These are my notes (I stick at the back of my book) for the Four Hour Work Week.  I am going to put together a couple more thought out posts later, but for now this is just a regurgitation of stuff I already wrote.  The number represents the page number (from new expanded edition).

10.  “Reality is negotiable.”  Or, all rules are meant to be bent/broken.

20.  Focus on experiences, not on accumulating for the sake of accumulating.

22. The value of money is multiplied by your control over what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom.

25.  “Once you decide to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.”

26.  Differentiate between self imposed rules and official rules.  Official rules  need to be followed, self imposed rules need to be discarded.

30.  “Sports evolve when sacred cow are killed, when assumptions are tested.”

33.  Focus on being productive, not busy.

-Ask for forgiveness, not permission.  Unless somebody could be truly devastated.

34.  Emphasize strengths, don’t focus on bringing weaknesses up to ‘decent’.

-Too much of any good thing becomes a bad thing.

35.  Don’t use money as a scapegoat for not feeling fulfilled.

36. Absolute income is NOT the same as relative income. Break down to $/Hour.

40. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

42.  Think about worst case scenarios when making life changing decision– they aren’t usually that bad.

43.  Fear can be disguised as as optimism when no action is taken.  Don’t rationalize a sub-par situation.

44.  “Luxury is being fearless of discomfort.”

49.  Never overestimate a challenge, it reduces the chance of action.

50.  Doing the unrealistic is better/easier than the realistic.  Everyone is trying to do the realistic.

51.  Chase excitement.  Don’t ask “what makes me happy?” but instead ask “what makes me excited?”  Happiness=excitement.

52.  Always define alternative activities to replace workload.  It’s harder to free up time when you don’t have anything to do with that time.

56.  Failing better and perseverance are better than the scatter shot approach.

63.  Learn to make quick decisions– for yourself and others.

65.  Elimination is goal.  Simplicity.

70.  “Doing an unimportant thing well does not make it important.”

-Time to complete a project is NOT proportional to it’s importance.

-WHAT you do is much more important than how you do it.

71.  Ask yourself (1) Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems/unhappiness? and (2) Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?

72.  Remember to never work just to work.

75.  Being busy is usually just a form of laziness.

-Lack of time=Lack of priorities.

76.  We tend to fill the time allotted- we can do much more in less time.  Set short deadlines to increase focus.

77.  Parkinson’s Law– the more time allotted for something the harder/more complex you believe it to be.

78.  Never let the unimportant become important by (1) identifying the few critical tasks that contribute most and (2) creating extremely short and clear deadlines.

79.  Ask three times a day at scheduled intervals “Am I being productive or just active?”

86.  Information requires attention.  Read only what you need to- you don’t need news you can’t act on.

92.  When reading, ask “Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?”

95.  (In School) Go to teacher after first graded assignment (not scantron) if you don’t get an A with 3 hours of questions.

97.  Check email at noon and 4 PM, never first/last thing. First thing screws up your schedule and last will keep you up at night.

-Finish your most critical item for the day before 11 AM.

101.  “Don’t suffer fools or you’ll become one.”

102.  Always use “if/then” in emails to minimize back and forth.

103.  Limit meetings to 30 min.

105.  “Just this once” is a good way to establish a permanent behavior.  Don’t fall for it.

107.  Use batching for small tasks (like email).  Let them build up and get them all done at once.  This prevents you from having to switch attention too often.

-It can take up to 45 minutes to resume a major task.

-To find hourly income cut three zeros off annual income and half the number. ($50,000 annually is ~ $25 an hour.)

117.  Us P.O. box to batch mail.

130.  Never automate/outsource something you can eliminate.

140.  When using virtual assistants (VA’s), make a unique login for them to use on any site.

142.  When hiring VA’s, demand excellent English and say they will be required  to make phone calls (even if they won’t).

-With VA’s, be VERY precise in instructions.  Set MAX 72 hour deadline on tasks.  Send ONE item/assignment/task at a time.

150. Principles must be understood in order to implement or create methods.


154.  Muse rules of thumb: $500 max to test.  Must be able to automate in 4 weeks.  1 day per week management.

156. High pricing positions you as a premium product.

157.  Exclusivity deals are good because (1) you don’t want resellers competing to sell your product (it will drive down prices) and (2)you can negotiate better profit margins.

-Find market/define customers, THEN develop product for them.

-Try to be the first or best in category.  First is preferable- create your own category.  To do this niche down- tailor to very specific crowd.

162.  For muse, 8-10X markup and price of $50-250 is preferable.

163.  Before you make muse,  determine per-unit cost for 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 units.

-Reselling is great option for back end products (‘third party’ like iPod covers) B/C there is no advertising needed to get customers.

165.  Licensor usually gets 3-10% of wholesale price (usually 40% of retail).

168.  For info products, you can obtain content by (1)creating it yourself by paraphrasing and combining topics from books and (2) repurpose content in the public domain (government documents and material predating copyright laws) and (3) license content or compensate an expert.

182.  Always test viability before you take product to market.

-Differentiate product by having more credibility, better guarantee, better selection, free/faster shipping.

185.  Be very specific with keywords for PPC to keep costs down.

186.  (PPC) Turn off “only serve best ad” feature.  Use minimum of $50 limit per day.

207.  (Muse up)  At first answer calls yourself to build FAQ.  This FAQ is used to train phone operators later.

-(PPC) Make sure ads are specific and targeted.  We don’t want unqualified traffic.

210.  (Muse) Eliminate decision making by (1) have as few products/purchase options as possible and (2) offer one fast shipping method.

213.  Use guarantee as selling point. Have a better than money back guarantee, but limit it to 30, 60, or 90 days.

243. Determine the time requirement and cost of a project before going into it.

*Most decisions are simple, emotions make them difficult.


292.  Litmus test for whether to answer big questions: (1) is each term singularly definable? (2) Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?  [ex: the questions “What is the meaning of life?” fails both, so we shouldn’t bother with it.]

291.  Seek out “peak experiences” or to be “in the zone.”  It is these times in which we are excited/happy.

294.  Have a goal for what you want to accomplish in each country you go to.  Usually a language and some kind of sport.  One mental one physical activity.

297.  Never ask “what SHOULD I do with my life?”  Pursue something that seems fun and rewarding.

303. Do detailed 80/20 analysis of personal and work life every month.

306.  Enjoy life, don’t worry about the destination.

313.  Be focused on work or something else, never in between.

*Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.

314.  Don’t accept large favors from strangers.  You don’t want that debt.

– You don’t have to recoup losses the same way you lost them.

*Don’t try to impress people you don’t like.

315.  “It doesn’t matter how many people get it.  What matters is how many people do.”

-You’re never as bad or as good as they say you are.  People exaggerate.

-Eat high protein breakfast within 30 min of waking up, then go for walk/jog.

316.  When overwhelmed ask, “Breakdown or breakthrough?”

-A mindset of scarcity is due to disdain for things easily attained.

320.  The more options you consider, the more buyers’ remorse you will have.  The more options you consider, then less fulfilled you will be with your purchase.

321.  Attention is necessary for enjoyment as well as productivity.

-Set rules to automate decisions.  Set time limits (20 min).

322. Don’t provoke deliberation before action is possible.

323.  Don’t strive for variation when it’s unnecessary.  Results driven activities should be routine (diet.)  Enjoyment driven activities should be varied (recreation.)

Regret is past-tense decision making.