The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a book about entrepreneurship and productivity. Ferriss invites you to re-prioritize your life so you can earn money ultra-efficiently. The book is full of inspirational tips, but also many great quotes. I went through the book and grabbed all the quotes in the order they appear. These are not quotes of the author, but the quotes from other accomplished people that the author cites. I wanted to do this so I could print out a few for my wall, and turn some into tweets for Twitter (if you haven’t heard, good quotes are supposedly one of the best ways to get re-tweeted). Enjoy, and please leave a comment to tell me which is your favorite!
4-Hour Workweek Quotes
- Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain
- Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. – Oscar Wilde
- 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.
- Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. – Albert Einstein
- These individuals have riches just as we say that we “have a fever,” when really the fever has us. – Seneca (4 B.C – 65 A.D.)
- 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. – Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- 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. – Fortune cookie
- 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?” – Seneca
- There is 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 Choinard, founder of Patagonia
- I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. – Mark Twain
- “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat. “I don’t much care where…” Said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat. – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
- 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 the state of boredom. – Victor Frankl Auschwitz survivor and founder of Logotherapy, Man’s Search for Meaning
- One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity. – Bruce Lee
- Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, where 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. – Steven Wright, comedian
- Love of bustle is not industry. – Seneca
- 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
- What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and the need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. – Herbert Simon, recipient of the Nobel Memorial prize in economics and the A.M. Turing award, “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. – Albert Einstein
- There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- 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. – Ralph Charell
- 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 the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, 1975
- 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
- Scotty: she’s all yours, sir. All systems automated and ready. A chimpanzee and two trainees could run her! Captain Kirk: thank you, Mr. Scott. I’ll try not to take that personally. – Star Trek
- A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau, naturalist
- The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet. – William Gibson, author of Neuromancer; termed “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 applies to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates
- I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself a 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. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- 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 dreams that I have, but all that I can borrow. – Woodrow Wilson
- Creation is a better means of self-expression and 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 experience 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 cocreator 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
- The power of hiding ourselves from one another is mercifully given, more men are wild beasts and would never devour one another but for this protection. – Henry Ward Beecher, US abolitionist and clergyman “Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit”
- 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 be 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
- Orders are nobody can see the great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow! – Guardian of the emerald city gates, the Wizard of Oz
- 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
- By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work 12 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”
- I was asked if I was going to fire an employee w forho made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. Now, 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. – George Bernard Shaw
- 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 . – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
- If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. – Chinese proverb
- The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain. – Colin Wilson, British author of the Outsider; New Existentialist
- Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.- Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, worlds 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.- Paul Fussel, Abroad
- The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, then research.- Rolf Potts, Vagabonding
- There is more to life than increasing its speed.- Mohandas Gandhi
- 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. – St. Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)
- Traveling is the ruler of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building here after seeing Italy. – Fanny Burney (1752-1840), English novelist
- It is fatal to know too much at the outcome: boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his route as the novelist who is over certain of his plot. – Paul Thoreau, To the Ends of the Earth
- To being grossed by something outside ourselves as 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 I was 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’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that 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 people still speak in foreign languages. – Dave Barry
- Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike. – Oscar Wilde
- Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas. – Paula Poundstone
- 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. – Thich Nhat Hanh
- 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 that the busy man is less busy with then living; there is nothing harder to learn. – Seneca
- For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and ask myself: “if today was 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, 2005
- The hypocrite is a person who–but who isn’t? – Don Marquis
Please share your favorite 4-hour work week quotes on Facebook, Twitter, and in the comments below.
This is my favorite:
80.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
4HWW is truly a life-changing book. Even if you don’t yet follow all the advice in it, it really changes the way you see things. Huge second to Adam’s recommendation.
My hands down, thumbs up favourite is#78 – Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas. – Paula Poundstone
#85. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a peach. -Anonymous
The quotes are awesome.
great quote please add one of my favorite quote to 😀
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
~ Mother Teresa
I happen to love Niels Bohrs the most: An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field
Really great list on being productive. I like the one that says “Many a false step was made by standing still. – Fortune cookie” . This is maybe the smartest fortune cookie ever!
What a relief! According to quote #1 I have no reason to ever step back and reflect…I’m always in the minority. Nice post. Too bad you couldn’t “borrow” these and create your own coffee table book :).
Beautiful quotes! Thanks for taking the time to make this compilation. I will use it. I’m not in your “twibe” but found this wonderful blog through the @twibes twitter account and came to see the quotes bc I love quotes and stopped to make a comment. Thanks for letting me do so!
krissy knox 🙂
Visit my main blog: Sometimes I Think
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I love number 70. So true!
You don’t need to outdo the competition. It’s expensive and defensive. Under do your competition. We need more simplicity and clarity.
“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.- Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, worlds largest furniture brand”
Thanks for the Great Quotes. I really like the quotes. One of the best quote i like is “77.Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike. – Oscar Wilde”.
I like #83. It makes me want to go and quit my job tomorrow.
Really great and motivational quotes. Its look like every person should make his life decent. I really appreaciated to write such a beautiful quotes. Keep it up
My favourite quote is:
Be your self 🙂
what a great blog! I like the quotes rendered by G.B.Shaw, Benjamin Disraeli, Albert Einstein etc………These quotes will definitely inspire us in our life.
Good job on posing that a long list of inspiring quotes. Some people need to read these once in a while. On a side note, I wonder why Oscar Wilde is Uncyclopedia’s favorite “Mascot”.
Thanks for sharing those beautiful quotes. My favorite quote is simple. “Where There is a will there is a way”
I like #2. Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination
however, it could be disastrous if we live beyond our means excessively.
Thanks for this great little blog. 🙂
But now I accept appear to accept that the accomplished apple is an enigma, a controllable bewilderment that is fabricated abhorrent by our own mad attack to adapt it as admitting it had an basal truth.
Don’t go about adage the apple owes you a living. The apple owes you nothing. It was actuality first.
beautiful and cute quotes…i like the #83
If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time . It’s my favourite quote . Thanks for your post.
I like this one:
“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”
Its so true because you will never learn if you don’t make mistakes.
4 hours a week is just about as much time as I spend on the toilet – if I just had a laptop holder there – now that would be genius!
I would have expected to see some quotes from Thoreau in the mix.
I like the 45.
These are some of the best quotes i have ever seen. such a nice post this one. Even if a person doesn’t follow all the advice in it, it really changes the way that he/she see things. so many thanks and so grateful to you for this .
Thank you for the awesome quotes from Adam 🙂
nice list of quotes..I love that! I love quotes..especially from Military person 🙂
Wow! This is really a great post! I took time to read each one of them and even listed my favorites. Hope you won’t mind me enumerating (1,8,34,44, 47, 66 & 74). Thanks for sharing this. I’ll post them on my desktop’s sticky note app to get reminded everyday. I’m no entrepreneur but I can surely relate on the productivity aspect. Thanks again.
82.There is nothing that the busy man is less busy with then living; there is nothing harder to learn. – Seneca
Sometimes it hard to slow down and just enjoy life.
the macchiavelli quote (#60) is misattributed to The Prince. does anyone know the actual source?
Really,amazing quotes. Very appreciated by this
” Perfection is not when there is no More to ADD,
But no More to TAKE away”
Thanks for your efforts……….
“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.”
That’s are good word.
I like your “compilation” of inner game.
Great! Thanks for sharing this quotes. Got to use it when I’m hopeless 🙂
Thanks for the quotes. keep updating with new quotes.
Quote: stubbornness is not a skill
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 – Hell yea ..
Heck, I’d be happy with a 36 hour work week. Guess you need to start small.
This is my favorite:
84. # The hypocrite is a person who–but who isn’t? – Don Marquis
I love the quote of Albert Einstein it has deep meaning.
4HWW is really a very good book…
Thanks for compiling this extensive list of quotes from The 4 Hour Work Week. Another takeaway I found from reading a blog similar to yours is that time trumps money in all regards. What this means is there is a difference between being rich and being wealthy. Being rich means that you’re working a lot while being wealthy means you have money but have more time than those people who are just rich.
This is like a treasure trove to me. Awesome post!
Thanks for these lines .I like specially 58th one very much .
These are really an awesome collection of quotes….. I really like it especially the one “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”
Keep it up buddy……..
Give me William Gibson any day. One more thing – I would love to know just how many of the millions of readers of the 4-hour work week now actually work 4 hours per week. I bet it’s less than 1%.
I love this!
“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.- Paul Fussel, Abroad”
It is all about the reality. I love this quote 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. – Thich Nhat Hanh soom
There is more to life than increasing its speed.- Mohandas Gandhi
Oh wow what a great list. I might have to print it off and keep it somewhere handy to inspire me at the beginning of each day!
i love the quote 🙂 useful site
Yes! Beautiful quotes! I’m always in the minority. Nice post. Too bad you couldn’t “borrow” these and create your own coffee table book
this is one of the great info i have came across with Adam Loving’s Blog
thanks for sharing 🙂
The direct quotes are always great, but the ones taken from books and stories make you wonder what the context was.
Love #3. Words live by which help us to keep going when we feel discouraged in our day to day business.
stumbling, no. 67 is always inspiring my mind, thanks.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.- Mohandas Gandhi
No there isn’t, I still want Verizon FiOS service in my state!
Wow reading through those 84 comments really bring back some memories.
These quotes have deep meanings. I think everyone can use them to gain some wisdom.
Great quotes. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
hey a coffee table book full of these quotes is a great idea, probably already exists somewhere though… I love quotes like these, really inspirational. Just wish I could remember them on a day to day basis and maybe I’d be a better person!
I find this quote funny “There is nothing that the busy man is less busy with then living; there is nothing harder to learn.”
I personally like the 3rd remark on experts, looks like I’m an expert in a couple (very narrow) fields 🙂
Such a great blog, im always on the lookout for interesting quotes for status updates on my facebook these will be great, thanks adam.
You only worked 4 hours that week?
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. – Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
is my favorite
This is great! Thank you so much for sharing. I am listening to the audio book right now of the 4 Hour Work Week. 🙂
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and ask myself: “if today was 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, 2005
I am reading The 4-Hour Work Week now. Excellent book! Thank you for capturing the quotes in one convenient spot.
Very Nice qoutes. I always broadcast it to all my BBM Friends. Thanks Adam
Thank you! I’m listening to the audio version of the book, and sometimes I’m nowhere near a pen and paper when one of these quotes come up. I’ve been looking for a compilation so I don’t have to “rewind”. Much appreciated!