If you haven’t caught up with the sudden shifts in work arrangements brought on by you-know-what, then opportunities may not be in your favour. The world has turned upside down over the last 12 months, leaving national economies in shambles and millions of people jobless.

Meanwhile, a decade back Tim Ferris’s 4-hour workweek was met with ridicule. Tim Ferris is seen as the Deepak Chopra of the digital world today for his book “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich (2007).” For a 31 year old from Princeton and a Jujitsu cum tango master, writing a magic spell for a stressful life raises many eyebrows. The book promises to erase your worries and make you live a happy life. But many readers find the book’s pitch to abandon your full time job and follow the DEAL credo hard to swallow. In these dire times getting a part time job is nothing short of miraculous. But Tim Ferris’s loyal fans say DEAL (definition, elimination, automation, and liberation) is the real deal.


What’s the deal with the 4-hour Work Week?

Tim Ferris notes that there only three currencies you can use in the world today-time, mobility, and income. These three currencies make the digital world go round. Ferris observes that over the last 3 three years, many people have been living like millionaires while other people were doing their work for them. This was made possible by outsourcing and staff leasing. The new rich is made up of people who are extremely good at running their own lives while other people run their business for them. That is the beauty of virtual business, says Ferris.

Tim Ferris believes the idea of a 9-5 job and retirement doesn’t have any place in the wired world. To get this idea across, Ferris explains DEAL thus:


Definition is knowing exactly what you want in life. You have to be able to figure out your source of fears and happiness. Definition is being able to rise above yourself and seeing a clear path ahead. When you know where you’re going, you can build your goals around it. Tim Ferris warns that it is a misguided idea to work hard today and look forward to a grand retirement tomorrow-sometimes tomorrow doesn’t come. Your best bet is the here and now.


By Elimination, Ferris means you have to think about time but not get bound by it. Create your own idea of time, is what he proposes. Working with time as your tool and not the other way around, will enable you to attain effectiveness, not efficiency. Ferris draws the line between the two: effectiveness means being able to do something that gives you the most benefits. Ferris suggests that you need to take time out to un-clutter your life with too many undone tasks, and do only the ones that you need to. To Ferris, multi-tasking does more bad than good.


Obviously Ferris is priming up his readers for a long and bumpy ride ahead. The American economy is in bad shape and it has caused immense stress to all. Though things are beginning to look up according to some quarters, the American economy is far from gaining recovery. Ferris’s “How to have a 4 Hour Work Week” strikes a sensitive nerve then, for it inspires you to becoming self-sustained in a time of crisis. That’s what he means by Automation. In brief, he wants us to be masters of our fate: Through outsourcing and offshore services, you can literally turn yourself into a one-man empire. With outsourced and offshore people working for you, you can focus on core company functions. So when everything runs smoothly, you get your business’s maximum return investment-your life.


Automation results in Liberation, although they overlap at some points. When you’re self-sustained you can do business anywhere. You’re no longer bound by office walls. Doing business online erases borders. Depending on your level of skill, you can do a lot on the Internet. This is the part where having an 8-5 job falls out of touch with today’s reality. We live in a wired world, all right, but it is this wired world that makes our life complicated: emails, instant messaging, virtual work, Internet marketing, GPS-enabled and 4G mobile phone, and so on. So to free ourselves from grip of a hardwired world, Tim Ferris suggests we turn it on its head: Get outsourced work to unravel yourself from the knot.


Tim Ferris’s popularity as an author skyrocketed after the smashing success of How to Have a 4 Hour Work Week. But like all controversial works, the book is not exempt to bad publicity. Some people say Ferris sells pipe dreams. Others say his idea of a 4-hour workweek is incredibly out of step with the times. For all their rash comments, Tim Ferris lives a happy life and has won countless of converts.

Today, not only has the 4-hour workweek gained ground across most of the first world nations, it has also birthed an agile offspring: flexible working hours—for people who can create and produce results under pressure on short notice. This set up is not for the weak—the stakes are high with occasionally unreasonable expectations, but with a fee that allows to you slide and put your feet up for days on end. Intense yes, but it comes with so much practical and psychic reward.


Now let’s get to work, shall we?