Aug 092008

Book Short: Catchiest Title in a Long Time

Book Short:  Catchiest Title in a Long Time

You have to admit, a book called The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich has a pretty enticing title.  The email geek in me thinks that if it were a subject line, it would have a good open rate.  Anyway, the book, by Timothy Ferriss, is a breezy read that  blends self help with entrepreneurship, has a lot of good resource lists in it, and is worth reading  if you don’t take it too  seriously.

There are some good central points to the book.  First, life has changed, and people don’t want to slave away until they’re 65 any more so they can do all the fun stuff in their old age — they want to change directions, unplug more regularly, and enjoy life with their families when they’re younger.  I buy that.
Second, good companies are increasingly allowing employees more degrees of freedom in the where and when and even how of getting things done, just as long as they get things done — and people should take advantage of that.  I buy that as well — we practice that at Return Path, generally speaking.  Third, startups that are mainly virtual organizations and internet-based are easier, cheaper, and potentially more profitable than most businesses have been, historically speaking.  Ok, fair enough.

Fourth, anyone can be just like the author and do all of this stuff, too, right?  Start a business that turns into a cash machine that requires little to no maintenance while becoming one of the best tango dancers in the world in South America, etc. etc. etc.  Well, maybe not.  I guess the point of self-help books is to show an extreme example and inspire people to achieve it, and I do think there’s a lot to what Ferriss says about how people can live richly without being rich, but the fact is that the world would fall apart if everyone did what he does.  And the other fact is that Ferriss is well above average in intellect and drive, and probably some physical talents as well from his descriptions of tango dancing and kick boxing, which must contribute to his success in life far more than his operating philosophy does.

But as I said, it’s a fun read, and if you don’t take it too seriously, or at least take the feedback directionally as opposed to whole hog, it’s well worth it.

  • Geoffrey

    Interesting fact about the title:
    When choosing it, Tim originally wanted the title "Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit" which the publishers turned down. They came back with a bunch of choices none of which satisfied him, so he asked for some time to think it over. During this time, he bought $100ish worth of google ads and monitored the click throughs. The final title was the most clicked by a factor of 10.

  • Ilker

    Email marketing is dead, Dead as replace it with "ReturnPath":

    Hedge-Fund Guy enters an investment bank. "I wish to complain about this derivative security what I purchased not two years ago from this very boutique," he says.

    "Ah yes, the Collateralized-Debt Obligation," says the Wall Street Banker. "What's wrong with him?"

    "I'll tell you what's wrong with him, my lad. He's dead, that's what's wrong with him!"

    Wall Street Banker: "No, no, he's … restin'." Hedge-Fund Guy: "Look, matey, I know a dead derivative when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

    "No, no, he's not dead, he's restin'! Remarkable investment, the CDO, isn't it? Beautiful plumage!"

    "The plumage don't enter into it. He's stone dead."

    "Nononono, no, no! He's restin'!"

    "All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up!" (Shouts at the derivative): "Ello, Mister CDO! I've got a lovely fresh rating upgrade for you if you …" (Wall Street Banker leans over and nudges the derivative contract.) "There, he moved!" "No, he didn't, that was you hitting him!" "I never!!" "Yes, you did!"

    Hedge-Fund Guy (yelling and hitting the derivative repeatedly): "HELLO CDO!!!!! Testing! Testing! This is your 9 o'clock alarm call!" (Picks up the CDO and thumps it on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.) "Now that's what I call a dead CDO."

    Wall Street Banker: "No, no … he's stunned!'' "STUNNED?" "Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Collateralized-Debt Obligations stun easily."

    "Now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That CDO is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 24 months ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following its strenuous efforts to achieve a AAA credit rating."

    "Well, he's… he's, ah… probably pining for the fjords." "PININ' for the FJORDS? What kind of talk is that? Why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?"

    "The Collateralized-Debt Obligation prefers keepin' on his back! Remarkable investment, isn't it, squire? Lovely plumage!"

    "Look, I took the liberty of examining that CDO when its credit rating fell to junk, and I discovered that the only reason that it hadn't collapsed in the first place was that it had been NAILED there."

    "Well, of course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that CDO down, it would have nuzzled up to the edge of your investment strategy, forced its way out between all those deadly dull stocks and bonds, and VOOM!"

    "VOOM? Mate, this CDO wouldn't `voom' if you put 4 million volts through it! He's bleedin' demised!"

    "No. no! He's pining!"

    "He's not pining! He's passed on! This CDO is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! His metabolic processes are now 'istory! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-INVESTMENT!"

    (Pause).

    Wall Street Banker: "Well, I'd better replace it then. (He takes a quick peek behind the counter.) "Sorry, squire, I've had a look around the trading desk, and we're right out of CDOs. Asset-backed securities in general are in very short supply." (Taps the side of his nose, winking.) "I've got a box full of Treasuries, though."

    (Pause).

    Hedge-Fund Guy (sweetly): "Do they offer a spread over U.S. government debt?" Wall Street Banker (mumbling): "No, not really, not a spread as such, no."

    Hedge-Fund Guy: "WELL THAT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT THEN, IS IT??"

  • Ilker

    Hedge-Fund Guy enters an investment bank. "I wish to complain about this security what I purchased not two years ago from this very boutique," he says.

    "Ah yes, the Return Path," says the Wall Street Banker. "What's wrong with him?"

    "I'll tell you what's wrong with him, my lad. He's dead, that's what's wrong with him!"

    Wall Street Banker: "No, no, he's … restin'." Hedge-Fund Guy: "Look, matey, I know a dead derivative when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

    "No, no, he's not dead, he's restin'! Remarkable investment, the RP, isn't it? Beautiful plumage!"

    "The plumage don't enter into it. He's stone dead."

    "Nononono, no, no! He's restin'!"

    "All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up!" (Shouts at the derivative): "Ello, Mister RP! I've got a lovely fresh rating upgrade for you if you …" (Wall Street Banker leans over and nudges the derivative contract.) "There, he moved!" "No, he didn't, that was you hitting him!" "I never!!" "Yes, you did!"

    Hedge-Fund Guy (yelling and hitting the derivative repeatedly): "HELLO RP!!!!! Testing! Testing! This is your 9 o'clock alarm call!" (Picks up the RP and thumps it on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.) "Now that's what I call a dead RP."

    Wall Street Banker: "No, no … he's stunned!'' "STUNNED?" "Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Return Paths stun easily."

    "Now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That RP is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 24 months ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following its strenuous efforts to achieve a AAA credit rating."

    "Well, he's… he's, ah… probably pining for the fjords." "PININ' for the FJORDS? What kind of talk is that? Why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?"

    "The Return Path prefers keepin' on his back! Remarkable investment, isn't it, squire? Lovely plumage!"

    "Look, I took the liberty of examining that RP when its credit rating fell to junk, and I discovered that the only reason that it hadn't collapsed in the first place was that it had been NAILED there."

    "Well, of course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that RP down, it would have nuzzled up to the edge of your investment strategy, forced its way out between all those deadly dull stocks and bonds, and VOOM!"

    "VOOM? Mate, this RP wouldn't `voom' if you put 4 million volts through it! He's bleedin' demised!"

    "No. no! He's pining!"

    "He's not pining! He's passed on! This RP is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! His metabolic processes are now 'istory! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-INVESTMENT!"

    (Pause).

    Wall Street Banker: "Well, I'd better replace it then. (He takes a quick peek behind the counter.) "Sorry, squire, I've had a look around the trading desk, and we're right out of RPs. Asset-backed securities in general are in very short supply." (Taps the side of his nose, winking.) "I've got a box full of Treasuries, though."

    (Pause).

    Hedge-Fund Guy (sweetly): "Do they offer a spread over U.S. government debt?" Wall Street Banker (mumbling): "No, not really, not a spread as such, no."

    Hedge-Fund Guy: "WELL THAT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT THEN, IS IT??"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/alexander_45451 alexander_45451

    OMG, don't get me started about this guy. I wrote a few pieces on him, with some real world examples of people he has impacted (in a negative way): http://www.texasstartupblog.com/2007/08/09/timoth

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