Cautions and Comparisons
How to Burn $1,000,000 a night
These individuals have riches just as we say that we “have a
fever,” when really the fever has us.
—seneca (4 b.c.–a.d. 65)
I also have in mind that seemingly wealthy, but most terribly
impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how
to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or
—henry david thoreau (1817–1862)
1:00 a.m. cst, 30,000 feet over las vegas
His friends, drunk to the point of speaking in tongues, were asleep. It
was just the two of us now in first-class. He extended his hand to
introduce himself, and an enormous—Looney Tunes
enormous—diamond ring appeared from the ether as his fingers
crossed under my reading light.
Mark was a legitimate magnate. He had, at different times, run
practically all the gas stations, convenience stores, and gambling in
South Carolina. He confessed with a half smile that, in an average trip
to Sin City, he and his fellow weekend warriors might lose an average of
$500,000 to $1,000,000—each. Nice.
He sat up in his seat as the conversation drifted to my travels, but I
was more interested in his astounding record of printing money.
“So, of all your businesses, which did you like the most?”
The answer took less than a second of thought.
“None of them.”
He explained that he had spent more than 30 years with people he
didn’t like to buy things he didn’t need. Life had become a
succession of trophy wives—he was on lucky number
three—expensive cars, and other empty bragging rights. Mark was
one of the living dead.
This is exactly where we don’t want to end up.
Apples and Oranges: A Comparison
So, what makes the difference? What separates the New Rich,
characterized by options, from the Deferrers (D), those who save it all
for the end only to find that life has passed them by?
It begins at the beginning. The New Rich can be separated from the crowd
based on their goals, which reflect very distinct priorities and life
Note how subtle differences in wording completely change the necessary
actions for fulfilling what at a glance appear to be similar goals.
These are not limited to business owners. Even the first, as I will show
later, applies to employees.
D:To work for yourself.
NR:To have others work for you.
D:To work when you want to.
NR:To prevent work for work’s sake, and to do the minimum
necessary for maximum effect (“minimum effective load”).
D:To retire early or young.
NR:To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements)
throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not
the goal. Doing that which excites you is.
D:To buy all the things you want to have.
NR:To do all the things you want to do, and be all the things you want
to be. If this includes some tools and gadgets, so be it, but they are
either means to an end or bonuses, not the focus.
D:To be the boss instead of the employee; to be in charge.
NR:To be neither the boss nor the employee, but the owner. To own the
trains and have someone else ensure they run on time.
D:To make a ton of money.
NR:To make a ton of money with specific reasons and defined dreams to
chase, timelines and steps included. What are you working for?
D:To have more.
NR:To have more quality and less clutter. To have huge financial
reserves but recognize that most material wants are justifications for
spending time on the things that don’t really matter, including
buying things and preparing to buy things. You spent two weeks
negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off?
That’s great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing
anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on a
keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?
D:To reach the big pay-off, whether IPO, acquisition, retirement, or
other pot of gold.
NR:To think big but ensure payday comes every day: cash flow first, big
D:To have freedom from doing that which you dislike.
NR:To have freedom from doing that which you dislike, but also the
freedom and resolve to pursue your dreams without reverting to work for
work’s sake (W4W). After years of repetitive work, you will often
need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive
hobbies that you let atrophy to near extinction. The goal is not to
simply eliminate the bad, which does nothing more than leave you with a
vacuum, but to pursue and experience the best in the world.
Getting Off the Wrong Train
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the
easiest person to fool.
—richard p. feynman, Nobel Prize–winning physicist
Enough is enough. Lemmings no more. The blind quest for cash is a
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 cost less than rent in the
United States. If you can free your time and location, your money is
automatically worth 3–10 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
Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of
W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where
you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the “freedom
Using this as our criterion, the 80-hour-per-week, $500,000-per-year
investment banker is less “powerful” than the employed NR
who works 1?4 the hours for $40,000, but has complete freedom of when,
where, and how to live. The former’s $500,000 may be worth less
than $40,000 and the latter’s $40,000 worth more than $500,000
when we run the numbers and look at the lifestyle output of their money.
Options—the ability to choose—is real power. This book is
all about how to see and create those options with the least ef- fort
and cost. It just so happens, paradoxically, that you can make more
money—a lot more money—by doing half of what you are doing
So, Who Are the NR?
qThe employee who rearranges his schedule and negotiates a remote work
agreement to achieve 90% of the results in one-tenth of the time, which
frees him to practice cross-country skiing and take road trips with his
family two weeks per month.
qThe business owner who eliminates the least profitable customers and
projects, outsources all operations entirely, and travels the world
collecting rare documents, all while working remotely on a website to
showcase her own illustration work.
qThe student who elects to risk it all—which is nothing—to
establish an online video rental service that delivers $5,000 per month
in income from a small niche of HDTV aficionados, a two-hour-per-week
side project that allows him to work full-time as an animal rights
The options are limitless, but each path begins with the same first
step: replacing assumptions.
To join the movement, you will need to learn a new lexicon and
recalibrate direction using a compass for an unusual world. From
inverting responsibility to jettisoning the entire concept of
“success,” we need to change the rules.
New Players for a New Game: Global and Unrestricted
Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite
As he rotated 360 degrees through the air, the deafening noise turned to
silence. Dale Begg-Smith executed the backflip perfectly—skis
crossed in an X over his head—and landed in the record books as he
slid across the finish.
It was February 16, 2006, and he was now a mogul-skiing gold medalist at
the Turin Winter Olympics. Unlike other full-time athletes, he will
never have to return to a dead-end job after his moment of glory, nor
will he look back at this day as the climax of his only passion. After
all, he was only 21 years old and drove a black Lamborghini.
Born a Canadian and something of a late bloomer, Dale found his calling,
an Internet-based IT company, at the age of 13. Fortunately, he had a
more-experienced mentor and partner to guide him: his 15-year-old
brother, Jason. Created to fund their dreams of standing atop the
Olympic podium, it would, only two years later, become the third-largest
company of its kind in the world.
While Dale’s teammates were hitting the slopes for extra sessions,
he was often buying sake for clients in Tokyo. In a world of “work
harder, not smarter,” it came to pass that his coaches felt he was
spending too much time on his business and not enough time in training,
despite his results.
Rather than choose between his business or his dream, Dale chose to move
laterally with both, from either/or to both/and. He wasn’t
spending too much time on his business; he and his brother were spending
too much time with Canucks.
In 2002, they moved to the ski capital of the world, Australia, where
the team was smaller, more flexible, and coached by a legend. Three
short years later, he received citizenship, went head-to-head against
former teammates, and became the third “Aussie” in history
to win winter gold.
In the land of wallabies and big surf, Dale has since gone postal.
Literally. Right next to the Elvis Presley commemorative edition, you
can buy stamps with his face on them.
Fame has its perks, as does looking outside the choices presented to
you. There are always lateral options.
Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what
happens to you in life.—John F. Kennedy
Some people remain convinced that just a bit more money will make things
right. Their goals are arbitrary moving targets: $300,000 in the bank,
$1,000,000 in the portfolio, $100,000 a year instead of $50,000, etc.
Julie’s goal made intrinsic sense: come back with the same number
of children she had left with.
She reclined in her seat and glanced across the aisle past her sleeping
husband, Marc, counting as she had done thousands of times—one,
two, three. So far so good. In 12 hours, they would all be back in
Paris, safe and sound. That was assuming the plane from New Caledonia
held together, of course.
Nestled in the tropics of the Coral Sea, New Caledonia was a French
territory and where Julie and Marc had just sold the sailboat that took
them 15,000 miles around the world. Of course, recouping their initial
investment had been part of the plan. All said and done, their 15-month
exploration of the globe, from the gondola-rich waterways of Venice to
the tribal shores of Polynesia, had cost between $18,000 and $19,000.
Less than rent and baguettes in Paris.
Most people would consider this impossible. Then again, most people
don’t know that more than 300 families set sail from France each
year to do the same.
The trip had been a dream for almost two decades, relegated to the back
of the line behind an ever-growing list of responsibilities. Each
passing moment brought a new list of reasons for putting it off. One
day, Julie realized that if she didn’t do it now, she would never
do it. The rationalizations, legitimate or not, would just continue to
add up and make it harder to convince herself that escape was possible.
One year of preparation and one 30-day trial run with her husband later,
they set sail on the trip of a lifetime. Julie realized almost as soon
as the anchor lifted that, far from being a reason not to travel and
seek adventure, children are perhaps the best reason of all to do both.
Pre-trip, her three little boys had fought like banshees at the drop of
a hat. In the process of learning to coexist in a floating bedroom, they
learned patience, as much for themselves as for the sanity of their
parents. Pre-trip, books were about as appealing as eating sand. Given
the alternative of staring at a wall on the open sea, all three learned
to love books. Pulling them out of school for one aca- demic year and
exposing them to new environments had proven to be the best investment
in their education to date.
Now sitting in the plane, Julie looked out at the clouds as the wing cut
past them, already thinking of their next plans: to find a place in the
mountains and ski all year long, using income from a sail-rigging
workshop to fund the slopes and more travel.
Now that she had done it once, she had the itch.
Excerpted from "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich" by Timothy Ferriss. Copyright © 2007 by Timothy Ferriss. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.