I'm a GoodReads user testing new waters after the serious website changes. I mostly read fiction, usually Anglophone classics/ modern classics; I like nonfiction (mostly social and cultural history), good fantasy and graphic novels. For guilty pleasure, I read advice and how-to books. I made at least two reading resolutions recently; 1. read less, live more; 2. read books which give me more pleasure. I have poor filters, and books I find stylistically pleasing tend to be depressing, so I need to do something about that; if you think you know a book that is very well written, but won't make me weep, please drop me a line.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek - Timothy Ferriss Disclaimers:
I skipped parts of the book that dealt with product development and automation, since these do not apply to my experience.
Most of the 'mobility' tips do not apply in my case, since I happen to live AND earn in one of those 'ridiculously cheap' countries.

There was no little escaping from this book. Since I have a work/ organisation/ near burnout crisis each year it June (comes with the territory), I tend to google for tips and motivation, and The 4-Hour Work Week reached me in small, irritating snippets.

1. The principles seemed tempting, but unenforceable in my profession, (as evidenced by numerous comments on the irrelevance of the Pareto Principle in education). You just have to put in the hours, even if you do that by Skype; most of the valid exams need to take place in teacher's presence; you can't say 80% of your students to just get lost; on most levels of education, 'automation' such as peer assessment simply doesn't work (on others, it can be used, but will not replace teacher's assessment).

The ugly: some issues just can't be dealt with "intensively" - as evidenced by joking, but telling questions on the author's on the release date of The 4-hour Baby.

The good: Ferriss' elimination tips are quite inspiring even to non entrepreneurs. They're good reminders to not increase one's workload automatically and unreflexively, as teachers often do. In the words of Anne Taintor:

I decided to implement some of the ideas I previously had that would make students more responsible for their learning and material preparation (with me interfering and supplementing whatever information they might have left out, that is). I also thought I might revise class rules as a set of basic rules + Frequently Asked Questions in an attempt to make them more independent.

2. Something about the approach to work this books represents seems, frankly speaking, immoral to me, and not just me.

This piece by Penelope Trunk is a classic by now:

This piece by Jennifer Dziura is much more recent and contains a sentence that says it all:

If you seem to be “getting everything you want,” you should probably examine whether you’re getting it at someone’s expense, or whether you’re just constantly, in small ways, making the world worse.

3. When I was a kid, I read and anthology of science fiction stories, including a story (I can't recall the title) about a society of the future in which people removed the obstacle of the decision making process (the decisions in it are taken instantly, which results in living an equivalent of an action-packed lifetime in just one night. Tim Ferriss reminds me of the protagonist, as his aim seems to be to live as many lives as possible in one lifetime. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I remember his blog post about his panic attacks (which I can't locate now), which somehow makes sense. To be fair, he also urges the reader to slow down and savour life, but somehow hmm.

The (completely unexpected) good:

- 'It is vain to do with more what can be done with less." - William of Ockham; not a a bad motto to work by.

- I was surprised by his stress on do-gooding, volunteering and making donations.

- Dreamlining - I was surprised by how much my dreams are time-dependent instead of money-dependent.

Now, I think, time to read this, for balance: [b:In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed|26096|In Praise of Slowness Challenging the Cult of Speed|Carl Honoré||26804]

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