Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Sociopath

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (my interview with him) did a fantastic job troll-baiting the blogosphere this week with a post titled: How to Test Drive Friends and Irritate People
In the post, Ferris talks about that along with streamlining our work and lifestyle we could also manipulate our friends or potential friends into stressful situations in order to see their true colors:

Adversity doesn’t primarily build character—it reveals it. Therefore, by putting someone under pressure or in a manufactured adverse situation, you can pull back the covers and get a glimpse of what’s in store a few weeks or months down the line.

He then proceeds to give example situations where you might put current or potential buddies so you can see if they are worthy of your friendship – such as:

Take them somewhere extremely crowded where they’ll be inadvertently bumped, preferably where they are exposed to people of different races and of lower socio-economic classes. Large outdoor markets are good, as are subways during rush hour. (Testing: biases against specific races and social classes, which are usually fast to emerge after there is any physical contact.)

I think this is really a guide to being a complete douche-lord twunty asshole to people before you deign to meet with them. Seem very stuck-up and classist to me – kinda like fraternity hazing (the bad kind). That people aren’t worthy of spending time with you until you’ve tested their loyalty or their ability to perform under stress. It isn’t like they are going to be your employees.
Gawker.com picked up the post and comments included:

What a genius strategy, Tim! Except that it presupposes that everyone you’re “testing” not only is willing to jump through hoops in order to be friends with special special you, but also that they deserve to be forced to!

and other things to test:

72. Put them in your cellar and tell them to put the lotion on the skin (testing: whether they are as sociopathic as you are, also: if they would make a good partner for a lady-wearing spree)

and

243. Try to have him Hollaback. (testing: whether he is Gwen Stefani)

Spillover into Metafilter:

Smarmy flippant asshole, he doesn’t want well rounded reasonable people for friends, he wants people he can mooch off of and boss around. Anyone who tries to convince me to ““jostle” the lower classes” can find their own ride home and won’t get a second chance.

Of course after Ferris got his incoming clicks and linkage he added:

There have been some very strong comments on this post! Could it be that I’m using this entire post to see how people respond to a controversial viewpoint? Hmmm…

Now I think that is a great example of somebody being totally passive-aggressive: trolling with inflammatory linkbait and then once you get some comments (and attention) saying that maybe you’re just saying things to get a reaction.
Some of my best traffic ever for my personal blog was when I called out a racist asshole for making inaccurate blanket statements about Islam and ended up with four conservative blogs flaming me – but I really believed what I posted.
I’m all for poking the dragon, but don’t back track on what you said. I’ve seen other bloggers do this where they make strong statements and then try the Eminem defense: I’m not really a dick, that was just me being my persona.
Tim’s got a great book but this is a bit much. Are you that busy that you need to haze your friends before you allow them to get close to you?

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About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

8 thoughts on “Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Sociopath

  1. Lyle Lachmuth - The

    I agree my man!!
    I you can’t stand the heat.. get out of the limelight!
    Beside, only a complete dufus would suggest a FOUR hour work week.
    You and I know that work expands to fill the time available!
    Smooches, Lyle

    Reply
  2. Andy Wibbels

    work expands to fill the time available
    To be fair to Tim, that is one of the big principles of his book – and many others – that if you have the free time you can either fill it with pointless crap or do something useful.

    Reply
  3. Jasmina

    Andy, with this Ferris guy–have we reached the 15 minutes of fame mark yet? By my watch he’s running a bit long.
    I’d like to make a special request of Tim that he scale his work week back to only 2 hours, cuz that’s about all I can take of him.
    Please Tim, work less! Blog less! Pretty please? 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jo

    I can’t believe anybody listens to Tim Ferris. That guy doesn’t have an ounce of care in his brain. It’s easy not to get “frustrated” with “stressful” situations when you are a sociopath who looks at all people like potential customers to dupe into buying more of your bullshit e-books.

    Hai guyz, buy my e-bookz and you can be like me, sitting here telling people to work 4 hours per week while eating grass fed steak brought to you buy somebody who works more than 4 hours per week to make that food exist.

    Fuck you, Tim. And all your mentally damaged followers.

    Reply
    1. Andy Wibbels Post author

      I don’t hate him. Just think that stress-testing your friends to see if you should deign to spend time with them was a shitty way to treat people. And I wrote that post nine years ago.

      Reply

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