Four Hour Work Week Summary

The Four Hour Work Week is something of a bible to certain digital nomad entrepreneurs but is it worth reading, or can you pull out everything you need to know from a short summary?

Well, you certainly can’t get everything out of a summary, but we can walk you through the highlights and then you can decide for yourself, if you want to read it or not.

The High Level Overview

Don’t take the “four hour” bit too seriously, Tim Ferris doesn’t work a four hour week and the title is meant to be more marketing hype than reality (in fact, it was almost called “How To Sell Drugs And Get Away With It.”)

You can grab a copy here. 

Four Hour Work Week

The idea behind the book is simple. Make more money and have more time by reinventing yourself and approach to the world.

And to do this you need Tim’s four step process, DEAL:

  • D for definition. In essence, you learn to write new rules for yourself that allow you to be successful.
  • E for elimination. Then, you learn to maximize your results per unit of time you spend by changing the way you spend your time.
  • A for automation. Once you’re making money, it’s time to learn to put most of that on autopilot, so you don’t need to work for it.
  • L for liberation. And finally, you learn to do this anywhere you choose and become truly mobile.


The first chapter looks at goal setting and how rich people choose different goals to people who are not rich. 

And then it shows you how to set those goals.

After that, you learn to rewrite all the rules most people obey automatically, so that they serve you, rather than you serving them.

Then it’s time to overcome your fear and learn to be “unreasonable and unambiguous”. 

In essence, if you dream big, Tim says you’re far more likely to be a success.


Now it’s time to free up your time and take a deep dive into the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law and to make two lists – a to-do list and a not-to-do list.

Then, you’re going to become selectively ignorant and only consume information that is of value to you.

After you’ve done a media fast, you’ll be eliminating interruptions from your workflow, so that when you start something, you actually finish it.


When you get to automating work the first principle is to learn to eliminate the needless before you delegate anything.

Then you delegate anything that is time-consuming but already well-defined.

And then the real magic of Tim’s book arrives – a plan that allows you to ideate your own products and turn them into money. 

It shows you how to test those plans and products and then how to scale your business using time-tested methods.


Once you get to this point, you’re free to escape the office and Tim shows you how winners know when to quit and why they should quit.

Then you can learn to take a mini-retirement where you work less and get more done and eventually, you start to fill that life with meaningful activity that isn’t work. 

And he rounds off with a list of mistakes that people usually make at this point and how you can avoid them to continue enjoying your new found freedom. 

Our Thoughts On The Four Hour Work Week

Tim’s book is an excellent resource but it’s not a foolproof plan, how do I know? 

I once threw down in a fairly popular digital nomad blog post; a challenge to find someone living this life, just one example, and nobody could produce one. 

That’s OK, I didn’t really expect them to.

Tim’s sales and marketing knowledge.

The strengths of this book are in the details, there is a huge amount of Tim’s sales and marketing knowledge packed into the book and that’s where the best value comes.

Sure, you can take bits of the “redefine your whole life” stuff but only when you’re sure it will produce value.

The reason for The 4-Hour Workweek’s endless popularity is that it presents a picture of a dream life.

And while you may not get a 4-hour workweek, it can certainly help you dramatically improve your lot in life – if you put the learning into practice.

Final Thoughts On The Four Hour Work Week

The Four Hour Work Week is not everyone’s cup of tea but there are good reasons that it remains a bestseller, even now, more than a decade after it was released. 

If you’re looking for inspiration and some ideas to help structure your life, this is the book to call on and the DEAL method is simple enough that you shouldn’t find it hard to put into practice.

If you’re looking for other great books to help structure your remote working life check out: Remote Work Revolution, Your Work From Home LIfe and the HBR Guide To Remote Work.