Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ferriss is a Wheel

How rare is it for a first-time author to create a runaway best-seller?

Happens about as often as ... (slow tympani drum roll ...)

- Imelda Marcos passing on a shoe sale. (rimshot!)

- Charles Barkley saying "no" to a microphone or a cheeseburger.(double rimshot!!)

- John McCain texting Paris Hilton.(rimshot with whistles/catcalls)

- Michael Jackson inviting the gang from Lynyrd Skynyrd over for a night of Texas Hold 'em poker. (Loud cheers, triple rimshot!!!)

Timothy Ferriss is the exception.

His book. The 4-Hour Work Week, exploded off the charts with bucketloads of positive reviews, mainstream interviews and even spin-off websites.. It eventually hit number 1 on both the New York Times bestseller list and the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Tim's blog catapulted to the Top 1000 on Technorati. According to Fast Company, it is read by many of the "top tech CEOs in the world."

He has become a "big deal" in the world of "big wheels".

But wait ... there's more!

In 2008, Ferriss won Wired Magazine's "Greatest Self Promoter of All-Time" prize and was named one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Business People of 2007."

"The 4-Hour Work Week"?

Tim's book owes a lot its success to his deliberate choice of a provocative title, designed to elicit an emotional response - one way or another. As the author explained to Leo Babauta at, "You can’t have strong positive responses without strong negative responses, and beware — above all — the lukewarm reception from all. “Oh, that’s nice. I think it’s pretty good.” is a death sentence".

Ferriss tested potential book titles and subtitles with Google ad words, using keywords related to content covered in his book (world travel, retirement, etc.).

Some mocked the title.

Others were offended.

Jay Leno parodied it on-air.

All by design.

"You can’t have strong positive responses without strong negative responses"

The 4-Hour Work Week may or not be an unrealistic goal.

Who cares?

"You can’t have strong positive responses without strong negative responses"

Has Tim got you thinking differently about "Lifestyle Design", considering things like "what NOT to do" and escaping the hamster wheel of endless tasking?

Does his choice of book title also have you stewing a little about how you could cook up a strong response for your brand?

“I don’t create controversies. They’re there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention.” CHARLES BARKLEY

1 comment:

Mike Shanks PSP said...

Interesting concept.

Let's take a trip, shall we. We are going to visit Ward Clever in his office. No computer, no fax, and just a primative rotary phone.

Some may ask "How did he ever get any work done?" They need to go back and re-read your post.

The levels of concentration when not distracted will amaze you. All you need to do is unplug.