Source: 4-Hour Workweek.
I just read a post by Hilary Catherall over at her personal blog. She writes about her discouragement with the 4-Hour Workweek. Besides having written a guest post for The Life Sutra, Hillary was one of a handful of 4-Hour Workweek bloggers I started to follow early on when I first initiated this blog. Hilary is not the only 4-Hour Workweek blogger that seems to have had some frustration. I think she shares the same frustration that others have, in particular with respect to "muses" which Timothy Ferris, the author of the 4-Hour Workweek describes as:
...an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.
Source: 4-Hour Workweek.
I have always thought that the "muse" component of the book was the weakest part, and came across like an infomercial. If it was that easy to create these cash generation machines, everyone would have them! Wanting something doesn't make it so.
Of Chickens & Eggs
I think we should all appreciate something about Timothy Ferriss and muses: Tim had the basis of his main muse before he had his breakthrough regarding what it means to be one of the newly rich. It seems that he was conventionally rich before he was newly rich. Regardless of the financial metric and definitions of the term "rich", his supplement business pre-existed the 4-Hour Workweek. It's easy to talk about muses when you already have one! How many people have developed products and services that have not become muses??? Those people might have the exact same philosophy as Tim. Hopefully you get the point - the 4-Hour Workweek philosophy and the ability to create "muses" are not necessarily correlated at all.
I want to talk briefly about mutual funds. You may think I am digressing here, but I promise I am not! There is no question that mutual funds could be used as part of a personal investment strategy and could provide value to the purchasers of these funds. However, you should always keep something in mind: mutual funds are products not investments. While, as a product, they may provide value for investors, they are, as a product, meant to provide the greatest value to the shareholders of the mutual fund company! And so it is with the 4-Hour Workweek.
First and foremost, it is a book that is designed to provide revenue and profits for its author, its publisher and those that sell the book. The book is a "muse" for the author! Does this mean it is somehow not as valuable? Hardly. Just like mutual funds, this product can provide value for the purchasers. I am also quite sure that the stakeholders intend to provide that value. Most businesses truly wish to provide value to their customers as such value is what will ultimately ensure ongoing revenues and profits.
The Hype Cycle & The 5 Stages of Grief
I have written previously about the 4-Hour Workweek's hype cycle. After reading Hilary's post, I started to wonder if any disillusionment (the Trough of Disillusionment in the hype cycle) with the 4-Hour Workweek could somehow be equated with the 5 stages of grief:
- Denial: This is probably what is occurring on the downside of the peak of inflated expectations. You loved the book and you don't want to admit that maybe creating these muses to fund the lifestyle of the newly rich is perhaps not so easy.
- Anger: This is when you realize that the whole muse concept is cheesy.
- Bargaining: This is when you figure you can work 50 hours a week instead of 60 and call it a victory. The book was at least somewhat helpful.
- Depression: This is when you realize you are still working 50 hours a week. Has anything really changed?
- Acceptance: This is when you turn to Buddhism.
The Ugly, The Bad, And The Good
So yes, the muse idea could be labeled as cheesy. There are no free lunches - ask an economist or even a physicist. But there is a lot of good ideas in the 4-Hour workweek. Hilary even reminds us of the main attributes of the truly rich:
- You do the least possible amount of work for money.
- You control your own time & location as if you were independently wealthy.
- You use stuff & money as means to having exciting, fulfilling experiences.
Source: Hilary Catherall
In a way, Ferriss is only trying to show how these are possible. Put another way, how many of us do so much work, only not to be compensated fairly, or for others to be compensated more for the same amount of work? How many of us are slaves to someone else's clock? How many of us are slaves to our possessions instead of having fulfilling experiences?
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Thanks to Rhett Maxwell for the photo of the palm tree and rainbow.
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