The past month or so I’ve been paging through the books of Tim Fenriss – “The Four Hour Work Week” and “The Four Hour Body.” Both are extremely fascinating reads and well researched to boot. I’d recommend them for anyone who works.
The “Work Week” is mainly about outsourcing. As in, everyone should do it. As in, EVERYONE. The main point is that a lot of little crap takes up too much of our time and we really shouldn’t let it. Not when there are people willing to do it for seven dollars and hour and all of our private information (this bit is admittedly nerve-racking, and addressed). It also describes a grand business model for an Internet business you basically run for a few hours every week. It’s about trusting people and relaxing a bit.
Of course, not everyone is going to be able to have a four hour work week – it’s pretty hard to telecommute when you’re a teacher – but a lot of the principles within are incredibly applicable. Ferriss is a big proponent of media-diets and trying not to fill time with pointless nonsense. It’s a book about “doing,” if if that doing happens to be parasailing or whatever. I am sure some would find the book advocating laziness, but they would be mis-reading. It advocates trusting your workers.
In the case of the classroom, this means trusting the students to do a heck of a lot more and it has been working in my room. I’m incredibly interested in Ferriss’ methods and finding how to teach some of them to my students – he is very good at learning and has several good systems to do so.
The follow up “Four Hour Body” is excellent as well. It has a lot of useful exercise and diet tips, but involves itself with a holistic body view as well. Ferriss promotes a “slow-carb” diet which is a lot like the latest “paleo” diet craze. The Paleo-diet is a pretty decent method with some good case studies I’ve found. However, as I recently told someone: I know how to eat healthy, I’m just lazy.
The downfall of the four hour method is that Ferriss doesn’t seem to have any kids. I suppose he might promote nannies – he can afford them. But there’s no “four hour parent” strategy, which is fine by me. I love my kids despite their recent predilection for screaming.
If you’re really interested in streamlining your time and life, you would do well to read the Four Hour series. Ferriss can come across in both as an insufferable know-it-all, until you realize he does know quite a bit and it’s working for him.