I WANT YOU to Become the Editor of a NY Times Bestseller and Travel the World for Free



I’d like to invite you to leave your personal mark on The 4-Hour Workweek. After 31 printings (!) and more than 25 languages, you can put your signature on a global phenomenon… and travel the world for free…

Your ideas, collected via this open wiki, will play a massive part in influencing the future of 4HWW and an “expanded and updated” edition in 2008 or early 2009. The password to make edits is [see below].

[Postscript: Please note that the wiki is no longer accepting changes, as the experiment has ended. Thanks to all of you for lots of fantastic suggestions and changes!]

The backlash I hoped for is gaining speed, even among the Fortune 500, and I want an improved and expanded 4HWW to help propel the critical mass needed for large-scale institutional, and even policy-level, change. The book alone won’t do it, obviously, but I believe it can play a small part as instigator.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a NY Times bestseller has ever been made open to public editing. In fact, I haven’t seen any traditionally-published book ever crowdsourced on a global scale.

Why am I doing this?

1. I’ve been blown away with the innovation I’ve seen among readers in lifestyle design, both derivative of 4HWW and 100% original. In all respects: “we” is smarter than “me”.

2. Book editing is ridiculously anachronistic.

When I was in Florianopolis, Brazil learning to surf last winter, my publisher informed me that the “second pass” manuscript was ready for me to review. Great! Just send a PDF, right? Not quite. I was mailed 400+ pages of printed matter with changes indicated by different colored pencils used by different people. I had to find another color, scribble in my edits, and mail it back.

“Please tell me you have another copy of this,” I said via the Vonage-wired beach house with a nervous laugh. The response: “I don’t think so, so please don’t lose it.” Talk about author heart attack. I felt like Clive Owen in Children of Men.

Here are a few incentives. The top contributor as subjectively determined by me (quality over quantity) will get:

1) A roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world (using Continental or a partner airline of OnePass)

2) Their name in the acknowledgments of the 4HWW

3) My help planning the mini-retirement, whether a romantic trip to Bali or touring the hidden temples and Bladerunner-like coolness of Japan. I’ve already sent readers to do both.

The due date for suggestions is March 23rd at 5pm PST but early birds have a big advantage, since you don’t get credit for making suggestions someone else has already made.

Don’t let other people alone shape the future of the 4HWW. Make sure you’ve left your mark…

[Postscript: Sorry for accidentally publishing a draft of this post first! "Save" is right next to "publish" in the WP admin :)]


Reader Poll:

Many of you have complained about how I sometimes put multiple topics in single posts. Here’s why I’ve done it: I don’t want to clutter people’s RSS or e-mail with separate posts just to make announcements, so I append them at the end of posts (a la “(Plus: Competition Winners)”). Lots of you dislike this or find it confusing for good reasons. Which do you prefer? If the below poll doesn’t work for some reason, please tell me in the comments:

Most Popular Posts:

How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise
How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour
From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks
Relax Like A Pro: 5 Steps to Hacking Your Sleep
How to Travel the World with 10 Pounds or Less (Plus: How to Negotiate Convertibles and Luxury Treehouses)
The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen (and Weapons of Mass Distraction)
How to Outsource the Inbox and Never Check Email Again

Posted on: February 19, 2008.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

82 comments on “I WANT YOU to Become the Editor of a NY Times Bestseller and Travel the World for Free

  1. Hi Privacy Warning,

    I’m one of the co-founders of PBwiki (the wiki software Tim is running for his crowdsourcing). We take privacy very seriously, so I really appreciate your comment about email addresses.

    We designed the system to show email addresses only when you’re logged in. This lets members of the wiki see exactly who made what change. If you’re not logged in, you can’t see email addresses.

    If you’re concerned about your email address being shown (even to logged-in users), you can just use a fake email address. The downside of this is that Tim may not be able to email you if you win the contest.

    If you have any questions, let me know and I’d be happy to chat with you. Thanks!


  2. Hi Tim,

    I’m really surprised to hear about the colored pencils in this digital age. Just FYI, when working on a real estate contract recently, my attorney, the seller’s attorney, my partner, and I had great success with using Microsoft Word’s “Tracked changes” feature.

    In Word 2003, after writing the first draft, you just go to the Tools menu, choose “Protect document…”, then check the box next to “editing restrictions” and select “Tracked changes” from the drop down box, then click “Yes, start enforcing protection”. (use help for other versions of Word)

    You can then e-mail back and forth a Word doc (via a password-protected file or encrypted e-mail) which will track all additions, subtractions, and changes made to the document and show who made them (and without risking losing the ONE AND ONLY copy). Something to check out.

    Great idea on the crowdsourcing. I enjoy how you’re always pushing the envelope.



  3. Hey Tim,

    I gave this idea some further reflection.

    While I can see the value of adding more resources to make it easier for people to connect with the stuff, I think you did an extraordinary job on the core text and getting your message across. This book conveys the core idea exceptionally well, so why mess with it? (With all due respect for the contributions people want to make)

    What I do see the value of is a co-created 4HWW Work & Sourcebook, with success & failure stories by pioneers, tools & tips and resources.

    3 good reasons for doing it like this:

    1) You do not cloud the core message.
    2) You give people a real tool to make it actionable with the Work & Sourcebook.
    3) You double your revenue potential, because you have two instead of one great product(s).

    To comment on that last point: I will not go out to buy edition # 2 of the original, because the (prceived) similarities will be to big with # 1.

    I will however, rush to the nearest bookstore to get the Work & Sourcebook, because that’s new and is actionable, so has real value.




  4. Tim,

    I’d love to work on the editing, but I’m having way to much fun living my passion and purpose in my own work, and spending the other 36 working hours per week reading blogs and otherwise having a life. Thanks for the inspiration and a great idea though.


  5. Thanks Tim and Ramit both for the super-responsiveness. I don’t object to the system itself, just as long as people are aware. All good now! :)


  6. Keep the announcements and such at the end of posts. Two reasons: 1) Posting them separately floods Google Reader unnecessarily. 2) They’re great ‘after dinner mints’ that follow a weighty main post. I love ‘em and look forward to them.


  7. Coloured pencils sound like a quaint solution, but they do have an advantage for editors in that they maintain control over the original text as reviewers make comments “in the margin”. Still, what a pain to use hard copies and old fashioned post.

    Proofing and approval of documents is one of the natural fits for web-based applications. Reviewing a document in “the cloud” makes much more sense than sending multiple copies by email or snail mail.

    Wiki based proofing solutions can work, but they can also have limitation as multiple reviewers start commenting and editing the same areas of text. To a certain extent they can also lead to loss of document “ownership” for the author or editor.

    [Apologies for the following self-promotion...]

    At ProofHQ we have created a proofing and approval system that gives document owners control over the original, whilst letting reviewers add AND DISCUSS comments “in the margin”. Introducing discussion threads around comments makes it easier for all reviewers to contribute to the debate without losing the context of the original content. All of this takes place “in the cloud” so only one copy of the document exits for all reviewers to work on.


  8. Tim,

    I am a 52 year old teacher and this year I did a really spooky thing and took the year off of work. Single parent, two school age kids, no income and not a clue to how to make a living. A friend saw you on some show talking about your book and suggested it to me. It has become my bible. It calms my fears and gives me some confidence to face the future. I hope by summer that I can get some money making business going. I have many ideas and now the hard work starts, putting them to action.


  9. Proof reading and editing in a collaborative fashion is a great thing to do. Subsequently in EU research projects I encourage people to use the WIKI instead of M$ Word for collaboratively working on deliverables (typically a couple thousand pages per project, don’t ask …). What has proven to be key is that people could work on the original document, with checkin and checkout and provide (forced) a comment on each edit. This way you can see what has changed in a version and read why it has been changed.

    In your example you are using the Wiki only for collecting feedback on the chapters, as the users cannot edit the full text online. Therefore I would not use a Wiki for this effort but a simple discussion forum, so we have multiple threads per chapter and people (along with you / your indian lectors) could discuss proposed changes.

    Alternatively (and with the permission of your publisher) you could put the whole text in a Wiki and grant access to a selected few (e.g. based on the contributions in the forums) so they can edit “in line” and save you the trouble of ammending the comments in the forums to the text. It all depends on where you want to go, but if you are keen on getting new ideas / wordings, this approach might be best. If you look for simple proof reading then we could probably just do it as it is at the moment (albeit I would still go for a discussion forum with threads).


  10. Tim,

    I’m not even halfway done with your book and I’ve already done the email vs. phone call thing twice today. I delegated to an intern, and I will be applying more of your methods to my life. I’ve had a transformative past two years and read many books. Yours seems to be the catalyst – last night I put down distraction and today I’m focusing on the important stuff.

    Thanks for deciding to share what you’ve discovered.


  11. HI Tim:

    Quick question on the editing. Are you looking for comments on what you wrote or additions? My business is a service business, so it is different than yours, but I have a lot of project management techniques that i use with my contractors that might be helpful.

    Are those the kinds of suggestions you are looking for?




  12. Hello Tim,
    What an empowering book! As a wife and mom of 3 young kids in a suburban life,I had fallen into a “tolerable and comfortable existence”.But inside,overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life in an increasingly complicated technological society, I craved the passion and simplicity that I had before I was committed to this rat race.An airline employee for 13 years, I can travel as much as I want, and I have.But I still come home to such a harsh winter climate, where playgrounds are covered in ice,people scurry to get out of the cold,and the silence is thick and lonely.No matter how big the house,there’s no sun, no matter how big the pool,it’s frozen solid,and each day is lost because I can’t buy the things I need: sounds,smells,contact with others outside, sun, warmth,freedom.So what struck a chord? A pension statement from my employer informed me that I have 18 more years to retirement. It hit me like a wall…is retirement my salvation? How can I wait till then to live my dreams? “I’m afraid to die with the best still inside me”. The solution is to find a portable income,one that allows me to get away from my winter prison and come alive. I feel blessed to “have” and I want to find ways to give, because someone once said that happiness is somewhere between having too much and having too little. So thanks, Tim, for confirming that the pursuit of excitement is the true pursuit of happiness!


  13. Interesting that you are outsourcing yet again and so many have agreed to redo your book for you for free which is kind of counterintuitive to your book. I think it’s a bad trade, only one person can win the contest, er technically two if we count you! :)


    Hi Renee,

    LOL… I don’t think it’s bad, really. The readers who want to contribute will contribute, and if they provide cool and valuable additions, everyone benefits and I’ll try and recognize them. The prize is just to sweeten the pot, but I don’t view it as the main driver. Why do some prolific commenters comment? I think it can be very gratifying to see your ideas embraced by a community.

    I donate at least 10% of my royalties to educational non-profits — is that a bad trade for me? Of course not. I give back and I feel good about myself for doing so. I think the online communities are very similar.



  14. How are you watching the edits to be sure that someone doesn’t edit someone’s edits? I’m new to Wiki but when I just went in it looks like anyone could go in and either claim to have written someone else’s edit by changing the name or by erasing someone’s, etc.


  15. Tim, I noticed you mention you were stuck in San Diego without a Passport in another blog. If you make it into San Diego again anytime soon, would you have time to meet up with me for lunch? I’m at a turning point in life and would like to pick your brain… I’m a former Marine turned college student who’s working full time and am trying to implement the ideas found in your book and blogs. I’d ask all the questions I have in your blog, but don’t want to take from the other contributors. If not, I understand-lots of fans and inquisitive minds. Hopefully you’ll let me know. Either way, I’m going to get back to drinking my 2 glasses of red wine for the night. :)


  16. Tim, I think this is great. However, I am currently in China and thus the great firewall (or something else maybe) is preventing me from accessing the wiki. So I was going to make a quick blurb about my thoughts here and feel free to contact me if you need more info.

    I want to recommend psychology as a addendum to the book. There seems to be many things that your book talks about that studies can back up. Currently, I am reading an amazing book called Flow; The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It talks about many of the things that you do in your book, but it also gives different information on how to accomplish it. Topics mentioned include a definition of happiness and how to achieve it, and being ‘in the zone.’ With regards to the zone it talks about how to channel psychic energy and achieve the focus you say is required to accomplish tasks efficiently.

    I hope this helps!




  17. Tim,

    Just had the chance to watch your Today Show interview with Matt Lauer / Donny Deutsch. I admire you for including this interview on the website because this Deutsch is either deluded or purposefully hides his true understanding of how knowledge leverage works in a market economy. He ridicules you when he knows he ascended to power using a similar anti-worker bee contrarian philosophy for himself, and then wants us to think each of us can get where he got by “working harder and longer.” His remarks remind me of the opening of Marx’s Communist Manifesto: “Work will set you free; you have nothing to lose but your chains.” As Adorno remarked, we extort a kiss, then punish the object of the extortion.” Glad to see you’ve exposed the false premises of guys like Deutsch. Keep up the good work Ferriss; you’ve been an inspiration to me as I grow my own publishing business [in the website field].

    Mark Bottita
    Guest Lecturer, Communication
    Purdue University North Central Campus


    Thanks, Mark! Let’s both keep up the good fight :)



  18. Dear Tim,

    I can’t imagine a more time-wasting enterprise than answering fan mail (or writing it, for that matter). The exception being writing a fan email that is freely chosen as something I want to do that enhances my newly-designed life.

    Tim, your book, “the 4 Hour Work Week” saved my life, and I wanted to say thank you. The story of how and why is long and not interesting to anyone who doesn’t know me, and you wouldn’t read it, so I’m not going to go into it. Suffice it to say that I am the person for whom you wrote that book, and I wanted you to know that I read it, and grok’d it.

    Thanks Tim. I owe you one.

    Beverley Eyre


  19. Hi Tim,
    I am so encouraged and enlivened by your approach to living. I tell all my friends and associates that have even a glimmer of wanting change that they should read your book. I am very certain that you and your approach to living are an essential part of transforming my life.

    I was at the Olympic Spa (my Friday night self care ritual) reading the section on outsourcing and was guffawing; when I got to outsourcing my inner life I was practically in tears of joyful laughter. I have had so much joy since, just thinking of that portion of the book. My point being in this thread of the the blog that inserting AJ Jacobs was a stroke of genius that completely enlisted me to what you are attempting to achieve in writing the 4 HWW. I really started to get past how envious I was of your life, and what a devotion you had to everyone having what they wanted at that section of the book. It is with a clear intention of celebrating you and your vision that I write this comment to you. I KNOW you are deeply committed to sharing with anyone that wants true joy and authenticity in their lives how to get it. This comes from a 48 year old that doesn’t own a digital camera, hasn’t learned yet how to download a pic on the computer, and texts like an animal that must not have been blessed with digits! I would love to assist you with edits as I have lived an out of the box life and am on the precipice of taking on the exciting challenge of becoming one of the NR.

    I just visited your blog for the first time in a couple of weeks and saw this section, and I wanted to check in about the deadline as I think it said it was about now. If you are not accepting edits any longer than no reason to figure out the Wiki thing (said the mid century modern!)

    I will await your answer, and am so glad to get a chance to write you and possibly contribute to you and what you are offering us all.

    With much appreciation,
    Jamie Hammond


    Dear Jamie,

    Thank you so much for your kind words and comment! The wiki is no longer being edited, since the dates have passed, but there will be more opportunities for similar projects in the future.

    Thank you again and all the best :)



  20. so who won? really curious and I can find the announcement. Would someone enlighten me of it.

    Congrats to the winner.



    Hi Nasra,

    Coming very soon. My trip to London and Copehagen was unplanned, so it slowed the announcement down a bit :)



  21. Hi Tim,
    there were some really useful links suggested for chapter 13 on the wiki but didn’t get a chance to copy them down. Now the wiki is locked off i can’t access the page with the links. Is there any possibility of making it view only or is there another way I can get those links?
    Thanks in advance.


  22. This is a nit that makes me crazy. The word “for” doesn’t have to be in front of the word free.

    ‘I WANT YOU to Become the Editor of a NY Times Bestseller and Travel the World free.’

    Best of luck to all who entered.


  23. Tim:
    Appreciate your approach and dedication.

    How about a section in 4HWW update concerning us leading age baby boomers getting ready to pull the trigger and retire.



  24. Tim,

    Big fan and thanks for bringing your unique ideas to the world. We need it! Two thoughts on the revised 4HWW:

    1) I’ve often thought about emailing to ask that you consider a separate book on fitness (lifting) & nutrition as it pertains to the 80/20 lifestyle. I’ve found so much benefit in the simplicity of your approach to lifting and eating. I’ve sensed that this was all true but never heard it explictly articulated like you do. The reason, now more than ever I feel it’s important for people to build up rather than break down. We need to be strong to face the crapola (real and contrived) that hits us daily and nightly. I think if you devoted a page or two to the simplicity of your effective workout and nutrition protocols, that would help a lot of people come out better than ever.

    2) For the same reason as above, a section on goals and achievement. We hear so much about it but what have you found is possible. That is, do you believe the visualization so many talk about can really make dramatic changes in reality? Is it really possible to set a goal to triple (or more) your income in one year by setting a goal, visualizing and taking action? I think the consensus in society is “No way” and then they go back to their daily/weekly/monthly/life routines. I know it’s possible because I tried it and did it. I would love to hear your take on how to radically increase your income in short time. I know Dan Kennedy teaches this and I would imagine you have a take on it. How valuable would that be to people right now???

    Thanks Tim, I think you’re great.



  25. Tim: I have read the book 2 times. the only thing I can reccomend is an aproach for executives. Even that you provide examples of many different real liofe personalities, My perception and the one from other people I know they have read your book is that is more focused for young workers wanting to leave or not start the rat race but what about for top executives that want to emancipate from corporate culture. the new book should provide ideas in how to build the 4HHWW being a consolidated executive an a mature person. Since you have publish the book in many languajes, you may know that in other countries that are behind the US many people experiment your concepts in high level corporate positions. I’ll love to see your commnets on this.


  26. Tim,

    I’m sure if you took a poll of all the different things that people took away from your book it would be an interesting report. The line that spoke to me was on page 219 “It’s too big a world to spend most of life in a cubicle.”

    Thanks for your example and work of showing us that there is a whole new world out there.



  27. I had the same reaction to my first book when they sent back a manuscript full of scribbles, including changes I didn’t want. The way to handle copyedits like that one is simple: have a stamp made that says “STET” and ink every page, top and bottom, with it.