Rambles on the 4 hour workweek

In honor of my new podcast, “Ricky Rambles” here is a rambly style blog post!

Years ago, I read a book, well listened to, an audio book called the 4 hour workweek. Recently I thought I would relisten to it and as I do I think I can see many ways it has influenced me.

Mini retirement

One concept discussed in the book is that of a mini retirement, where you cease full time work for a period of time and live like you are retired. And you know, I think the book did drive me to do that. In my time between my current job and my previous job I took a few months off, traveled internationally, enjoyed beaches, all things that Tim discusses in the book.  Having gone through that experience, I’m not sure it is so high on my list of things to do again. Having done it, in some ways I feel lucky I was able to get my current job and prosper the way I have. 

Maybe I have adopted too much of a corporate mindset, but now as someone who interviews and hires candidates, I have a slightly different perspective. 

Sometimes I do question the validity of the book today. I think a lot of the idea of remote work was kind of revolutionary in 2006 when the book was written, but today, well, not at all really. I sometimes wonder if the concepts in the book will work for me, for a few reasons:

One, working at a place that is fairly anti remote work is one item. Two, my boss's boss does listen to the program from time to time, so any of the more sneaky, let's say methods of doing less work might backfire a bit, especially if they know what is going on.

All though at the same time, being more efficient is always good. I might have to revisit some of those methods. I know coming up will be some discussion of batch processing. It also talks about outsourcing work overseas, which I am actually working on doing right now.


Tim has some interesting assertions about retirement in the book. He says retirement planning is like life insurance, it's a plan for the worst case scenario. It's planning for a situation in which case you can’t work and have to live off a nest egg.

He makes some valid points too, $1M dollars in the context of a 30 year retirement isn’t a lot of money, consider also how inflation will lower the purchasing power of that money. 

And the person that is able to work hard constantly and survive the employee lifestyle in fact, at the end of all their hard work when they finally do retire? Well they will be bored out of their minds and want to start working again right away. 

Tim talks about how the employee lifestyle is too draining. I think as I listened to this, the first time, I thought about my job in public accounting and how that certainty was the case at the time.  Now that I’m outside of public accounting, well, it's better, although the past few weeks have been pretty tough (at least when I initially wrote this, there is a long gap between my first draft and publication.)

Danger of Someday

He also talks about the dangers of someday, that the trip you have been hoping for someday will never come. And I think he is right. I know I have many goals for someday, I think I need to plan them out a bit more both the event itself, but also how I am going to make the time for it. 

Overall, there are quite a few good and applicable teachings from the book. Some of the material is a bit dated now, but overall I think it is worth looking at. I have serial other pieces that go over different aspects of the book, all in various stages of completion. We will see if I get around to finishing and posting any of them.


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