Ferriss, Timothy (2007) The-4 Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

This review was written by Jan Armitage from Renovation and DIY: the green path . Thank you, Jan, for being my first guest contributor. I hope you are the first of many.

I read this book a few months ago from cover to cover.  And last month I re-read it, pen in hand, underlining things and writing exclamation points in the margin.  Just so you know.

Timothy Ferriss is a thirty something American - this is important, because the culture he's writing for, and most definitely the sub-culture he comes from, is very different from mine.  And yet here we are, meshing happily away....  His assumption, which I think is correct, is that everyone who's interested in reading his book in the first place will be able to benefit from some of the ideas in it, whether self employed or not, traveller or not.  It covers four sections, with the handy little acronym of DEAL.

Definition - who are the New Rich?  What separates them (us!!!) out from the old ways of thinking?  This is fascinating, and in parts extremely counter-intuitive.  He kind of ignores savings (although he's quite clear that he also saves, it just isn't the main point) in favour of how you're living now, how you're making your income now.  Designing your lifestyle, as he puts it!  And whether it is skydiving in South America, or extra hours spent with your little kids, is up to you. Definition here is about positioning oneself within the concepts of ‘new rich’ and ‘lifestyle design’ and embracing their principles.

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Three course French menu for £1.50 per person?

Most people when faced with the need to budget, be it because they have built ‘negative wealth’ or because they have decided to start saving for something, fear that this will affect their quality of life for the worse. I have made it my mission to reduce expenditure without loss of quality – in fact given a choice I go for quality every time except in cases when it really doesn’t matter.

Although food doesn’t rank very highly in my ‘hierarchy of needs’ it is kind of important. Without being a connoisseur I like good food and so does my family. I was telling a friend that within couple of months we almost halved our food bill and I can see disbelief on her face. So I issued a challenge: I will serve a three course dinner that costs no more than £1.50 per person. And I did – as one of the guests put it ‘£1.50 has never tasted that good.’

This is the menu:

How was it done? By buying wisely and cooking from scratch.

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