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4-Hour Workweek Case Study

Back when I lived in New York City, I would spend as much time as possible in cafes across the city.  When I arrived in New York in June of 2006, cafes were an escape from my oppressive living situation at 225 Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  There was of course Tea Lounge on Union and 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Alt.coffee on Avenue B in Alphabet City, and other places in Manhattan and in Brooklyn.  As time went on, the cafes ceased being my refugee camp, and became windows into the lives of my fellow New Yorkers.  It was exciting to me that you could ask the person sitting across from you about the book that they were reading and have them change your life through the tangents of the conversation.

One such day, I was at Doma on Perry and 7th Avenue in the west village.  I walked in and got a simple iced tea.  I scanned the room.  No empty tables.  Now this is the difference between people in New York and in most other cities.  In most places, a lack of empty tables signals one to leave the premises, defeated.  In New York, a lack of empty tables means you instead look for empty seats, and you peer around the room to figure out who will be your best table-mate.  Now Doma is one of those cafes where even finding an empty-seat-to-share is difficult during most hours of the day.

The only seat was across from this accountant looking individual with round glasses and a book with a hammock on the cover.  He gave an approving nod as I silently requested to share the table.  I took out my book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

“Good book,” he said.  ”It changed my life when I read it.  I’m reading the 4-hour work week, you should pick this one up next – I think this one is going to change my life too.”

We talked back and forth for a few minutes.  I wrote down the title of his book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.  We both returned to our books.  Needless to say, I picked it up and read it.  I can’t say that it changed my life, but it changed my approach to life.  Today, I came across a series of videos recorded by people who incorporated Ferriss’s advice into their lives.  Below is a video of a guy named Jed who used to advice to reshape the life of his family including the 80/20 rule, outsourcing, negotiating, and beyond.  He and his family demonstrate that we have choices in the way that we live our lives, and that we can take deliberate action to have the free time to do all of the things that we want to do in life.

Take a look at the video, get the book if you don’t already have it. The next time you are in a cafe, look for that empty seat, share a table, turn off your iPod, and have some small talk with a stranger.  You might learn something new!

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