The Incredible Lifestyle of Ian Fleming (Creator of James Bond)

I’m a James Bond fan. My favorite Bond movie is probably Casino Royale.

But if I’m really honest, I’m actually more of a fan of Ian Fleming. Fleming is the writer who created the James Bond book series.

Fleming once commented, “When we win this blasted war (the Second World War), I’m going to live in Jamaica. I’m going to lap it up, swim in the sea and write books.” And this is exactly what Fleming went on to do.

Fleming’s criteria for his Jamaica home were: 10 acres or so, on the coast, away from towns, it must have cliffs of some sort or a secret bay. The other requirement was that there were to be no roads between the house and the shore.

After finding the property, Fleming had his new home built. This home, which he named GoldenEye, was where Bond was created. Flemming’s home was described in the book “GoldenEye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica,” as follows:

The home was simple. No glass in the windows. Fleming wanted it open so the birds could fly through. He wanted to live as much inside as outside.

The design was utilitarian. A modern long box without ornament. The home was dominated by one large main room overlooking the sea. The ceilings were low and consisted of plain hardwood. The home had small, insignificant bedrooms in the back. No cupboards were provided. Just hooks for clothes. The floor was painted navy blue. The heavy shutters caused many problems, but Fleming loved them. He was rewarded on sunny days when the whole room was opened to the sea air.

The emphasis for everything was on simplicity and hardiness. There was no need for a large kitchen to fit fridges or other appliances. He ate mainly fish and fruit. He caught his own fish fresh. All the staff needed in the kitchen was a stove and a sink. The plumbing was rudimentary. This small oceanfront home also included a small swimming pool and a small beach fringed by a coral reef.

Here are a few pictures of GoldenEye that I found on Google:

The cost of the build, which included a garage and staff quarters was 2,000 pounds. The land cost an additional 2,000 pounds for a total investment of 4,000 pounds. This home was built in 1946, and I believe he paid cash for the home and didn’t have any mortgage payments.

In the book titled “The Man With The Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond,” I found this:

“Fleming liked to say that Casino Royale wrote itself, but in fact it was the product of hard work and discipline. Every morning, for three hours, he sat at his desk and typed 2,000 words. He then put sheets of double-spaced fool-sap aside, and took the afternoon off. He repeated the process the next day, and the next, until the book was finished.”

Since Fleming finished his work before lunch, he could enjoy his afternoons however he wanted…

“Occasionally he and Ann (his wife) lit off on a spree: there was an outing to the Milk River Spa – ‘the highest radio-activity of any mineral bath in the world’, according to Fleming – and an abortive foray to shoot alligators at midnight when ‘their red eyes sine in the moonbeams’. The next morning he always returned to the task of writing. ‘I rewrote nothing and made no corrections until my book was finished,’ he said. ‘If I looked back at what I had written the day before I might have despaired at the mistakes in grammar and style, the repetitions and the crudities. And I obstinately closed my mind to self-mockery and “what will my friends say?” I savagely hammered on until the proud day when the last page was done.

Fleming would typically only stay in his Jamaica house for two months each year: January and February. During these two months, he would write so much each morning that he actually finished writing one new Bond book each year by writing approximately three pages a day.

The cool part is he didn’t have to sacrifice 60 hours a week to write his books. He actually spent most of his afternoons doing his most favorite thing:

“Fleming’s favorite thing of all was the reef where he would spend hours floating, observing or hunting, enjoying the coolness of the water. His body’s natural bouncy, and the exiting otherworldiness of it all. He had been introduced to underwater swimming and acquired a rubby dingy and spearguns. The target was lobsters and anything that be could eaten. The hazards included baracudes, the coral or sharks. The reef provided exciting challenges that flowed into James Bond”

Fleming’s schedule seems to mirror that of Mr. Andrew Carnegie. Maybe you’ve heard of him?

When I studied Andrew Carnegie years ago, I learned that he would typically only work around three hours a day. Rumor has it that he would get more done in those three hours than the average man would in two days. When Carnegie finished his work, he would spend his afternoons hiking, riding horses, or playing golf…. some form of physical activity.

These two successful people followed very similar work schedules. They worked relentlessly on their most important activity for three hours each morning and then took the rest of the day off.

Since I’m interested in learning how to live a good life, I actually study different lifestyles. I have a notebook of the various people I’ve studied and notes on how they lived. I’ve modeled my life off of the people I’ve studied.

What I’ve come to believe, at least for me, is that the 3-hour workday is best Yes, this is more work than recommended by Tim Ferriss and his 4-Hour Workweek!

I actually follow Flemming’s schedule, which I picked up studying Carnegie years ago. I work really hard for around three hours each morning and then do whatever I want in the afternoons. If my daughters aren’t involved in some sporting activity, I usually will spend my afternoons hiking, running, swimming, or reading.

This 3-hour work day differs from almost everything we’ve been taught. We’ve been taught to work 40 or 50 hours a week so that we can finally retire in our 60s. Once we finally retire, we’ll supposedly never have to work again. Even if you’re able to pull this off, you’d be bored as hell with nothing to do.

Meaningful work, in small 3-hour increments, makes life a lot better. It doesn’t matter what your work is, as long as it is something you enjoy. I enjoy writing like Fleming. The happiest guy I know sold his business and got a part-time job working at a Disney resort. His work consists of giving guests ideas and recommendations on fun things to do and great places to eat. In fact, many of his suggestions created incredible family memories for us.

Before I wrap this up, consider the freedom Fleming created for himself. Because he kept his home simple and didn’t go crazy building a giant home to impress others, he was able to pay cash for it. He didn’t seem to have a mortgage payment, or any debt, which allowed him to design his ideal lifestyle.

Fleming’s home is actually now a resort! Be sure to check out the “About” page for summary of Flemming’s life. The first time I visited this resort online (a few years ago), I found this on the homepage:

Fleming’s home is more than a home. It’s a mindset. So is creating your ideal lifestyle. It’s a mindset to live exactly how you want to live without worrying about what anyone else thinks!