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Thursday, January 31, 2008

REVIEW: 4 Hour Work Week

So this guy says you only have to work FOUR HOURS a week.

Yeah, RIGHT! Good luck hopping off to Bora Bora when you've got a CAT to take care of! For God's sake, who changes the litter? Well, Zooey's an outdoor cat, so I guess there is no litter. What will the cat eat, Tim Ferris? Huh? Dirt? Floorboards? MICE? Or do you just outsource it to your neighbors? But then you have to draw up a 1099 for them, and they're just your freaking NEIGHBORS! And what if they're from some third-world country where they EAT cats? Did your "Muse" design ever think of THAT? New clause in muse design: "in case of the "help" eating Zooey, FREAK THE LIVING CRAP OUT AND THROW Mr. TIM FERRIS'S BOOK IN THE REACTOR CORE."

Oh, who am I kidding, I'll never have "help." Or even help.

The "Muse," by the way, is the online business Mr. Tim Ferris has designed so he doesn't have to work. The book has a lot of random stuff about not reading email and speaking Indonesian, but really it's about how he made an e-business selling herbal jujuberries to men who punch each other in the face for money. He had also punched men in the face as a hobby, so he had an "in."

It lets him disappear into the Third World for months at a time and still make money while having other people do all the work. I think he's NUTS. I think he got his ideas at the CIRCUS. I think his name is Mr. TIM FERRIS WHEEL. HA! How you like THOSE jujuberries? I guess this is the part of the review where I should attack his character just because he has a life I'd like to have. Well, Mr. WHEEL, I am not the first person to say that taking other people's work for money is evil. I think Karl Marx said it somewhere down the line!

Okay, to his credit, he makes his money selling "nutraceuticals," not investment systems or speeches about how great money is. So his recent turn as a entrepreneur selling entrepreneurship is not as foul as most of the other money/finance/work gurus out there. Even better, he puts it all in the book, not a three-day, $1995 $995 $495! limited time offer! workshop. And he seems smart, and earnest, though perhaps a little too pleased with himself.

And he has some good notions about designing the business, even if they're a little light on particulars. (While reading, I was like, "I can do this!" Afterwards, I'm not too sure.) And his language-learning pronouncements seem on the level. (I personally became fluent in Tabby only after creating an immersion environment, looping tapes of Zooey meowing until I was dreaming in Standard Cat first, then Tabby and Siamese.)

Meanwhile, I think Zooey has like a four-minute work week. She meows at the door when she wants feeding, but the rest of the time she's out doing her thing. I mean, it's not like Haggis, my friend Chevron's cat, who actually has to produce love and affection every now and then. Zooey never sleeps coiled up at my feet. Well, she was a stray. She had a hard life before we met. I guess I should just be happy she's willing to help out around the house: catching mice, being monetized, etc.

I wonder if Mr. Wheel has any pets. Does he hire people to love them? Do they hire other pets-- you know, scraggly pets nobody wants, like fat chihuahuas and echidnas and billygoats, to love the hired people back? What happens then, does everyone just sit around while all the love takes place everywhere else? What happens if we run out of pets who are less loved than the "New Rich" pets who don't feel any fear and so don't work for love?

Is love a renewable resource? I need to research this.

How This Book Made Me Feel Stupid and Lame, Which Seems to be Part of the Author's Purpose in Talking All the Time about How Great He Is and All the Cool Stuff He Did by the Age of 15 When I Still Had a Mullet:

  • The Author left his six-figure job, which I never had in the first place, so now he can look down on me twice
  • I'm not so convinced of my own abilities that I didn't write a book about The Four-Cat Work Week first
  • I didn't get a BA from Princeton, or even Squireton. Can I still achieve something in the world, or should I just quit now?
  • I didn't go to Stanford either. Neither did the author, but he has spoken there, and, being in Palo Alto, is kind of at the center of this "New Rich" world of venture capital and internet gazillionaires. I think part of the point of said institution is just looking down on people because your mascot is a tree named after a bird, and you can thereby spend the rest of your life in a state of reassuringly smug condescension when everyone in the sane world mistakes the word "Cardinal" for a cardinal. Also, you know you'll never really go deep in the NCAA's.
How This Book Made Me Feel Like Zooey When She Huffs a Bunch of Catnip:
  • A lot of the eMarketing stuff seemed familiar, so I guess I'm doing something right
  • I don't like to travel, so I don't mind spending EVERY WAKING MINUTE making CATpitalism! your one-spot stop for cat-related monetization
  • I love my cat too much to outsource her
(Disclosure: Author owns Chevron [CVX] stock, but not very much.)