QUOTES FROM THE BOOK “The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss”

Last Updated on October 2, 2022 by Dayanand Kadella

Blog Title: QUOTES FROM THE BOOK “The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss”
Name: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)
Author: Timothy Ferriss
Download Free Audiobook on Audible
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Book size: 448 pages

“You need to know what your unique strengths are and be willing to delegate.”


“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”. 


“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination”.

—OSCAR WILDE, Irish dramatist and novelist

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field”.

—NIELS BOHR, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

“Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid”.

—HEINRICH HEINE, German critic and poet

“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 silver fetters”. 


“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

“Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to rewrite them”. 


“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life”. 


“I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time”.

—HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Everything popular is wrong”.

—OSCAR WILDE, The Importance of Being Earnest.

“Many a false step was made by standing still”.


“Named must your fear be before banish it you can”. 

—YODA, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action”.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI, former British Prime Minister.

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?””. 


“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, “Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens”. 

—YVON CHOUINARD, founder of Patagonia.

“You have comfort. You don’t have luxury. And don’t tell me that money plays a part. The luxury I advocate has nothing to do with money. It cannot be bought. It is the reward of those who have no fear of discomfort”.

— JEAN COCTEAU, French poet, novelist, boxing manager, and filmmaker, whose collaborations were the inspiration for the term “surrealism”.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened”. 


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man”. 

—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Maxims for Revolutionists

“The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom”.

—VIKTOR FRANKL, Auschwitz survivor and founder of Logotherapy, Man’s Search for Meaning

“Life is too short to be small”. 


“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity”.


“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away”.

—ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY, pioneer of international postal flight and author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince).

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less”.

—WILLIAM OF OCCAM (1300-1350), originator of “Occam’s Razor.

“What gets measured gets managed”.

—PETER DRUCKER, management theorist, author of 31 books, recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I saw a bank that said “24-Hour Banking,” but I don’t have that much time”. 


“Love of bustle is not industry”. 


“We create stress for ourselves because you feel like you have to do it. You have to. I don’t feel that anymore”. 

—OPRAH WINFREY, actress and talk-showhost, TheOprahWinfrey Show.

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it”. 

—HERBERT SIMON, recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics7 and the A.M. Turing Award, the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science.

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking”.


“There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant”. 


“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace”. 

—ROBERT J. SAWYER, Calculating God

“Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece”. 


“Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate”. 

—DAVE BARRY, Pulitzer Prize-winning American humorist.

“The best defense is a good offense”.

—DAN GABLE, Olympic gold medalist in wrestling and the most successful coach in history; personal record: 299-6-3, with 182 pins.

“A schedule defends from chaos and whim”. 

—ANNIE DILLARD, winner of Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, 1975.

“The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past”. 

—BILL GATES, cofounder of Microsoft, richest man in the world.

“People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don’t realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world”.

 —CALVIN, from Calvin and Hobbes.

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone”. 


“The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet”. 

—WILLIAM GIBSON, author of Neuromancer; coined term “cyberspace” in 1984.

“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it”.

—MALCOLM x, Malcolm X Speaks.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”.


“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights”. 

—BISHOP DESMOND TUTU, South African cleric and activist.

“Just set it and forget it!”.

—RON POPEIL, founder of RONCO; responsible for more than $1 billion in sales of rotisserie chicken roasters

” As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble”.


“When I was younger … I [didn’t] want to be pigeonholed … Basically, now you want to be pigeonholed. It’s your niche”. 

—JOAN CHEN, actress; appeared in The Last Emperor and Twin Peaks.

“Some people are just into lavish dwarf entertainment”.

—DANNY BLACK (4’2″), part-owner of Shortdwarf.com

“Genius is only a superior power of seeing”.

—JOHN RUSKIN, famed art and social critic.

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can Borrow”.


“Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed”. 

—VIDA D. SCUDDER, The Life of the Spirit in the Modern English Poets.

“Many of these theories have been killed off only when some decisive experiment exposed their incorrectness. . . . Thus the yeoman work in any science … is done by the experimentalist, who must keep the theoreticians honest”. 

—MICHIO KAKU, theoretical physicist and co-creator of String Field Theory, Hyperspace.

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment”. 

—WARREN G. BENNIS, University of Southern California Professor of Business Administration; adviser to Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.

“A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear _If the employees come first, then they’re happy”.

—HERB KELLEHER, cofounder of Southwest Airlines.

“Look, kiddie. I built this business by being a bastard. I run it by being a bastard. I’ll always be a bastard, and don’t you ever try to change me”.

—CHARLES REVSON, founder of Revlon, to a senior executive within his company.

“The power of hiding ourselves from one another is mercifully given, for men are wild beasts, and would devour one another but for this protection”.

—HENRY WARD BEECHER, U.S. abolitionist and clergyman, “Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit”.

“Orders are nobody can see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow!”.


“The system is the solution. —AT&T”.

“Companies go out of business when they make the wrong decisions or, just as important, make too many decisions. The latter creates complexity”.

—MIKE MAPLES, cofounder of Motive Communications (IPO to $260 million market cap), founding executive of Tivoli (sold to IBM for $750 million), and investor in companies such as Digg.com.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster”. 


“Are you tired of sand being kicked in your face? I promise you new muscles in days!”.

— CHARLES ATLAS, strongman who sold more than $30 million worth of “dynamic-tension” muscle courses through comic books.

“It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains”.

—THOMAS H. HUXLEY, English biologist; known as “Darwin’s Bulldog”.

“By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day”. 

—ROBERT FROST, American poet and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes.

“On this path, it is only the first step that counts”.

—ST. JEAN-BAPTISTE-MARIE VIANNEY, Catholic saint, “Cure d’Ars”.

“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him”.

—THOMAS J. WATSON, founder of IBM.

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.


“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer”. 


“If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time”.


“The average man is conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain”. 

— COLIN WILSON, British author of The Outsider; New Existentialist.

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure”. 

—THOMAS J.WATSON, founder of IBM.

“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes”.

—INGVAR KAMPRAD, founder of IKEA, world’s largest furniture brand.

“Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment”. 


“The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research”. 

—ROLF POTTS, Vagabonding.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed”.


“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything”. 

—CHARLES KURALT, CBS news reporter.

“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfection”. 


“Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building here after seeing Italy”.

—FANNY BURNEY (1752-1840), English novelist.

“Human beings have the capacity to learn to want almost any conceivable material object. Given, then, the emergence of a modern industrial culture capable of producing almost anything, the time is ripe for opening the storehouse of infinite need! … It is the modern Pandora’s box, and its plagues are loose upon the world”. 


“To be free, to be happy and fruitful can only be attained through the sacrifice of many common but overestimated things”. 


“It is fatal to know too much at the outcome: boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his route as to the novelist who is over certain of his plot”. 

—PAUL THEROUX, To the Ends of the Earth.

“To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass”. 

—ANNE LAMOTT, Bird by Bird.

“There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do”.

—BILL WATTERSON, creator of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip.

“Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another”.

—ANATOLE FRANCE, author of The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard.

“People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive”.

—JOSEPH CAMPBELL, The Power of Myth.

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task”.

—VIKTOR E. FRANKL, Holocaust survivor; author of Man’s Search for Meaning.

“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages”.


“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike”. 


“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas”.


“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive”.


“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake”..

—FRANK WILCZEK, 2004 Nobel Prize winner in physics.

“Ho imparato che niente e impossibile, e anche che quasi niente e facile . . . (I’ve learned that nothing is impossible, and that almost nothing is easy …)”.

—ARTICOLO 31 (Italian rap group), “Un Urlo”

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn”. 


“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something . . . almost everything— all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose”. 

—STEVE JOBS, college dropout and CEO of Apple Computer, Stanford University Commencement, 200578.

“A hypocrite is a person who—but who isn’t?”.


Editor’s note: These quotes were originally published in the book ” The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss in his 2011 edition and have been updated for comprehensiveness.

Timothy Ferriss has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright. Designs and Parents Act 1988. If you as a reader want to read this book then you can visit this link:

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