Less Is More

My husband loves new books and he just picked up The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. Ferriss is a 29-year old wonder boy who's managed to create a deafening buzz in the marketplace with his book and his unconventional, rule-breaking philosophies.

4 hour week coverHe's also apparently Champion of the Universe at everything he attempts, not unlike 70's series super-couple Jonathon and Jennifer Hart (come on, you remember Hart to Hart, don'tcha??)

Television acting? He can do it. Tango? He can do it. Chinese kick-boxing? He can do it. Do you speak four languages? He speaks SIX! Oh ye mere mortals, I warn you do NOT try to outdo this young feller! Now I know I'm being a bit irreverent, I'm (mostly) teasing, and I admit I haven't read the book and I don't know if I will, but so far, Christmas Boy digs it. And typically, if he digs it, I know I will too, because I trust his judgment.

Anyway, this blog entry came about as we were having some lovely quality spouse time together last evening. (Ok, I was on one couch with my laptop listening to the new Bon Jovi album and he was on the other couch reading). He said to me, "Hey, here's something in this book that's right up your alley." So, like Gretchen Rubin or any other good wife would, I stopped what I was doing and tuned in.

In chapter 2 of the book (pages 34 and 35) Ferriss shares the insight that things in excess become their opposite.

He writes:
It is possible to have too much of a good thing. In excess, most endeavors and possessions take on the characteristics of their opposite. Thus:

(the following is taken directly from Less Is More, the book by Goldian VandenBroeck)

Pacifists become militants.
Freedom become tyrants.
Blessings become curses.
Help becomes hindrance.
More becomes less.

Too much, too many and too often of what you want becomes what you don't want. This is true of possessions and even time. Lifestyle design is thus, not interested in creating an excess of idle time, which is poisonous, but the positive use of free time, defined simply as doing what you want as opposed to what you feel obligated to do.

How do you do it?
I gotta say, I have no official opinion of the book or of Ferriss himself yet, but I do agree with this piece of wisdom. It goes hand in hand with my own theory of "less is more".

For example, sometimes too much organizing causes chaos because we're focused on creating perfectly, ultimately, UBER-organized systems, the maintenance of which creates an even bigger time suck than we had before we got organized in the first place.

What do you think? Check out Ferriss' blog, but before you do, tell me… do you subscribe to the theory of less is more in your life? And if so, how do you do it?

6 thoughts on “Less Is More

  • August 5 2007 at 2:48 am
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    I found his book pretty inspiring. I think the most leveraged thing we can do as far as organizing anything is to cut out a bunch of non priority stuff. I agree with you that organizing can become an end in itself, and is only really useful if it has a positive cost/benefit.

    The one less is more thing that stood out for me in the book, was reading books. I tend to read heaps of non fiction, with the idea that I don't know what I don't know. But it is my biggest time suck.

    Tony Buzan's idea was to browze a book first, brainstorm what you already know about the topic and then read quickly only to answer specific unanswered questions. Tim Ferriss's idea was to spend time framing questions also, but then ask those questions of an expert rather than read 20 books on the subject.

  • August 5 2007 at 1:08 pm
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    Great book. I love it and refer back to it often :)

  • August 6 2007 at 10:02 pm
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    I have since read it and LOVE it. Not every single item is a perfect fit for me, but it's a wonderful jolt to our paradigms that we tend to think are non-negotiable. It makes you rethink your options and see that you have way more options than you ever thought.

    ~Monica

  • August 6 2007 at 11:26 am
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    I need to get this one! Sounds pretty interesting.

  • September 23 2009 at 4:31 am
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    Tim Ferris is a GOD!
    He's my role model.

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