guidelines with occasional review of results
- Comfort challenge: revisit the terrible twos - say no to all requests
- "The future is here. Its just not widely distributed yet." William Gibson coined term cyberspace in 1984
- "Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." Malcom X
- getting a remote personal assistant is a huge departure point and marks the moment you learn how to give orders and be commander instead of commanded. Training for critical NR skills remote management and communication
- "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." Bill Gates
1. Each delegated task must be time consuming and well defined
2. Have fun with it
1. Accepted the first VA at the firm and made no special requests
2. Gave imprecise directions - needed one possible interpretation at a 2nd grade level
3. Gave a license to waste time
4. Set deadline a week in advance - no more than 72 hours Parkinson's law
5. Gave too many tasks and no order of importance
- Example email to VA on page 134
- Questions and actions: 1. Get an assistant even if you don't need one 2. Start small but think big 3. Identify your top 5 time consuming non work tasks and 5 personal tasks you could assign for fun
- Comfort challenge - use the criticism sandwich: Praise, deliver the criticism, close with topic shifting praise to exit sensitive topic
- "Just set it and forget it" Ron Popeil
- "As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble." Ralph Waldo Emerson
- What would you do if you didn't have to think about money? Its time to find your muse.
- "When I was younger....I didn't want to be pigeonholed....Basically now you want to be pigeonholed. Its your niche. - Joan Chen actress in Last Emperor and Twin Peaks
1. What social, industry, and professional groups do you or have you longed to or do you understand?
2. Which of those groups have their own magazines?
- "Genius is only a superior power of seeing." John Ruskin
1. Pick an affordably reachable niche market 2. Brainstorm products a) resell b) license "I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow." Woodrow Wilson c) product creation "creation is a better means of self expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed." - Vida D Scudder
-Comfort challenge: Find Yoda - call at least one superstar mentor per day for 3 days, email only after calling
1. Market selection 2. product brainstorm 3. Micro testing 4. Roll out and automation
- Comfort Challenge: rejecting first offers and working away
- Websites on page 180
- Most entrepreneurs don't start out with automation as the goal
- This intentional absence has enabled him to create a process driven instead of founder driven business. Limiting contact with managers forces the entrepreneur to develop operational rules that enable others to deal with problems themselves instead of calling for help.
- Begin with the end in mind pg 185 chart
- "The system is the solution." AT&T
1. Contract outsourcing companies who specialize in one function with numerous people to replace each other as needed
2. Ensure outsourcers are willing to communicate amongst themselves to solve problems
- "Companies go out of business when they make the wrong decisions or just as important make too many decisions. The latter creates complexity. Mike Maples
1. Offer one or two purchase options 2. Do not offer multiple shipping options 3. Do not offer overnight or expedited delivery 4. Eliminate phone orders 5. Don't offer international shipping
- Use lose win guarantees
- Comfort challenge: relax in public - lie on the ground in public
- "It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains." Thomas H. Huxley
- "By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day." Robert Frost
- "On this path it is only the first step that counts." St Jean Baptise Marie Vianney
1. Increased investment - company to invest as much as possible in you so the loss is greater if you quit
2. Prove increased output offsite
3. Prepare the quantifiable business benefit - show benefit of working outside the office
4. Propose a revocable trial period
5. Expand remote time
- "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 founder of IBM
- Questions and actions:
1. If you had a heart attack how could you work remotely for four weeks?
2. Put yourself in your boss' shoes. Based on history would you trust you to work outside the office
3. Practice environment free productivity
4. Quantify current productivity
5. Create an opportunity and demonstrate remote work productivity before asking for it as a policy
6. Practice the art of getting past no before proposing
7. Put your employer on remote training wheels - Propose Monday or Friday at home
8. Extend each successful trial period until you reach full time or desired level of mobility
- "Would you like me to give you a formula for success? Its quite simple really. Double your rate of failure." Thomas J Watson founder of IBM
- Mexican fishing story pg 232
- "There is more to life than increasing its speed." Mohandas Gandhi
- "This is the very imperfection of man, to find out his own imperfection." Saint Augustine
- mini retirements: 1. take an asset and cash flow snapshot 2. fear set a one year mini retirement in a dream location 3. choose a location for your actual mini retirement a)choose starting point and wander b) scout a region and settle on your favorite 4. prepare for your trip - eliminate and automate
- Websites pg 256
- "To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass." Anne Lamott
- "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 were really seeking. I think what were seeking is an experience of being alive." Joseph Campbell
- "What man actually needs is not a tension less state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task." Viktor E Frankl
- Life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself
1. Continual learning 2. Service
- Service is an attitude
- "Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas." Paula Poundstone
- "The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive." Thich Nhat Hanh
1. Revisit ground zero: Do nothing 2. Make an anonymous donation 3. Take a learning mini retirement in combination with local volunteering 4. Revisit and reset dream lines 5. Based on 1-4 consider new or part time vocations
- "If you don't make mistakes your not working on hard problems. And that's a big mistake." Frank Wilczek
- " Ho imparato che niente e impossibile e anche che quasi niente e facile (ive learned that nothing is impossible and that almost nothing is easy...) Articolo 31 Italian rap group
- Mistakes of the new rich: 1. losing sight of dreams and falling into work for works sake 2. Micromanaging and emailing to fill time 3. Handling problems your outsourcers or co workers can handle 4. Helping outsourcers or coworkers with the same problem more than once or non crisis problems 5. Chasing customers 6. Answering email that will not result in a sale or could be answered by FAQ auto responder 7. Working where you live, sleep or should relax 8. Not performing a thorough 80/20 analysis every two to four weeks 9. Striving for endless perfection instead of good enough 10. Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as excuse to work 11. Making non time sensitive issues urgent to justify work 12. Viewing one product job project as end all be all of your existence 13. Ignoring the social rewards of life.
- "There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living there is nothing harder to learn." Seneca
- "For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something - all external expectations all pride all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Rememberin that you are going to die is the best way I know to aboid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." - Steve Jobs
- Books page 288

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