Who wants a 4 hour Workweek?

February 15, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Grouporation = Group + Collaboration

Background:

My name is Tim Ferriss, and I’m a serial vagabond, cage fighter, and guest lecturer in high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University. I write you today as a 29-year old first-time author who is nervous about my launch, coming up fast on April 24th (Crown/Random House Publishing).

The book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is based on my popular lectures at Princeton and explores the question: Is it possible to live like the multimillionaire without first having a million dollars? $40,000 can let you live like an investment banker making $400,000, without following the deferred-life plan of slaving for 20 years. The book is tons of Lifehacks on serious steroids.

Problem:

The publisher will do a great job of handling offline (and some online), but I’m hoping to help make a big spash in the world of bloggers, social networks, etc. As one person, there are serious limits to how much time I have.

Question for Readers:

What are your top 3-5 recommendations — each of which should take no more than 2 hours of time and have minimal cost — for creating a wild-fire effect and driving sales in the month of May?

Are there particular people who should receive review copies or any great PR stunts that would get serious attention? Let me know!

Gifts of Thanks:

The best 5 posts will receive an advance autographed copy of the book (4 weeks before publication date!) and a PDF of great material that didn’t make it into the book. Thanks so much in advance — I really need your help!

Please leave a comment and help if you want your site, product or service to be reviewed in the future.

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32 responses to “Who wants a 4 hour Workweek?

  1. Jason H. Reply

    Wow, Tim, just visited your site, you got a pretty incredible bio ๐Ÿ™‚

    I looked at your multimedia section, and saw pretty good video clips. Then, I went to YouTube and seached your name, and got 0 result. Why haven’t you put any of your kick-ass Cagefighting, Chinese Kickboxing, Tango, Breakdance in Taiwan (Yeah, that’s my home country ^_^) video on YouTube yet?

    Also, Since you’ve been profiled in the book of “The Success Principle”, I’d recommend you to personally contact Mr.Jack Canfield (one of my favorite authors, and his “The Power of Focus” is one my favorite books all time) and to see if he can help you to get the word out for your book ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Eric A Reply

    Have you read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson? It was a great book. Even more interesting was Chris blogged about the book and its idea’s since the day he started writing it. By the time it was published he had thousands of subscribers and regular readers of his blog, which were the “early adopters” that helped push book sales.

    Even though you’ve already written the book, my advice to you is focus on your blog, and write some really interesting stuff. The great thing about the web today is that remarkable ideas will spread, with the help of digg and other aggregators. (sp?)

    So if your ideas are remarkable, blog them. You still have 3+ months to go. Thats enough time to get a decent following. Adsense and giving away free books would pale in comparison to a great blog with great content.

    Good luck.

  3. Damon Billian Reply

    It seems like everyone is targeting bloggers:)

    1. Offer a copy to Seth Godin.
    2. Try to do outreach to large blogs in the following areas:
    jobs, career, personal finance & travel.
    3. And while everyone is focusing on blogs, I would also try to identify large forums in the above spaces (many forums have more active communities than the largest blogs).
    4. Comment on blogs specific to what you’re targeting (the link back to your site in your “signature” might make people click to you).
    5. If you have the time or money, try to offer a promotion where someone can actually meet with you & you can show them *how* to utilize the pointers in the book. Perhaps you could try to do a partnership with these folks as well (offer dream job test drives; you appear to have a dream job)
    http://vocationvacations.com/

    Note: If you send a book to someone, make sure that they can give a completely honest review of the material in the book.

  4. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Thanks to all!

    A few notes:

    1. Excellent call on contacting Jack Canfield, since I was in his book. He is actually the mentor who got me my book agent, so I’ve got that covered! He is an amazing entrepreneur. 130+ million books! Third only to the bible and Harry Potter. I’ll also be putting my clips up on YouTube — great recommendation.

    2. I agree completely with targeting influential bloggers and big forums. The question is — besides Godin and Kawasaki (two great choices) — who and where? In the realms of jobs, career, personal finance & travel, which are the most influential blogs and forums (I’m also happy with influential second- or third-tier blogs that aren’t run by super-ego pseudo-celebs)? How do I go about finding the best forums? Sorting through all the BS blogs/forums/sites/social networks has already eaten hundreds of my hours, so the more specific you can be (naming names), the better.

    3. The Colbert Report would be a dream-come-true, but I need to rely on my offline folk for that relationship. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

    4. I should have a book site blog up in the next week or so, and I agree that that will be a huge tool for building a following before launch time. Nice to see we’re on the same page there.

    Keep them coming, and thanks for the recommendations!

    Most sincerely,

    Tim

  5. Andy Reply

    A meme that always gets a link back to your site:

    “How would you spend the other 36 (or 56 or 76) hours if you had a 4-hour workweek?”

  6. Mike Sabat Reply

    Tim,

    The book sounds awesome, definitely needed to be written. You seem like a lightening rod for success, so I would just keep doing what your doing, but here are a few ideas.

    1. Add an RSS button to your blog so that people can subscribe.
    2. Incrementally post the outtakes (of the book) to the blog so that people can get excited about the subject matter. I’m guessing that this will be good for aggregators like digg and reddit, which can really boost your traffic.
    3. Ask for and post other people’s ‘lifehacks’ so that your blog becomes the center for this type of information.
    4. Join stumbleupon.com and “thumbs up” your website. This is quick and it will boost your traffic a bit.
    5. You got Noah to help you find suggestions, but don’t stop there. Someone ou there has the perfect idea for an online book promotion, find her.
    6. Put the videos on youtube and your blog. Start a myspace and facebook page, join any relevant social networks.
    6. Send me an advanced signed copy. Shameless.

  7. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the additional recommendations! Quick questions for all:

    1. How can I find the most relevant/influential forums on my topics instead of bloggers? If you had 100 review copies for online folk, and assuming 50 went to bloggers, what type of people should receive the other 50?

    2. What is a “meme” in the context of Andy’s suggestion (รขโ‚ฌล“How would you spend the other 36 (or 56 or 76) hours if you had a 4-hour workweek?รขโ‚ฌ?), and what’s the incentive for others to put it on their sites?

    Thanks again!

    Tim

  8. Jason H. Reply

    I know that Mr.Canfield is a great friend of Rober G. Allen because they cowrote a book together. If you can somehow ask Mr.Canfield to have your book endorsed by Mr. Allen in his online newsletter, that will be a tremendous help. Because I know that Mr.Allen’s newsletter goes to thousands, if not millions, of subscribers (myself included :)).

    Also, I think another great TV show for you to get on is probably Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

    Btw, just found this online- http://www.jasonburroughs.com/tango1.wmv
    You’re one lucky dog–you got to meet Kelly Ripa, one of today’s hottest milfs ๐Ÿ™‚ (excuse my language)

  9. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Hi Jason,

    Mr. Allen would be a great hit, as would Donny Deutsch, and yes, Kelly takes very good care of herself ๐Ÿ˜‰ Boys and girls, how do I find the best forums on topics related to my book, and what is a “meme” as used above?

    Thanks!

    Tim

  10. Thomas Holmes Reply

    Taking what Damon was saying and putting it together with what Jason said about YouTube

    – what about putting together short videos where you help people implement things from your book in their life and publishing them on youtube etc.

    It would probably take more than 2 hours! ๐Ÿ™‚

    But as an idea it has the potential to spread like wildfire if done correctly. Do one a week. Publish them on your blog. Get them linked from sites like Lifehacker.

  11. Jason Reply

    Here are some PR stunts:

    1. Set up hammocks outside some major dowtown office buildings and have models in business suits swinging in the hammocks holding up signs saying, “Haha…you have to work today!”
    2. Set up giant stopwatches in the same locations and have them counting down from four hours. The sign underneath reads, “I only had to work four hours this wee…You?”
    3. Contact some time management seminars and see if they will pass out your book.
    4. Set a live webcam of some guy laying out on the beach. Have that cam linked to a site called fourhourworkweek.com. Have hime do stuff every once in a while, and hold up signs.
    5. Have one hundred dogs walking down the street in busy cities and have a banner walking behind them that says, “You work like a dog! You must be tired…fourhourworkweek.com

  12. Tim Ferriss Reply

    I dig the PR stunts! Oprah and Dr. Phil will have to fight over me ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, I’ll be pinging them, but offline is my publisher’s fight to fight.

    I agree with the short videos on YouTube — the trick will be making the advice visually interesting, as a lot of it would otherwise look like a dude (gender-neutral, of cooooourse) staring at a computer looking intense as he eliminates all the crap filling his life.

    Question for all: do you think that http://www.reviewme.com and similar sites are worth the money and a good investment? Is http://www.reviewme.com the best of such sites/services?

    Thanks!

  13. Andy Reply

    Hi Tim,

    Here’s a one definition from The Daily Meme:

    In the context of web logs / ‘blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it’s some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on.

    Oftentimes, the “then someone else sees them” in this definition equates to someone tagging their friends by linking to their blogs, requesting that they add their perspective and, in effect, propagating the idea, aka “going viral” (I hate that phrase).

    See if you can get people who actually know you to answer the question on their blogs… maybe it’ll get legs and travel. As you book’s site comes online, perhaps this could be part of your site launch campaign amongst friends, colleagues and whoever else.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Andy

  14. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Andy, that’s a great idea. Thanks for clearing up the term “meme” for me. It seems like the blogger “tag” that I’ve seen around with “5 things you didn’t know about me”… What it your opinion (and others’ opinions) of the value of reviewme.com and other pay-for-play review sites? I haven’t seen too many bloggers that I would consider influential on any such sites.

    Thanks for keeping the ideas coming!

    Tim

  15. Andy Reply

    Sorry, I don’t have any experience with any pay-for-play review sites.

    I know everything is a shade of gray, but it seems too much like payola for me. However, that’s probably because I come from a professional background where simply the appearance of impropriety would be a big problem. I don’t know how commonplace the services’ use is… hopefully others will share their thoughts.

    However, let’s step back for a sec and look at the platform Noah offers by letting folks suggest marketing ideas for specific problems. Because you’re seeking ideas from the masses, think of everyone who’s been introduced to your book through this alone. (I mean, I now want to buy your book when it comes out…)

    If the college crowd is a demographic you want to entice – and I assume it is – perhaps you should expand your search for further ideas to that realm. Perhaps you could launch a competition for teams of marketing/business/communications/etc majors to submit the best way to promote your book online.

    Of course, you might need to put some parameters in place to narrow the scope (or not). To tie in with the book’s spirit of the 4 hour workweek and working remotely, it could be a fast turn-around ( < 1 week) With more than a month to go until Apr 24th, you could establish the contest guidelines on the book's site and announce the competition to university business departments, marketing clubs, etc, via email. You may get a lot of lackluster ideas as submissions, but each one will represent students familiar with your book prior to its release. In terms of prizes, I'm not sure what you could work with. Maybe offer to give a free lecture on the book's ideas at the winning students' college and present why their submission was selected, have them highlighted on your site, etc. You would have to play up the "glory-of-winning" aspect and how it could be a good stepping stone in their job search.

  16. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Andy, great idea on the marketing comp. I think it would most definitely work for spreading the word, at the very least. The Amazon BXGY (“Buy X and Get Y”) is a great program, albeit a bit costly. Then again, if time is money and money is money, what isn’t? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. tej Reply

    What about putting up a sample chapter from the book online on Amazon and on your website. A short podcast with you reading an excerpt from the book might work well too.

  18. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Thanks for the suggestion. I agree wholeheartedly with excerpts and podcasts. I’m in the process of designing the new companion site, so I’ll be sure to put in both. Thanks!

  19. y Reply

    I’d recommend a virtual book tour. I was going to try one with my book, but I found that many biotech bloggers were too shy.

    The premise is that you’ll tour a bunch of blogs and post a brief excerpt (an analogy to giving a brief talk about your book). Then you make yourself to answer questions for a week or two. Brings in fresh content for blogs and builds traffic, so you should be able to find a bunch of receptive hosts. Post a different piece on each site and then link to them all from your site. Sort of like a treasure hunt.

    Best of luck.
    y

  20. Tim Ferriss Reply

    Y, thanks for the recommendation, and I like your book. I’m a big biotech geek. On virtual book tours, this is something I’ve discussed with a few authors but had been wondering about the best way to do it. I like your idea of staggering different content and linking back to them. Win-win all around. The trick with my tour will be limiting my time commitments. Thus, writing a long Q&A or original material for each blog would be impossible to do due to other commitments and travel, but I could do short excerpts (assuming the publisher is on board) and a Q&A by IM (or podcasts) that are “recorded” in real-time. Basically, the less time I spend typing, the better.

    Great idea and thanks for the detail — I’d be really curious to hear how you or anyone else reading this would approach bloggers. What would the first e-mail look like?

    Thanks again to all,

    Tim

  21. y Reply

    I don’t think you necessarily need to write a lot of content. You could just pull a few tips for each site. You could even run the same top-5 tips on every site, but staggered content would be exponentially better.

    I see that you’re trying to take the 4hr week approach to book marketing, but I don’t think that short hours and marketing fit together. Especially if you’re doing guerilla marketing. Taking an example from big-budget marketing, a lot of money is wasted on outlets that don’t give you a positive ROI. Problem is, you don’t know which are the good and bad outlets, so you’ve got to invest in all of them. Same deal if you’re investing time. Unless you can hit the jackpot and get on Oprah’s booklist (there are PR pros to whom you can pay a few thousand dollars to get guaranteed radio and TV interview opps), you’ve got to be scrappy and keep at it.

    As for approaching bloggers, I’d simply explain who you are and what you’re doing. I’d be glad to host you on biotechblog.com

    Wanna trade books?

    y

  22. Gene Zhang Reply

    How about posting the Introduction + Table of Contents on your home page for free download (as a .pdf)? That’ll give curious prospects a taste of your writing style and a better sense of what to expect from the book.

  23. Tim Ferriss Reply

    THE RESULTS!

    It’s been a great experience here on Noah’s Grouporation (Thanks, Noah !). You all rock. Here are the five winners of advanced autographed copies:

    Damon Billian
    Mike Sabat
    Jason (PR stunts from 2/16)
    Andy (memes and more)
    Yali (virtual tour, etc.)

    Thanks to all of you, and I may just be back closer to pub date to offer updates or goodies to everyone. Thanks again for helping a newbie!

    All the best,

    Tim
    http://www.timferriss.com