The 4-Hour Workweek is a bestselling productivity/lifehacking book by author Tim Ferris. What does it have to do with filmmaking? On the surface, not a whole hell of a lot. But in an era where the independent film industry isn't paying the bills for too many folks, finding alternative revenue streams -- without those revenue streams becoming a full-time job -- is more important than ever. When it comes down to it, "The 4-Hour Workweek" is a bit of a misnomer; Ferris isn't implying that everyone should only work four hours a week. A better title would in fact be "The 4-Hour Bullshit Week," meaning the main goal of the book is to increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary or unproductive work (if you're only dealing with four hours of B.S. a week, imagine what you could accomplish in life!). This is something that can help all of us -- and for the next few days, you can download the full book for free.
The crux of the book is based on Pareto's Law, which posits that 80% of the [results, profits, desired outcome] comes from 20% of the [customers, effort, input]. Ferris's point is that by focusing on that crucial 20%, we can get more done and have more time to do the things we want -- which, in the case of filmmakers, is make films. I unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past two years working on the 80% of my career that wasn't very efficient and didn't fully utilize my talents; reading 4HWW helped me focus in a lot of invaluable ways.
However, I don't think Pareto's Law applies to art; in fact, I think putting in 100% effort far past the point of diminishing returns is exactly what makes it art. But in terms of everything outside the purely creative part of forging a career, I think the 4HWW is a valuable read. And no, I'm not implementing every strategy highlighted in the book, and neither will you; but there are certainly a lot of things to be learned about modern independent careers from the NYTimes bestseller, and given it costs nothing via the following link until December 26, I can't recommend it highly enough. Over the past few months I've actually purchased several copies of the hardcover (which lists for $22) for friends in an attempt to dissuade them from plotting careers based on 9-to-5s. Now, for a limited time the eBook version is free for the taking. Enjoy...