Effortless EntrepreneurI've read hundreds of business books, and I can honestly say this was a first-time experience for me. The entire way through this book I was yelling about it to the people in my household, writing notes with multiple underlines, absolutely baffled that this could have made it as far as a final proof. I *am* an entrepreneur, and a successful one. If I had done half the things these guys had, I would be in jail by now. For them to recommend others follow in their steps is irresponsible.
The two authors actively pick on teachers as being idiots. They claim that their behavior of disrupting class by babbling incessantly through it should have been looked on as "great networking". Apparently only the stupid try to learn things in classrooms. Also, they're thrilled they did idiotic things like running out onto an opposing team's field to celebrate. Talk about poor sportsmanship! Studying hard? "We couldn't relate to that". Their vision of what to be as an adult (I am not making this up) came from watching TV - partying, driving luxury cars, and cruising in boats. They had NO desire to work.
Many people in the world desperately dream about getting into college, and once there they would make the best use of every moment. Not these two. They boast about spending their time partying in Tijuana or hanging out on South Beach drinking and chasing girls. Clearly these are people who should have been made to pay their own way through school. It didn't get any better when they were hired. Despite getting an entry level position for "only" $39k (and we're in an economy where people are losing their homes!!) this guy spent his time surfing the internet. Not only that, he was grumpy because apparently employers providing your actual salary information (before taxes) "creates a false expectation". Right, because he'd never had to have a JOB before and pay taxes on his earnings?? You can see why I was yelling at this book.
OK, so these two guys decide that making a mere $39k/yr was too menial, because their TV sets told them they needed fast cars and faster women. They decided to create a junk hauling business. They hired a worker. On that worker's first day, the man was sent to a house where a guy had been bludgeoned to death by a baseball bat and his blood and brains were all over the walls. The worker was so disturbed by this that he quit. Their take-home message was they needed "more solid staff"??
Their technique for handling incoming calls was - again, I'm not making this up - to drive high speed down the highway, a phone on one ear, a pen and appointment book in the other hand, scribbling notes on what they would do. When their driving was so dangerous that people called in to report them they "laughed". And this is something we should model? This from the guys who say "mistakes teach lessons". How about "do not drive to endanger others on the road"?? No, instead their stated lesson is "success by any means necessary!" - and they are not joking.
They talk in one area about promoting their environmentally friendly message, and in the next breath they boast about how the first car they buy is a Range Rover. Right, that's sending a good message. They boast about how independent they are, but apparently Nick needed his dad's *approval* before he quit his day job. I'm sorry, but when I was a graduate from college and employed full time, I was not asking my dad for permission before I made choices. But this is from the guy who says "we probably didn't read a single book from cover to cover until after college."
If you're looking to this book for ideas, look elsewhere. They say "complaining about needing an idea is like complaining you need oxygen". Apparently if you're needing help, you're too stupid to understand their message. Which is - lie to the police. They do it CONSTANTLY in this book. Lie, lie, and then lie again, because that's how you get your hands on the cash (and booze and hot girls).
What is even more ironic is that half the book complains about how their brilliant talents of lying and babbling were never appreciate by their stupid teachers and bosses, so they had to start their own company to be free. The companies treated them like worker drones. So when they started their own company ... they made it full of worker drones! Every single thing my management course books tell me NOT to do, these guys do. "Treat your business like an intricate machine" they say - including "how staff should dress, speak, and answer the phone." This is 1930s level business technique which has been discredited for decades. They advise you to script EVERY phone call for your minions so they say the exact same thing each time.
Relations with your partner are not much better. "A partner to brainstorm with is like a study buddy to ... copy answers from." Oh right, because the way to get through school is to steal solutions from someone else? They boast how their partnership involves yelling, screaming and "even comes close to fisticuffs". That is NOT a business plan I want to model.
While the book will say the authors should be allowed to learn from their mistakes (i.e. their many stupid ideas were OK because they would do better next time) when one of their *minions* made a mistake, they told her she had to be absolutely flawless after that - and promptly fired her. I guess their "forgive" theory only works for them personally. If you think it is just my take that they treat their employees like Dungeon Keeper drones, in their own words they feel employees are "like highly caffeinated children". They fired people both by omission (not calling them in again to work) or by telephone. They lie to employees, too. Oh, and despite the evidence of countless businesses, they feel "if someone isn't motivated by money or performance incentives like trips or perks, that person won't add long term value." Right, because caring for a cause or believing in the company's mission are so old-style aims. In fact most studies show that money motivation is one of the LOWEST reasons for employee loyalty.
Just to show how they feel about their minions, they boast about how they had a staff member write up a training manual for his position, so they could then fire him and hire a cheaper replacement.
Their disrespect goes far beyond employees. Apparently they feel the general public will donate money to hunky firefighters but not to unattractive people. Their own employees are rated by looks - if they're not actually in college it is tolerable but "or worse is unattractive". They actively push readers to go hire people from India because they're "cheap". When you hire someone to do a job, you need to demand "unlimited versions" which to me is outrageous for any industry. Their philosophy in life? Practice with "easy" girls and less attractive ones to work up to (eventually) get to the "worth it" girls who are more attractive. I can honestly say this sickens me even to retype.
Then they finish it off - it still amazes me - with an over the top pitch for their franchises, as if the people reading this book are their prime market to then buy in to their system and hand over tens of thousands of dollars to them to be just like them. Even if we assumed that some readers are racist, chauvinistic males who solely want fast cars and easy women, wouldn't they be concerned about the typos, the grammatical errors, and the enthusiasm for lying which fills these pages? How could you possibly want to work for or with someone who enthusiastically boasts about all the times he's lied to others and gotten away with it?
Their metaphors for life are having hot sex and playing lots of video games. And drinking a lot. You could say I should be a good market for them because I *am* an entrepreneur, I run a wine site, and I even run video game review sites! But I found their desire to just drink for drinking's sake to be inane, their methods for leading their employees to be medieval, and their video game references were simply incorrect!
I have actively worked with thousands of entrepreneurs over the years, coaching and mentoring and learning from them. This story definitely opened my eyes to the no-morals route that some people will take to achieve what they feel is "the meaning of life". I wonder if, in twenty years, if these two have children who they want to be role models for, if they'll be happy to have this book out in the public, boasting about their lies and taking advantage of others and teachers-are-stupid messages. Especially if they end up having daughters, I would imagine those young women would find the statements to be not only sexist, but degrading.
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