What I like about this book is that it introduces a lot of new concepts for me - for a better (work) life, while also challenges my existing concepts on (work) life.

I am particularly intrigued by the New Rich concept that defines “riches” not in having millions or billions, but more on the use of one’s time / having time freedom.

“Those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility.”

While it would help to have millions and billions, often we are trapped in this rut of wanting more and pushing off “living in the moment” until we believe we have enough. And you guessed it, that day of having enough, never comes (unless you have a mindset shift).

The most mind blowing thing is that the author shows how everyday ordinary people can & do have the means to live luxuriously but are held back by their limiting beliefs that they need to have more, work harder and join the millions and billions club.

The author introduces several business models, tips tricks and tools that you can use to “eliminate” and “automate” your work - to free up your time; something you can immediately apply into your (work) life if you wish.

i.e. 80/20 Pareto’s law

According to the 80/20 rule:

80% of results are from 20% of action
80% of outputs are from 20% of inputs
80% of consequences are from 20% of the causes
80% of profits are from 20% of products and customers

A practical use of the 80/20 rule is to ask yourself:
1. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
2. Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

The book further highlights on our insistent need to “be productive", which only leads us to fill our time with xx just to “feel productive”. If we reassess our daily to-do list and eliminate all the unnecessary time fillers, we can free up our time to do productive fulfilling things - things we truly enjoy.

For example, the “mini retirement” concept talks about how instead of saving up our entire life’s savings to spend when we retire, why not use that money throughout your life and have what the author calls “mini retirements”. This way, you can truly enjoy life while you are young and in your prime, rather than wait until the time is right, which again may never happen.

This definitely challenges my personal limiting belief - as I am one of those people who likes to wait until it’s the right time.

The book ends by touching on some psychology and self help (my favorite topic) - that even after achieving the “4 hour work week” and have all the time in the world to do what you truly enjoy. Don’t expect all life challenges to just disappear.

It is not easy to just "wind down and enjoy”. Hence why being rich and depressed, successful and depressed are all too familiar.

“Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another” - Anatole France

You cannot just transition overnight from being a goal oriented high-performer to appreciating life in the moment. Although it is not impossible to do both, unraveling such habits take time - just like anything else in life; “leaning to replace the perception of time famine with the appreciation for time abundance is like going from triple espresso to decaf”.

Recognizing this is the first step.

Appreciating time abundance and living in the present doesn’t mean we should just sit on our butts and do nothing either. According to some of the most fulfilled people interviewed for the book’s case studies:

1. continual learning
2. service

are two commons factors for a fulfilled life. And I absolutely agree, I find my life the most meaningful when I’m continuously learning and can be of service to the world.

I like that this book falls not only into the genre of business and entrepreneurship but also philosophy, psychology and self-help - which I think are intricately linked. In order to be well-informed, you need to be able to evaluate things from different perspective.

Most of what is said in this book is no new news. I believe most of us are already familiar with the idea that we should enjoy life and live life in the moment but through seeing it from the author’s lens, the author’s way of getting things across that help sharpens my vague understanding of things - and honed down the messages for me even more.

Definitely a good read on my list!


I’m surprised this book receives a lot of negative reviews - mostly from people questioning Ferriss’s ego, and his “unethical” ways of doing businesses such as outsourcing help from virtual assistants in third world countries, who charge less.

I did feel put off reading it because I had read these negative reviews prior to starting, but I’m glad I gave it a go anyway because I still learned a lot from the book and did not share the same negative sentiments towards Ferriss.

I didn’t see this book as a guide on how to get rich quick etc, but rather more like an introduction to a lifestyle different from the accepted norm and more like a motivational tool / insights into Ferriss and others’ success stories.

And not to defend Ferriss (although that is probably exactly what I am doing) - there is no need to be holier-than-thou. I don’t think the author is recommending us to take advantage of cheaper labour in poorer countries but rather how money can go further there, hence why they charge less.

I am not sure if it’s fair to compare hiring virtual assistants in third world countries who charge less - to slave labors or garment workers for example. Yes, the rate is lower than developed countries but the overall expenses are lower too.

Plus it's a question about the whole system we are in

Moral contradiction / ethical dilemma

There is a section in the book that addresses exactly this:

Service for the right reasons: to save the whales or kill them and feed the children?

“Service to me is simple: doing something that improves life besides your own.
This is not the same as philanthropy. Philanthropy is the altruistic concern for the well-being of mankind–human life. Human life and comfort have long been focused on to the exclusion of the environment and the rest of the food chain, hence our current race to imminent extinction. Serves us right. The world does not exist solely for the betterment and multiplication of mankind.

Before I start chaining myself to trees and saving the dart frogs, though, I should take my own advice: do not become a cause snob.

How can you help starving children in Africa when there are starving children in Los Angeles? How can you save the whales when homeless people are freezing to death? How does doing volunteer research on coral destruction help those people who need help now?”

Children, please. Everything out there needs help, so don’t get baited into “my cause can beat up your cause” arguments with no right answer. There are no qualitative or quantitative comparisons that make sense. The truth is this: those thousands of lives you save could contribute to a famine that kills millions, or that one bush in Bolivia that you protect could hold the cure for cancer. The downstream effects are unknown. Do your best and hope for the best. If you’re improving the world–however you define that–consider your job well done.
Service isn’t limited to saving lives or the environment. It can also improve life. If you are a musician and put a smile on the faces of thousands or millions, I view that as service. If you are a mentor and change the life of one child for the better, the world has been improved. Improving the quality of life in the world is in no fashion inferior to adding more lives.”