The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here November 2017

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Found Most Interesting
The Author's Case for a Five-day Workweek | The Author's Vision Now and Into the Future

The Author's Vision Now and Into the Future

Overnight Experts Everywhere:[23]

"Training yourself and your staff is now lightening fast, thanks to online learning. ... In 1990, it might have taken you 20 years to become an expert. You'd have to go to some expensive university, and take a bunch of classes that were irrelevant. You'd have to get magazines and books and newspapers, and sift through a bunch of information you didn't want, to learn the things you did. But now, with a dedicated effort for 3-6 months, you can become an expert on almost anything in the online marketing world. For free."

On Brain Power:[24]

"Brain power is different from body power. The body can do eight hours of work, but almost none of us can really focus intensely on mentally intensive work for eight hours. The eight-hour workday was set up for the body, not the mind. ... But just for the record, it's 52 minutes. Just 52 minutes of work before your brain is shot, and it needs to be followed by a 17 minute break.

That's what the most recent study found, from a productivity company behind the popular application Desktime. It makes sense, because in the knowledge worker world, it's all about managing mental energy. ... If you think about it from the employer's perspective, you're buying their outputs. And how long it takes them to make that product is irrelevant."

However, all of this seems to assume that the worker's product is all the result of intellectual effort. Well and good, but if so, it is clear that the application of these ideas is relatively narrow.

On Looking to the Future

Note: The problem I see is that we have not yet found a way of measuring the output of intellectual work. Consider the old saying: "What gets measured gets done." That implies that what is not measure (in some way) probably will not get done or at least done efficiently. For example, if you've got 7 hours to do a 5-hour job, it will take 7 hours.

However, the author continues:

"In the long term, I believe every business in the knowledge-working world will be dealing with the reality of a shorter working day."[25]

"About Email: I truly believe that mail consumes too much of our time. Just because somebody sent it to you, doesn't mean you need to open it."[26]

"We're past the horrific reality of physical slavery, but we are still very much in the grips of mental slavery. ... None but ourselves can free our minds. Human beings are social beings. Our happiness emanates from socializing with each other, both at a community level and an individual relationship level.

[It] doesn't come from possessions, work titles, or retirement account balances. Our happiness comes from experiences and from relationships (which are experiences themselves, really). ... Any environment where a team is uniformly happy, that's a massively productive environment.[27] Happiness is the new productivity tool."[28]

"Here's the truth: everything we are doing today will be done differently very soon. Technologies will render our current processes and knowledge obsolete. You can count on this being the truth."[29] ... From fear to confidence. From paranoia to goodwill. This is the magic created by the five-hour workday.[30] ... The objective of the five-hour workday is to make you more efficient."[31]

"Certain types of employee don't see the value in this, but you don't want those types in your company now.[32] ... [Indeed,] after we went to the five-hour day, we realized that we're getting two types of people: talented people who love the five-hour workday for the right reasons, and lazy people who just want to do as little as possible.[33] ... We obviously need to weed out the lazy people."[34]

Hiring and Firing

"The five-hour workday experiment will bring forward many new insights, when it comes to which employees you should retain and which you shouldn't. And you've got to fire your least productive employees to make room for the highly productive employees who want to work for you, after they hear about your five-hour workday.[35]

Manufacturing New Levels of Productivity

"The fact that technology has driven massive gains in our ability to produce more, but our corporations and owners have not yet changed the standard eight-hour workday, has led to the creation of a lazy workforce. Talented workers know that they don't have to work hard or fast, and it's made our country soft, and susceptible to being overcome by countries of workers who are happier and more productive.

By adjusting the expected productivity of the work environment on a mass scale, our entire work environment will gradually learn to become more efficient and innovative. ... When this happens throughout an entire society, it would effectively double the output and productivity of the nation."[36]

In our consumerism-gone-awry society, almost everyone is missing the point that time is the new money. In our era of a massively productive workforce, time is now the only true scarcity, not money.[37]

We're approaching a period of renaissance, where we'll enjoy an entirely different way of living.[38]

The Author's Case for a Five-day Workweek  The Author's Case for a Five-day Workweek

23. Ibid, p103
24. Ibid, pp107-108
25. Ibid, p124
26. Ibid, p142
27. Ibid, p157
28. Ibid, p211
29. Ibid, p181
30. Ibid, p182
31. Ibid, p166
32. Ibid, p185
33. Ibid, p190
34. Ibid, p191
35. Ibid, p223
36. Ibid, p231-232
37. Ibid, p250
38. Ibid, p241
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