The four hour workweek

A few weeks ago Timothy Ferris’ The Four Hour Workweek entered my reading agenda. The book certainly looks nice - hardcover, golden borders, and the inside is refreshingly sparse, spaced, easy to read.

The rationale for this book is appealing: most people seek a life of achievements outside work, but do not have either the means or time to reach those achievements. Tim wrote a book to explain his successful experience in reaching a life of (expensive) leisure involving only four hours of work a week, and proposes a model to follow to do the same.

The idea is simple: express the means for your achievements as dollars, and make other people work for you to get these dollars for you to spend. Once you got the money and time, profit! And then the book goes on and on about how to quit a job, create a side business, and pay people in India to manage the side business. The side business should involve selling information products (costless to create) at high price (high margins) to small markets (no risk for competitors).

A salesman’s dream.

The important step is to find the right market. A business concept that holds. Find a virgin niche market - that is, people who need something that nobody provides yet, such that you could provide to them for a high price goods that don’t cost much to produce. The ideal product: a collection of facts around a topic sold as a video on a DVD. The catch: finding the topic. It has to be narrow enough to match a need where people would want to spend money, broad enough to attract a sufficiently large number of customers to sustain the business, and uninteresting enough that no competitors will ever compete.

I’m not sure how many free niche markets are left out there. Tim says lots, I see none. Too bad, maybe I’m just not creative enough.

Then I think I knew I wouldn’t finish reading when I understood that the key to finding free time and staying rich is to delegate work to lowly paid slaves^K“assistants” — preferably in India, since they have a “different scale of values” anyway, and foremost you can just dump one and get another at will if you’re unsatisfied and even get a refund.

In other words, buy slaves in India to do your work for you, get the money from the business they run for you in your pocket and give them the leftovers.

In other words, you can leverage the gap of social and economic inequality in the world to make you even richer and contribute even more to inequality.

Not my cup of tea, so I’m not joining.