Friday, January 18, 2008

On hating a book

Rob brought this book home from work called The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. I can’t remember another time in my life that I have had such a visceral reaction to a book. Now, it’s entirely possible that I was just in a bad mood, dubious about the possibility of a successful work week that lasts as long as two feature films, or sick of hearing about self-help books that tell you work and effort are not required and you can still BE RICH! Whatever the reason, I hated this book. I read the back cover, the intro and several chapters. I looked up its sales numbers (because I can do that) and saw that more than 225,000 copies have been sold. “People are so stupid!” I yelled. I stomped around. I flung the book aside and picked it back up several times in order to keep the hatred alive.

“Would you do this to a book of fiction I was reading?” Rob asked.

“No.” I said, aware that I was annoying him with my tirade, but unable to stop. The author actually suggests that you outsource your professional and/or personal life to “overseas virtual assistants” in India. This way, you can be rich and they can make $5 an hour. One example he gave came from an Esquire article by AJ Jacobs where Jacobs hires an Indian personal assistant and asks her to communicate with his wife for him.

Basically, it seems the entire idea here is to start an online company and hire others to do the work for you. Then you can go spend time doing whatever it is you really want to do with life. Really, that’s fine in theory and I know people who have done it (though I think those people take a little more pride in their businesses and stay involved to ensure quality.) But what I read of this book was empty enough that I can't imagine it could truly be helping people. It's gimmicky in the right ways and the concept clearly speaks to people, but I'm simply not buying it.

Not when I'd rather throw it.


Chat said...

I thought it was a lame "get-rich-quick" book as well. :)

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