This is another post about a book. Two days in a row. But before you get all giddy and think you should send your book to me so I’ll write about it, forget it.

First of all, I get five to ten books every week. And I throw most of them away. Second, honestly, for the most part, you have to be my friend for me to write a whole post about your book. Sure, there are exceptions. For example, Tim Ferriss is not my friend but I wrote about his book anyway. But the exceptions are mostly for academic books with research that blew me away.

So stop thinking that I am going to write about your book if you simply send it to me. But really, if you want to promote a book, the best thing to do is make a lot of friends before the book comes out. Just like you don’t want to wait to build a job search network until you need a job, you don’t want to build a book promotion network when you need press.

So, Ramit has put up with a lot from me, including me being an hour late to have coffee with him. More than once. He has earned a post.

Also, he’s earned it because he’s an incredibly hard worker when it comes to promotion. The other person I know who works this hard is Tim Ferriss, but Tim tells you that he doesn’t. Ramit admits to hard work, so I like him better. And Ramit tells me all the stuff he is doing, like convincing people to listen to MP3s where he is selling stuff, which I told him I would never link to on my blog because I’d feel like a used car salesman, but still I admire how many avenues Ramit will travel to sell stuff.

I am not a great seller. Which you can tell on my blog, actually. I mean, I have a company and no one even knows what it does. I could be selling the shit out of it on this blog, but instead, I am writing about requiring my dates to bake cookies with me. Ramit does not have posts about having sex in his apartment. But he does have posts about his friends trying to get laid and I enjoy that.

So I told Ramit that while I am sure that he is the direct-mail genius of Web 2.0, I cannot help without having to go to a mikvah afterward. And since I don’t do mikvah, I can’t do all his upsell, upsell, upsell stuff.

He replied, “How about a free plane ticket?” But not for me. And that is why I love Ramit.

So Ramit wants you to buy the book. I’m pretty sure he wants you to buy it today. Because Ramit is a Svengali of Amazon ranking and somehow Ramit’s book was number one on Amazon yesterday.

And if you buy the book, you can send him the receipt and you might win a plane ticket.

Here's how: If you order the book and email your receipt to penelope@iwillteachyoutoberich.com within the next 48 hours, you will be entered to win a free plane ticket to anywhere in the US.

If I write a crappy enough post about the book—like this one, where I manage to write about the book but never tell you one little thing about it—then maybe no one but you will send a receipt and then you’ll win.

So before you leave a comment complaining that this is just about Ramit and me and Ramit making money, remember that the plane ticket is all about you.

But I do want to say something about his book. I am very bad with finances. I have known this for a while but recently, two things have really bothered me. First, I read that ENTJs are very good with finances, so this makes me think that I am underperforming there. Second, I noticed that every guy I date is amazed at how much money I have coming in (a lot) and how much I have going out (more than a lot) and how crappy a car I drive. (Actually, it's not just the car, it's the consistently odd choices, like no living room furniture because it costs too much.)

The first thing I tell those guys is to shut up. And then I tell them that they don't understand because my financial issues are different than everyone else's. But you know what? I don't believe that. I don't believe peoples' problems are special. Still, I wasn't making much headway until Ramit's book came. The book is geared toward people in their 20s who still have a lot to learn and Ramit is teaching them (hence the title: I Will Teach You to Be Rich), but I am not in my 20s and I learned a lot anyway.

I always have a book in the kitchen that I read to distract myself from two young boys who are always turning harmless stuff into guns and killing each other. So for the past couple of months, while my kids have been shooting each other, I have been reading Ramit's book, one or two pages at a time. And what it did was make me realize that there are tons of small things I can do to make big improvements. And also, knowing what to do feels empowering, even if I still have a financial mess on my hands.

I actually think this is the way career advice works as well. First, you need to know your problems are not unique. Then you need to know what people do to solve those common problems. The action of actually making change is the last step, but the first two are harder.

53 replies
  1. Liza
    Liza says:

    Not that I don’t like Ramit, or his book. But to be honest, I’ve been to his website. If you’ve ever been to a website and immediately know it was a hoax site, this is what you would think when stumbling upon his. In fact, I didn’t learn anything at his website except that he tells me what I want (which is bad) and that he can make me rich (what that means, I’m not sure). Even after visiting it a few times, I decided that it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t get it. It was obvious he was trying to get himself rich.

    A site I would recommend is 20smoney.com or brokegradstudent.com. Why? Because they aren’t telling you that you HAVE to buy a book to be money-savvy. You just have to have some common sense. AND it relates to the age group you want to market to.

    This book won’t make me rich. I will make myself rich. And I will do that faster by not buying the book.

    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      Yet you say in your response to him that:

      “there are circumstances, every once in awhile, where you should take on an absolutely impossible project, even if it isn't paid, simply for the thrill of watching yourself grow to meet its challenges. You can use the growth later. Still, only a truly worthy project is worth that much of your soul.”

      Frankly, can you really blame him for trying to convince you that his was one of those projects worth that much of your soul?

      • Danilo Campos
        Danilo Campos says:

        Fair question, Amanda.

        a) If it was worth it, he didn’t have the passion to pitch it that way

        b) Even without a pitch, my soul doesn’t flutter at the thought of working on a hosted wiki that has already shipped.

        When something comes along that’s worth throwing your soul into regardless of the financial rewards, you feel it deep inside of yourself. The only feeling this provoked was one of minor annoyance.

        If Ramit were a lifelong friend asking me to take a chance on his big dream to change the world and he looked me dead in the eye and said “I can’t pay you, but I need you, give me your weekends for six months,” I’d have a hard time saying no. But he was a cheapskate who IMed me and said what amounted to “I think you’re so cool, I’d like to offer you the honor of working for me for free.”

        Maybe now he’ll work harder on presenting a compelling value proposition to future marks.

  2. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    This is a very funny post. Frustrating at first – talking around the book, not about the book. Just when I was ready to give up, thinking you would sign off without ever telling what the darned book is about, you spilled the beans. And then planted the seed that by not actually talking about the book, competition for the free plane ticket might be scant. Marketing genius.

  3. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Everything I have is in Quicken so this book wouldn’t be for me … maybe my niece. Is this a round trip plane ticket?

    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      I hate to eat crow on my own accord here regarding my above comment but I think I should. Maybe it’s more like a clarification. After looking over Ramit’s blog and excerpts from his book I agree with much of his advice so it was ridiculous of me to say his book wouldn’t be for me. I definitely have to say it would have been for me when I was younger. Also there’s a good chance there may be some good tips in his book of which I’m not aware. I wouldn’t know unless I read the book. Stupid me – I should know better by now before I hit the ‘submit comment’ button.

  4. Grace
    Grace says:

    There is a reason why Ramjit’s blog is so popular. It is fresh and full of very practical information. He is always looking for a deal, or a way to barter services, etc. So,he thinks before he spends. What a crazy idea in this world of financial insecurity and consumerism!

  5. Amanda C.
    Amanda C. says:

    I can completely relate to the lack of Living Room furniture. I will spend on little things all the time. But when it comes to more substantial purchases? A couch? A dresser? I can’t do it! I get nervous and wuss out. I have lots of trouble with “big” purchases. I apparently take after my mother in this matter. And I’m an ENTJ.

    But thinking about this through a Ramit lens – this issue might be because I don’t plan ahead with my money – allocating it for a big purchase here or there, as opposed to many smaller purchases all the time. (Like, I’ll buy some cheap-o Target throw pillows waaaay before buying a desperately needed couch.) Odds are, the smaller purchases are probably less significant in meaning and probably end up costing just as much if not more.

  6. E.D.
    E.D. says:

    I have always been a follower of Ramit's blog. I think he's intelligent and realistic. However. Because the last 2 months has been nothing but promoting his book via twitter, newsletters, and blog posts, I have become completely disgusted. I have no idea if the book is good. And really, I don't care. I just hate being constantly advertised to when I'm expecting creative dialogue about personal finance. He's lost me and at least two others for this very reason. I’ve unsubscribed, cancelled my scrooge strategy subscription, un-followed, and stopped supporting his website. 2 solid months of this crap! I'm disappointed to find yet another blog post pushing Ramit's damn book. On my favorite blog, no less. I really hope this is the only time you mention it.

  7. Joseph Zitt
    Joseph Zitt says:

    Um, looking at this post, I don’t see a mention of the book’s title, only limited info as to whom the author is (is Ramit a first or last name?), and no links to it.

    Is this because you’re so embarrassed about promoting a friend’s book? If you’re going to this length to talk around it, would it be worth letting us know what book it is?

    Ah, I now see that at one point in the long post, the word “book” is linked to something that may be relevant. Is this an effective example of a business practice?

  8. Aaron Erickson
    Aaron Erickson says:

    Damn – there goes my grand plan to have Penelope sell my book available now for pre-order on Amazon.com, coming to a real smart person’s bookshelf near you imminently. :)

    … oh snap, I just did!

    I kid, I kid.

  9. Robert Beckom
    Robert Beckom says:

    wellllll, I guess it’s sort of nice to have someone out there who has taken on the task of be a critic to other people’s work, perhaps it would have been better if someone just picked stories out of the clear blue sky and see what flies. what did u say the name of it was?

  10. Brian
    Brian says:

    I’d like to say Ramit and I were classmates, but really I just saw him around campus from time to time. Give him a break on the hokey website title, he came up with it in college. His website is loaded with great advice. I bought the book, it was a no brainer. Reading his blog has already saved me 100x the cost of the book.

  11. Robert Beckom
    Robert Beckom says:

    wellllll,, Ramit, if no one criticizes you, no one knows you’re out there, and you have aroused no one’s attention(not-so-with-u). so just keep doing whAt U doing, let the want-2-B-critics talk about U and do what you do and feel, just keep it real, and u will get the deal sealed, when Ramit become like twitter, myspace,facebook,etc.;;;;; EVERYONE will be asking for Ramit for a shout out. so let me get in the line now, perhaps, incase

    See one day Ramit may decide again to rumble, or began to fumble thru files and stumble on to my book, and decide to want 2 befriend me and decide to promote me as a friend also, C I know mine novel’s a number one hit that needs a bit of a kick,and Ramit , all jokes aside you could be come that kick that open that worm hole to let many others thru, when U got doubters ,you began to realize that you’re on to something(got something good going on).

    It’s always been the one who completed the assignment that gets the credit, not the ones that started something or talked about starting something. I ‘m going to keep following you if only to see how many others see your move. strange is what grows

  12. Dips
    Dips says:

    I dont know why, but the way you’ve written about the book (largely circumspect but still talking about finances all the while) has made me interested enough to buy the book – if its available where I live (not in the US).

    And, its not for the free plane tickets.

  13. Heather
    Heather says:

    I haven’t been to his website in awhile. Glad to know he came out with a book. I should check it out since I’m another ENTJ that isn’t all over my finances. I guess I’m an underachiever in that area too.

  14. phillygrrl
    phillygrrl says:

    As for Danilo – sour grapes indeed! I’ve had a number of free internships which have netted me untold amounts of experience that I’ve used down the line to get great jobs. I can understand being wary of Internet postings on the Internet, however if one realizes within the first week that there is no give and take (if not financially then in terms of learning), there’s no need to hang around.

  15. Editormum
    Editormum says:

    You WHAT?! You throw books away?! WHY?!

    Okay, you don’t want to read them. I can respect that. But unless they are advance reading copies, you can donate them to charity, donate them to your local library, give them to friends, use them as “white elephant” gifts, give them to a battered women’s shelter, donate them to a local job bank, and so on. You can even give them away on Library Thing.

    Advance reading copies show up at Goodwill and yard sales all the time. I stockpile them and use them for testing wannabe editors and proofers, because they often have both egregious and subtle errors that make them a perfect skills test. And there’s even a niche group of book collectors who focus only on advance copies.

    There is just no excuse for “throwing away” a perfectly good book. And, honey, if you don’t want to deal with it, box them up and send them to me. I will give them a good home or find someone who will.

  16. Budgets are Sexy
    Budgets are Sexy says:

    yup, half way through now (which is EXTREMELY hard for me to do as i have major A.D.D. and get a handful of books to review also) but i love it that book. not that all the stuff is that *new* per se, but that he gets you to think about it and actually DO something about it. plus, he’s funny as $hit w/ all those Indian references.

    although, i do have a bone to pick with him…Budgets are, in fact, sexy. i don’t care what you say ;)

  17. Kate
    Kate says:

    It’s never too early or too late to start to learn about finance. I agree with Editormum that budgets are sexy but we need to discover that for ourselves. A couple of things I’ve learned – pay yourself first – even if it’s just 5 or 10 per cent of your takehome pay. Learn to live on what’s left. When you have a little nestegg, read Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor. It will show you how to invest for success using intellect, not emotion. Grow your nest egg and live so you don’t owe money to banks.

  18. Menehune
    Menehune says:

    A new reader of your blog here.

    Wow. Quite an attitude at the onset of this blog entry. But I remind myself that you are a brazen careerist.

    I do beleive that your blog benefits readers at times. However, after reading the first few paragraphs of this blog entry, I note that you are in the it’s-all-about-me mindset (albeit for the moment): if you’re MY friend, you’ll get mention. If you’re not, you’re out of your mind to think that I’d waste a single word mentioning your work. Put another way, if you’re not in MY circle of friends that fulfill and benefit MY life you’re work is in the trash bin, literally.

    Me, me, me. My, my, my.

    Who cares if the book of a non-friend may prove beneficial and life-changing for your blog readers. This is your blog and you are the star, right? You’re the central focus and if you’re not the first (or, gasp, second) priority in an author’s life, said author has nothing important to say. While you didn’t state that the content of those trashed books were unimportant, your actions (“I throw..them away”)certainly says that.

    I don’t know a single soul that purchases books or for that matter reads or talks about books based on whether one knows the author on a personal level. I’d imagine one would miss out on tremendous gems of knowledge if book selection were based on that criteria.

    Okay, okay. You mentioned reading and posting about a non-friend’s book but you stressed that it was an exception. Boy, Tim Ferriss ought to be grateful and honored. It’s almost like the Queen of England bestowed upon him a tremendous honor.

    Instead of throwing brand new books in the trash, donate them to a library or give them to someone else who may find interest in them.

    Then again, when one thinks it’s all about me, one would never think about benefitting others.

    I’m just venting some of my irritated feelings.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Newsflash. The whole book review industry works this way. It’s just that I’m the only one admiting it. Example: When the New York Times features an author who is not a friend-of-the-NYT the author is published by a friend-of-the-NYT. Really. Be reasonable. There are a million books published a year. How do you think the ediors decide which books to curl up in bed with?

      -Penelope

      • Bart
        Bart says:

        This is typical overstating by PT. Yes, log-rolling is a constant in publishing, but it’s not the only reason books get reviewed. I’d enjoy this blog more if PT didn’t post out her her ass so often.

    • Parkerkat
      Parkerkat says:

      perhaps this is the way the world works..and perhaps there is a reason people don’t say it like you have.. they realize they will come off as completely unobjective and frankly WASTEFUL… sure..review the books you want and write about them, but to start out with this Hauty holier-then-thou attitude about sending you books that you then THROW OUT?

      Why not say..thanks for sending and treating you like an authority, but you only have so much time, therefore I have donated the books to a great cause!!

      ..instead of looking like a jerk!

  19. Bob
    Bob says:

    Wow. A free plane ticket, if I just buy a book. Are you trying to sell a book or a plane ticket. Maybe you should partner with airlines and if someone buys a plane ticket, you can give away a copy of the book. Might get more readers, or as you say….just thrown in the trash.

  20. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    I have been reading your blogs for over a year now (back to the Yahoo Finance days, which is where I discovered you). The reason I continued to read your blogs is because your thought patterns were so similar to mine (pretty unconventional yet brilliant in a very quirky sort of way). Somewhere along the line you blogged about being an ENTP, which I am too…this is probably why our thought patterns are similar. In this blog you mentioned being an ENTJ…I realize Myers-Briggs types are flexible and can change over time…ENTPs are commonly entrepreneurs whereas ENTJs are commonly in upper management in large corporations…did you consciously try to change your type or was it a natural change over time?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thank you for working so hard to understand my Myers Briggs type. I said I thought I should be dating an ENTP. I am an ENTJ.

      Although lately I am thinking that when I become an INTP when I have PMS.

      –Penelope

  21. noah kagan
    noah kagan says:

    ive known ramit for about 5 years. the title is a blessing and a curse. he knows his stuff better than most and is passionate about finances. To the guy who had the chance to learn from ramit, your loss.

  22. Greg Rollett
    Greg Rollett says:

    Hey P – I got the book after learning about Remit from another BC’er – Cody. I like his style and took a liking to his personality. If he can actually talk to me in a way that makes me take action, that is another thing altogether.

  23. whatever
    whatever says:

    What was this?

    A book review?

    An excuse for not writing a book review?

    A sociological experiment to see the public penchant for lotto-mentality appeals?!

    Your own personal little experiment to see how stupid people are and how many will actually buy something you refuse even to tell them the title of?!!!

    I dunno.

    I don’t live by that kind of jadedness. Brazen is one thing. Jaded?

    Nah. Count me out.

  24. finance girl
    finance girl says:

    Everything in personal finance is a trade-off. If a guy laughs at the car you drive please walk out the door. I drive a 17 year old car but have 7 digits on our balance sheet so guess who’s laughing now?

    Even though R’s book and IWTYTBR are oriented towards 20ish, personal finance fundamentals are timeless regardless of life stage (a la live below one’s means)

  25. Parkerkat
    Parkerkat says:

    Please tell me you DONATE the books to a school, community college, or other education based group?

    Sorry, but you start this post out like you’re a god who shall pick what book lives and dies…but can they not all find a good resting place?

    Think about what you write before you write it..

    alternatively, if you’d just review my book, I’ll proof read for you!

  26. gordo
    gordo says:

    Just another personal finance huckster who promises us all (“you will get RICH”!!!!) with the title, delivers the old tried and true advice (he has zero new ideas, i suspect he cobbled this together reading jane bryant quinn / orman / chatzsky /money / smartmoney, etc for a year), and then laughing all the way to his bank.

    I believe the only person getting rich is him!!!!! And based on his current trajectory, he will get very very rich.

    sad, very sad,.

  27. Aaron Erickson
    Aaron Erickson says:

    Thankfully, the world does not revolve around PT. I know many authors who sell plenty of books – many of whom rather enjoy when someone sense them a *relevant* book on a topic they might be interested in.

    The key is relevant. Don’t just send the book out to the top 100 bloggers that are not related to the topic. And when you do, it does not hurt to write a nice note and personalize the delivery of the book, telling the author why making the time investment might be useful to them.

    Will agree with the general sense that this whole “Diva” persona I see PT taking on isn’t becoming – and has a good chance of working against her.

  28. gordo
    gordo says:

    Also – this line from PT
    “I am not a great seller.”

    is total 100% BS. She / you are a great seller of yourself. And you know it. You sell the crap out of yourself. Your blog is a guilty pleasure,and your tweets are highly addictive and usually provocative (eg: “white pants”!!!).

    You you trying to kid?

  29. Pamela Slim
    Pamela Slim says:

    I normally stay out of the battlefield of these comments, but as someone who has known Ramit for a long time, I will say:

    1) He is in no way a huckster. He has been providing solid, realistic and useful information for years on his blog.

    2) He is an incredibly decent person, genuinely interested in helping others.

    3) His book has really great, practical information that will help a lot of people get out of messy financial situations.

    4) I can totally understand how some long-time blog readers may get a little irritated by book promotion in the final months leading up to the pub date, but as someone who, like Ramit and Penelope, has spent countless hours over a number of years writing lots of useful posts for free, I say give him a little break for getting excited about his book and wanting it to do well.

    Sorry to get all Mother Hen, but I wanted to refute some obviously incorrect assumptions about Ramit’s character and intelligence.

    -Pamela Slim
    Escape from Cubicle Nation

  30. Mneiae
    Mneiae says:

    Ah, the days when Ramit’s book was small and still in need of promotion. Fun times. Now it’s a national phenomenon.

  31. Jess
    Jess says:

    I’ve been meaning to check Ramit’s book out! I browsed through it at a Barnes and Noble once and was impressed at the practical, solid, but forward-thinking advice.

    And yes, I’m another ENTJ who is unfortunately not up-to-par in the money management department. Caffeine addiction gets expensive.

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