Timothy Ferriss: Out-Vaynering Vayner?

Timothy Ferriss: Out-Vaynering Vayner?We’ve often wondered what might have become of Aleksey Vayner had he never made his hit film “Impossible Is Nothing.” Where would he be in five years? What levels of success would he have achieved?

We’re pretty sure the answer has arrived in the form of Timothy Ferriss, Princeton ’00. Currently a “guest lecturer” at Princeton (sounds a little misleading to us; he’s not in the official directory), Ferriss has honed self-help guruship down to an art — he’s good-looking, well spoken, and he knows you initially assume he’s a fraud. His new book, The 4-Hour Workweek, explains how to work very little (check e-mail twice a day, outsource all your work to Asians for $5 an hour) and still live your dreams. Among the dreams Ferriss has already lived: Motorcycling across China. Dancing tango in Argentina (and on Regis and Kelly). Kickboxing. Skiing in the Andes. Gaining 34 pounds of muscle in 4 weeks. In other words, impossible is nothing.

The book already seems to be taking off. It’s currently ranked in Amazon’s top 10. The site’s reviewers have given it five stars, nearly across the board.

And that’s where it gets weird. The Amazon comments are absurdly positive. Frighteningly positive. Eyebrow-raisingly positive. Just look at the slew of reviews left all on the same day, April 24:

C. Ashenden, April 24: I don’t give away compliments easily but I guarantee that this book will change your life. Don’t wait.

Brian Page, April 24: I’m not a reviewer of books. In fact, this is the only one I’ve ever commented on. So as the first person to review The 4-Hour Workweek, I’m going to make a prediction. Remember, I called it first. This book WILL be a best-seller.

Sherwood Forlee, April 24: Because of this book, I would have to say that my dreams will soon become reality.

Matt, April 24: I don’t know Tim, nor do I have any financial connection to this book. … I have never written a review on Amazon before, but this book compelled me to write my first. I highly recommend you get it, and I guarantee it will get you thinking about making changes in your life.

Lindsay, April 24: I have always been a little wary of books focused arond life-improvement, but “The 4-Hour Work Week” book strikes the perfect balance between practical guidebook with real-world suggestions for how to maximize the work/life balance (something everyone needs to learn to do) and inspirational encouragement that yes, the life you want is just around the corner.

Michelle Bartakova, April 24: I believe this book is going to be a bestseller, will inspire many, and I would go as far as to say it will save lives. … The revolution has began…. If this review sounds little bit over the top, well it is and so is the book. This is my first review on amazon, and who knows my next one might be written by my virtual assistant:)

(Hilarious commenter exchange on that last one is here.) When a tipster pointed out the unbroken slew of over-the-top raves to us, we saw this comment among them:

Smells fishy!, April 26, 2007
Reviewer: cyan (Sydney, Australia)
There are 18 reviews beneath me. Every single one was written on the same day. This is the only review of every single reviewer bar one. I wonder what the odds are of 18 individuals who never review on Amazon logging onto the site on the same day and giving the book 5 stars?

Even more fishily, that last comment is now gone. We have to agree, it’s hard to see more than a dozen glowing, similarly-argued raves spontaneously cropping up all at the same time — from people who have never before reviewed another title. If indeed Ferriss had a hand in arranging them, that’s not necessarily wrong — just really off-putting, really douchey, really … Aleksey.

  • Princeton08

    I hate princeton and the douchebags here/that graduate from here.

  • Princeton08

    I hate princeton and the douchebags here/that graduate from here.

  • C2C

    pb: “or he can outsource that to India and let them go dhalsim on your ass for $5″. That is some funny shit. I haven’t thought about Dhalsim in years.

    Tim doesn’t sound like a douchetard or a douchebag. (Can’t comment on douchrocket til I watch a little more Xtube.) However, “motivational douche” might be accurate. So he donates money and espouses some ideals you agree with? BFD. He is still annoying and is conveying his message in a shady manner.

  • C2C

    pb: “or he can outsource that to India and let them go dhalsim on your ass for $5″. That is some funny shit. I haven’t thought about Dhalsim in years.

    Tim doesn’t sound like a douchetard or a douchebag. (Can’t comment on douchrocket til I watch a little more Xtube.) However, “motivational douche” might be accurate. So he donates money and espouses some ideals you agree with? BFD. He is still annoying and is conveying his message in a shady manner.

  • Converted

    Vayner was the first thought to come to my mind when I came across Tim’s website. In fact, the very next thing I did was to check IvyGate to see whether you had picked up on it (you’re late). He is not shady. He is totally up front about his methods. Even if I find some of them iffy, I must give him respect for being transparent about them. His book is a step-by-step how-to that exposes how so many of our “famous experts” get to be that way without really doing much at all. Also, it is the most creative manifesto detailing how to make the best of internet technology to escape our insanely over-driven lifestyles that I have ever read. The book is entertaining (I’ve never been able to read through one of these “self-helps” before) and is actually useful. Unlike Vayner, Tim HAS actually done something of substance. Forget the world record (who says a world record must be in something outrageous? You can’t deny he holds a world record)and the martial arts trophy (his method of winning was genius and in itself demands respect) how many of you 29 year-olds have NYT bestsellers? Also, regarding the multiple reviews from Amazon, it is possible that he didn’t instruct his Virtual Assistants well enough on the one hand, but I found the book interesting enough that I would have written a review just like it. Don’t knock it ’till you read it.

  • Converted

    Vayner was the first thought to come to my mind when I came across Tim’s website. In fact, the very next thing I did was to check IvyGate to see whether you had picked up on it (you’re late). He is not shady. He is totally up front about his methods. Even if I find some of them iffy, I must give him respect for being transparent about them. His book is a step-by-step how-to that exposes how so many of our “famous experts” get to be that way without really doing much at all. Also, it is the most creative manifesto detailing how to make the best of internet technology to escape our insanely over-driven lifestyles that I have ever read. The book is entertaining (I’ve never been able to read through one of these “self-helps” before) and is actually useful. Unlike Vayner, Tim HAS actually done something of substance. Forget the world record (who says a world record must be in something outrageous? You can’t deny he holds a world record)and the martial arts trophy (his method of winning was genius and in itself demands respect) how many of you 29 year-olds have NYT bestsellers? Also, regarding the multiple reviews from Amazon, it is possible that he didn’t instruct his Virtual Assistants well enough on the one hand, but I found the book interesting enough that I would have written a review just like it. Don’t knock it ’till you read it.

  • princetonian

    douchebags call other people douchebags, so i can understand why Princeton08 hates such princeton “douchebags” — of course, that would make me a douchebag for implying that s/he is a douchebag. so yes! the world is full of douchebags.

  • princetonian

    douchebags call other people douchebags, so i can understand why Princeton08 hates such princeton “douchebags” — of course, that would make me a douchebag for implying that s/he is a douchebag. so yes! the world is full of douchebags.

  • owl

    Why does pg 284 of Tim Ferriss’ book make use of a hoax email chain letter? Fraud or oversight?
    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/slowdance.asp

    Do a search on google for “slow dance” + “urban legend”

    Really lame.

    owl

  • owl

    Why does pg 284 of Tim Ferriss’ book make use of a hoax email chain letter? Fraud or oversight?
    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/slowdance.asp

    Do a search on google for “slow dance” + “urban legend”

    Really lame.

    owl

  • owl

    Why does pg 284 of his book make use of a hoax email chain letter?
    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/slowdance.asp

    Also, he claims to be a world champion fighter. Independent searches have found no records of him registering as a fighter or fights that he has won. Neither does he give any proof on his website.
    http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=54641

    People are so hungry for heroes these days they will believe anything. It’s funny how he mentions Koresh in his book, perhaps that is his role-model – a cult of personality. Something just isn’t right about this guy. If he is a fraud, I hope people catch and expose him for what he is.

    owl

  • owl

    Why does pg 284 of his book make use of a hoax email chain letter?
    http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/slowdance.asp

    Also, he claims to be a world champion fighter. Independent searches have found no records of him registering as a fighter or fights that he has won. Neither does he give any proof on his website.
    http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=54641

    People are so hungry for heroes these days they will believe anything. It’s funny how he mentions Koresh in his book, perhaps that is his role-model – a cult of personality. Something just isn’t right about this guy. If he is a fraud, I hope people catch and expose him for what he is.

    owl

  • owl

    If you read pg 284, Tim makes it seem as if this poem was sent to him directly by a girl dying of cancer. So you tell me: fraud or oversight? I think Tim should clarify this if he has nothing to hide. If he did fall for such a dumb hoax and use this chain email in the book, doesn’t that make you wonder about the rest of his ideas and content in the book? And how does the original author of the poem feel now I wonder.

    And I’m not the only one who has caught on to this, another reader caught this as early as May 17:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307353133

    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    I feel tricked, 18 May 2007
    By A. Reader – See all my reviews
    The book teaches to make money while working as little as possible, how to seem an expert on a subject, etc. Several times while reading the book I felt like the author just pulled the tricks he teaches on me by tricking me into buying the book. Someone may argue that this can seen as proof that it works.

    The book shows lack of background research. Take for instance the chapter “The Last Chapter: an E-mail You Must Read”. The author claims it contains piece of a letter from a terminally ill girl. This however is a widely known hoax chain letter (see for instance snopes.com). The contained poem is written by David L. Weatherford, an adult male child psychologist.
    ===

    Also compare the ratings between amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

    I hate frauds, they think you and i are so stupid we will fall for their bullshit. Hey, welcome to the Internet Generation: you can fool some of us some of the time, but try fooling the collective mind of the Internet.

    owl

  • owl

    If you read pg 284, Tim makes it seem as if this poem was sent to him directly by a girl dying of cancer. So you tell me: fraud or oversight? I think Tim should clarify this if he has nothing to hide. If he did fall for such a dumb hoax and use this chain email in the book, doesn’t that make you wonder about the rest of his ideas and content in the book? And how does the original author of the poem feel now I wonder.

    And I’m not the only one who has caught on to this, another reader caught this as early as May 17:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307353133

    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    I feel tricked, 18 May 2007
    By A. Reader – See all my reviews
    The book teaches to make money while working as little as possible, how to seem an expert on a subject, etc. Several times while reading the book I felt like the author just pulled the tricks he teaches on me by tricking me into buying the book. Someone may argue that this can seen as proof that it works.

    The book shows lack of background research. Take for instance the chapter “The Last Chapter: an E-mail You Must Read”. The author claims it contains piece of a letter from a terminally ill girl. This however is a widely known hoax chain letter (see for instance snopes.com). The contained poem is written by David L. Weatherford, an adult male child psychologist.
    ===

    Also compare the ratings between amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

    I hate frauds, they think you and i are so stupid we will fall for their bullshit. Hey, welcome to the Internet Generation: you can fool some of us some of the time, but try fooling the collective mind of the Internet.

    owl

  • Frank

    This owl dude appears to spend all his time posting negative comments about Ferriss across the Net. Get a life, dude or dudette.

  • Frank

    This owl dude appears to spend all his time posting negative comments about Ferriss across the Net. Get a life, dude or dudette.

  • owl

    Frank, you’re missing the point. If you see a house on fire, you call the firefighters. If more people were willing to ask questions instead of being willing sheep, we would not be fighting a losing war in Iraq right now.

    As a customer and consumer of Ferriss’ informational product, I want to know that I spent money on a genuine product and not snake oil. Ferriss can make all this go away by clarifying the issues raised on his blog.

    Owl

  • owl

    Frank, you’re missing the point. If you see a house on fire, you call the firefighters. If more people were willing to ask questions instead of being willing sheep, we would not be fighting a losing war in Iraq right now.

    As a customer and consumer of Ferriss’ informational product, I want to know that I spent money on a genuine product and not snake oil. Ferriss can make all this go away by clarifying the issues raised on his blog.

    Owl

  • Frank

    What’s your real agenda, owl? Is it to slander Ferriss? You are acting irrationally here.

  • Frank

    What’s your real agenda, owl? Is it to slander Ferriss? You are acting irrationally here.

  • owl

    Frank, do you know what slander means? In what way exactly have I slandered Ferriss? I am asking for proof of Ferriss’ claims, which he has yet to properly substantiate.

    owl

  • owl

    Frank, do you know what slander means? In what way exactly have I slandered Ferriss? I am asking for proof of Ferriss’ claims, which he has yet to properly substantiate.

    owl

  • owl

    See Ferriss’ comments here, he has yet to clarify the issues raised:

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/06/02/working-on-a-saturday/

    I simply want clarification, I have no hidden agenda.

    owl

  • owl

    See Ferriss’ comments here, he has yet to clarify the issues raised:

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/06/02/working-on-a-saturday/

    I simply want clarification, I have no hidden agenda.

    owl

  • owl
  • owl
  • owl

    This is my last post on Ferriss. Look at the facts, search the Internet and decide for yourself.

    You are more powerful and influential than you realise. Exercise your democratic right to ask for the truth.

    Beware of mob mentality, groupthink and peer pressure. You are an individual. Look at the facts before making a decision, even if it may not be a popular decision.

    Question everything, assume nothing and have courage to voice out what you know to be true. Your next decision may just help avert a war or global catastrophe.

  • owl

    This is my last post on Ferriss. Look at the facts, search the Internet and decide for yourself.

    You are more powerful and influential than you realise. Exercise your democratic right to ask for the truth.

    Beware of mob mentality, groupthink and peer pressure. You are an individual. Look at the facts before making a decision, even if it may not be a popular decision.

    Question everything, assume nothing and have courage to voice out what you know to be true. Your next decision may just help avert a war or global catastrophe.

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