Cold Remedy: 18 Real-World Lifestyle Design Case Studies (Now It’s Your Turn)

If not in 2010, then when? (Photo: jphilipson)

The video case studies that I asked for in the last post really caught me unprepared.

I…am…so happy that it’s hard to put it into words.

From Denmark to India, from college students to retirees, from yoga instructors to engineers, the stories poured in. Narrowing them down to finalists, even with several people, was excruciating, but below you will find 15 of our favorites. Many more are worth watching (I watched them all) and can be found here, or by searching “4hww success” on YouTube. There are also 150 comments on the last post full of practical how-to implementations.

The below videos represent a real-life crash course in the many paths and practicalities of lifestyle design. I hope you love watching them as much as I did…

Happy New Year, y’all. Decide today that 2010 will be the year when everything changes.

It can be.

Gary Misner (below)

Gary is a 22-year old from Long Island. He left his family’s autobody business to start his own businesses, travel the world, redesign his body, rediscover his love for his family, and enjoy the best the planet has to offer, including philanthropy and the little things we so often undervalue. Philosophically, I think he nailed what I was hoping to impart — it’s about living more, not just working less — as did many of the other case studies below.

Chuck Holton (below)

From Chuck:

My attempts at leaving the corporate world met with very limited success until I read the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. In the last few years, we’ve successfully done the following:

1. Left the corporate world for good.

2. Taken a 1-year mini-retirement (with 5 kids!) to Panama.

3. Paid off our house through the application of geoarbitrage.

4. Diversified our cash flow into more than ten different streams

5. Automated over 50% of our cash flow (passive or semi-passive)

6. Cut my work hours from 70+ per week to however many I feel like (closer to 20/wk)

7. Implemented 4hww strategies into my children’s home schooling, teaching them to structure their own lives to attain freedom.

Two of Chuck’s children–both under 15 years of age–are also earning $300-500 per month with their own companies.

The World’s Best Fruit (below)

This video doesn’t include a name, as the narrator wants to quit her job in person 🙂

She and her husband put in 4-6 hours per week and earned an extra $2,200 in their first month of testing. Our anonymous lifestyle designer, whom we’ll call “The World’s Best Fruit” for obvious reasons, shares the following:

I did it Tim! Until 14 months ago, I was destined to retire in 30+ years. Twenty days from now I’m giving notice of my intention to leave in May. Thank you!!

I want to be an example of possibility for others that are just getting started. In this video I’ve shared how I applied the following techniques:

-picking a muse

-becoming and expert

-adding a VA (or an intern in this case)

I have also highlighted the first techniques I used to improve my life.


-Speed Reading


-Surrounding myself with like-minded people

These helped me in the early stages when I was stuck trying to figure out a product, but knew I wanted to become part of the New Rich.

Ki’une (below)

[Ed. note (2021): Video no longer available.]

Ki’une’s video needs to seen — and listened to — to have its full impact. Recorded over a year of traveling, it also showcases why his dance muse has been successful. That’s some damn fine locking.

Oh, and in case you miss it, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Jose Castro-Frenzel (below)

Think your business is too bricks-and-mortar for lifestyle design?

Using several principles he describes in this video, Jose transformed his concrete company, Omega Masonry Inc., into a virtual company. He also added more than 40 hours per week of free time and has started a new online product based company. Jose also helped me and others (like Matt Mullenweg and Andrew Rosca) build a preschool in Vietnam, which we visited together in 2009.

SoulTravelers3 (below)

From the mother in the family known as SoulTravelers3 (edited for length):

We are beyond thrilled that we are one of the case studies in the new expanded 4HWW & we are a family traveling the world non-stop, on an open ended world tour since 2006!

Unlike someone who mentioned in the comments that it could not be done once these men were married and had families, I am here to validate that it not only can be done, but might also be the most rewarding way to do marriage and family and probably the best possible education for future 21st century global citizens!

…We have traveled over 175,000 miles (most overland) to 4 continents, 32 countries since we left in 2006…

I think [this video] “talks” to the 70% of families that dream about extended travel, inspires many of every age & gives hope to women who love freedom and travel, but fear they must give that up when they have a child.

YES! Families can and DO live the 4HWW dream too! 😉

On the video, which has been viewed more than a million times:

It took 18 months to make this video and it was hard enough to get the film, let alone decent sound in these crowded, noisy environments. Thus we did a montage cover song as all do in these kinds of videos. She is young and it takes great concentration to play such sophisticated songs under such circumstances, but her nature is one of great joy as you can see in our other videos or website. We are not rich and travel and live on a total of 25,000 dollars a year.

Bolding is mine. Living richly does not require riches.

Dane Low (below)

Dane used Facebook to get incredible press for Room to Read and build a school in Vietnam in the process. His approach is an incredible model for the future of giving back and karmic capitalism.

Alex Climent (below)

[Ed. note (2021): Video no longer available.]

Alex, who read the Spanish version of 4HWW in Valencia, Spain, used Pareto’s and Parkinson’s Laws to shoot an independent, low-budget film in 8 locations in 4 days. The script had been in a drawer for 4 years.

The Ren Men (below)

[Ed. note (2021): Video no longer available.]

The Ren Men have created a 3-day workweek (9am-3pm), built a net wealth of $2-million, take 10+ mini-retirements per year, and much, much more. This video explains the 3 principles they focused on to automate a brick-and-mortar business.

Maneesh Sethi (below)

Maneesh has created a digital lifestyle that has allowed him to live in Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina, among others. His video includes an exact screencast of how he has created automated income based on Google Adwords and outsourced article creation.

From Maneesh:

I currently work exactly 3h59m per week (11am-2:59pm on Monday), and in the video I show EVERYTHING—my entire job, the software I’ve written to automate myself out of existence, and how my VAs literally do everything without me. I’m about 4 weeks away from outsourcing the final 3h59m, as well. My business is an SEO SEM biz, writing articles based on keywords that people are searching for on google. My business is monetized by adsense and ad revenue—i literally go to sleep, wake up, and check how much money I’ve earned. I’m serious–no matter where I am in the world, my work is getting done, and I am getting paid, no matter what the hell I do.

So what do I do with all this time? I travel—for 2 years straight, I’ve been living in a new country every four months, studying the language, and just enjoying life. (I have lived in Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, India—and I speak Italian, Spanish and Portuguese). I do pushups in every city (my life goal is a pushup in every country).

Now, with all of this free time, I’m trying to change the lives of others and give them an opportunity to do the same. I founded an NGO,, and I am building a classroom in Upli Badi village near Udaipur, India—an extremely poor shanty town. I’ve raised over $1500 to buy these children laptops, and I’m going to begin giving them personalized classes starting January 16. I was lucky enough to be introduced to computers at a young age—hopefully, these poor kids will be able to learn to use the computer, break out of their horrible cycle of poverty by working a good technical job, be able to raise money, and bring back this money to their parents and friends in Upli Badi. Until they do, my NGO will be around helping more and more children.

Austin Evarts (below)

Austin created two profitable companies while traveling abroad and having the experiences of a lifetime. This video showcases his muses and how he designed them.

KEG (below)

KEG used Parkinson’s Law and the 80/20 principle as a musician to finish his long-postponed album, and he then used techniques in the book to get on both NBC’s America’s Got Talent (twice) and Cooking Along with Gordon Ramsey.

Long live rock.

Pete Williams (below)

Pete from Australia applied his newfound “free” time back into his business. He first focused on building his business faster instead of mini-retirements, and now he’s embarking on the latter. From Pete:

I’ve really embraced the 4HWW principles in by “business life” with to two full time Philippine Virtual Assistants and a range of part-time specialists across the world taking care of all the day-to-day stuff; so I can spend more time working on the 3 businesses I own (rather than in them) – This process culminated in being named Global Runner up in JCI’s 2009 Create Young Entrepreneur Awards (ceremony in Tunisia) and a mini-retirement to the Halloween Party at the Playboy Mansion.

The first three dreamlines I’ve set in place and booked for 2010 are 1. Join the circus and learn how to trapeze, tight rope walk, handstand etc (Jan-March) 2. Trek the Himalayas to raise money for charity (April) 3. Train for the NYC marathon.

In a show of good humor, Pete also asked one of his virtual assistants to post a video:

Nathan Jurewicz (below)

[Ed. note (2021): This video is no longer available.]

This is a hysterical video. The theme, however, is practical: shifting from presence to performance. From Nathan:

Book changed my life!!

This really is my lifestyle no joke!

I do whatever I want, whenever I want and I am semi famous!!

Thanks Tim!!

– Nathan Jurewicz

Lee Burrell (below)

[Ed. note (2021): This video is no longer available.]

Lee gets into logistics around 1:30, and he gives outstanding examples of low-cost and highly effective product development. He is now on track to have a million-dollar muse within 15 months and is a full-time student. Note the video suggestion to take customer phone calls in the beginning stages to compile a FAQ — this saves hundreds of hours later in e-mail exchanges and customer service. Suggestions from Lee include:

– Figure out what customers want – and give it to them. By first performing seminars and getting detailed student feedback, I was able to determine where other companies product’s were falling short. Keeping their feedback in mind and building a list of FAQs based on the most commonly asked questions/concerns, I developed a product that people want and are willing to pay more than 8-10x mark-up for.

– Outsource. Outsource. Outsource. I outsourced the website creation, content creation, have a VA, professional proofreader, powerpoint expert for building presentations, and customer service “center.” All of was done using the books principles and recommendations. (Elance rocks)

If sales continue to grow as expected, I will have a million dollar muse in 15 months (at the ripe old age of 24) and will be helping people reach their dreams along the way.

Can’t thank you enough Tim.



(Btw I came in 2nd in your “Trail By Fire” contest. The Planet Earth DVD’s you sent were awesome! I’m definitely excited about the possibility to win a plane ticket to see some of those places in person :p)

Alex from Montreal (below – turn up your audio volume)

In this video, Alex shows exactly how he left a sales job at a Fortune 500 company to travel the world and live like a rockstar (literally), meeting with both billionaires and celebrities. Brilliant use of local Chambers of Commerce. The audio is frustratingly low, but it’s worth the watch.

David Walsh (below)

[Ed. note (2021): This video is no longer available.]

David has grown a venture-backed start-up from 2 to 14 people, written a book, created an audiobook, launched a language learning tool, and produced a popular podcast. Most recently, he founded an early-stage venture investment firm like Y-Combinator.

He must be constantly connected, right?

Nope. David got rid of his mobile phone 4 months ago and is loving life without it.

Brad Kirr (below)

Brad filmed and edited this video from Morocco on his Sony k100i phone. Cool.

What do you do when you need to add 800 products to a new site but each product takes a fully day? Outsource your life, of course. Brad explains how and underscores the under-mentioned importance of making your instructions teachable.

Now he’s surfing, snowboarding, and skating the world over. From Brad:

I talk about three principles from the book as it applies to my life including outsourcing your life as it applies to technical aspects of product addition and seo of my web business, dreamlining and the use of “My Fantastical Autobiography” to initiate my dreamline of starting a skateboard company in Dubai, and finally the 80/20 principle as it applies to my current dreamline of becoming a big wave surfer.

You can make my next dreamline happen by sending me to the Mentawis buddy!!!



Happy New Year all!


Get the brand-new Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, published 12/15, which includes more than 50 new case studies (including families) of luxury lifestyle design, muse creation, and world travel. Make 2010 the year when you make the leap.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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333 Replies to “Cold Remedy: 18 Real-World Lifestyle Design Case Studies (Now It’s Your Turn)”

  1. Tim,

    I also meant to say how much I admire your site and your doings to transform the world and maximize your potential! Very inspiring!

  2. Hi Tim,

    I love your book and think you are quickly establishing a new paradigm lifestyle which I find so appealing. I have not picked up your new book which seems to have some case studies including families.

    I have a rather unique challenge. I am working on a number of strategies aligned with your principles. What I am looking for is some direction, if possible, for women who are caregivers. I have an adult child with a disability who has briefed Congress, spoken at the National Press Club…an orphan from Korea, who can’t walk or talk goes all the way to tell Congress how to do their job better. She owns her own condo, has a small business and has had loads of support from me, her mother.

    We are at the point where we both want great lives and are still challenged by some of the changes occurring her support system. I am in the process of collecting some very effective tools to share with other families of children of special needs and caregivers. I, too, believe in a better lifestyle where the people we care for get what they need and want—and so do those who care for them.

    Any tips you might be able to share with me?

    By the way, one of the ways I have applied your strategies–I have become a decent Latin dancer; Salsa, Bachata, Meringue and a little Tango. Even mom’s need to have fun.

    Thanks for your help!

    Katherine Carol

  3. The information on this blog is amazing. I just ordered your book Tim. I am going to read it and apply – this is what I have been looking for. A friend recommended this site to me. Thanks you in advance for what you have done!

  4. I vote to Chuck Holtam. He is the real deal. I’ve spoken with him in person and he “walks his talk”. He is an A-1 type person.

  5. Ki’une’s entry uses an unattributed audio. It’s one of my favorites (played on MTV/VH1 back in the late 90s). I love the male speaking voice. Here are the credits.

    Text: Mary Schmich (from an essay titled, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”)

    Released by Baz Luhrmann

    Speaker: Lee Perry

    Female vocalist: Rozalla

    Male vocalist: Quindon Tarver

    P.S. No, it wasn’t ever really a commencement speech.

  6. you are truely THE self-promoter. bought both your books and started 4hb, its great. i know a lot about nutrition and exercise and your info is nicely compressed. lookin forward to new books

  7. This comment is for Chuck Holton. He mentions that his 13 y/o daughter is making $3-400/mo writing for demandstudios. I recommend you be very careful about publicly announcing that just because the DemandStudios website FAQ states the following:

    “I’m under 18 years old. Can I be paid?

    No. You must be at least 18 years old to freelance with Demand Media Studios. We’re not able to send your payment to a third-party PayPal account (e.g. parents, guardian) either. Once you’re 18, you’re welcome to apply.”

  8. For the ones still subscribed to this post and still interested in 4HWW case studies, feel free to check out our site where we try to gather the most inspiring 4HWW Success Stories and share the knowledge with the 4HWW community.

    Best regards,


  9. First of all, a happy new year 2013 to all of you, may you all be blessed this year!

    Thank you is not enough, all this inspiration and pushs

    from all of you great people and especially Tim.

    I admire you in all ways, I’m like a prophet of your spirit

    and lifestyle Design throughout all my friends and people I know,

    I’ll try to spread the word to everyone.

    We build an online drop shipping shop and are trying to compete

    with some dinosaurs competitors, it’s now running for 4 weeks,

    but online marketing is in our hands and we are struggeling, but

    we have a goal and in 2-3 months we hope it will then create a stable almost

    passive income.

    Be strong and do your thing, best wishes Sascha from Germany 🙂

  10. Excellent article and hugely inspirational videos Tim. We are all huge followers of your work at our new community for digital nomads and I personally have given your book a great review. Maneesh Sethi is another great example of how living as a digital nomad can certainly pay off, his life hacker blog has also been reviewed on the site. Keep up the great work. Love following your blog!!

  11. I’ve both read the hardcover and listened to the Audible audiobook of 4HWW and have taken thorough notes. I am challenged however in the arena of finding my muse, each idea I seem to come up with will either require expensive and extensive retooling at a factory pre-production, or requires 25,000 sold units prior to beginning production (how do you sell 25,000 products that have not even been manufactured yet in a short enough time frame that your first 10,000 orders don’t cancel pre-production?), or the market is already saturated with 1000 different versions of what I felt was a unique idea serving a niche not filled.

    My current profession is a Nuclear Technician specializing in radiation protection and gamma spectroscopy. Not the ideal “job” to turn into a 4HWW muse. I have a ton of highly specialized knowledge in a field that is completely useless outside of Nuclear Power or Radiological decommissioning. THAT SUCKS!

    The hardest challenge I’ve met yet in my life is finding a muse I can turn into an inexpensive automated startup to learn the principles of the 4HWW through. The worst part is it really pisses me off when I see an “As Seen on TV” product or commercial for something as goofy as say, My Spy Birdhouse, and I can’t find a product or service to provide for $5000 that hasn’t already been attacked from every end of the marketing spectrum.

    My mind is beginning to vapor-lock from all the continuous error following every glimmer of hope trial. I hate the idea of resigning myself to spending the next 22 years locked in a concrete vault analyzing the same damn samples year after year after year, but it seems like I just don’t have what it takes to find or create a valuable muse. Any thoughts on how to get beyond the fabric of restraint that feels like a straight jacket on my creativity? I could certainly understand this if I were someone who lacks the intelligence to ever excel beyond a part-time Walmart cashier, or maybe I couldn’t, but I’m an intelligent guy with a big imagination, my imagination just seems to be too late.

    1. Hi Shannon – I am a big 4Hour fan as well. I had similar problems trying to find my muse. I was all pumped after reading the books and had a plan, but no idea. I would like to pose a suggestion that I probably learned from TIm’s books on how to find your muse.

      Find something that annoys you or a group of your peers (it should be a group of people that you know well). Everyone has problems, Everyone… See if you can learn about (the) problem on an intimate level. Look at it from every angle like you said. The product idea will just appear. It wont be the final version, but something to start into your final direction.

      Here is my story example:

      I am a real estate broker and have done very well for myself. I wanted to teach people how to do the same. So I offered a course online. So saturated of a market. Then I dived deeper. Employee/Staff training. How to train/retain employees. All the questions started to come from real estate brokers asking about my outsourced VA employees. I say, oh, yeah. I have some Virtual Assistants from around the globe. They wanted to learn how to get some too and “Outsource”. So I started another project that flops, Training Brokers on how to Outsource. It flopped because no one wanted to learn and do the work themselves. So the final version, 3rd round, we re-tooled it to be, “We find, train and retain Virtual Assistants for Real Estate Brokers” and it caught fire.

      I think if you apply this same method you should come up with some ideas if you have not already.

      Good Luck!

      Daniel Keltner

  12. Tim,

    I’ve read your books and blog for about 2 years now, and I love your content. But this one absolutely blew me away. With your return to some of the 4HWW topics in the podcast, I think this post deserves some more play!

    Since I was recently discharged from my full-time “dream” job in coaching, things get pretty down. These video submissions make the 4HWW human in a way that words in a book fail to do. They help you see and hear what’s really possible. My newborn son, fiance and I are on our way to the best future I could imagine. Thank you for your inspiration.


  13. Maybe I missed something (and I understand you don’t evaluate people based on gender), but I noticed that the only female on this list is a virtual assistant… Why is that? Are fewer women on board with this lifestyle design thing?

  14. Do you have any lifestyle design case studies pertaining to nurses? Obviously, we can’t automate patient care but…there has to be room for a kind of lifestyle design for us too. I’m just having a hard time seeing it.

  15. I’ve read the book and am now looking for a teacher who can help me implement the lessons learned. I need one in the way that while I can read a calculus textbook and do a lot on my own, an experienced teacher is still better. Anyone here interested?

  16. So many dudes. So many white people. I wonder if other woman watching these videos have a hard time identifying with these stories? What makes the 4 hour ww so attractive to men in particular?