We haven’t done any business book reports on indiegamer in a long time so I thought I would try to get this going again… The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss is probably a perfect example of how you can determine the importance of your ideas by how many people you piss off. The reviews and comments aimed at this book seem to come in three varieties - glowing praise, agitated white liberal guilt or brainwashed “work ethic” diatribes. So if your response to outsourcing is “How dare you take advantage of poor people in other countries” and your plan for wealth accumulation is to “Work really hard” then you needn’t read any further. You’ll just upset yourself because my review is of the “glowing praise” variety. The plan advocated in “The 4-Hour Work Week” is really nothing new: Remove the time interruptions from your life Develop passive income so you don’t have to work so many hours (if at all) Automate your passive income source so you don’t make the mistake of creating a second “job” for yourself. Act on your retirement plans now rather than when you’re 65 But the way the information is presented in the book does an excellent job of laying out the roadmap to liberate yourself from the 9 to 5 world and onto the beach (or wherever you prefer to go) in as little time as possible. I mean literally a step-by-step plan that covers tons of possible variations, all of it presented in a humorous and optimistic tone that I found very enjoyable. This isn’t a “business” book in the traditional sense since it approaches work and finances as the means to an end and not as the goal itself. The book advocates living the life of an ongoing series of mini-retirements that last months at a time rather than saving and waiting until your silver years before doing anything interesting with your time. It's a message that, as a lazy good-for-nothing Generation X-er, really speaks to me. A cubicle is a shameful place to spend your life. One of the most controversial aspects of this book is the author's advocacy of outsourcing executive tasks overseas. Many reviewers have bristled at the idea of outsourcing, I suspect solely because they’re conditioned to do so. Outsourcing must be evil, right? That’s what Lou Dobbs keeps saying! The author’s example is employing Indian MBAs to write proposals and do research on given subjects for as little as $5 an hour. There’s a particularly hilarious insert by an editor at Esquire who decided to try outsourcing. Here’s a sample: The other surprisingly controversial assertion this book makes is that work is not and should never be the defining factor of your life. Most people in Westernized countries lead lives where your job is your identity. To hear otherwise seems to upset many people and they fall back on the argument of “What happed to the idea of a work ethic?” and “I’d rather get rich the old fashioned way, by working hard!” It’s up to the reader to decide where the information takes them. The Good: The most important takeaway I got is that it’s not nearly as expensive as you think to achieve your lifestyle goals. The book includes a formula for figuring out how much your immediate lifestyle dreams over the next 6 months to 1 year would actually cost. For me it totaled just an extra $4,000 a month. It was a big kick in the nuts as I realized that I don’t need to make “millions” or even “hundreds of thousands” to live the lifestyle I wanted. I need roughly $50,000 and that makes excuses for inaction very difficult to come by. The Bad: The plan delivered in the later stages for earning an income is to become a middleman, selling products over the Internet. This causes a lot of consternation in readers unfamiliar with web-based businesses and the author’s own limited viewpoint adds to that. I don’t think he paints the passive income opportunities on a large enough canvas for readers to see that you don’t have to get into a business that you aren’t passionate about to start a passive income stream. No matter how much money is involved, I just can’t bring myself to sell crap like supplements online. Fortunately, as game developers we know that games and utilities, even freeware via advertising can provide as much of a passive income as any other business. Heck, you don’t even have to develop the games to make money off them (affiliates, ad networks). There is room to chase your “passion” while enacting the plan The 4-Hour Work Week provides, I don’t think the author does quite a good enough job explaining that. Overall I’m delighted that I read this book when I did. I’m in the process of re-launching my game development efforts and this book helped me realize that I was on the way to creating a second dead-end job for myself rather than a vehicle to live the lifestyle I want. A few minor adjustments in the business plan and I think I can finally see the light (and the sandy beach) at the end of the tunnel. I highly recommend it to indies.