Tim Ferriss diet

The most common criticism of my blog (which has 60,000 subscribers) is that I write controversial headlines just to get traffic. I usually ignore this criticism because it’s so ignorant. But today I’m going to tell you why writing controversial headlines just to be controversial is totally stupid.

There is no formula for a wildly popular post.

Look, if I knew how to write a controversial headline that would get a ton of traffic then I’d be writing them every day. But really I’d be retired, living in Bermuda, not even writing headlines.

The most successful posts are posts that people email to their friends. Every day, whatever number of subscribers a blog has, that’s how many people read the blog post. The only way you get more readers is if people start telling their friends about the post.

So, let’s do a case study. Here’s the most grabbing headline I can think of: “Martians Take over Google and do Forced Abortions.” It hits on a popular tech company, a popular political topic, and it caters to the freak-show fringe that spends all day online commenting about supernatural events. But you know what? A post with this headline would fail. Because the content can’t support it, so no one would forward it to their friends.

The John Tierney, writing in the New York Times, reports a study about what online content people forward to their friends. The stuff people forward is stuff that inspires them. People like to be inspired to think in new, positive ways that help them to sort out their life and see things differently. People want to better understand themselves and the world around them. Successful posts do this.

It’s difficult to do. The first thing is that you need to really say something, beyond a headline. The second thing is that you need to say something the person hasn’t heard before. In general, if you are saying something someone has not heard before, it’s going to be controversial. Because it’s new.

So here’s a test I do for myself: If I am not a little nervous to post what I’m writing, then I’m probably not saying anything new. It’s fun to be nervous. It’s fun to be maybe wrong. That is not being controversial. That is being engaged and curious and committed to conversation to the point that you’ll put yourself on the line. That’s the gift a good blogger gives to readers, and that’s what makes a good post appear to be controversial.

But here’s something to consider: The most controversial thing a blogger could do, really, is post something that the reader already knows. Because it’s a total waste of time for the reader. Also, it’s controversial for the writer to be so dishonest with herself that she is willing to sit in a room and type stuff that is not even interesting to her. If the content does not scare the author, it’s just plain boring.

You can say that I just post stuff to be controversial. But you try it. Try to think of a topic that is genuinely controversial, that you can write about in a way that makes people want to forward it to their friends.

It’s very, very hard. And when I am able to do it, I am shocked. I try every day, but I succeed in a big way only about 10% of the time.

Hey, did you notice the title of my post? Did you know that I get 1000 readers a day from people typing in “Tim Ferriss Scam” and getting sent to my blog? Here’s the post: 5 Time Management Tricks I Learned From Years of Hating Tim Ferriss.

He just came out with a new book. It’s just as slimy as the first book. The reason is that Tim has no soul. He thinks life is a game, and he is going to be the winner every time, and we want to know how to do it.

The problem is that Tim makes the rules. He’s like a four-year-old playing Candyland and making sure that he gets the Gingerbread man, and the candy cane, and the sort-of-melty ice cream at the end.

So for the Four-Hour-Work-Week the rule is that it’s only work if you hate what you’re doing. So Tim only does stuff he hates four hours a week. He can do this because he has no relationships, so he doesn’t have to accommodate anyone else in his life. It’s amazing, actually, that he even has to “work” for four hours given that he runs his life like a four-year-old.

Now, with the diet book, Tim tells us how we can take out all the emotional and mental health benefits of fitness and understanding your own body. (That’s him up there in the photo, in an ice bath, which increases his metabolism.) But look. I have a better plan. You can get plastic surgery, and you can take Creatine, and you can use diuretics, and you will get the physical fitness results Tim promises in LESS than four hours a week. I should write a book.

But you know why I am not doing that? Because you want to be inspired. And so do I. If I spend four hours a week at the gym, I want to know how it improves what I really care about: my mental health, my personal relationships, my ability to feel inspired on a daily basis.

But, do you know the most inspired part of this post? My headline is not controversial, but I’ll get a lot of traffic, because I rank almost as high in Google for Tim Ferriss as Tim Ferriss does.

Posted in Fulfillment, How to blog
121 comments on “Tim Ferriss diet
  1. Joe Fusco says:

    I don’t really know why, but I just love this post.

  2. Stef says:

    Have you read the 4-hour-body book?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah, I have the book right here, actually. So I want to tell you that the most heartbreaking chapter is the one about sex. This chapter embodies everything that bugs me about Tim.

      First, chapter assumes that all a woman wants is to have an orgasm. And that, therefore, we should all take bedroom lessons from Tim Ferriss.

      I mean, look, I can hire a guy to give me an orgasm the way Tim is talking about. So on that level, the book is insulting because it assumes that I am not resourceful enough to earn the money and find the guy to hire — that I actually have to train a newbie instead of hiring a pro.

      Second, I’d way rather have a guy who loves me and is good to me and honest and connected and not the king of giving me orgasms. I assumed it was common knowledge that women would rather be with a guy who is intimate and sweet and cares about her deeply than a whiz kid in bed.

      And here is the money quote for why Tim treats winning in the bedroom like winning at kickboxing: “I was able to facilitate orgasms in every woman who acted as a test subject.” Note to Tim: Who cares? Life is not a contest. Women are not rats in your self-absorbed life experiment.

      Also, side note to those who are taking Tim’s sex advice seriously: I am pretty sure that most women would rather the guy goes down on her, and loves it, and makes her feel comfortable being so vulnerable than that he gives her an orgasm. Because going down on a woman is so intimate, and selfless and caring. So maybe Tim should write a book where he goes down on 100 women for four hours a week each. It could be called Sexual Intimacy for Four-Hours A Week.

      Penelope

      • Pratik Stephen says:

        Extremely entertaining post Penelope!

        You are clearly not part of his “target audience” Penelope.
        Think about the number of “guys who are intimate, sweet and cares about women deeply” who would love to learn how to give women orgasms as well! And think about all the women who will love them even more!

        Tim Ferris is awesome… And i think you’re pretty cool too! Keep going!

      • kd says:

        Hey there, I can see your argument and you provide valid points of criticism. I just wanted to offer a 28 year old guys perspective and mention that I got value from the book within a day of getting it.

        I admit I like the ideas that Tim proposes on his blog and in his 4hww book, so I preordered this new book. When I got it I opened it up randomly in the middle and read a few pages which happened to be that first chapter about sex. By coincidence, I am dating a new girl and while our foreplay has been amazing, I wasn’t able to bring her to orgasm via penetration in about 6 times of having sex. Neither of us had trouble with that in our previous relationships.

        The tips Tim suggested proved effective on our very next sexual encounter. I was able to bring her to orgasm via penetration by using the ‘improved missionary position’ advice. Maybe that’s common sense stuff to most people or maybe not.

        I haven’t had a chance to read more of the book yet, but I’m definitely happy with my purchase so far and looking forward to more intriguing advice.

        I was disappointed that there wasn’t more information geared to women about guys and sex.

        I’m not a plant by Tim, but I’m sure it seems that way from the anonymous reply and glowing comments about the book.

      • ioana says:

        But think how much time is saved if a guy is free to do other things while giving his girlfriend an orgasm by just using one finger!! He could be doing other things with his free hand at the same time, like, I don’t know, read a newspaper, polish silverware, etc.

      • Monica O'Brien says:

        I’m a huge TF fan but I have to agree with some of your points, especially in the orgasm chapter. I wrote about it more here: http://blog.monicaobrien.com/review-of-the-4-hour-body-plus-get-your-own-signed-copy/

        I disagree a bit with the actual post: I think TF does have lots of strong relationships while also being successful at all this experimenting. What he doesn’t have is the wife and kids or even the serious girlfriend (though he says he’s had them before), and he doesn’t seem to provide any advice for when you actually share your day-to-day life with someone else, probably because this isn’t a factor for him. But having these more intimate relationships introduces challenges that TF doesn’t address in The 4-Hour Body, which leaves the rest of us having to fill in the blanks for how to implement if we are not a single male 20-something who works from home.

      • Holly says:

        I was interested in doing a review (most likely positive) for the 4 Hour Body to be posted on my health website. As someone working towards become a CPT, the ideas Tim would be writing about intrigued me. After I skimmed through the 4 Hour Body at the bookstore, I decided I wouldn’t waste my time reading the book.
        After reading what Tim had to say about Women seriously disgusted me. I’m no “feminist” by any means, and used to think I was a “fan” of Tim and his work. Not anymore.
        I will not support Tim in his endeavors. I have no respect for him as a fellow entrepreneur, and refuse to waste my time with his health “advice”.
        Thank you for showing Tim in his true light. He isn’t as great as we all used to think he is.
        -Holly

      • John P Morgan says:

        Hey Penelope, I’ve got a pretty strong love-hate thing going with you from reading your blog. I was recommending it to lots of people until one particular post months which almost killed me and I stopped visiting all together…but I think this comment of yours has reeled me back in! Spot on! :o)

  3. A. says:

    People say you write controversial headlines to drive traffic because sometimes the headline conveys something way more inflammatory than the post does. When the headline doesn’t accurately reflect the message of the post, of course it looks that way.

    I can’t tell if you’re being disingenuous in denying this, or if you really don’t see it, but I have to think it’s the former because you’re a smart person.

    (I will also add that I think you say inflammatory things over at BNET to drive traffic there too. Either that or you really don’t get that one experience that happened to you doesn’t mean that that’s a good way for everyone to operate, but again, I think you’re too smart not to realize that you can’t always extrapolate like that.)

    • Jason Arican says:

      Agree with everything said in this comment. So I gather that the purpose of this post + headline was to… was to… eh… I guess I’m not so sure.

      What it seems like is this:

      -Write a headline that will attract visitors actually looking for a writeup on the book
      -Receive bump in traffic
      -Use new visitors as an opportunity to bash this guy
      -Tie it all together under the guise of writing a headline that isn’t “controversial” while still providing “valuable content”

      Like this commenter points out, you seem like an intelligent person so my thought is that you know exactly what you are doing and, in a sense, I respect you for being so good at it.

      While I am certainly not comparing you to her, I believe the concept is very similar to what someone like Ann Coulter does. I don’t think she believes the vile, nasty things that she says (and I’m not saying you are vile or nasty)… but she knows that by being controversial she can drive book sales, get more paid tv appearances, etc.

      So you know that when you write that we “should act black on Twitter”, I now doubt that you actually believe that, or are at least smart enough to know that you shouldn’t say something like that… you just want to incite a discussion in order to bring in traffic.

      Well played, I guess.

  4. Taryn says:

    (like) button!

  5. Kablaam says:

    Hilarious. Have read Tim’s blog and got the ‘slimy’ vibe from it. When he’s not being an asshole, he’s admiring people who are assholes.

    Afterwards, I had a poorer opinion of books that made the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s not an indicator of quality.

    • Dan @ Casual Kitchen says:

      “Afterwards, I had a poorer opinion of books that made the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s not an indicator of quality.”

      I wish everybody could realize this. Of course then the Times bestseller list wouldn’t be a list of bestsellers.

  6. Marni says:

    You go girl. Your stuff gets forwarded because it IS inspiring, and useful, and real.

  7. Chickybeth says:

    I always visit your site first for something inspirational and you never disappoint. That is why yours is my favorite blog. If your headlines seem off-topic to draw people in, at least you have real content in the post so people won’t leave disappointed.

  8. Stephen says:

    Fairly soon you’ll be ranking in the top 2 for ‘tim ferriss’ diet on Google. Brilliant. Your hatred for this man is comical in that it is obsessive, very public, and spot on. I still think Tim must have screwed you over somehow in a way that you’re not letting on to yet. When we get the whole story, that post will be EPIC.

    • Brad says:

      He screwed her over by doing what she does, only more successfully. And at a younger age. Who doesn’t hate that?

  9. Deborah says:

    Amen and Amen. Spot on.

  10. Nancy says:

    Your blog is what the internet is supposed to be about. It pokes us in the eye.

    Sure, some people get bent out of shape about being poked in the eye. But really, deep down, what are they really getting angry about? Is it something inside themselves? Nobody’s making them read it. Is it some kind of twisted compulsion thing?

    This reminds me of Wikileaks.

  11. Harriet May says:

    No matter what the headline, I have always found that you push me to think about different topics, or ordinary topics in new ways. And I like how real you are– I feel like I can totally trust you. Personally, it’s the soccer moms I don’t trust, the ones who have those special cupcake carrying cases so the icing stays perfect for the bake sale. To me, that is really totally unrealistic, especially when you’re marketing to elementary schoolers. And speaking of diets vs. surgery: my mom used to joke about keeping a plastic surgery fund for me growing up, and now I joke about it too, only it’s less of a joke and more of a possibility. But I would still go to the gym, because hey! a girl has to socialize!

  12. Elaine says:

    I adore you! You are one of the funniest, most brilliant women I have ever read! You inspire me to be a better writer, coach, and stand up comic! I don’t like Tim either….

  13. Jean Gogolin says:

    @Harriet May – I laughed out loud when I read “special cupcake carrying cases so the icing stays perfect for the bake sale.” What a wonderful descriptor for the Perfect Mom. When my kids were little I hated those moms as much as Penelope hates Tim Ferriss. They tried so hard to make the rest of us look bad.

    • Harriet May says:

      I think by the sounds of it Tim Ferriss is trying to write books on how to get those “special cupcake carrying cases” in life. Sounds like he’s the working person’s Perfect Mom, you know?

    • Meg says:

      Gosh, I got one of those cupcake things for Christmas…if I use it, does it mean I’m secretly trying to make you look bad? Or secretly trying to keep the frosting on top of my cupcakes?

  14. Lindsay Maines says:

    @Stephen- If I recall correctly, the origin of the TF hate was T dissing Penelope at SXSW IA a few years back to have coffee with more “important” folks, after double or triple booking coffee dates for that hour. Basically, he showed his colors early and personally.

    OR I could have made that story up in my head.

    Either way, I 110 percent agree about the rather despicale nature of the man- someone who wins by figuring out which rules will get others disqualified and exploiting them is no winner in my book. ( his kickboxing and tango titles.)

    Nicely done, Penelope, and please, surpass him in his own Google rankings soon. There would be no more comical revenge.

  15. Dave says:

    Penelope – I enjoy your blog but I also think your scathing criticism of Tim Ferriss is one-sided and unfair. I just read 4-hour Body and I find it to have some wonderful insightful tips on exercise, health and other things. Tim may be a little self-centered but that doesn’t mean everything he says should be discarded. Honestly, your constant critique of him seems more about envy than genuine concern Tim is leading people astray…

    • Eric says:

      Saying Tim Ferris is a “little self-centered” is like saying the Pope is a little Catholic. The guy has a serious narcissistic personality disorder.

      Tim represents everything that I find loathsome about the shallowness and downright ignorance of so many Americans now. His books are sophomoric and misleading. I’m sure Tim spends a LOT more than 4 hours a week just promoting himself (at which, I admit, he is a master).

      I wrote a scathing review of his latest book for Amazon and have received some criticism about it from Tim Lovers (Dupes?). Glad to see that Penelope feels the same way.

    • jtw says:

      a little?

  16. Tina Portis says:

    LOL! Tim Ferriss must hate you.

    • MJ says:

      Nah, he probably sees this as great free publicity….though this post made me laugh harder than anything has in a few days.

  17. VelDean says:

    I have to admit that I first discovered your blog a couple of years ago because of a blog you wrote about Tim Ferriss. I think it had to do with him being a liar. At any rate, I continued to read because I really like your writing style, even though I often do not see things as you do. I also have really appreciated the insight into Asperger’s that I have gained. I’ll continue reading, and forwarding from time to time, as long as you are writing. Thanks!

  18. Tanya says:

    Totally agree with you on Tim F. Ridiculous and even worse, so many readers!

  19. Jake says:

    I love the idea that if you aren’t posting something that makes you nervous, you aren’t really posting something that engages your readers. This is something that I need to strive for in my own writing. Thanks!

  20. Roberta Warshaw says:

    I like the idea of being a little nervous about your posts. I do find that I get more comments on my blog when I really put myself out there. It is a fine line though. How much to reveal etc.
    My blog is mainly about my adventures in jewelry making but I don’t always want to talk about that. Sometimes I post about personal things. Or the birds that come to my bird feeder. Variety is also key I think.

  21. dana says:

    this is exactly what you do for me:
    “The stuff people forward is stuff that inspires them. People like to be inspired to think in new, positive ways that help them to sort out their life and see things differently. People want to better understand themselves and the world around them. Successful posts do this.”

  22. Jens Fiederer says:

    Just did a google search on “Tim Ferriss”, you should be able to try this yourself. First three results are http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/, the Wikipedia entry, and http://www.timferriss.com.

    All the way at the bottom of the first page, under “News for ‘Tim Ferriss'” there is a link to this post.

    Did something change, or are you using a loose definition of “almost”?

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Here’s something interesting: Google “Tim Ferriss Scam” and look at what he did to outrank me for that term. I have to admit that it’s actually an example of Tim Ferriss being a marketing genius.

      Penelope

      • Jens Fiederer says:

        Cute! Of course, he MUST have an advantage of sorts when it comes to matters involving his own name.

  23. T says:

    A few points:

    1. Your ad hominems makes it hard to take you seriously. “Tim Ferris has no soul.” What does that mean? How does that matter? How is it relevant to your point?

    2. What is wrong with making your own rules? The world is full of people making rules for you. If you can gain fulfillment and accomplish goals by defining some of your own rules, then what’s wrong with that? Also, it’s pretty hypocritical for you to complain about that. I’ve read your blog for years, and you make your own rules all the time.

    • Sean says:

      Making up your own rules, and asking others to play by the rules you’ve made up for yourself are two different things.

  24. Lisa says:

    My god but I do appreciate your intelligence.

  25. Dale says:

    Penny,
    The guy is doing what everyone else does to make a buck. Thanks for pointing out that it’s not okay to do so using deception or other unethical methods.

  26. kc says:

    “So maybe Tim should write a book where he goes down on 100 women for four hours a week each. It could be called Sexual Intimacy for Four-Hours A Week.”

    Utterly hysterical. At one point, I disliked your blog for no good (or specific) reason. OK, maybe that’s a lie. I think it was because I found some of your headlines sensational, or, honest, controversial. Now I get it, and I love it. And you. Thanks.

  27. Steve C says:

    Who the hell is Tim Ferris? And who cares?

  28. L says:

    Hi Penelope. I enjoy your blog every posting.You remind me of a combination of me, my Asperger’s ex-husband and my ADD current husband :)

    I dislike Tim Ferris also. for the same reason. I think he’s a cheat too; he knows how to game every system for ‘the win’, but not for the real experience. I have specific examples of which I know the facts of his, and the facts of the real experience. (And I think that begging the public to buy his book does not make you a real best-seller, it makes him a panderer).

  29. Elizabeth Reid says:

    Thanks for that second comment about the sex chapter,
    you’ve articulated everything that bugs me about the book.

    Another thing that irritated me: He brags about how he’s so busy that he can’t cook, but instead of prioritizing cooking to promote a healthy relationship with food, he encourages canned food, prepackaged food, and Chipotle.

    He somehow turned “being inept in the kitchen” into a wonderful thing we should all aspire towards.

    Whatever.

  30. marmar says:

    Penelope, your post scared the crap out of me. I got a slimy feeling from TF with about an ounce of information, but couldn’t figure out why I was feeling that way. Not interested in investing further to figure out why, but your validation made me laugh. Thx as always for a provocative view.

  31. Margaret Goerig says:

    Am I imagining things or did you change the headline for your last post from something about the worst gift-giving ideas to gift-giving that will help your career? The link on how to cheat at Candyland is hilarious, by the way.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah. I changed it. I couldn’t stand how negative the title was. And anyway, in hindsight, it wasn’t such a bad list of gifts.

      I should point out, though, that changing the title of a blog post four days after I post is SEO death, but sometimes I do it anyway, (which is another reason I’ll never be as great at online marketing as Tim Ferriss.)

      Penelope

  32. Greg says:

    When you write that you get 1000 visitors per day from “Tim Ferriss scam” perhaps you meant 1000 visitors per month?

    Tim Ferriss content not withstanding, the primary source for new traffic to many websites doesn’t come from sharing via email, but Facebook, Google, and the Twitter.

    Obviously, anyone can write content with keywords in it, but it takes a special writer or article to attract inbound links.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      I did mean 1000 per day. I get about 500,000 visits per month.

      Clarifying: I think of facebook and twitter as two other ways, albeit bigger than email, to share a post with friends. So I think they fall under the same NYT study.

      Penelope

      • Jason says:

        According to compete.com, your site actually received less than 150k visitors in the month of November. So, needless to say, I find it hard to believe you receive 1000 visits a day from “Tim Ferriss scam”. Especially since the term only receives 1900 monthly searches, according to Google’s keyword tool.

      • Nick says:

        Compete and the google keyword tool can be wrong. A site of mine recieves 60k uniques/month and has done so for four years. Compete claims it to be 6k in november.
        I have been number 1 for a keyword the tool claimed recieved 30k uniques a month. I was recieving a 1000 at most.

      • Greg says:

        Penelope,

        I think your blog is awesome and I have no doubt about the massive deluge of traffic that your blog receives. Your writing is wonderful, and you are a masterful story teller.

        It’s just that Tim isn’t nearly popular enough that more than 1000 people type “Time Farriss Scam” into Google every single day.

        While “Compete” is a piece of crap, Google adwords keyword tool isn’t bad. The numbers can be wildly off, and it doesn’t tell you how much traffic a listing is worth, but Google says there are 1,900 searches for “Tim Ferriss Scam” per month. I’ve known the tool to be off, but off by a factor of 30? I just assume Tim isn’t nearly that popular.

  33. Sarah says:

    I read your blog because you make me think about things that I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise, or else you make me think about things differently. I don’t always agree with what you write, but, funnily enough, it’s those posts that often make a bigger impact than the ones that I do agree with, if only because I want to argue back. :D

    So long as your headline matches at least part of your post, I don’t give a toss what you use as a headline. Bottom line: nobody reads blogs for headlines, they read them for the content.

  34. jim says:

    What threads are common in your most popular posts, Penelope? Would writing about more of those subjects lead to greater pass-along and readership?

    I found by accident that the best way to drive traffic to my blog is to write a post that refutes something you wrote about. I did that a couple weeks ago and got more page views in two days than I normally get in two months!

  35. Ayngelina says:

    Just found your site and LOVE it, we need more opposing voices in the blogosphere. You have a new subscriber.

  36. Socorro Luna says:

    Penelope, who cares about controversy or Tim Ferris? I don’t. I just want to read about you and your thoughts. Today’s post was useless. It has no pictures of your life. It is not inspiring. I can’t forward it to friends. It is just stuck there and I am wondering why you even wrote it. Give us more Penelope. Give us more pictures. Give us inspiration.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Socorro, I’m sorry that you didn’t like the post. But maybe I can redeem myself in your eyes by posting a photo of my kitchen in response to your comment.

      And, appropos of the New Year, the photo includes my top-level to-do list for my life:

      Penelope

      • Harriet May says:

        Oh, I am so in love with your kitchen! You wrote so much about it and making it Steampunk and then left us in the dark.

      • Jim says:

        Hi Penelope,
        How are you doing with number 2 on your goals list?
        –Jim

      • Scott @ Work From Home Ideas says:

        Awesome post, Penelope. I thought Tim rubbed me the wrong way, but I wasn’t quite sure why — you absolutely nailed it!

        And btw, I love the fridge … although I’m not sure the wife will buy off on the idea. :-)

        Best to you,
        Scott

        • sue says:

          Hey Scott, you can get removeable chalkboard contact paper for your fridge. Easy on, easy off. No paint necessary. google chalkboard paint pens.

  37. David says:

    I've always found that the posts I'm most hesitant to write and the most scared to push publish on are the ones people love! Controversial headline or not, those are ones people relate to and pass along. Those are the ones that drive in the traffic. Of course, making sure your blog is SEO certainty helps.

    People don’t necessarily need to be inspired. But they do need you to be real…and raw doesn’t hurt either.

  38. alex says:

    HHAHAHAHA omg this post is terrible, im crying of laughter.. wow, the internet has just revealed another idiot blogger. I apologize but this is why blogs should be regulated otherwise people can make claims so ridiculous.

    on another note… everyone i know has told me check out this site cuz it’s so bad, but i never made the effort till now. You’ve got a new subscriber. I cant wait to read more garbage in the future!

    • Harriet May says:

      You’re subscribing because you hate the content? Oh, dear. Perhaps with all that extra reading you might pick up on how to use capitalized letters at the beginning of sentences, at least.

  39. alex says:

    omg it gets better… of course you’d go to marriage counseling and get a divorce…. i cant imagine how anyone could stand you for more than a few minutes of entertainment hahahaha

  40. alex says:

    You get almost 8% of your page views from people searching for Tim Ferriss Scam?

    You should write articles about Steve Pavlina Scam, and another about Barack Obama Scam, and really start racking in the page views

  41. Jonathan Vaudreuil says:

    Penelope, I expected a better thought-out argument against Tim’s new book than “I want to be inspired and this doesn’t do it for me.”

    Guess what? A lot of people, like myself, think the type of experimenting he does is inspiring. It’s inspiring to see that conventional advice may not be the best advice. It’s inspiring to try a new way of doing things. Let me give you an example: I’ve had mid-back problems for over a year. I’ve read articles on what to do and tried the advice, I’ve gone to my doctor, I’ve tried a massaging chair, and my back wasn’t getting better very fast. I try the stretches he references and suddenly my back is causing me less pain within a day.

    If that doesn’t get me excited, what should?

    No, his books aren’t the greatest books on the planet, but his way of thinking IS interesting and it does inspire some people. It may not do it for you, but this post doesn’t exactly paint you in a good light.

    Besides, eventually inspiration is nothing short of a cheap fix. You can inspire people all day, but at what point are you just saying “Let’s sit in a circle and read ‘The Secret’ and sip tea and sing happy songs!” with just inspiration? Where’s the substance, the know-how? Where are the things to try, the ideas to tinker with?

    I thought being able to do something new, or better, or amazing, was pretty cool at one point.

    Instead of ripping someone else, why don’t you talk about how much of a joke it is that you demand six-figure salaries to work? That’s more than double the average American family. You don’t like the way he views the world, and I think a lot of people probably don’t like the princess attitude you have on being paid that much as a mother.

    I get it, though – you were nervous posting this. Probably because you still had your tiara and “Miss Aspergers America” sash on. You realized it might not go over well. And you ruined your post by going after someone you think is sleazy in a sleazy way, in the process stepping on your own toes by thinking somehow you’re better than him.

    I hope it made you feel better. I do hope you stop writing this hypocritical drivel and stick to topics you have experience, knowledge, and a worthwhile opinion on.

  42. MH Williams says:

    P- You mean there are people out there who actually buy this kind of advice? Really?

  43. Simon Hay says:

    Hi Penelope. When I write a post that makes me nervous, it’s the one that gets the least comments. I don’t record stats to know if it’s had a lot of hits, but the comments are always less. It may be because of the healing field I’m in. I’ve annoyed other healers in the past, but I don’t have the time or energy for their insecurity. Thanks for another good post. Merry Christmas, Simon.

  44. Sara says:

    Penelope,
    As a longtime reader of both you and Tim Ferriss, I am confused by your intense and public dislike of him. You both write about maximizing efficiency in different areas of life, even if unconventional and perhaps offensive to some. For example, I find it interesting to know that to maximize happiness, I should not have children, I should work with people I like, and if I get sexually harassed at work, I should probably just roll with it and should definitely not report it. This information is interesting to me, and one of the reasons I continue reading your blog. Does it mean I will follow it to the letter 100% of the time? Not necessarily, since life isn’t usually that simple. Similarly, I doubt that the only kind of sex Tim Ferriss has is the kind described in his 15-minute orgasm chapter, and it’s a bit presumptuous to assume he doesn’t also go down on women or have meaningful relationships and is therefore a shitty person. Or as you say, has no soul. His style occasionally rubs me the wrong way, but he doesn’t come across to me as any bigger of a jackass than Ramit Sethi, who you have called a mentor and presumably like (I also read his blog and like his stuff even though I just called him a jackass, which would probably not offend him). When it comes down to it, I could say that Tim Ferriss is sometimes offensive, but he is also entertaining and often has useful information — which is the exact same thing I could say about you.

  45. Sophia says:

    I typed “tim ferriss douche” into google, and your awesome blog came up. I’m glad I found it, but sad that I had to learn about TF in order to do so.

  46. Brad says:

    “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” -Carl Jung

    You don’t seem like a stupid person, and I’m sure that you have some insightful things to say. Unfortunately, those insightful things were lacking from this post. The haterade is dripping all over the place.

    You sound like a girl who got stood up by her date for the prom. You’re so worked up about Tim Ferriss that you’re no longer thinking logically when you write about him. Emotion takes over 100%

    “Second, I’d way rather have a guy who loves me and is good to me and honest and connected and not the king of giving me orgasms. I assumed it was common knowledge that women would rather be with a guy who is intimate and sweet and cares about her deeply than a whiz kid in bed.”

    So in your world, it’s either-or? The sweet caring guy can’t try to improve himself and do something extra for his girl BECAUSE he cares about her deeply?

    Of course not, because since you don’t like Tim Ferriss, all of his motives must suck.

    So finding shortcuts for things is sleazy? Tim’s book about hacking your own body is bad because it’s “cheating”? Who is it cheating? If Tim Ferriss found some shortcut that people could use to hack their own bodies and get rid of cancer, would that be sleazy too?

    I won’t bother going over all of the other logical fallacies. I think most people who aren’t your biased loyal readers can see them clearly enough.

  47. Tzipporah says:

    Excellent description of why posts are popular or not. And hard as hell to write good ones.

  48. Meg says:

    You are the most fearless writer I know of, and that’s why I read your blog. You inspire me to write from my heart AND mind, and that’s why I read your blog. You don’t write boring articles or predictable top 10 lists, and that’s why I read your blog. So, keep writing and saying what you think, and keep listening and learning. I will if you will.

  49. Rolf says:

    I am reading the 4 hour body just now. Just came to the sex section and it is symptomatic for many very competitive people who see the world as interconnected systems. I actively choose to not question his motivation and values but pick what I found useful from his work without judging. There is actually some good information in there presented in an easy to read fashion.

    Being offended is OK and a counterpoint is useful. Going for a vendetta based on personal feelings is a bit over the top, dont you think.

    Personally I am using the work from Tim for inspiration and picking up what I find useful. Just like I do with everything else I read. Did the same thing with Mein Kampf btw.

    • Rolf says:

      I forgot to add something.. What Tim do is gather well known information and compile it with his personal twist. Then it is published. All his dietary advice was known to me from before through my Paoelo studies and competitive athletic background. Now this work methodology could be interpreted as a scam or as journalism. It is all in the mind of the reader how to view the world.

      I dont expect original work from the rest of the 4 hour body, or the 4 hour workweek. But that is fine. I just want information and inspiration, not a feel-good experience ;-)

  50. Joe Campbell says:

    People read or click on controversial headlines for the same reason which they slow down to gawk at a traffic accident or watch TMZ. This is also the same reason we read Tim Ferriss’s books too, as we all want something we don’t have or see on a regular basis. Your (Penelope) posts are no different as who else on web mixes solid net savvy business advice with how to “go down” on a chick….

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