This book is dangerous. It can literally destroy your ambition, one of the most important success traits you can have. Unfortunately, young people are the most common victims.

Every summer I travel to a small resort outside of Trakai, Lithuania to teach at the BlackSmith Camp for Liberty and Entrepreneurship. We work with fifty bright, ambitious students from over thirty-five countries. This year one girl traveled for three days from a remote village in Zimbabwe just to join us at this life-changing event.

Each year, my friend and camp organizer, Simon Black, gets frustrated by some of the attendees that have been corrupted by this book.

I hope it hasn’t tainted you too. So let’s find out.

What I want you to do is to think back to when you first read this book and answer me this…

“How did you hope your life would change after reading it?”

“Did you really expect to achieve the literal results that the title promised you?”

If so, then you too have been seduced by…

The 4-Hour Work Week.

With the wrong perspective, it could be the most dangerous book in the world to your ambitions.

Back at the camp, a few students had revealed their diabolical plans to Simon. It went something like this…

“I’m going to use the 4-Hour Work Week system so I can surf all day, play X-box all night, and work as little as possible.”

BUT LISTEN…

That’s not what Tim Ferriss meant.

Nor is that the life he follows.

You know why?

Because a literal 4-hour work week is a life WITHOUT meaning.

Imagine this…

…you’re a smart, energetic 22-year old kid. After reading the 4-Hour Work Week, you discover how to leverage or arbitrage your knowledge into a business. But then you take it too far and aim to make just enough money to get by while working just 4 hours per week.

Seven years come and go…then BOOM – you’re 29 years old.

You stand on the cusp of 30…having accomplished NOTHING… because you’ve drowned your ambitions in a sea of mediocrity. All this because you were chasing the “minimalist lifestyle” and a bloody 48-minute work day.

Where is the honor in that? Where would you stand in your journey to change the world? How many years would you have “designed away” in your lifestyle experiments?

It would have been a waste of what could have been the most productive decade of their lives.

Now don’t get me wrong, Tim’s ideas are solid and can make your life easier and better – and will even benefit strangers living in far away places…

That said, I guarantee there’s no Early to Rise reader working just 4 hours per week.

…And if you do only work 4 hours per week, you’re either:

A) No longer a value adder to the world

Or

B) Unemployed and also not adding value to the world

So that’s why The 4-Hour Work Week can be the most dangerous book you could ever read.

It should come with a WARNING label, one that says…

“Do NOT take this book title literally. If you do, you will waste your life. Instead, use these ideas wisely in order to generate MORE value to the world.”

But the book spawned a movement – one that has taken on a life of its own – and has the potential to crush your dreams.

That’s right, CRUSH your TRUE dreams rather than helping you achieve them.

This movement is stealing value from the world because too many people are looking for an excuse to do nothing – and to be proud of it.

The Value Extractor Movement (VEM) will kill you.

It encourages VEMmers to work as little as possible all day – as if THAT were an honorable way of living.

It tells you to lock your talents up in a toolbox and keep them hidden from the world.

Its seductive siren call sings in your ear, “Forget all of the people you could be helping…work less…do less…BE LESS.”

And worst of all:

“Expect something for nothing.”

And that’s wrong.

Flat out wrong.

Let me ask you something…

Do you know what happens to a lot of people when they retire?

What happens to them when they stop adding value to the world?

They die.

Inside and outside.

And being a part of the VEMmer movement will kill your soul and dreams, too.

A 4-hour work week might not seem like such a bad idea now…

…because of the struggles you’re going through today. You feel like you’ll never be able to enjoy a 40-hour work week, let alone one of only 4-hours.

Right now you feel like you’re working or studying all the time in a hardscrabble existence…as you struggle to build your business…perhaps as you work two jobs…and as you worry about losing them.

That’s why the 4-Hour Work Week sounds so seductive.

But you know what?

The way you are living, fighting, and working today is better.

Yours is the honorable way to live because you’re finding a way to add value to the world.

So trust me…

…there will come a time when you breakthrough and achieve more success than you’ve ever dreamed of. And that’s when it will be tempting to become complacent. To stop working so hard. To stop adding value.

One day it will be hard for you to resist that siren’s call of the comfort zone.

When that day happens, after you’ve achieved more than you ever thought possible, I urge you to never give in, and never give up on making a bigger difference in the world.

Don’t succumb to the selfish ideals of the VEMmers.

Resist the temptation, for…

“That which is most satisfying is that which is earned. Anything received free of charge is seldom valued. You can’t get something for (from) nothing. The price is too high.” – Kekich Credo #38

That’s one of my favorites.

A true principle by which to live your life.

Add value and get what you deserve.

Earn what you want.

Do not be ashamed, embarrassed, or discouraged to WORK for a living…to put in your time…and to sacrifice some leisure time in order to change the world.

Be proud of it.

Now more than ever the world needs people like YOU.

And you know what? I have a funny feeling the 4-Hour Work Week didn’t get as popular as it did because those promoting it spent 48 minutes per day at work.

Right?

So listen…

If you’re reading this, you’re young and you have a lot of life left and a lot of love to give the world.

(And “young” refers to anyone under 70 years of age, in my opinion. That’s how old my mom is and she’s still adding value to the world by volunteering. Heck, she volunteers a heck of a lot more than just 4 hours per week.)

So change your mindset.

Stop thinking, “How little can I work? How much value can I EXTRACT from the world? How can I get something for nothing? How can I weasel my way out of the responsibility I have for using the amazing talents that I’ve been given?”

If you literally tried to work 4 hours per week, you’d be robbing the world of your talents, and robbing yourself of true satisfaction.

In 10 years from now, what type of person would look back and be proud of their decision to work just a few hours per week?

I doubt anyone would be satisfied with that…instead, you would look back on your (empty) life with regret and sadness.

Thinking that you failed.

That you failed to pursue your vision…and that you failed to accomplish your mission in life, the one that you were born to accomplish.

How would that feel?

What kind of “lifestyle design” would you have achieved?

An empty one, at best. A wasted one, at worst.

BUT…

The person that invests their life force and an honest work ethic into adding value will look back and be satisfied.

The person that focused externally on changing the lives of OTHERS rather than internally on sucking out value for themselves…that person would truly have the life well lived.

I encourage you to take a lesson from the REAL life of Tim Ferriss, rather than the misguided VEMmers spawned by the book.

Look at what he really does, and ask yourself…

“How can I leverage my time to add MORE value to the world? How can I connect with the right people? How can I do more, BE MORE, serve more, and educated more? How can I become a person of influence and a creator of value?”

The 4-hour Work Week is an important book – when used wisely.

It belongs up there with other must reads like Dan Kennedy’s No-BS Time Management, Dan Sullivan’s Unique Ability, and Michael Masterson’s Reluctant Entrepreneur.

So I leave you with the TRUE definition of the 4-hour work week.

What you’re going to do each week is to set aside an hour per day, at least 4 days per week, where you’ll think about nothing but how you can add value to the world.

Heed this wisdom from a man that both Tim and I greatly respect:

“An hour of effective, precise, hard, disciplined – and integrated thinking can be worth a month of hard work. Thinking is the most difficult thing to do in business and in life. Empire builders spend hour-after-hour on mental work.” – Dave Kekich (Credo #44)

Empire builders don’t believe in a 4-hour work week.

Value adders don’t believe in extracting MORE for themselves in exchange for delivering as little as possible.

So take the Most Dangerous Book that you could read and turn it into one of the Most Powerful Tools on your success journey.

Quit with the idiotic “minimalist” living and return to “maximalist” value adding.

Become great. Live your life as a leader.

“The great leaders I’ve studied are all people whose energy and drive are directed outward. It’s not about themselves. It’s about something greater than themselves.” -Jim Collins

Break free from the “something for nothing” mindset. Break away from the selfish VEMmers.

Work hard.

Give more back to the world.

That is my challenge to you.

What do you think about the “anti-work” movement? Should we be focused more on helping others through adding value than encouraging people to work less? Have your say here.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web-based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com