For at least the last decade or so, I've felt the occasional pull that something wasn't right with the traditional employment model. This was exacerbated by my own situation as a military officer, where long hours were the norm and, to be honest, I've seen far too many people who do four hours of actual work while working a fourteen-hour day. Too many times while "in garrison," I've seen "being" at work confused with "accomplishing something" at work. This excludes, of course, the meaningful work that happens while training in the field and it doesn't even come close to applying to a combat environment, where meaningful work is the only work!
That said, it was while I was in Afghanistan that I was loaned a copy of Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and I read it during my downtime. If anything, reading it was an eye opener for me. Here was a guy that had at least SOMETHING figured out. I walked away from the book seeing clearly the power of the Internet, the real capability that people have to design, market, and sell their own products or ideas, and the real democratizing effect of the modern economy. Here was also a person who understood the value of his own time and effort. As many have pointed out, at the end of the day our time IS the most precious thing that we have, and spending it toiling away at a 9-5 making some other person rich just doesn't seem prudent.
Now, of course, we need people to do those 9-5's, to make the things we want, or to man the shop we want to buy something from. We all can't be Tim Ferriss. That said, I decided that at least I wanted to try to be MORE like him. That recognition is the real power of Ferriss's book. So take or leave the potentially gimmicky business models, the outsourced personal assistants, and the many other Ferriss-isms, and embrace the fact that there are at least some people who have been empowered to try something else, to leverage the modern, interconnected economy successfully. This is why I've placed Ferriss's book in my must-read list for those thinking of trying something new.