One of my friends wrote:
Frost has just taken whatever wisdom is in vogue right now (paleo diet; new male relationship philosophies; passive income) and put them in one book. Ferriss did the same. So it was "heard it all before" for me. Are you still following the paleo diet, by the way? I've done it several times before but always ended up going back to bread, for that "full" feeling after eating. Plus paleo is expensive. I didn't think you ate much meat, so was quite surprised you had moved to a meat-based diet.I had actually missed this, but this is due to me simply not really following the media. I carefully select what I read, and I quickly dismiss anything I find suspicious. Had I known about diet fads beforehand, I would have warned you about the paleo diet. I'm doing this now, though. Well, maybe I should make an addendum to my original review. So let me just be blunt: Paleo is a fad and unsustainable. It lead to a change in my nutrition, though. Before, I hardly ate meat. This has now changed, and I follow a rather balanced diet. Paleo itself, though, is questionable.
I was under the impression that I had more "energy", but this was merely because I wasn't getting enough proteins before. Later on, I figured out that a carb-free diet is unsustainable, and not just because it is very expensive. Of course, Frost recommends just going home to a girl and ravage her fridge, but this was probably a joke I didn't get since girls don't tend to have stacked fridges, or meat at home. Besides, who pays for their meat? It's not as if they are all awash with cash.
Here's a video for starters (found on Alek Novy's website):
References for the video can be found here, in case and pseudo-critical "hater" wants to jump at me in the comment thread.
Merely attacking the paleo diet does miss the bigger picture, though. As "Red Pill" in his excellent blog writes, there is a "paleo-game cult" going on. I have already debunked "game", and the paleo-diet has been debunked by many others as just another fad diet. Another big part of this "cult" is what I am inclined to call freedom porn.
Freedom porn is a religion mostly built by Tim Ferriss. You may have read his book "Four Hour Workweek", which promises you to give you the tools to build an automated source of income. There is no need to slave away in a 9-to-5 job. Just find a way to exploit your fellow man and do whatever you want in your spare time. If this sounds too good to be true, then it's because it is. Ferriss later on even came out telling people that it "never was about just working four hours a week". What a joker!
So, the book is not about working just four hours a week, but instead about building your own business. The examples he gives are downright ludicrous, like importing shirts from France and selling them with a big margin. Yeah, right! What Ferriss doesn't take into account is that Google AdSense is rather expensive, and given abysmally low conversion rates, you'd probably end up spending several hundred dollars on online ads before selling one item that brings in only a fraction of the cost of selling it. This is hardly a sustainable business.
But the bigger problem is that he is giving people false hope. As a result, you have then guys like Frost moving to Thailand, confessing in a book that they have no real idea how to make money, but just writing a book, in the hope that this will then generate enough money to live off. It doesn't seem to work out for him, but even if it did: How many people would be able to move to a Third World country, write about the experience, and live off it, until the story got old and nobody would buy it anymore?
Tim Ferriss tries to make you believe he's a regular shmuck like you and me. In fact, he is all but, and there are strong reasons to believe that he only got the foot in the door due to his wealthy family. Let's just recount the facts: Ferriss grew up in East Hampton. If you look it up, you'll learn that "Demographics in East Hampton are skewed by the fact that more than half the houses are owned as second homes (often from some of the wealthiest people in the country)." This sounds a lot as if Ferriss belongs to the "1%". Then he went to a school with a student/teacher ratio of 5 to 1. That's hardly like inner city Detroit. In case you are interested, St Paul's School charges about $50,000 a year.
In corporate owned media, this would be the point for someone to chime in and say that I am "envious" or "jealous", and if you've been brainwashed by right-wing ideology, you'd now say that I am a "hater." However, I only want to illustrate the background of "self-made man" Tim Ferriss. That he later on went to Princeton to get a degree in "East Asian Studies". How fitting! I don't know how familiar you are with higher education, but the general rule is that the more bullshitty a subject is, the more it merely serves as an excuse for the children of the rich to get a place there. It's not as if you can really measure performance in those fields objectively, after all.
Now you may say, "Yeah, Sleazy, I get what you are aiming at, but why do you bother?" Let me tell you something: I have attended an elite institution myself, the London School of Economics, and I have encountered the kind of guy Tim Ferriss is far too many times: Those people have an absurd sense of entitlement, and if they don't get their way the normal way, they have no qualms of cheating. They think the rules just don't apply to them. (Just look at the "elites" in banking, business, and politics! It's exactly the same mentality.) I was thus not surprised that Ferriss admitted in his book that he was, after getting a bad grade on a university paper, pestering the lecturer for hours, with the intended consequence that this guy would think really hard before giving him a bad grade ever again. How do you call this kind of behavior? Yes, it's cheating, and not "finding a loop hole."
Further legendary tales of Ferriss include him detailing how he cheated on a national championship, I think it was Chinese kickboxing. He claimed to have simply dehydrated himself thoroughly, and then he went on to just push the guys out of the ring. Tim was proud of that "loop hole". If this isn't utterly dishonest, then I wouldn't know what is. This is only the beginning, though, because Tim's first company sold snake oil: pills that were supposed to boost your brain power. I read some stories about him selling questionable supplements to bodybuilders, too. But let's not bother with the products, because there are much worse things going on behind the scenes.
In fact, when I read his "success story," it just sounded fishy. I guess I have just met too many stupid, arrogant assholes in my life who would be complete failures if they didn't have a wealthy family to chip in a few $10k here and there. My hunch was that Ferriss' claim to have raked in a ton of money with his company "BrainQuicken" doesn't quite add up. Sure, he can now tell the world that he sold the company (for an undisclosed amount) and since then invests in other companies. But isn't it far more plausible that his family sits on a few hundred million dollars if not more, and he's simply investing that money?
Here is what an insider of the supplement industry had to say about Ferriss' business, pointing out that even if Ferriss "made $40k" a month, which he doubts, it's still an entirely different question how much of that revenue turned into profit. Those are just excerpts of a discussion, but you can easily follow the link and check the sources yourself:
Bodybuilding.com has over 8,500 products. 1.2 million members with a 10% conversion rate (a gift there, should be about 2-3%) makes 120,000 purchases.Ferriss didn't have to bother about a few $10k here and there because he surely got money from his family to help him out with. It doesn't stop here, though. Have you ever looked at the reviews of "Four Hour Work Week" on Amazon? Here, have a look! You may say, awesome, thousands of people recommend his work. This can't be bad? Well, if you dig a little bit deeper, you'll find that there is something fishy going on. I quote from a review on Amazon.co.uk:
120,000 purchases /8,500 products = 14 sales for BQ off that site.
The hits to Tims's old site are easily conformable. This is the internet here people. Do the math yourself, and anyone can quickly see that BrainQUICKEN does not generate anywhere near that income.
Bodybuilder.com is pretty straightforward. Go to the site and pull the numbers off the top page. Simple math tells you he isn't making much there. Check the page views per month on BQ. Those numbers just don't add up to anywhere near 40k.
Finally, to conclude what is quite possibly the longest review I have ever written, I would like to comment on the number of five star reviews this book has garnered over on Amazon's US website. If you have been so patient as to read all the way to the end of this review, you surely deserve to know that the author of this book has a hugely popular website and quite a devoted following, based in part on a previous bestseller he wrote: The 4-Hour Workweek. This may also explain the truly massive number of helpful votes the current "Most Helpful" review has achieved (at the time of posting, it has over 2,000 helpful votes).
In fact, having seen a number of other reviewers claim that this book gained a suspiciously high number of positive reviews rather too quickly, I decided to do a little detective work myself. By sorting the reviews from oldest first, I very easily verified that 110 reviews of this book were posted on the 14th of December 2010. Of these 110 reviews, all but 5 gave the book five stars. Of the 5 reviews that didn't give the book five stars, all but one gave it four stars. Obviously it's now equally easy for you in turn to verify all this for yourself; provided, that is, you don't mind counting to 110! Curiously, a disturbingly large number of reviews (again, almost all five star) also happened to appear on April 26 2011. I've no idea why April 26 2011 was the magic day, but if you do happen to know, then please leave a comment on this review letting me in on the secret. I'm quite curious myself! Again, all this applies to Amazon's US website, not the UK one.
In the end I can only say that I went into this with an open mind. I did actually buy the book, and I didn't throw away that money just so I could write a nasty review. I also took a very serious shot at the weight loss program contained in the book. And yes, just like anyone else on a weight loss program, of course I wanted it to work. However, I find that I cannot reconcile my own experiences with the countless rave reviews this book seems to attract.
Draw what conclusions you will.
Tim Ferriss promotes using "virtual assistants", so I wouldn't be surprised if he was ordering them to hype his books online.
This concludes my research on Tim Ferriss. If you want to know why this guy annoys me, I openly admit that it is due to an ingrained dislike of people like him: sons of the rich who believe the world has to bend to their rules, and if they hit a brick wall, aren't afraid to lie and deceive. Ferriss addresses your greed and laziness in his books, and he wants you to believe that his background and connections have nothing to do with his eventual financial success. "Four Hour Work Week" may indeed have been the first one. I hope this article sobered you up, or confirmed your suspicions.