I’m an INTJ, a Type 5. For those of you into personality typing, you’ll know what that means. For everyone else; I’m a researcher. Before I commit to anything I like to know everything about anything to do with the subject. So much so, I usually get so lost in research, going down endless rabbit holes and never actually doing the damn thing I started researching.
So yeah, it can be problematic for me. But on the flip side, it means I am armed with a lot of knowledge on the subjects I’m interested in. I’ve had this blog a little over a month, dedicated to escaping my 9-5 job (here’s why) and here are the best 3 books I’ve read on the subject so far…
Free Range Human
by Marianne Cantwell
Free Range Human sings a song that I have been humming in my head for years now; that the systematic ferrying of humans in tightly packed tubes to a cubicle for 8 hours every day is not for everyone. I would even argue it shouldn’t be for anyone at all. But the book does a good job of explaining why most people do (the perceived safety of a 9-5 income is strong) but Marianne swiftly busts that myth in the balls.
If you’re still on board at this point and swallowed the red pill, you will never look at your work-life the same way again. It will be impossible for you to trudge back to your fluorescent lit office without feeling deep despair and a determination to live your life on your own terms. This is what Buddhists call awakening.
One of the most important points this book makes for me is dispelling the myth that you have to find your one true passion. I spent years trying to find mine at the exclusion of other areas of my life and doesn’t work. Why? because most of us are liminal (a word I recently discovered through Marianne’s excellent TedX talk. We have multiple interest’s, and Marianne encourages you to delve deeply into why you like the things you do and helps you synthesise your interests and ideas.
As you progress you will start having doubts about your ideas, and yourself. This is the feeling of leaving your comfort zone. Marianne can sense this and just at the right time dispels the doubters (both within and without).
By the end of the book you will have well thought out ideas that you can kick off right away (yes, it’s scary). Your ideas will be uniquely you, but you will learn that it is your weirdness that you’ve spent your life hiding away from society that is the best of you and part of what you most have to offer.
This is the point where I realised I could make it. I’d always thought that I had to appear more normal and that every idea has already been done but when you are truly your unique self, working in your niche, how can anyone else ever do what you do?
If you’ve ever had an inkling that the 9-5 life might not be for you then do yourself a favour and get a copy.
The 4-Hour Work Week
by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is the king of lifestyle design and escaping the workplace, if you haven’t read his blog yet, do.
The 4-Hour Work Week is extremely detailed and will give you step by step instructions to start automating your life and saving time on anything from your dry cleaning to getting a virtual assistant. The name of the game here is to give you as much time as possible to pursue a life of freedom.
This book isn’t necessarily about monetising your interests so you can get paid to do what you love, it’s about creating vehicles for earning a passive income so that you don’t have to do more than 4 hour’s a week to see the cash rolling in, allowing you do whatever the hell you want with the other 36 hours normally allotted for staring at a screen or serving arseholes.
In the exercises you’ll create your target monthly (TMI) and daily income to finance your fantasy lifestyle. I did these exercise and was pleasantly surprised at the amount I’d actually have to earn a month to fund my luxury country home, a Tesla and monthly trips to historical sites (I’m a history nerd). Like most people I’d only dreamed of these things and never actually knew how much they cost.
As it happens I already earn 28% of my TMI, which I can cheekily chalk up in my head to being a 1/3 of the way to my lifestyle dream. When you take out being chained to a desk for 160 hours a month, earning 3x my current income doesn’t seem like the most insurmountable mountain to climb. This is why I’ve stopped playing the lotto. You have an infinitely greater chance of creating your own income than winning a million.
The book is a masterclass in outsourcing your life and putting it on auto-pilot, allowing you to kick back spend the only thing of any value to you, your time, doing as you please.
Be selfish and join the new rich, I am.
Design your Dream Job
by Lousie Stigell
This is a special book to me because the author is a highly sensitive introvert. Just like me, Louise was burned out by the office and it was her blog Oh So Sensitive that led me from being depressed and stuck in my job to knowing there was a way out and working towards it. Design Your Dream job was my gateway book to the wonderful world of what I call intropreneurship.
The great thing about this book is that all the advice and exercises are tailored to highly sensitive introverts. A lot of the times self help books are very extroverted in nature, aimed to motivate you to jump out of bed at 5am and take the world by the balls.
I’ve tried it (believe me I’ve tried it!) and it doesn’t work for highly sensitive introverts. We do it for a few days, a week even, then we burn out and begin to hate our idea. We need a calmer, less stimulating approach and that’s what you get from this book.
Design Your Dream Job will help you discover what you want to do with your time. Like Free Range Human, this involves delving into your interests and why you like them enabling you to craft a dream job that reflects who you are.
For me, my interests are diverse; from English history to artificial intelligence, from philosophy to hiking in the great outdoors. All my life I have been at war with myself to pick one true career and it’s always ended in disaster. What this book taught me was to go deep. Why did I love those things? For me it was primarily researching and creating meaning; understanding the history, reality and possibilities of life.
And with that common thread I no longer had to pick one of my interests and do it, what I had to do was create a business idea that that drew from that thread and that is what this blog is about. And in this blog I have found that writing is a great way to put all my research and thinking out into the world. That is very satisfying to me.
Happy reading, may you have enough alone time quietly research plot your way out of your 9-5 job.