Entitlement

January 21, 2010 — 65 Comments

I think when you’re younger you see people who work real hard as being suckers. I remember when I first moved to Hollywood, I would leave every night exactly when my required time ended. I looked down on the people that were still there when I left. It’s sort of a lack of perspective mixed with petulance and condescension.

And because you don’t know any better, you start to think that the only thing standing between you and whatever you hope to accomplish is never giving into the life these people seem to have found tolerable. They don’t know that things have changed. The 9-5 is over, unnecessary.

Look at the shit in this idiot’s bio. It takes what we’d consider to be ordinary and lists them as accomplishments. He met Penelope Trunk! He shook Warren Buffet’s hand! He hosted a charity mixer! He doesn’t just want you to know this, he wants to be credited for it. Congratulated even. If only he could think for a second about:

A horse at the end of the race…

A dog when the hunt is over…

A bee when its honey is stored...

All this talk about blogs, and start-ups, and self-publishing and global micro-brands. It’s a mask for a enormous sense of entitlement. In a weird way, it has created a culture of people I know who almost disdain work, or at least, anything that might be perceived as traditional kinds of work.

They want to have a blog where they can communicate with some imaginary audience. Or they’re going to work at start-up and babble about equity. Or travel and live abroad. These all seem like normal teenage idealism, but to me they feel like schemes.

An interesting fact about recessions is that in them, people tend to be more likely to fall for scams and charlatans. Oh, I’m making a ton of money flipping houses. I support myself by playing online poker Uh-huh, and what do you think “I’m a social media strategist” is, or “I’m a location-independent freelance consultant.” It’s the same bullshit. It’s the same lie.

As a human being, your job is to work. To show up. To learn. To contribute. Not to come up with excuses, surround them with buzz words and demand thanks for coming up with a new way of life. Because you didn’t. You just found what weak minds have always gravitated to: a false sense of superiority at the expense of a real opportunity.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

65 responses to Entitlement

  1. Aren’t you 21? I agree with most of your post but you seem a bit young to be displaying contempt for an attitude you imply you shared when you were “younger” (last year…?) especially in a medium you implicate as a symptom. Other than that, yeah, that guy’s page makes him sound like a douche.

    • @Amelia
      How the fuck is a MEDIUM a SYMPTOM? I don’t think the definition of those words overlap ANYWHERE.
      I didn’t realize that you “have to be this tall” to ride the skepti-coaster.

      Please oh please tell me: how old must I be before it is ok to uncover scams and change my opinion of an operation. I HAVE to know!!!

  2. As a 23 year old kid, i’ve been seduced endlessly by these very schemes and “lifestyle designs” and whatever they call them. Travel. Work less, just doing things you like. Make money from writing empty blog entries about nothing. It all sounds great, but the more i read these things, the more i feel they all just basically juggle bullshit for a living, milking impressionable idiots for money. Just because its doable (and it certainly is) doesn’t mean its a good way to spend your life. Never mind right or wrong.

    But then you find people like tim ferris. Even though tim gets giddy about some of the same things – travel, remote work, etc. – you can clearly see the guy uses all this freedom and eclecticism to create new content. He contributes. Its not just hot air.

    I think there is a balance where you can do all the traveling and freelancing and be-your-own-boss that you want, without having to trade your soul or juggle lies for a living. But it takes tremendous discipline, self-awareness and maturity. Your doing this to eventually give back, not as some shortcut to a rockstar’s eden all us other idiots are too blind to see.

    Figuring out alternative ways to live and work and contribute to society is exciting for obvious reasons. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with it. But using it as a quick scam to basically do nothing and get paid for it is just embarrassing.

    There’s a line from “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (the movie) where the kid comments on how embarrassed he is of his father working as a street sweeper. The lead character then says “You’re daddy is out sweeping streets because he took every last dime he had, and used it to pay up every man and woman he owed and every business who worked for him, instead of declaring bankruptcy like everyone else in town, including your best friend Wilbur Charles’ dad, Raymond, which is why he’s able to sit around all day long on his dignity.”

    That’s always stuck with me as something of great value.

  3. Well said. Hard work is the only thing that gets you anywhere worth going.

    Maybe one day my hard work will pay off and I’ll finally get to meet Penelope Trunk. I know how much you enjoy her work.

  4. As a human being, our job is to work? That sounds like something a slave master would say. It takes a lot of work and some cojones to escape the traditional 9-5, but by telling people they are falling for scams and charlatans just makes you sound like a prick. Its very much possible and its the only way to live, IMO.

    • No. A slave master would say that as a human being, it is everyone ELSE’S job to work and not his. Hmm. Sounds a lot like the attitude of our “interenet marketers”.

      Work is a necessary part of life. You cannot get around it. I work as a musician, and have zero desire to get around it. Because I love what I do. Holy shit, right!?! So maybe try that. Something you love. Work a dayjob in the meantime.
      And we all need to take turns scrubbing the toilet and sharing our time, effort, and resources. THAT’s LIFE.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw Cody’s bio and immediately thought that it undermined any article he could write.

    To be honest, and Ferriss aside, I think most of this lifestyle-design crap is merely a ploy to cover up the fact that they can’t get laid or even hold down a serious relationship (work or personal).

  6. By the time you read all these lifehack blogs, looking for shortcuts and time-savers you could have just done things the right way.

  7. I just wanted to say this is one of my favorite posts I’ve ever seen from you.

  8. Interesting point, but who cares?

    Meditations, page 28. 4. Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people – unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.

    • Exactly. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
      Just never you mind. He’s only cleaning out bank accounts on false claims, making a scam of what could be an honest market, lying through his teeth about his own resources to get people on board, plus plenty of other silly little things like that. No big.
      Just focus on your own mind because that’s all that exists! It’s not like there are consequences to scamming that affect the entire world a la the butterfly affect. Except yes there are. Let’s try taking a little responsibility, shall we?

      Yes it is an interesting post, R. And who cares? You do. After all, you commented.

  9. But then where do you draw the line?

    What is the difference between a Tim Ferris and a Cody? They both promote the ‘break template, live as you want’ lifestyle. What real value does Tim produce that Cody doesn’t?

  10. People seem to feel like they can escape “hard work” if they apply the right tools to a specific trade. What most seem to ignore is that these super successful “anti 9-5″ promoters are actually hard workers! They’ve developed a system that caters to their lifestyle, but it was accomplished through an obsessive work ethic and self analysis.

  11. That guy describes himself as a “Coachellian”? That’s only twice as obnoxious as Burners who think they are “changing the world” by spending a week doing LSD in the desert.

    This latest wave of entitlement goes hand-in-hand with narcissism. You only need to think about who benefits from your work, and why you work (they are the same question), to realize that “location-independent lifestyle design social media twitter blogging” 4 hours a week so you can lie on the beach in Thailand is an idiot’s dream.

  12. This post is right on in saying that the bio is full of buzz words and self-promotion. Links to buy his e-books on being a “digital nomad” or “james bond”: its crap.

    However referring to “Or travel and live abroad”, as teenage idealism, I strongly disagree with that.

    Adapting to the customs/culture of a new country and new language, are opportunities for learning and can help one become more effective when they show up to work.

    Many great ideas/businesses/theories have been produced by world travel. Taking things from a country that does something the best and applying it to others…

    • It seems you’ve missed the point of this post. Allow me. *ahem*
      This is not a debate about “should people travel”.
      But lets indulge your premise.
      Should people, in fact, travel if resources allow?
      Yes.
      NEXT.

  13. What has Tim ever produced that’s worth a shit?

    Ryan, you spent a lot of time shitting on people you don’t like. What do you like?

  14. Same as it ever was.

  15. One difference between you and this fellow is that you’re an employee. There’s a pile of work in front of you every morning, and a paycheck waiting for you at the end of the week, no matter what. He’s an entrepreneur: if he can’t find work, he doesn’t get paid. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of his work on display in his website, which suggests he hasn’t done very much, and the high volume of posing is the most basic of marketing techniques: to create perceived value where there isn’t much actual value. It’s not much different than showing up for your first job interview in a suit and tie instead of jeans and flip-flops: same inexperienced, unskilled kid, different perceived value.

    Something to think about when you see these guys working from the beach in Thailand: when you have no income, it’s a lot easier to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly in Thailand than it is in the U.S. When your work and everything associated with it is virtual — as is the case with web designers — living in an extremely low-cost country is just a smart cost-cutting move. But I think it’s as likely a sign of business failure as “lifestyle design.”

    I used to wonder why Buffett appears in so many pictures with his arms around the shoulders of complete strangers. From what I read, this is his way of raising money for charity. People pay dearly for face time with him — for photos like the one on this fellow’s website — and he donates the money (hundreds of thousands of dollars a year) to various charities. But besides this, Buffett is creating something of real value: anyone who attempts to create the impression of competence (or perceived value) from a picture of himself with Warren Buffett’s arm around him is clearly someone to stay far away from. It’s a kind of anti-credential.

  16. “Entrepreneur” is generous.

  17. I like Tim actually. A lot.

  18. Then kindly explain what you see as the difference between the 2?

    Tim is the evolved, trailblazing of the 2, yes..

    Yes the guy comes of as douchey, but thats just a matter of taste. Whats your really contention?

  19. Oh, man, this guy is rich. I am no fan of Tim Ferris, but at least his content is entertaining, even if it seems out there.

    But, this guy, man, I kind of feel sorry for him. His page just gives the wrong impression. He personifies everything I hate about so-called brand experts, so called generational experts, and or marketers that seem to sprout up everywhere online. When and where did all these gurus come from? I wish somebody would do a blog post exposing all of them and going off on them. I would if I had the time and the boredom.

    Checked out this guy’s youtube channel, and man, it makes me feel really sorry for him. At first I thought, what a tool; then pity.

  20. I agree, this is one of the your best posts. In fact, I just wrote one about why positive thinking sucks. When you finally grow up, life is about taking action and working.

    I wish I could add something to this, but I can think if nothing that sums up what is happening in the world of faux marketers.

  21. Ryan, I admire your writing and your work, but you’ve missed the mark here.

    Sure, people with an unhealthy sense of entitlement often fuck things up or fuck the directions of their lives up, but its more advantageous for you to be contrarian about it than condescending. Take advantage of the mistakes others make to further yourself and to make your life better. Likewise, its not always a matter of maximizing productivity and potential. You can’t see the forest for the trees.

  22. Ryan,

    Could you please explain how you can argue “your job is to work” and yet still “like Tim”? It seems like there is a huge disconnect here; look no further than the title of Tim’s book!

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved this post and couldn’t agree more. I just don’t know how do you reconcile the fact that Tim is such a widely-cited source of this narcissistic “all play-no work” trend (regardless of how Tim lives his own life).

  23. Philip: The difference? One wrote an NYTimes and WSJ bestseller. The other acts like he has. A quote from Fight Club comes to mind: “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken”.

  24. If your job is to produce, contribute and excel, I would say Tim is doing a pretty good fucking job.

  25. Wow, glad I got your attention Ryan. You’re the first to write a hit piece on me.

    Meeting people like Buffett and Trunk (though I know you don’t care for her) are more like cool things I’ve had the opportunity to do, not professional achievements. Maybe you grew up with a highly-motivated crowd, but a lot of my friends are still back in our hometown working hourly jobs, so yes something like hosting mixers with 300-400 attendees and raising a few thousand bucks for charity (or living abroad) are definitely out of the ordinary. And the point of my writing is to show people that they can do this too–they can do whatever they want–that it’s not impossible nor is it even hard. I write to encourage people to figure out what they really want, independent of what society tells you you want, and to go get it–that’s what’s fun for me, not writing about my business. Frankly, that bores the shit out of me, and never give away for free what you can get paid to do.

    On the subject of “hard work”: Firstly, I subscribe to Tim’s philosophies as much as you do, and we both know “working smart” frequently trumps working hard. I never said there’s anything wrong with work, I just prefer to do mine on my own businesses and projects.

    I have my own company and co-founded a second. With my main business, I’ve been able to help some genuinely remarkable organizations make the world a better place, and I’ve helped individuals cultivate more freedom for themselves. I give back a percentage of my earnings to social justice programs here in Thailand. I’ve built my site to rank in the top 50K sites online (beating yours by about 85,000). I’ve taught Masters in Management students. I’m a paid freelance writer. I’ve traveled to about 22 countries, worked with clients on 5 continents. I’ve spent weeks and months of my life as a pro-bono tour guide and travel agent, as a volunteer, helping organize events and conferences, fundraising, and bringing together communities of people both online and offline–creating platforms for other young people to talk about how to build the life they want for instance.

    I actually spend a lot of time working–at least 12 hours a day. And you’d be surprised how little income I survive on–but that’s what allows me to invest time into unpaid work and fun side projects that I’m just plain passionate about.

    Maybe you should spend a little more time to get to know a person before you go with character assassination. I’m sure if we had a few beers, you’d find we’ve got more in common than you realize. Next time you’re in Asia Ryan, the first round is my treat. Anyway, hope you get your jollies on this, but keep doing what you do best.

    • @Cody-
      You laid a real gem: “never give away for free what you can get paid to do”
      Then you say you work “as a volunteer”.
      Sounds contradictory to me.

      “I’m sure if we had a few beers, you’d find we’ve got more in common than you realize”
      I can already tell you guys have lots in common. Let me guess: you both like music. You both have penises. You both like to write.

      But that doesn’t mean either of you is any less of a tool. Anyway, you’ve got bigger problems to deal with. Like the Salty Droid. And this girl.
      You’re welcome!

  26. “i make money by telling everyone how much money i make.” TM

    Nothing new here.

  27. This is a great post.

    While I know it is possible to work remotely (which could mean living abroad and traveling) and still contribute, excel, and produce I agree completely that there is an overwhelming sense of entitlement brewing in the ‘lifestyle design’ culture. That dude’s bio is obviously a perfect example of someone who only understands half of what Tim Ferriss is trying to say.

  28. Corey,

    There’s no question that deep down what attracts you to this lifestyle is it’s lack of falsifiability. You can dress it up in whatever terms you like, do almost nothing, make no money and yet you’re untouchable. See, “you’re working smarter not harder” and you’re so revolutionary that “everybody else just doesn’t understand.” What you’ve done take escapism and literally cloak it in heroic language. It’s your way of making sure no one can ever call you out on it. They can never disparage it. Most importantly – and listen carefully since this fear controls nearly every facet of your life – you never have to feel as inadequate as you truly, truly are.

    This is why you’re drawn foreign countries with large cultural differences, it’s why blogging behind a computer screen is such a perfect fit, and why you like nebulous fields like “social media.” Your petrified of ever being compared one-to-one to someone else. So you create a fake company, live as an outsider abroad, puff yourself up with a preposterous biography, exploit charity-work for social status, and assume that standing out is synonymous with success.

    It’s ok. Good for you. It’s almost impressive in its own way. But when someone presents it as it is, don’t call it character assassination. Just run a little further away and hide behind something else.

    Ryan

  29. Why, of all the bloggers who contribute to this alleged trend of entitlement, did you pick this person as the target?

  30. Actually, it’s not that “everybody else” just doesn’t understand, it’s that you don’t understand. I don’t know where you came across me, or which paragraph or two you may have read about me online somewhere, but ask anyone who actually knows me and they will never say anything like the vitriol you have spewed here.

    Ask any of my co-founders, my clients, people I have volunteered with, or friends I have made, and you will hear a very different story from the keyboard jockey who hardly knows me.

    You’re right–just like anyone, I do enjoy travel because it’s a bit of an escape–but you’d be very wrong to assume I “hide” behind a computer screen or foreign culture.

    And the name’s fuckin’ Cody mate.

  31. Cody, can you tell me about the specific manner in which you’ve helped one person or group of people? Because of my background, I’m a bit hostile towards anyone who claims they help people by being a digital native who does TweetUps.

    Thus far, it seems that you’ve been doing event organizing and connecting up already literate, computer-owning people. I do not see that as creating anything of substance or lasting value. It’s empty, Penelope Trunk-style bullshit.

    My immediate family has been helping a stupidly large group of extended family and friends, as natives in the home country and as immigrants for over twenty years – paperwork, housing, transportation, job opportunities, advice etc. I can remember learning the process for a green card application at age 8. It’s been a part of my life for so long that it is absolutely mundane and I wouldn’t dream of bragging about any of it.

    I would argue that my own limited experience is of much more value than yours, Cody. Do you know the difference between providing “a platform to talk about building the life they want” and actually working with people to get there?

  32. I fail to see how activities associated with Web 2.0 (i.e. blogging, or working for a technological start-up, etc.) are a mask for entitlement. Web 2.0 or more generally the Internet just facilitates a paradigm shift for many traditional activities and the hard work associated with creating value.

    The successful author who published a popular novel had to put in just as much work as the successful blogger.

    • “The successful author who published a popular novel had to put in just as much work as the successful blogger”
      Nope. Plus you said it backwards.
      Once books are mostly electronic, then what will the differences be between a novelist and a blogger? A novelist writes fiction and markets his book as such. The blogger is updating us on his (lame) life. You travel. Big woo. Most novels blow, and so do most blogs. But some are good. The good ones are the ones that spring from demand, not from hype (fabricated demand). Like the Salty Droid’s blog. (Wow! I’ve plugged him twice now in these comments. And he’s not even paying me!!! I must be nutz).

      Scammers are currently “creating” so much “value” that value (not to mention every dollar in every pocket around the world) itself is inflated to epic proportions. “Value” with regard to IM no longer has meaning, and it’s all coming crashing down. Those who have come by friendship and resources honestly have nothing to fear. You dudes, on the other hand, are the ones known for causing it. Don’t drop the soap.

      “Here. I’m gonna give you a piece of paper that has $5 written on it. You make 3 copies and sell them for $5 each. Then tell your paper-buyers to each make more copies, and sell those. They can even change the price if they want (as long as it’s not lower than yours)!” Voila! Analog marketing.

  33. Unfortunately, it sounds like Cody’s brain and conditioning will not allow him to see the truth in front of his eyes. If he had eyes to see, ears to hear with, he would take what you wrote of him and your subsequent comments as a wake up call and literally transform his life. If I were in his position, I would have been indebted to your honest advice.

    However, all he sees is character assasination. Realize how much of his comments are structured as FURTHER advertisting of his supposed “out of the ordinary” skills! Further telling: he justifies his competence in the world by insisting that if you just ask any of his colleagues, they will tell you how swell he is. His identity is tied up in how others perceive him.

    You have done an excellent public service here and let no one else tell you otherwise. Anyone who disagrees with this sees aspects of themselves in your post and want to battle it irrationally.

    On the other hand, Cody is already getting his karmic lot, so no point to further this issue. Better to wage battles against the true enemies of progress.

  34. Ryan, being a dick to Cody really damages your argument.

  35. Is he going to pay for your beer in “virtual currency” too?

  36. 99% of the time, anyone who says the phrase “paradigm shift” should be punched in the face.

  37. Liked the post, liked the Ryan/”Corey” argument even more.

    Ryan’s just trying to keep it real without italics Cody.

  38. One more thing — I see it around the Pharm school too. There are people who do things — set up pantries for patients, cook dinners, talk to patients about problems — and people who want others to know they do stuff without actually doing anything. They form committees and have mandatory meetings for a weekly orgasm of self congratulation…time that could be better spent with patients.

  39. Ryan -

    What you should be asking yourself is what is it about Cody that *really* annoyed you so much that you would go on the attack and publicly slander him? That which irritates us most about others can help lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.

    > There’s no question that deep down what attracts you to this lifestyle is it’s lack of falsifiability.

    This is nothing but an assumption, and assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups. You can witness a person’s actions, but you can never truly know their intentions. The only thing indisputable here is that this is merely what you believe, which may or may not have anything to do with the truth.

    Like the devil quoting scripture for his purpose, you refer to Meditations, but only when relevant to your argument. A lot of times, you sound wise beyond your years. But others, you sound more like a naive, prententious little shit.

    This is one of those times.

    Joe

    • Vitale? What was that you said?
      “A lot of times, you sound wise beyond your years. But others, you sound more like a naive, prententious little shit.”
      And then…
      “What you should be asking yourself is what is it about [whoever] that *really* annoyed you so much that you would go on the attack and publicly slander him? That which irritates us most about others can help lead us to a better understanding of ourselves”

      Maybe you should take a slice of your own crappy advice and stop deriding Ryan publicly so you can get at that better understanding of yourself. So many blatant contradictions, so little time. And oh yeah: keep up with that half-assed version of “truth is relative” to justify it. That’ll work. Except not.

      I’ve never met your mother, Assumption, but she sounds loose.

    • Hi. This seems like one of those times when we’re being fanboys here. Stella, below, thinks she’s clever, and she’s sure she’s right. She even says “I guess it was that good” because she really thinks she’s that smart. When you’re sure you’re right, it seems to me good to remember that our knowledge is frailer than we think: even vision is perception, creating patterns, not a copy of reality.

      What this guy (Joe) is saying seems consistent with Stoicism: we can’t know another’s intentions. That’s a key, isn’t it, to staying centered? Remembering that we don’t if someone is hostile, since they’re usually self-absorbed. So why the fuck is he so bad? I wish I had people like him to call *me* out.

      But he attacked the wrong thing. “There’s no question that deep down what attracts you to this lifestyle is it’s lack of falsifiability.” That seems so right whether or not Mr. McKibben is part of it.

  40. “It’s sort of a lack of perspective mixed with petulance and condescension.”

    I think this also descibes your post pretty well, Ryan. Why did you write this?

  41. By dint of railing at idiots, one runs the risk of becoming an idiot oneself.

  42. I wholeheartedly agree with Joe.

    Actually when I was reading your post, I thought it was an accurate description of you, Ryan. I see no difference between this Cory and yourself.

  43. How about we take a look at the shit in your bio. It also takes what we’d consider to be ordinary and lists them as accomplishments:

    “I’m 21. I run five days a week. I am constantly reading. I think Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is the greatest book ever written. I’ve always believed that if you don’t define yourself, other people will gladly do it for you–this blog is my attempt at that. I live in Los Angeles while trying to spend as little time there as possible. This is my rebellious puppy, Hanno.”

    You’ve listed some rather mundane facts there. But really I have no problem with that. I would do the same in my bio, just as Cody did in his.

  44. Greg, you’re free to look up my credentials whenever you’d like.

  45. Your job in life isn’t to work…

    It’s to parrrtaaaay!!!!

    Suckaz

  46. @Cody

    What is so interesting about the 23 things you list? Anyone could do most of them at almost zero cost.

    “I’ve been fortunate enough to visit about 20 countries”
    Anyone can visit 20 countries, if they go to Europe. I live in Europe, and if I got into a car right now, it would take me less than 2 hours to visit 3 foreign countries.

    “When I started writing Thrilling Heroics in 2006 I had a strong desire to attend Stanford University for grad school, and I still would like to one day, perhaps after I’ve been successful in business and made a name for myself.”
    Is that an achievement? You have a strong desire to do something you weren’t able to do, and maybe you’ll do it after you’ll be successful in something else you haven’t been successful at yet.

    “Since I started blogging, I’ve become friends and interacted with some of the coolest people online: Rajesh Setty, Ramit Sethi, Jun Loayza, Adam Baker, Jonathan Mead, Chris Guillebeau, Kare Anderson, Pamela Slim, Monica O’Brien, Ben Yoskovitz, Penelope Trunk, Clay Collins, Guy Kawasaki, Andrew Warner, Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan, and many, many more.”
    It would be interesting to know which of the people you mention have become your friends (and how many know that you are their friend) and which have just responded to your e-mails. I don’t even have a blog, and I have interacted with some of the richest and most interesting people in the world: Mark Cuban, Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Peter Boettke, Immanuel Wallerstein, Jim Rickards. I’m not going to write a blog about it, because anybody can do it, it’s not an achievement.

  47. I’d have been 19 when you posted this. If I read it then (I probably did, I don’t remember), it went completely over my head. This time, I think I get it.

    I used to think that I was going to start some niche business or microblog or affiliate site that made me maximum money with minimum input, then spend the rest of my days relaxing on a beach chasing girls (not that there’s anything wrong in principle with either of those things) while the passive income rolled in. Look at all those suckers I went to school with trudging away at their office jobs! Don’t they know how brainwashed they are?

    Now I cringe thinking about some of the stuff I used to believe in and prattle on about. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with blogging for profit, or travelling, or making passive income, but doing these things as a means of AVOIDING work and contribution, rather than INCREASING your ability to help people and add value, is nothing more than the mindset of a spoiled, entitled brat who wants to reap the benefits of society without giving anything back.

    Michael Ellsberg has a good article about the dangers of “passive income”: http://tinyurl.com/9devacg . (Point #4 especially.) Decoupling your income from your contribution might be cool at first but it’ll probably leave you feeling lost and miserable.

    There are plenty of “lifestyle design” and “internet marketing” guys out there who get it, who add value and who make a difference to the world. (Tim Ferriss being the obvious example, although I know he has his haters.) There are plenty more who are just shysters trying to make a cheap buck and avoid their responsibilities. I have no idea which of those two categories Cody falls into; the only thing of his I’ve read is the article you linked, which I agree is fucking stupid. “I like Apple products” and “I learned French in high school but have forgotten most of it” count as interesting facts? Christ.

    One thing I disagree with though: Kerry Kimble said ‘living in an extremely low-cost country is just a smart cost-cutting move. But I think it’s as likely a sign of business failure as “lifestyle design.”’ … Ever considered people might want to live in (say) Thailand because it’s a beautiful, fun, amazing part of the world? I can think of plenty of good reasons to live abroad for a while that have nothing to do with cost-cutting.

  48. Ryan,

    I’ve noticed on a few different occasions you have a funny disposition about occupations. Its kinda weird – you completely write off stuff at a glance. Maybe you always describe the rule – not the exception?

    “Oh, I’m making a ton of money flipping houses. I support myself by playing online poker”

    …I supported myself playing online poker for 4 years in college. Its no sham if you know wtf you’re doing.

    • No, it’s definitely a sham for most people.

      • Like nearly everything, people don’t want to put the time into it to become good at a craft. The new wave of entrepreneurs will result in mostly failures just the same as most people lose at poker. Only insightful ones rise to the top. I’m sure the same applies to flipping houses. The problem is navigating through a world of misinformation and not getting caught up in hype along the way. It’s easy to spot a fraud in any industry when you know what you’re doing. When you’re a beginner you just don’t have a clue.

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