If Books Could Kill

The 4-Hour Workweek

September 21, 2023
The 4-Hour Workweek
If Books Could Kill
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If Books Could Kill
The 4-Hour Workweek
Sep 21, 2023

Have you ever wanted to escape the grind and follow your dreams? This week we're discussing "The 4-Hour Workweek," which reveals that all you need is a plan, a willingness to take risks and a modestly sized fraud operation built on Third World labor.

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 Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wanted to escape the grind and follow your dreams? This week we're discussing "The 4-Hour Workweek," which reveals that all you need is a plan, a willingness to take risks and a modestly sized fraud operation built on Third World labor.

Support us on Patreon:

Where to find us: 


 Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!

Peter: Michael?

Michael: Peter.

Peter: What do you know about The 4-Hour Workweek

Michael: All I know is that the only reason I'm letting you do another productivity book is, so I can get an update on your household chores. 

[If Books Could Kill theme]

Peter: As we've progressed through the first year of the podcast, I feel like the books we cover have started to divide themselves into some distinct categories. There's only a few. There's like the relationship books, the politics books, the social science books, and then finally, the financial self-help books. 

Michael: The guru books. 

Peter: The rise and grind shit. 

Michael: Yes. 

Peter: This is one of the most influential rise and grind books of the last 20 years. 

Michael: If he brings it back to birth rates, [Peter laughs] we're really going to have some synergy for this podcast. 

Peter: I thought, like, who better to review this than a podcaster? You want to teach me about The 4-Hour Workweek's, buddy. I'm the world's foremost expert. 

Michael: The Peter story. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Yes. 

Peter: So, Timothy Ferriss, the author, he publishes this in 2007 when he is a 29-year-old tech entrepreneur. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: This is the mid aughts. So, we are experiencing a bit of a tech boom. Like, Facebook and Twitter are just getting off the ground. There's a rush of capital into tech for the first time since the dotcom crash. Ferriss himself was an employee at a digital storage company for a bit, and then he had launched a startup hawking some scammy neurotropic supplements that he called BrainQUICKEN. 

Michael: [laughs] So, it's also an accounting software, [Peter laughs] when you want to stay up all night typing in your expenses. 

Peter: The original title for this book that he had pitched was Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit

Michael: Wait, really? 

Peter: Yeah. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: You can tell that Tim is annoyed that he didn't name the book that, because he has brought that up in so many interviews. 

Michael: Oh, yeah.

Peter: [chuckles] He just wants to get it out there, like, "I had a cool title for the book, by the way."

Michael: Yeah, it's like the guy who directed The Professional who just calls it Léon for the next three decades. 

Peter: [laughs] That's right. 

Michael: Still mad about it. Still mad about it. 

Peter: So, he's doing the right-wing podcast supplement grift, but in the mid aughts. So, he's a pioneer, you know?

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: None of this pans out quite like he had hoped. He's doing well, but he's worn out and he sets out to restructure his life entirely, so that he can make as much money as possible while working as little as possible, or at the very least, start prioritizing the things in his life that he wants to prioritize. 

Michael: It is funny how all of these books start with someone who doesn't have a normal job. They're always like-


Michael: -an entrepreneur or like some innovator or something, something, basically somebody who can disappear for days on end. 

Peter: Yeah. I think it's important to understand this book as the product of a guy who basically has everything he thought he wanted, but is still disillusioned. He's an entrepreneur. He says that his supplement company was making him about 70 grand a month. 

Michael: Oh, my God. 

Peter: But he still feels trapped. He's worn down by the grind, he's overworked, he's miserable, and he plans a big trip, a sabbatical year, traveling the world. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: He has all of these apprehensions about it, but he does it anyway. And as a result, he has a variety of revelations about how to optimize his life. 

Michael: Wait, so, is this eat, pray, love for San Francisco tech bros? 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: There's a long section about carbs. 

Peter: So, the subtitle of this book is Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: So, I'm going to send you his little definition of the new rich. 

Michael: I like how you say his little definition. His little definition.

Peter: It's actually quite a lengthy definition, and I've cut out parts. 

Michael: "The new rich are those who abandon the deferred life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the new rich. Time and mobility, this is an art and a science we will refer to as lifestyle design. My journey from grossly overworked and severely underpaid office worker to member of the new rich is at once stranger than fiction. And now that I've deciphered the code, simple to duplicate. There's a recipe from leveraging currency differences to outsourcing your life and disappearing. I'll show you how a small underground uses economic sleight of hand to do what most consider impossible." 

Peter: He is making it seem as if anyone can do this. And in fact, it's something that a 29-year-old tech millionaire can probably do relatively easily. 

Michael: This is like the Rich Dad Poor Dad guy being like, "Okay, step one, buy an apartment building in a city experiencing a housing boom." 

Peter: I also want to point out that you read The New Rich and lifestyle design, but he immediately starts using acronyms for these things. 

Michael: Yeah, that was something I was going-- [crosstalk] 

Peter: So, it's NR and LD. 

Michael: It's so fucking annoyed. This is something that we come across in academic articles all the time. It's like you're making up acronyms. And then by the time you get to the end of the abstract, it's like the TMLR doesn't match the ADT.

Peter: Right.

Michael: Oh, my fucking God.

Peter: Now, I bring that up because the entire book is also built around a dumb acronym, DEAL. This is his step-by-step process for becoming a member of the new rich. D, definition. This is the section where he defines the new rich and explains how they operate. E, Elimination, where he shows you how to eliminate the notion of time management and all of the other things that are extraneous to your success. A, automation, where he teaches you tricks to automate your work and income. And L, liberation, where he explains how to liberate yourself from a single location and travel the globe while maintaining your lifestyle.

Michael: He will not, however, liberate all of the slaves that he's going to hire over the internet to do his work for him. 

Peter: Oh, you've read the book?

Michael: That's book two. That's the sequel book. 

Peter: Okay, so, let's start off with D, the D in DEAL for definition, where he talks about the new rich versus who he calls deferrers. A big theme of the book is that you can live like the exceedingly wealthy without being exceedingly wealthy. He says, "I've chartered private planes over the Andes, enjoyed many of the best wines in the world in between world class ski runs, and lived like a king lounging by the infinity pool of a private villa. Here's the little secret I rarely tell. It all costs less than rent in the US. If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3 to 10 times as much. This has nothing to do with currency rates. Being financially rich and having the ability to live like a millionaire are fundamentally two very different things." 

Michael: Wait, is he just talking about going to Costa Rica and getting a cheaper hotel room or something? Because it sounds like he's explicitly saying, that's not what he's saying. 

Peter: He is explicitly saying that that's not what he's saying, but it is what he's saying. 

Michael: [laughs] Now, I'm not talking about going to a cheaper country, but if you go to a cheaper country, it is cheaper. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: I feel like we're also adding to our glossary of things that show up in all these airport books, and I feel like one of them is dressing up something totally unexotic as forbidden wisdom. The idea that you can go to Thailand or India and live at a much higher standard of living than you can in the United States is really basic and banal to point out. 

Peter: Yeah, I got intrigued here because I was like, "Ooh, is there going to be some kind of cool trick here?" [chuckles] But no, there won't be, so don't get excited. A lot of the opening sections of the book are just him setting the table, providing guidelines and themes that he hits throughout. Many of them are sensible and inoffensive. A big one is to stop using the excuse of the timing isn't right to put off big moves in your life from business decisions to vacations, because he says the timing never feels right and you'll never make the big moves if you think that way. 

Michael: That actually sounds like reasonable advice to me, honestly. 

Peter: Totally.

Michael: Do stuff. Yeah. 

Peter: He also says that people tend to want to increase their income when they think about becoming more successful, but it's just as valuable, or can be just as valuable to just reduce the number of hours you work. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: There is some weirder stuff. He says, ask for forgiveness, not permission, which is, of course, like a common sin. 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: But in this case, he's talking about making large life decisions without telling your boss or life partner. 

Michael: Oh, wait, like, he explicitly says this?

Peter: "People, whether parents, partners or bosses, deny things on an emotional basis that they can learn to accept after the fact." [laughs] 

Michael: Oh. So, we're at another major theme of all these airport books? Toxic masculinity. 

Peter: That's right. 

Michael: Don't tell her what you're thinking and doing. 

Peter: So, one of the big underlying ideas behind the book is that people are scared of change and will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. 

Michael: That's actually wise. 

Peter: Yeah. No, I agree. It's on theme with the timing is never right idea. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: This is where you start to realize that he's about to give you a lot of advice that is very applicable to a 28-year-old with seven figures in the bank. 

Michael: Right. [laughs] 

Peter: When he is considering his big yearlong sabbatical, he's weighing the downsides and he's like, "Look, even if everything goes wrong and my business collapses, what's my worst-case scenario?" And he's like, "Look, I have the experience and the resume to get a job and get back on my feet, and it won't be great, but it'll be fine." 

Michael: Yeah. He's like, "What's the worst that could happen? I'm already earning $70,000 a year in interest from my accounts that I have." 

Peter: Right.

Michael: It's like, yes, people that does, in fact, give you a lot more options. True. 

Peter: So, yes, many people do choose unhappiness over instability. I agree with that. But that's because the risks of instability for many people are extremely high. How many fake gurus are out there advising people to leave the rat race and pursue whatever makes you happy? Move to Costa Rica and give surfing lessons, right? 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: Now Ferriss is giving that same advice, but without the trade off, where you abandon your dream of material wealth. 

Michael: Right. 

Peter: You can go teach people to surf in Costa Rica for a living, but that requires some level of comfort with poverty, right?

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: This book is fundamentally about not wanting to make that trade off.

Michael: Right. Because, yeah, the ordinary advice would be like, "Yeah, go bum around Southeast Asia for a while," and you're just going to be broke and sleep in youth hostels and stuff, which is great. A super formative and awesome experience, but also, you're not going to earn money doing that. That's not a path to riches, necessarily. It's just like a nice thing to do when you're young. 

Peter: Right. And so, what we're building towards is that he's going to show you how you can do all that while still being a little bit rich, while being part of this new rich club. The last part of the opening section is about the practice of dreamlining. This is where you create a clear outline of what your dream is and he provides worksheets and shit. Those worksheets have examples and I'm going to read off some of those examples to you. 

He says, "Let's say in six months, I want to have an Aston Martin, a personal assistant, and be a bestselling author." And then he lays out the costs for the Aston Martin, it's $2,000 a month. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: He prices the personal assistant at $400 based on 80 hours a month at $5 an hour. 

Michael: Wait. 

Peter: A rate that was below the federal minimum wage. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: At every point after 1997, he prices becoming a bestselling author at $0, because the only costs are A, your time, which is free, and B, three unpaid interns to handle promoting the book. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: This is a turning point in the book, because it's the first peek at the actual secret behind The 4-Hour Workweek

Michael: Child slaves. We're back to child slaves. [laughs] 

Peter: Well, we are. This is the first time he touches on a significant, maybe the most significant material component of the strategy, which is identifying sources of cheap labor to do the work for you. 

Michael: Hell yeah. Again, not exotic advice. 

Peter: No.

Michael: This is pretty standard advice of like, "If you want to be rich, find people willing to work for you for almost nothing."

Peter: Yeah, and it's interesting because it's like, "Okay, yeah. Four-hour work week for you."

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: Full time job for your slave wage team, right?

Michael: Right. [laughs] 

Peter: All right. E, elimination. He says, to forget about time management. He thinks that people focus on busying themselves too much without thinking about being effective with their time. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: He talks about identifying and eliminating time wasting or time-consuming habits. He suggests limiting your email use, so that you have a dedicated email answering hour every day, thus avoiding constant email interruptions. 

Michael: That honestly seems like very good advice, generally. 

Peter: Yeah, I agree. He says, "Have a second phone number, so that you can have one dedicated to urgent matters." 

Michael: That's what Hillary Clinton did, and the country never forgave her. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Interesting. Interesting, he goes there. 

Peter: He also gives advice for being effective on phone calls. I'm going to send you some templates. 

Michael: Oh.

Peter: Read the intro, and I'll be John and you be Jane. 

Michael: Okay. "If someone does call your cell phone, it's presumably urgent and should be treated as such. Do not allow them to consume time, otherwise. It's all in the greeting. Compare the following." And then I'm Jane, receiving a call. "Hello?" 

Peter: "Hi. Is this Jane?"

Michael: "This is Jane." 

Michael: "Hi, Jane, it's John." 

Michael: "Oh, hi, John. How are you?" John will now digress and lead you into a conversation about nothing, from which you will have to recover and then fish out the ultimate purpose of the call. There's a better approach. This is Jane speaking. 

Peter: "Hi, it's John." 

Michael: "Hi, John. I'm right in the middle of something. How can I help you out?" 

Peter: Uh, uh, uh. 


Michael: That's not in the screen drive you sent. We're now in full improv. 

Peter: That's me, John panicking. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Jane has got me in the spotlight, I better act fast. 

Michael: This seems like reasonable advice, get to the point of phone calls, I guess.

Peter: This is one of my favorite parts of the book because he's basically advising you on how to save four seconds off of every phone call. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: It's like, "Okay, I guess, that's part of the 36 hours that I will gain every week during this," but it seems like we're going to need to do a lot more work. 

Michael: It's funny to me that usually we try to be meticulously fair to these books. We dove right in on roasting this fucking guy. [laughs] 

Peter: It's very hard not to. The one thing I will say in defense of this book is, he gives the full scheme. Like, he lays out the full vision. 

Michael: So, we'll give him credit for being upfront about this deranged plan, but the plan is still deranged. 

Peter: Next section is A, automation. And the first chapter of it is called Outsourcing Life. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: It begins with an account that's not written by Ferriss. It's written by A. J. Jacobs at the time an editor at Esquire. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: Give me one second. I'll send it to you. 

Michael: Oh, my fucking God. He says, "It began a month ago. I was midway through The World is Flat, the bestseller by Tom Friedman. I like Friedman, despite his puzzling decision to wear a mustache." Ooh. Ooh, got him. 

Peter: Burned. 

Michael: "His book is all about how outsourcing to India and China is not just for tech support and car makers, but is poised to transform every industry in America, from law to banking to accounting. I don't have a corporation. I don't even have an up-to-date business card. I'm a writer and editor working from home. Then again, I think, why should Fortune 500 firms have all the fun? Why can't I join in on the biggest business trend of the new century? Why can't I outsource my low-end tasks?" God, I actually remember this, Peter. There was like a brief period of hype around ordinary people outsourcing aspects of their lives to personal assistance. 

Peter: Because whenever something is great for giant corporations, there's always a giant PR push to be like, "This will be good for you too."

Michael: Yeah, this is going to change life for everyone. But then my understanding is that it completely fizzled out, because once you actually get down to it, there's not that many tasks in your life that you can outsource. Like, it would be nice to be like, "Hey, can you call a restaurant and make a reservation for 07:00 for me and my friends? Great." But then by the time you tell someone in India to do that, and then you probably have to clarify with them like, "Wait, which restaurant? Oh, yeah. Oh, here's the number." It's not saving you that much time. And then, how many tasks can you really outsource to someone who doesn't know your life very well? Like, "Oh, respond to my Tinder messages for me."

Peter: Right. [chuckles] 

Michael: Then a lot of tasks are also in person. A lot of the things that take up people's time are stuff like getting your kids ready for school or whatever. 

Peter: I do want to say that this builds toward my theory that there will eventually only be one book-

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: -that we are working toward the single book. So, the basic principle is that you use assistance to free up your time to do work, which gives you more money for assistance, which gives you more time. It's the cycle of glory. This is when the vision of the book came fully into focus for me, because it starts off with this very relatable disillusionment with the workplace grind, and a desire to escape it, and focus on the more important things in life. But then you get to the core of the book and you realize, "It's not really about escaping the grind, per se. It's about offloading the grind onto someone poorer than you." 

Michael: Right. It's basically, "I want to escape the rat race by no longer being a rat but becoming like the rat master." 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Like, "I'm the one building the maze." [laughs] 

Peter: Transition from exploited to exploiter. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: So, Ferriss gives a bunch of tips about managing your assistants. He says, "To be specific when you're delegating. Otherwise, you lose time later trying to clarify." Ugh, don't you hate that? He also talks about the limits of delegation, and I'm going to send you a bit. 

Michael: "First, I try to delegate my therapy. My plan is to give Asha a list of my neuroses and a childhood anecdote or two, have her talk to my shrink for 50 minutes, then relay the advice. Smart, right? My shrink refused ethics or something. Fine. Instead, I have Asha send me a meticulously researched memo on stress relief. It had a nice Indian flavor to it with a couple of yogic postures and some visualization." Oh, my God. [laughs] 

Peter: Bro.

Michael: This honestly reads like satire. This reads like an argument against being able to outsource this stuff. This seems like a description of like, why this would never fucking work?

Peter: Look, there might not be a better summation of this book than Tim identifying therapy as the least important use of his time, [Michael laughs] and then trying to offload it onto an outsourced, wage slave personal assistant.

Michael: Who's Indian, so of course, the recommendation is yoga, obviously. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: That's what they do there. 

Peter: Oh.

Michael: But then, yeah, this is this weird capitalistic understanding of your own personality and relationships, because at this point, you're like, "Oh, I'm going to catch up with a high school friend of mine. Well, why don't I outsource that?" And Asha can go, and she can give me points of like, "What's Greg up to these days?" 

Peter: Yeah. Right. 

Michael: This is the point of life. 

Peter: It's as if the dream is just being plugged into the matrix, and you're just a twitching little corpse while your personal assistants handle everything for you, it's bizarre. He also goes through the concerns that you might have about this arrangement, not the moral concerns. He says that the number one fear is that someone within your army of personal assistants might decide that it would be more profitable to just steal from you. 

Michael: But does he talk about how hard it is to find people now that quiet quitting is such a big problem in our society? 

Peter: Ferriss gives some tips for suppressing these wage slave rebellions. He talks about background checks and NDAs and encryption, and VPN. 

Michael: Oh, my God. 

Peter: He's like, "I only provide sensitive information to my most trusted assistants." 

Michael: I don't know, man. When I worked in human rights, at one point, I had a team of five people that I was managing. It was so much fucking work to manage people. All you're doing is you're basically turning yourself into a middle manager of your own life. 

Peter: Look, by the time you're getting someone to sign an NDA for $4 an hour, what are you fucking doing here? 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: All right, the next few chapters, we move away from the indentured servitude and toward income autopilot, which is about creating streams of passive income by starting a business. 

Michael: Ooh, another theme for the show. This is all these books promise passive income. 

Peter: Now, he says that the ultimate goal is to have a business where you can remove yourself from the org chart and put yourself in a position where you're essentially in an oversight role. He does this primarily by relying on trusted contractors and giving them leeway to make decisions as they deem fit. 

Michael: Oh.

Peter: I'm going to send you a little bit.

Michael: He says, "I'm more like a police officer on the side of the road who can step in if need be. I check reports from fulfillment each Monday and monthly reports from the same, the first of each month. The latter reports include orders received from the call center, which I can compare to the call center bills to gauge profit. Otherwise, I just check bank accounts online on the 1st and 15th of each month to look for odd deductions. If I find something, one email will fix it. And if not, it's back to kendo, painting, hiking, or whatever I happen to be doing at the time." Okay, so he's working. This is like just being a boss. 

Peter: Just being a boss.

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: This is the second time I've said this on this podcast, but this is another place where I would pay a million dollars to watch Karl Marx read this. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Just like, how do I maximize my rent seeking? Like, how can I maximize my lecherousness vis-à-vis labor? 

Michael: Right.

Peter: There's something deeply disturbing about being like, "I still get the money, but I try to do as little as possible."

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: I don't know, I read this and I hear the international.

Michael: I also feel like, "Look, man, if these books are going to recycle their little lessons, we're going to recycle jokes."

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: "We're just going to keep doing it. Every episode, we're going to make the same Marx's joke." It's fine.

Peter: If they're building towards one book, we're building towards one episode. 

Michael: [laughs] Also, the Rich Dad Poor Dad guy also said this of like, "Be the head of a company and just receive passive income." But that's hard. 

Peter: It's hard. 

Michael: It's easy to start your own successful company that you can then completely bow out of. More people would fucking do it. The whole point is that it's not easy to do this and often requires massive startup capital, and some sort of specialization, and all kinds of luck and shit. 

Peter: Well, Mike, not to cut you off, but Tim Ferriss has a plan for you. 

Michael: Oh. 

Peter: There are steps towards starting a functional business that provides you passive income in this book. He got a little ahead of himself talking about the org chart, but he's like, "All right, so, what's the real question?" You want to know how to create a product that you can sell passively without handling much of the day to day. 

Michael: It's 2007, so is it just bubble tea? It's going to be bubble tea. 

Peter: No. He says, "You don't want to provide a service, because that means you get paid by the hour." 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: You want to provide a downloadable or shippable product. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: So, he says, "Think about markets that you know, industry groups that you associate with. For example, social groups you associate with. Figure out which of those groups have magazines with large circulations that you can advertise in." Again, this is almost 20 years ago, right? 

Michael: Yeah, fair enough. 

Peter: He says, "One, pick an affordably reachable niche market. Two, brainstorm a product to sell to that market." 

Michael: Step one, come up with a great business idea. Step one. 

Peter: Step two, sell. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: He says, "Look, you can try to sell a physical product, but the simpler route is to sell an informational product, like, an instructional DVD course."

Michael: Oh, no. Oh, so, he's turning you into a fucking self-help guru, like, all these guys do, eventually. 

Peter: That's right. He's saying, "Look, these are harder for competitors to replicate." 

Michael: Oh, my God. 

Peter: "They have lower upfront costs, higher margins, all the good stuff that you want in a business."

Michael: And then he's like, "Eventually, write a book giving some fake plan and sell it to a bunch of fucking suckers." 

Peter: I was about to say this. This is not the first time that we've seen one of our authors advise readers to do scams. But this is, I think, the first time we've had one explain the scam that he's running on you right now. 

Michael: Yeah. You are now the product being sold. You are the sucker. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: It is so fascinating to me how many of these guys are basically just training you how to become a guru, because they're like, "Well, I can make up all this shit. Why don't you start making up a bunch of shit and then sell it to other people?"

Peter: Our listener at home is like, "But, Peter, how can I sell an informational DVD when I am not an expert in anything at all?" And Tim's got you covered. So, I'm going to send you something. 

Michael: He says, "If you aren't an expert, don't sweat it. Expert in the context of selling a product means that you know more about the topic than the purchaser. It is not necessary to be the best, just better than a small target number of your prospective customers. Let's suppose that your current dream line to compete in the 1,150 miles Iditarod dog sledding race in Alaska requires $5,000 to realize. If there are 15,000 readers and even 50 or 0.33%, it can be convinced of your superior expertise in skill X and spend $100 for a program that teaches it, that's $5,000. Bring on the huskies." Oh, so is this just like bullshit your way? 

Peter: First of all, he says, "Look, expert doesn't mean that you are an expert. It means that you know more about the topic than the other guy." And it's like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. [laughs] Does it?" 

Michael: This is also the career of numerous national political pundits. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: They don't have any actual expertise. But you know what? Just talk like you do. It's fine. 

Peter: He also suggests just finding several books on a topic and then paraphrasing them [Michael laughs] or using content from the public domain. 

Michael: That's what Rich Dad Poor Dad does too. He's just like, "Yeah, just repackage stuff that other gurus are saying. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: This is a great giant national game of telephone that happens with these fucking self-help books is they're all just repackaging shit from other self-help books. 

Peter: There is an incredible insert in this book titled How to Become an Expert in 4 Weeks

Michael: Fuck yes. 

Peter: He says, "There is a difference between being perceived as an expert and being one. And that all that matters in this context is being perceived as one." He outlines some steps. He says, "One, join a few trade organizations in the field. Two, read the three top selling books on the topic."

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: "Three, give one free seminar at the closest well-known university using posters to advertise, then leverage that to give some seminars for large corporations with campuses nearby if you can. Four, optional. Write an article for a trade magazine. And if they decline, offer to interview someone more established in the field. Five, and this one's slightly outdated, but join ProfNet, which is a service that connects journalists and experts for articles." My immediate gut reaction to this was, this would work. This would work. 

Michael: Yes. It's great. 

Peter: 100%. It felt a little bit like looking into the abyss reading this section. 

Michael: It's really wild how he's just saying it.

Peter: Right. This is the most openly I've ever seen someone like this talk about this sort of thing. 

Michael: It's perfect that he comes out of this health grifting sector, because the public knows so little about health stuff. I don't know, if you're getting these in your inbox yet, Peter, but somehow, I've ended up on all these fucking PR lists for health influencers. And so, I get probably like 30 emails to 50 emails a day from these atrocious PR firms that are like, "This guru says kidney health is the key to longevity," and it's some random fucking guy, and they want to be a guest on our podcast. And a lot of podcasts fall for this, and a lot of journalists also don't know shit about kidneys because most people don't. And so, like, "Okay, I'll interview the fucking kidney guy," and then you start getting this earned media. You start showing up in media reports. Before you know it, a large number of people think that you're an expert on whatever thing you've called yourself an expert on. 

Peter: If you want to do an informational DVD that sells, you're probably doing some general wellness bullshit. It's either wellness or financial advice. 

Michael: Yeah, financial stuff. Yeah.

Peter: This is one of the most Rich Dad Poor Dad parts of the book. And Tim Ferriss has been on Robert Kiyosaki's podcast.

Michael: Perfection.

Peter: I tried to do a full Hobbes and listen to it. Kiyosaki might be the worst host in history. 

Michael: Yeah, he's tough to listen to. It's real tough. 

Peter: His questions are terrible. He was completely unfamiliar with Tim's work going in. I made it five minutes and I was like, "This has me feeling bad for Tim Ferriss, and I can't tolerate that, so I have to leave."

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: All right, we are now past the A in DEAL, which is the slave labor and fraud business portion, and we are on to liberation.

Michael: Freeing myself to employ others in exploitative conditions. Yes. 

Peter: What's interesting about this section is that, for much of it, he actually pivots away from this basic framework, and a lot of it is geared towards employees rather than self-employed entrepreneurs. 

Michael: Okay.

Peter: The practical advice here is primarily about how to convince your employer to let you work remotely, which means we get to witness how a guy in 2007 thought employers would react to an employee request for remote work. 

Michael: Yeah, it's a little unfair to-

Peter: It is.

Michael: -shit on him for this because like, of course, this was the framework at the time, and this has all become normalized. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: But it's also very funny to shit on him for this. So, maybe we should continue. 

Peter: So, he offers up some fake dialogue between you and your boss to give you a template for how to discuss with your manager your desire to do remote work. 

Michael: I love it when we do scripts. 

Peter: I will be the boss, Bill. 

Michael: Okay. You, Bill.

Peter: You can be Sherwood, the employee. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: This is Tim writing out the dialogue that he believes will happen when you ask your manager for remote work. 

Michael: "Hi, Bill. Do you have a quick second?" 

Peter: "Sure, what's up?" 

Michael: "I just wanted to bounce an idea off of you that's been on my mind. Two minutes should be plenty." 

Peter: "Okay, shoot." 

Michael: "Last week, as you know, I was sick. Long story short, I decided to work at home despite feeling terrible. So, here's the funny part. I thought I would get nothing done but ended up finishing three more designs than usual on both days. Plus, I put in three more billable hours than usual without the commute, office noise, distractions, etc. Okay, so, here's where I'm going. Just as a trial, I'd like to propose working from home Mondays and Tuesdays for just two weeks. You can veto it whenever you want, and I'll come in if we need to do meetings, but I'd like to try it for just two weeks and review the results. I'm 100% confident that I'll get twice as much done. Does that seem reasonable?" 

Peter: "Hmm. What if we need to share client designs?" 

Michael: "There's a program called GoToMyPC that I used to access the office computer when I was sick. I can view everything remotely, and I'll have my cell phone on me,24/7. So, what do you think? Test it out starting next Monday and see how much more I get done?"

Peter: "Okay, fine. But it's just a test. I have a meeting in five and have to run, but let's talk soon."

Michael: "Great. Thanks for the time. I'll keep you posted on it all. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised." 

Peter: Thumbs up. Yay. [laughs] 

Michael: I fucking nailed it, Peter. I just want some acknowledgment of how good my line readings were. 

Peter: No, you did great. That was classic Sherwood. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Is there a lower form of argument than just writing fake dialogue? 

Michael: Yeah. This is how it'll go. 

Peter: Like, "Tim, have you ever had a boss?" 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: Even in 2007, the idea that you'd just be like, "Can I not come in Monday and Tuesday, and I promise I'll be working?" And your boss would be like, "Absolutely." 

Michael: Yeah. They're not going to impose arbitrary rules on you. This is work. 

Peter: Come on, man. 

Michael: I also love that he's promising to do more work and be more productive-

Peter: Right.

Michael: -which sounds like to prove that you're productive, you're going to be constantly on the hustle. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: But then the whole point of this framework is to slack off and do less work. 

Peter: Well, one thing that he makes it clear that like, "If you go nuts during a trial session, that'll buy you a lot of leeway to slack off later." 

Michael: Yeah. Then, okay, you set it up, and then once he's used to it, then you hit him with the four hours a week. 

Peter: Right.

Michael: It's all right. I already did something last week. 

Peter: Sherwood, who, by the way, I believe is just a fictional character he's using to illustrate his points, proceeds to go to work from Oktoberfest in Munich and it's like, how long do you think a manager is going to let you work from impromptu vacations before you're fired?

Michael: It is very funny how he's toggling back and forth between perspectives. In this section, he's speaking as an employee and he's like, "Here's how to trick your boss into giving you leeway." But then, it sounds like in the rest of the book, he's speaking as an employer and he's like, "Here's how to impose controls on your employees, so they don't take any leeway."

Peter: Yeah, Right.

Michael: I want him to run the dialogue again, but instead of Sherwood, it's Asha.

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Like, "Do you let her do a trial period, Tim?"

Peter: I actually don't really understand this portion of the book, and it feels like someone was just like, "Can you put in something for regular office workers?"

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: Because the next section is when he says, "I realize this isn't really realistic for most people, but that's okay," because you can just quit. And also, getting fired is not actually a very big deal if you've done what I've suggested so far and started a fraudulent business. 

Michael: Yeah. Just fall back on your supplement money, which you have. 

Peter: So, here is his bit about getting fired. 

Michael: He says, "If you jump ship or get fired, it isn't hard to eliminate most expenses temporarily and live on savings for a brief period. From renting out your home to refinancing or selling it, there are options. There are always options." If you have supplement, millions. "It might be emotionally difficult, but you won't starve. Park your car in the garage and cancel insurance for a few months. Carpool or take the bus until you find the next gig. Rack up some more credit card debt and cook instead of eating out. Sell all the crap that you spent hundreds or thousands on and never use." Okay, so, we're back to like, stop eating avocado toast. 

Peter: Look, just stop going out to fancy meals. Also, cancel your health insurance. Second mortgage, go into severe credit card debt, guys. It's not that hard.

Michael: Rent out the home that you own.

Peter: Instead of sailing on your yacht, lease it. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: So, most of the rest of this book is dedicated to advice about how to do cool shit with your newfound free time,-

Michael: Oh, fuck yeah. Okay.

Peter: -which centers around what he calls mini-retirements. He says that people have retirement backwards. You should be looking for income that can fund adventures now rather than delaying it all until retirement. He says, "Retirement should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against the absolute worst-case scenario." In this case, becoming physically incapable of working and needing a reservoir of capital to survive. He goes on a long trip to Spain and then he's like, "Why not take the usual 20 year to 30-year retirement and redistribute it throughout life instead of saving it all for the end?" 

Michael: God, nothing is more annoying than someone who just came back from Spain. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: [unintelligible [00:36:53]

Peter: The thing is that what he describes as the absolute worst-case scenario of being physically unable to work is just an inevitability for many people. It's weird to be like, "Well, let's take the money away from that and put it towards vacations now." 

Michael: Right.

Peter: What he actually means is like, make a million dollars a year and then you'll have enough to survive retirement when you're old anyway. 

Michael: Yeah, he's trying to hedge by saying, "Well, look, definitely save for retirement in case something unexpected happens, but also take your retirement in little chunks now." But what that basically amounts to is just like, save for retirement and go on a bunch of vacations now, [Peter laughs] which is already what everybody wants to do. Like, the reason why people don't go on vacations now isn't because they don't know that that would be awesome. 

Peter: [chuckles] He says that you should occasionally just relocate to somewhere you want to visit for one month to six months, and that's what he considers a mini retirement, even if you have his fraud scheme working in the background. You hear that and you're like, "How is this feasible for most people?" The first concern is obviously money. And he says, you can actually make this affordable. 

Michael: Okay. 

Peter: So, he lists out his costs from his extended stays in Buenos Aires and Berlin. I'm going to send you the pages from the book. I thought it might be something my cops would have insight into, because you lived in Berlin. 

Michael: Yes. 

Peter: So, I'm going to send you his monthly expenses for these trips. 

Michael: Okay. So, he's got a list of categories. So, airfare, free, courtesy of Amex Gold Card. Enormous apartment in the trendy Soho like Prenzlauer Berg, district of Berlin, including phone and energy, $300 US per month. And then meals. He just says, Berlin, $18. 

Peter: He says, 4-star or 5-star restaurant meals twice daily.

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: In Buenos Aires, $10. In Berlin, $18. 

Michael: No, that's like three shawarmas a day. 

Peter: I also don't understand, like, 2-star, 4-star, or 5-star restaurant meals a day, what's the price of the treatment for gout? Because that's what's going to happen. 

Michael: [laughs] But then I will defend and attack him here. I feel like, "Yeah, he's fudging the numbers." These numbers are small. But then on some level, the numbers don't super-duper matter, because like, "Yeah, could you get an apartment in Prenzlauer Berg for €300 in 2007?" Probably not, but it was significantly cheaper to live in Berlin back then than it was in a lot of other global cities. Surprisingly cheap. 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: I'm willing to forgive him on the specifics of the numbers, but on the other hand, all he's really saying here is that some cities in the world are cheaper than other cities. 

Peter: And remember that earlier he said, "This has nothing to do with currency rates." 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: This is also an area of the book where his practical advice starts to flounder out. He has like an insert about saving on airfare, and his advice is just to use kayak.com and break very far in advance and it's like, "Okay."

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: He goes on to list education costs, which are like language lessons and then private tango lessons, which are quite expensive. He starts off this book with an anecdote about being in a high-profile tango competition. He's like, "Just one year ago, I had no experience, but here I was and here's how I did it." It was so stupid that I was like, "I'm not going to include this [crosstalk] episode." 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] It's too mean to read out the whole book. 

Peter: And then in Berlin, he's taking MMA training, which I have to say, he was ahead of the game here. This is like 2006, 2007 presumably. MMA is something that tech assholes are into now. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: He totals up his monthly costs as $1,500 a month in Buenos Aires, nearly a third of which is the advanced tango lessons and [Michael laughs] just under $1,200 in Berlin. And then he says, "How do these numbers compare to your current domestic monthly expenses, including rent, car insurance, utilities, weekend expenditures, partying, public transportation, gas, memberships, subscriptions, food, and all the rest? Add it all up and you may well realize like I did that traveling around the world and having the time of your life can save you serious money." So, a few things that I wanted to say about that. One, you probably have a lot of those domestic expenses while you're abroad.

Michael: Yeah. Presumably, you're keeping your apartment somewhere. So, when you go back to the States, you're not living in a rented place.

Peter: Right. Or, if you have a house, you're paying your mortgage. 

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: Not to mention that a lot of these expenses are stuff that he does not add into his Berlin and Argentina expenses. 

Michael: Right. 

Peter: The other thing that came to my mind when I was thinking about his mini-retirement scheme is like, "Okay, what if you have children?"

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: He seems to be loosely aware that people are concerned about this. And so, I'm going to send you his attempt to lay the concerns of parents to rest. 

Michael: He says, "The prime fear of all parents prior to their first international trip is somehow losing a child in the shuffle. The good news is that if you're comfortable taking your kids to New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, or London, you'll have even less to worry about in the starting cities I recommended. There are fewer guns and violent crimes in all of them compared to most large US cities." Oh, so, it's like your kids aren't going to die?

Peter: Right. So, he seems to think that the primary concern of parents is like, "That your kid might get lost or kidnapped or shot or something." And it's like, "Bro, I don't even have a kid," but I know that what every parent is thinking when hearing this scheme is, "My kid has to go to school."

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: Not like, "Oh, what if they get taken?"

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: This is like how everyone says that when we were kids, we were worried about quicksand, it's like a child's idea of what a parent would be worried about. 

Michael: He's like, "Now, I know what you're going to say. What about parents?"

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: "But I do address it in the book. Actually, I've got you covered." 

Peter: Yeah. 

Michael: Okay. This is coming into focus for me now. He's writing this as if it's advice, but what it basically is is just like a look how awesome my life is book. 

Peter: Uh-huh.

Michael: If you're this guy, your life rocks. You're fucking rich. You don't have any deep ties to any particular place. You can jet around the world and write some emails, and the money keeps coming in, and you're running this scammy company, but you don't really need to do that much. It seems like you just wanted to write a book about how awesome your life is, but you're not capable of doing that as a form of public reason of like, "Hey, everybody, look how great my shit is." But you are allowed to act as if your awesome life is in some way replicable.

Peter: Right.

Michael: It just isn't. So, you're just telling me how awesome your life is and pretending that the reason other people don't do this is because they don't know some secret. 

Peter: Right. I think you're right that he's just bragging. The main reason I think you're right is because in his next book, there's a digression about how he's an expert at giving women orgasms. 

Michael: Oh, wait, seriously? Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. [laughs] 

Peter: He's like, "Yeah, my next book, The 4-Hour Nut." 


Michael: All of these guys eventually just become dating gurus, don't they? 

Peter: Right.

Michael: It's like, animals evolving into crabs. 

Peter: One of his last chapters is about how once you've freed up all of your time to do what you want, you might find yourself searching for meaning in life. He calls the chapter Filling the Void- 

Michael: Oh, my God. 

Peter: -which I mentioned because Tim Ferriss now has talked openly about how he's had bouts of depression and struggled with mental health and stuff, but that he didn't recognize it at the time he wrote this book. 

Michael: That's so interesting. 

Peter: You see, it peek through with the title of the chapter where he's like, "Okay, you freed up your time. Now, you're going to hear the abyss calling. You're going to wonder what to do about it." And it's like, "Oh, Tim, you've got to do therapy, bro. Let's circle back to therapy." 

Michael: This is the "I need therapy advice" book. Holy shit. That's honestly the first interesting thing I've heard in this episode. 

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: A lot of this stuff that he was doing in his 20s was him either chasing something or running away from something, which as somebody who lived abroad for a long time, you do really see this. 

Peter: It makes sense in general that if you did find yourself with 36 hours of free time a week, you might start thinking about what the point of it all is, right? 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: There are mental and emotional challenges that come with having the freedom to do what you want. 

Michael: This is why I always listen to podcasts, even if I'm just brushing my teeth or something, so I don't have to be alone with my thoughts. 

Peter: Never let the thoughts in. 

Michael: Don't do it. 

Peter: There's also a bit where he provides his own view on the meaning of life. He says that, "I believe that life exists to be enjoyed and that the most important thing is to feel good about yourself," which is both trite and stupid. But I mostly wanted to include it because only a 28-year-old Silicon Valley guy would think that he should just throw in his view on the meaning of life. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: I've also got thoughts on the meaning of life, FYI. Now that I've taught you about how to do a fake, fraudulent instructional DVD. 

Michael: Oh, my God. [laughs] The funny thing is, I feel like the actual low-key advice the book is giving without realizing it is to try to form meaningful relationships, and that chasing money is not going to make you happy. This thing of like, "I'm sitting by an infinity pool" is like, "Yeah, it's really cool," but that's not it.

Peter: Right.

Michael: Yeah. You should do as much of this stuff in your 20s as possible. I honestly think fucking off to other countries. if you're able to do it is great. Don't make excuses. Fuck off. It whips. But also, you need to be able to form deeper relationships and have something to come home to. 

Peter: Well, that's what you have Asha for. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: She's sending you yoga poses. My best friend, Asha. 


Michael: Now, I feel so mean about the book, because it sounds like he's writing this as a way of struggling out of some sort of darkness. 

Peter: Don't worry.

Michael: Okay.

Peter: I got you covered. 

Michael: Make me feel better. Tell me something problematic he said or did. [laughs] 

Peter: I will not let empathy for Tim Ferriss grab ahold of you. 

Michael: Fix me, Peter. 

Peter: So, the book's a hit, of course, right? 

Michael: Yes.

Peter: It spawns various spinoffs, because they can't resist. A couple years later, he publishes The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide To Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, And Becoming Superhuman

Michael: It's very funny that, in this book, he's like, just bullshit your way and make people think that you're an expert. And then his next book, he's like, "I'm an expert."

Peter: It's the scam. 

Michael: It's the scam.

Peter: It's the same scam, bro. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: He fucking told you, if you read The 4-Hour Workweek, where he explains the scam that he's running on you. 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: Then you see the next book, and you buy that, I'm sorry. But you just shouldn't be allowed to be alone. 

Michael: [laughs] It's funny, maybe in the first book, he deliberately said, "Sell DVDs as opposed to sell books to make it less obvious what he was doing." But this is what he's doing. 

Peter: I would love it if that was an editor suggestion. Tim, can you delete books and just put DVDs in?

Michael: Actually, we're scamming people into buying the book, Tim.

Michael: So, anyway, yeah, you were having empathy for Tim Ferriss and I was like, "Don't worry, his next book has rapid fat loss in the title."

Michael: [laughs] Did you look at it? Is it just like, whatever, do a bunch of sit ups or some shit? 

Peter: Yeah. So, I skimmed this one a little bit. He recommends what he calls a slow carb diet. 

Michael: Oh, yeah. Sure. 

Peter: He claims he interviewed hundreds of experts for the book, which, again, is just a component of that same fake expertise scam that he outlined for us. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Remember, his advice was like, "Interview experts, read a couple of the bestselling books," and then bang, you are the fake expert. It's what he's doing. 

Michael: [laughs] As you're walking me through the book, I do actually think that this is significantly more poisonous than Atomic Habits, for example. 

Peter: We said this during the episode, but Atomic Habits is just like a set of tips. It's like, the stakes are very low in that book. I think it's silly and it's emblematic of a certain type of bullshit, but it's nothing like this. If someone tried this, your chance of dying on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic is skyrocketing. 

Michael: [laughs] And also, it's not even that the tips in this book are useless. It's like, many of them are actively harmful, not only to yourself because they're not going to work, but also to society. You're just like, "Oh, telling lies about shit and becoming yet another fucking wellness guru." And then also, the epilogue is that none of this made him happy. 

Peter: Right, dude. The fact that right now, in the last couple of years, he's re-envisioning how he conceives of his life. It just goes to show how hollow this shit is. 

Michael: Yeah, exactly. Like, what I've dedicated my whole career to and the way that I made my millions is basically just like bullshit. 

Peter: He also publishes The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life. I couldn't even skim this one, to be honest. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: He's obviously building around the four-hour brand, but it's also funny because you can see the allure of it decreasing. Like, four-hour work week. Incredible. 90% reduction in my work hours. Four-hour body and it's like, okay, are we talking about working out four times a week for an hour? 

Michael: Yeah, that's kind of.

Peter: That's just like a standard recommended exercise regimen. 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: Then it's like, The 4-Hour Chef. And it's like, "That's a lot of cooking, Tim."

Michael: [laughs] Also, wasn't he an early pioneer of podcasting? This is like mostly how I know him is that his podcast was wildly successful. 

Peter: His podcast was very, very successful. The book made him a hit in Silicon Valley. And so, his company gets bought by a private equity firm in 2010. He's sitting on a small fortune, and becomes a seed investor, and has struck it huge with various massive companies. He's now extraordinarily wealthy. All of it underscores. Even he was not doing this, right?

Michael: Right.

Peter: He's just working 70 hours weeks writing books, and doing Ted Talks, and taking meetings with Silicon Valley assholes. What he would say to that is like, "Well, look, the whole point is not necessarily that you only work four hours. It's that you do whatever you want and you don't need to work," right?

Michael: Right. 

Peter: But if the idea is like, "You should be pursuing what makes you happy." What makes him happy is just working in the same exact way that he worked before, then perhaps he wasn't actually pursuing what made him happy. I think that his change of heart over the last few years bears this out. He says now that he's less focused on material success and productivity, and is more focused on psychological wellbeing. He's gotten very into psychedelics, and meditation, and spiritual retreats, and shit like that, the full Silicon Valley dipshit life cycle. 

Michael: Yeah. [laughs] 

Peter: Every time you look at Jack Dorsey, he looks like he's living deeper in a sewer. 

Michael: But then it's not even like the Silicon Valley life cycle. It's just like the aging life cycle. As you become older, you start to think about what is meaningful to me in my life and what do I want to leave behind, which is totally fine. 

Peter: I don't think it's just that. I think what makes it particularly Silicon Valley is that, at every stage, you are incredibly confident that you have found it. 

Michael: Yeah, exactly. This is the thing is that you're immediately selling back these little epiphanies that you had 15 minutes ago.

Peter: Right.

Michael: You're like, "Hey, traveling is really great when you're in your 20s. I'm going to write a book about how everybody should go travel." And then it's like, "I found out in my 40s that meditating is really cool. I'm going to write a book about how meditating will save you." 

Peter: Meditation and spiritual retreats are changing my life. It's like, "Bro, you're having a midlife crisis." 

Michael: Yeah, it's fine. Like, "You're in your 40s."

Peter: Yeah, that's cool.

Michael: "You've attained what you've defined as success, and it hasn't made you happy." 

Peter: Right. 

Michael: Yeah, that's a lot of people when they're in their 40s, man. And a lot of other people don't get to nope out of the structures that they're in, and just take a break, and go do ayahuasca in Arizona. Not everybody gets to do that, but you're just again repackaging this shit as like, "No, I've got it figured out."

Peter: Not to brag, but I was doing shrooms when I was 22, okay? 

Michael: [laughs] 

Peter: So, I'm ahead of the game, Tim. 

Michael: And also, I had a black abyss in my heart when I was 17. Tim, join me. 

Peter: That's right. 

Michael: Some of us knew that it didn't mean anything. 


Michael: You rented the dark, I was born in it. 

Peter: In 20 years, he's going to be writing a book about the joy of grandkids or some shit like that. 

Michael: Totally, 100%, prostate health with Tim. Yeah. 

Peter: It's very interesting how this book starts versus how it finishes, because it starts off fairly relatable. It's a common experience to feel like you're doing okay, doing what you're supposed to be doing, but you're just working a lot and looking around and wondering like, "Is this the rest of my fucking life?"

Michael: Yeah.

Peter: Maybe the existence of this book speaks to how beaten down the spirit of the American worker is, because this is a structural problem. The problem that he sees, but can't really identify is probably that America is the only industrialized country on Earth without mandatory paid vacation for workers, right? 

Michael: Yeah. 

Peter: How bleak is it that to Americans, structural change is so unthinkable that Timothy Ferriss thought it would be simpler to employ a small army of third world wage slaves in order to loosely replicate what people in Spain get as a matter of legal right. 

Michael: And he's like, "All you have to do to avoid all these structural disadvantages of working in the United States is just like be fabulously wealthy." It's like, "Yeah. Great. Be the 1%." Awesome. 

Peter: Try to step atop the structure of [Michael laughs] oppression using fraud to employ people, so that you can do more fraud, and then travel. 

Michael: The sequel to this is going to be called The 80 Hour Workweek by Asha.

Peter: [laughs] 

Michael: Ooh, Asha. 

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