The Grand Illusion: The Real Tim Ferriss Speaks

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[IMPORTANT: Please note this was an APRIL FOOL’S DAY joke! Please read the whole post, especially the postscript.]

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

This is Tim Ferriss. The real Tim Ferriss.

This is the first time I have written a post on this blog since March 30, 2007, 366 days ago, when I penned “How to Live Like a Rock Star in Buenos Aires.”

In the meantime, a virtual pair–Vanhishikha “Van” Mehra and Roger Espinosa–have taken my blog to the Technorati-1000 (around 600 at best) and had their content featured, under my name, in media from The New York Times to CNBC.

I’ve suggested topics and asked explicitly for some when I had photos or video to post, but Van and Roger are the short answer to the common question: how can you work four hours a week if you spend so much time on the blog?

The answer is: I don’t.

The impetus was an on-stage challenge at the 2007 SXSW two weeks earlier, and I resolved to demonstrate just how well the concepts in 4HWW could work. This is one of several pending year-long examples…

Here’s how my longest-term outsourcing experiment to date was executed:

1. Preparation: I used Elance.com to post an online editorial position, and I asked for three writing samples of 250 words on the topics of travel and productivity. There were 11 qualified applicants and four finalists, who further submitted a single 750-word article each.

2. People: Two of the four were selected on a trial basis to produce blog content as a pair.

The first, Vanhishikha “Van” Mehra, an undergrad and computer science major in Bangalore, had an impressive ability to choose topics and spot trends, but her English–learned through private schooling with non-native speakers–contained both British colloquialisms and mistakes common to Indian learners of English. She would be the content originator.

Roger Espinosa, the second, was raised in Chicago until 17 and then educated in Manila to become a systems administrator. He didn’t have the same knack for original content as Van, but his writing was native in appearance and not only grammatically correct but also idiomatically correct (e.g. “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” vs. “jelly and peanut butter sandwich”). He would become Van’s editor and publisher.

3. Process: Roger had sole rights to publish via WordPress, and their collaborations were were initial proofread by my Canadian assistant Amy, then later spot-checked by her via RSS. There have been fewer than half a dozen corrections after publication. I will often suggest topics on Mondays after checking e-mail and sometimes explicitly request posts that will allow relevant photos and video to be posted.

4. Van is paid $20 per post and Roger $15. Both get 100% performance bonuses if a given post front pages on Digg but must follow a “best practices” spec sheet to avoid violating user rules and getting blacklisted. I offered to increase the bonus to 200% for Van if it was directly applied to private English lessons with a tutor of my choosing, to whom I would remit payment directly. She has elected this since month 3, and it contributed to a more than 20% increase in front paging on Digg and other social ranking sites in the subsequent six months.

5. The “Odds and Ends” updates and miscellaneous are usually selected or created by me but transcribed by Amy after our once-daily 10-minute action item calls.

So, dear reader, there you have what I’ve been dying to tell you all for the last year, but I wanted to see if it was possible to make it to the 365-day mark.

Some of you have noticed TOEFL-esque phrasings here and there, and more than a few have noted the strange inflection of a few comments (Roger has written about 75% of my comments).

Please don’t be upset by this, and I encourage you to view it as I intended it: a major example of how well personal outsourcing and “offchoring” can work.

I’ll be writing at least once per week for the next two months, and we’ll see if my posts are half as popular as Van and Roger’s :) If you have any topic suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Much more to come,

The Real Tim Ferriss

###

Important Postscript!

Happy Japanese April Fool’s Day!

Man, oh, man. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but this post has kicked up some dust, so I wanted to own up. Yessir, it’s an April Fool’s Day prank. Sorry for any confusion! It would have been too obvious on April 1st in the US, so I used the alternate time zone. More to come tomorrow, but I write all the posts (minus attributed guest posts) myself. As _Jon put it in the comments: “a personal blog shouldn’t be work, it should be a passion. If you need to outsource it, you have the wrong motivation.”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I’m here writing the posts, including the stupid ones (man crush anyone?).

This little prank has been in my head since Jan. 10th, when the infamous Tucker Max suggested a much better version that I was unable to pull off due to this London trip:

“BTW–I had a hilarious idea for what you need to do for an April Fools prank: Write a post, complete with video, about how you have taken outsourcing to the next level. You’re paying people to workout for you, to eat for you, sleep for you, watch TV for you, do literally everything. The vid would show you sitting in a chair in a white room,
cutting intermittently to people doing things with shirts that have “I am Tim Ferriss” on them. It would be f*ing HILARIOUS. You have to do this.”

Posted on: March 31, 2008.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

190 comments on “The Grand Illusion: The Real Tim Ferriss Speaks

  1. LOL… I knew it! I thought the “favourite” was a little strange a few posts ago. Well done.

    Don’t be upset if we ask for Roger and Van back :)

    Steph

    ###

    Hi Steph. Real Tim here. That’s one catch — well done to you. Anyone else?

    Tim

    Like

  2. Interesting…I wonder how the dynamic changes when you’ve outsourced your life and they produce more likable results than you would have…

    Like

  3. No freaking way. Seriously, I had joked about this in the comments before, but a Batman and Robin combo from India and the Philippines (sp)?!

    Wow. I feel like I should go back and correct the “to” field from every comment I’ve written.

    Can’t wait to hear about the other pending experiments.

    For topics: what the hell have you been doing if not on the blog?

    -B.

    Like

  4. Well played, sir… well played. A very nice twist that shows your principles in action. I’m blown away. Kudos to Roger and Van for putting together some fantastic content over the past year.

    Like

  5. It will be interesting to see whether or not revealing this fact has an impact on your readership. Given the subject material I would have expected the ghost writing idea was obvious, but perhaps not to most folks. Will the average person think they’re being cheated by not getting the real Tim all the time? Will the impact matter much after this post floats off into the archives. I just love thinking about stuff like this, although it does drive me a little nuts.

    Like

  6. Very clever, Tim! Of course — it raises some other interesting issues:

    1) How do we know that this is really you?
    2) Did you actually write your book, or simply outsource it to India? :D

    Like

  7. Damn — but your blogging voice and 4-Hour Work Week voice are so consistent!

    I think the next big reveal is that those two wrote the book, too. For $150 each.

    Which is enough to buy India.

    Happy April Fool’s everyone :-).

    Like

  8. Very nice. I was half-fooled, although I did notice that questions about the book that touched upon your personal philosophy that were not answered in the book were *not* being answered in your posts/responses, so I had a feeling something was going on.

    So how about letting us know, ‘What would happen if someone took your 4-hww design and used it to become lazy instead of productive? Would that cause the 4hww concept to fail?’

    Perhaps Vanhishikha “Van” Mehra and Roger Espinosa would reply, ‘To be covered in a future post’ :)

    Like

  9. Tim,

    I’m absolutely not upset. In fact, I think this is totally awesome, and simply adds to the Tim Ferriss inspirational picture.

    Standing on a stage at the 2007 SXSW and trying to sell your ideas was, I’m sure, a little bit like Bruce Lee trying to sell Jeet Kune Do to his industry peers his first year.

    You’ve proven IT CAN BE DONE, even when you’re a high-profile rock star. From now on, when folks tell you that “I can’t pull back from my 70 hour work week, ’cause my boss will notice I’m not there.”, you can show them PROOF. You’ve done it.

    Keep it up sir, you’re still inspiring me on a daily basis.

    Like

  10. Well, I for one feel betrayed. The title is “The Blog of Tim Ferris” and that’s what I thought I was getting.

    It has nothing to do with the “quality of the product,” which has been excellent. I’ve enjoyed it. I had never heard of your blog until two months ago. I subscribed via RSS and have been a faithful reader ever since.

    But now you tell me I’ve never really read anything by YOU. The whole situation makes me feel like an idiot.

    This is NOT an example of living by the 4HWW principles. This is an example of fraud.

    Van and Roger? If you decide to set up your own blog, let me know. I’ll be glad to switch from Tim to you.

    And Tim? Change the name of your blog to “The Blog Overseen by Tim Ferris.” Let other newcomers know the truth from the start.

    Like

  11. While I am a tiny bit disappointed to learn that you didn’t write the posts, I still really appreciated the content. Well done Van and Roger!

    The real question though is WHO ARE YOU Tim? Through reading your blog I thought I was gaining insight into the personality of “the real Tim Ferriss”.

    What about posts like http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/01/27/relax-like-a-pro-5-steps-to-hacking-your-sleep/ that are about what “you” did and are doing. Are those complete fabrications? I was inspired by your personality, lifestyle and the things you do. If it was all made up, you’ve suddenly lost a large part of your personal brand and interestingness in my opinion.

    Are the things you wrote about having done in the book true?

    From the sound of this post it feels like we should be looking up to Van instead of you. I’ve seen videos of you though and you felt like a honest and sincere person so hopefully I’m wrong.

    Like

  12. I’d be very interested in the total 1yr costs of this venture – including Van, Roger, and Amy’s time. I’m sure it is more than offset by the “marketing” value of the blog but it still would make for an interesting metric.

    Like

  13. Part of me is amazed that you pulled off “writing” a blog for a year without doing much, if any, writing. And another part of me feels decieved. I go to your blog because I like YOU, your book, your ideas, and your personal story. The posts have been great, but now that I know they haven’t been thought up from the mastermind himself, they seem less credible to me. And I realize if you were running this blog 100% it’d be a 6 hr/day job, so I completely understand that that won’t work for you. So…I really don’t know what to think about it all, and to be quite honest, right now feel much less inclined to visit “your” blog. People want you, Tim…the real Tim. They want the ideas and energy from someone who has created the life you have.

    Did you also outsource the writing of the 4HWW as well? We’ll probably hear about that next. (Playfully, but with a smidge of sarcasm) ;)

    Aaron

    Like

  14. Amazing! TIme to start outsourcing my screenwriting. Any suggestions?

    Post Topic: I have a 15 year old who isn’t the best student and despairs of getting into college. Please write about your “tricks” for getting into college. You refer to your tape series in the book and I would love that info.

    Heather

    Like

  15. On any other blog this realization would cause an uproar– people would don their pitchforks and torches, and call for the lynching of the blog author. “Disingenuous! Dishonest” they would chant. However, here it’s completely different– and it SHOULD BE.

    Tim’s been advocating a certain lifestyle and a certain way of doing things. To manage this blog in a manner different than the techniques he presents would be disingenuous. I don’t have a problem with it at all– I’ve enjoyed high quality posts, and the voice in the back of my mind that says “Tim sure spends a lot of time on this blog” is now silenced. This is more “honest” and “real” than it sounds.

    Nice work. However, given the proximity to April Fool’s day, I’m a little suspicious. :)

    Like

  16. Tim, what else can I say? The experiment appears to have worked and provided the intended outcome. Major props to you for showing us what is really possible. I’m looking forward to seeing to content in the “Gear” section of your blog.

    Keep it coming,
    Frankie

    Like

  17. Indeed, you’ve figured it out. I have to say I’m impressed. I’ve loved your book and most of the advice here.

    On the other hand for reasons I have trouble articulating I feel like I’ve been had.

    I wish you the best, but I don’t think I’ll be back. It’s just too fundamentally dishonest.

    Like

  18. Excellent experiment and well implemented.

    However, the generally accepted concept of a ‘blog’ – especially a personal one – is to share with the readers things about the writer. Not surrogates.

    If this blog had been named “The 4HWW Blog”, I think such an experiment would have been spot on. But it says “The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss”. So, while I appreciate the information and writing on this site – and I’ve learned a lot – I do feel deceived. I thought I was learning about the feelings, goals, and opinions of Tim Ferriss. Today I learn that he considers writing here “work” and that he considers me a – for lack of better term – “lab rat”. Your choice tells me a lot about how you think of me. It is not a good reflection, sir.

    btw, a personal blog shouldn’t be work, it should be a passion. If you need to outsource it, you have the wrong motivation.

    Like

  19. The Ultimate Experiment

    Alright Tim its proven you can travel the world outsource your life
    be ripped be thin be whatever you want to be. Alot of people out there still are having trouble getting away from the 9-5 grind and working under a boss. You have just said you had two people “Van Mehra and Roger Espinosa” help you out with your blog. I am assuming that these two probaly don’t party all over the world every week and tango and all the other fun stuff that the new rich gets to do. I would love to see you help these two use your principles to escape the blogging world of tim ferris and use their talents to become the new rich themselves. They obviously from reading the blogs got the skills so I’d love to see them posting about their expierences.

    Like

  20. I just had an hour-long discussion about the ethics of ghostwriting with my girlfriend. She’s of the opinion that this (and ghostwriting in general) is unethical. I’m of the opposite opinion, and brought up the idea of inventors being paid to produce things that are then not credited to them.

    This is a good example of leveraging outsourcing to free up time. And I agree with Bruce – what have you been up to?

    Like

  21. Well done, sir, well done.

    Those who would be insulted by the “betrayal of trust” will never be able to trust anyone else to do as good a job as they do – or offload their jobs elsewhere.

    I’m going into a non-profit area of employment and I’ve found your book useful for psychological approach alone. Next month I try the business end. Absolutely amazing – keep up applying that which everyone says CANNOT be done!

    The impossible is always the most impressive.

    Like

  22. great job! guess you’ve really proved that your principles work… however, i must say i feel a little… sad? fooled?

    anyway, that explains why i thought your blog was better some time ago! the mentioned rock star in buenos aires-post is actually a favourite of mine:)would really like to know more of your trips.. and what about the as seen on tv-thing, aren’t we supposed to know just yet?

    i would really like to see the second part of your language course in the “readers only”-section. Reverse learning, right?

    take care!

    Like

  23. Ah, yes, a second wave of polarization. Hats off to you.

    But even those who feel betrayed and lied to have to come round full circle to the thought that this blog is about content and ideas and if they’ve like it so much thus far, then your ideas on outsourcing have directly proven themselves effective.

    This is great because instead of just talking about examples to which people can respond “but my situation is different; that doesn’t apply to me” you’ve been able to bring the example to your readers’ situation directly.

    I’ve been applying as many of your concepts as I can, but a personal challenge is that all the content I produce is extremely specialized: It’s on the specific topic of using a 401k or IRA to buy alternative assets. I’ve been working in this field for 4 years now, and my challenge is that hiring someone in an editorial position can’t exude my 4 years of technical knowledge.

    Tim, any ideas on how to outsource specialized, technical knowledge related products and services?

    Like

  24. Whoa! Fooled me :-) Very clever and an excellent example of what you preach.

    I do tend to agree with Jon above that it is a little unsettling to be taken, albeit pleasantly, on a ride! A good brand is about authenticity and honesty and this does detract a little from Mr Tim Ferris, the real Tim Ferris.

    Saying that, I really don’t feel too strongly about it and have enjoyed all your posts!

    Best wishes from sunny England! (yes, we have some sunshine today!).

    Jon :-)

    Like

  25. The twitter page gave it away.

    On the lose weight post, do you really take those supplements, or was that something your authors made up?

    Like

  26. wait..I forgot to ask…should I ignore any posts after March 30, 2007? Did you approve of any of their writings? I take your advice seriously so if it wasn’t you given the advice its almost a year of stuff I need to revise. Give me heads up thanks.

    Like

  27. Wow! I want to say I feel duped because of the personal responses that were made to me but the more I think about it the more impressed I am with this experiment.

    I thought something was a bit off but couldn’t place it. Did other bloggers that you hang out with know of this experiment before you let the cat out of the bag to your readers? Scoble, for instance? Hmm… He does post a lot ;)

    In any case, thank you Van & Roger for the great content. I will surely be fwd’ing this post to friends who enjoy your work as they will def get a kick out of this!

    TJ

    ps – Congrats on the 365-day milestone.

    Like

  28. Tim, thanks for another demonstration that your methods are actionable and really work.

    Topic suggestion: How about a few more gritty details on virtual companies? I’m sure you must have a whole bag of tricks. E.g., the easiest/cheapest way of maintaining the required physical presence for a company (P.O. Box not acceptable to banks, IRS, etc.)?

    On a philosophical note, now that you’re able to maintain a virtual presence, did you ever wonder what would happen if you got stuck on a deserted island; how long before anyone would notice, or if they ever would? This could be either exciting or scary depending on how you decide to view it?

    Like

  29. Wow, I’m just dumbstruck. So what you’re saying is that I rearranged my entire diet – <a href=”http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/”what I eat every day – based off of what Van and Roger were telling me to do?

    Well, it’s a great experiment, though of course it calls into question credibility. Now that we’re all aware, we’re skeptical. Of course, it’s proof of your recommendations in action… so it’s difficult to argue with.

    Like

  30. I knew that! It was apparent, that anyone educated in the USA can’t write posts like that. Good work, Vanhishikha! Nice April to you, folks! ;)

    Like

  31. Tim,

    Here’s my issue with this: I feel that I’ve gotten to know you throughout the past year on this blog. I thought I was getting an insight into your thoughts and life. I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and energy in reading and implementing these ideas. Compare it to two friends spending time together. You’ve built a lot of relationships on this blog. Now that I know they are not your ideas I feel tricked and have no idea who you truly are. I’ve been following your advice because I truly respect you, yet I’m a bit lost right now. This is how I feel right now and I apologize if it comes across hard. I feel your experiment took a turn away from “personal” to “impersonal”. Right now we need more human touch in todays world.

    I’d think to myself, “Wow, Tim is a great writer. I love his style and his amazing ability to explain things clearly. His comments are so well written, clever, and direct”. Now that I know none of that has been you for over a year drastically changes my opinion. I’d like to hear your response to this because it brings up some social issues. That’s one thing you do do (hehe), stir things up!

    Best,

    Aaron

    Like

  32. @ Jon
    I think you are missing the point completely! The “feelings, goals, and opinions of Tim Ferriss” or his passions if you will, are finding ways to create time for yourself while still having the lifestyle you want. Nobody here should be upset by his “experiment.” It was brilliantly played. It is his blog and he can do with it whatever he wants, and I personally can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

    Like

  33. Wait a minute. Now I’m kind of ticked. So the flying monkeys that your “little brother” got weren’t really experienced by you? Did you assistants do research on the best Christmas presents and write a fictional account of the monkeys? Do you have a little brother?

    At first I thought it was funny, but when I realize that I want YOUR advice, not some random writer’s advice. If I want to know how to taste wine I’ll look it up on a much more qualified site or ask a trusted friend. I was thinking you were a “trusted friend” who had some great insight on tasting wine. Now you aren’t anything more than an everyday magazine editior who assigns work.

    Like

  34. That’s awesome! I’m in the midst of listening to The Four Hour Work Week (audio book) and was wondering about the amount of time you spent on this blog.

    Enlightening indeed!

    Like

  35. What a tease! I should kick you! I hope any off line communication is from the real man. Good golly you can keep a secret! It does show how outsourcing really can be done with everything. You are unconventional and really a scientist at heart, as one can see when you took dating outsourcing. Really, I would rather hear the voice of The Real Tim Ferriss than other writers but this is what you do, you cheeky monkey!

    I write my blog as it is personal to me and could not think of someone writing for me unless I was dictating my life’s journey to someone else. Maybe I will do that to free up some time to have more experiences to blog about.

    At least when I do meet the man behind the team of outsourcers, I hope to speak and give a hug to the real Tim Ferriss not his Doppelganger(s)!

    Congrats to Van and Rodger for keep us obsessive peeps interested in the words of Tim Ferriss! Bravo!

    Hugs, Jen

    Like

  36. Seems this got posted under a different category thread… was intending Physical Performance.

    With regard to this one, I trust you reviewed everything and essentially hired virtual ghost writers to more cost effective express your views & interests… which is the point of outsourcing your life, eh?

    Like

  37. #1 – For those of you with the April Fools theory, is it not customary to initiate the prank ON April 1st? I invite you to double check your calendar today as mine says March 31. Plus, historically 4hww materials repeatedly include “experiments” but not “pranks”.

    #2 – Upon mention of the possibility that Tim didn’t write much of his book: If that were true it should be even more extreme proof that the concepts of his book can be effective. You can get jealous, feel condescending towards him, or copy him to leverage the efforts of others to achieve more success than you could as a single person.

    #3 – Ghostwriters have been used for hundreds of years. You’ve read many other books not written entirely by their authors. The only difference here is that Tim has TOLD you about it because that practice is part of the subject matter. If you were to copy Tim’s outsourcing for yourself, it would make sense to not spotlight that fact in the writing itself unless that revelation is part of the subject matter.

    #4 – Are you thinking outside the box yet? I am. Tim, as time progresses, your challenge will be how you can continually push the envelope. I’m sure you’re up for it.

    Like

  38. James Brausch (.org) outsources most of his posts and I assumed you did the same. His systems make sure all the posts reflect his teachings, though. Every thing that is posted is something he agrees with (even though he doesn’t moderate them). You didn’t mention that in your system.

    That said, it doesn’t bother me one bit. Good info is good info. I think others were caught idolizing “you.”

    Like

  39. Hi Tim,

    Point well proven regarding outsourcing.

    With that being said, I’m really disappointed. After reading the 4HWW nearly a year ago and taking to heart your ideas of joining the NR, I really have looked forward to each blog post from you. I’ll continue trying to come up with muses and test them as I have been been doing, but I’m not too sure about your blog.

    From a recent business college grad who really looks up to you, this is pretty disheartening.

    I recall a user comment about a month ago questioning whether or not you outsource your blog, and “you” replied something to the tune of, “I guess you just have to trust me.” Ouch.

    Question for you: were you really sick about a week ago and did your really try any of your anti-cold cocktails?

    As for your request; what would we like to see in posts from you over the next few weeks: how about some case studies of real people who have taken your advice from the 4HWW and joined the NR? I think that a few blog posts on the 4HWW subjects would really be welcomed by a lot of your readers (especially regarding muse creation/testing, as this is kind of the central point in creating a NR lifestyle).

    Thanks Tim,
    Robert M

    Like

  40. Well done, you’ve been cheating on your readers for a year. I’ve only been around for about two months, so I guess I’m only a short term lab rat. I kinda feel lucky!

    The thing is: does is worth? I mean, this is probable the last time I read your blog, I’ve already deleted your book from my Amazon wishlist and I’ll tell all my friends to do so.

    My suggestion to Van and Roger: guys, open a new blog and let us know!!!! Kind of we-are-tim-ferris.com ;) I’m sure you’ll get more than that miserable $15-20 for your work.

    Or maybe everything is fake and this is like “Ed TV” or another experiment about how people react to this and that.

    Who knows…

    Like

  41. Like others, I have mixed feelings….

    Artists, at least well known artists like Dale Chihuly often do this – outsource work to their assistants. The more than 100 “assistants” working in Chihuly’s glass studio are actually highly skilled creative artists themselves, and they are responsible for the creation and production of his work. Most people are shocked to learn this about his art making process.

    I like Van and Roger, definitely, but I agree with some of the other commenters. What does it mean for business when you’ve sold some version of yourself that you would, ultimately, be unable to replicate?

    I think this is a great idea for folks to try, but it needs to be transparent. Not only for the integrity of the product, but for the recognition of the people who put effort in to produce it. And that way, no seeds of doubt are planted about one’s own abilities versus the work of another.

    Like

  42. And how do we know who really wrote this blog post? Are we still on for Van and Roger or is this the real Tim. How will we ever know going forward exactly what we are getting?

    Like

  43. Good management & vision! It’s one thing to “train” someone or group & quite another to train them to have your eyes/ thoughts. In my mind, this is WONDERFUL – it’s how I would want my team to be – multiplying yourself & the benefit of the other person’s talents, BONUS!

    Way to go! Lili

    Like

  44. Hi Tim (Roger)!
    What I want to know is how do I hire you? :) I’ve scoured elance looking for the posting, but it’s done (natuarlly)! :)

    I love the style, the content is great and you’ve nailed the voice. Actually, now I wonder, is Tim naturally that concise and witty or is that you guys? No matter, you’ve branded him a dynamo, and his legions of fans will no doubt worship him even more. Myself included. :)

    If you’re looking to create another blog sensation, look me up. I’m willing!

    xoxo
    Adryenn Ashley

    Like

  45. Great timing for the UK launch.

    I would like to own up to ‘the grand comments illusion’ – all my comments are actually ghost written to a clear set of guidelines – the real me sits in all day doing the coco butter thing.

    Like

  46. I’m so mad at you Tim, playing with my emotions like this. I was wondering how the hell you could announce something onstage at SXSW over a year ago, and NOT ONE person blog / twit about it.

    Like

  47. This must be an April Fool’s joke, as it’s inconceivable that two outsourced people wrote some of the classic posts, such as the MMA and travel-related classics, which often contained videos.

    That and the writing style is too similar and laid back, yet informative to the book itself.

    Either way, congrats on the mindf*ck! :)

    Like

  48. To the Real Tim,

    I was just re-reading all the other comments and noticed that it was mostly the women who felt betrayed, lied to, or were upset. I know why. Roger and Van had a writing style that was likable and engaging, and I think many of your women fans were just a little bit in love with you.

    We all prayed at the alter of Tim Ferriss and tried to live the lifestyle that you preached, but I think that many wanted to be with you in your fantastic life, not create one of their own.

    I sense the smack of hurt feelings in some of the posts, like when you find out that your crush is really married, or gay, or worse, just not interested in YOU. They’ve invested a year of emotion and energy following your exploits, imagined every scene you describe (writing your blog in the car from the airport before crashing in bed) and then find out that their visions were not the real thing.

    I personally can’t wait to see if the real you stacks up the vision I have created. We live near enough and roam in similar circles so I’m sure I’ll find out one day. Until then, I’m looking forward to your next experiment.

    -Adryenn Ashley

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  49. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I love it! I too was feeling inspired and “had” at the same time. But man, I sure do love a good April fools joke. Good, good job. I said to my husband “that explains microwaving plastic”… but now I guess it doesn’t.

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  50. It all makes sense. :) Actually, I would have been pretty surprised if you had written everything. Never the less I loved the experiment and look forward to hearing about the others you are working on.

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  51. People are so funny. But now that I see how people feel about that little prank, I think it’s time to say:

    I am the real Tim Ferriss.

    I thought my ideas would sell better if they weren’t from a single mother of 2 teenagers, so I hired a hunky male model to make some videos and travel around a few hours a week as my lead character.

    I’m sorry if you feel it was deception–it’s just marketing 2.0, and it worked well in Beta through Second Life.

    ###

    LOL… my God that was funny! Deb, I almost accidentally headbutted the wall laughing on that one.

    Tim

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  52. Maybe this is a joke, but I did find myself musing…

    1.) He is a writer, but he writes poorly. (Example from the Lazarus Philosophy post: “people use get hung up on choosing the muse, when they would recognize that you always need to make important decisions on incomplete information.”

    I just chalked this up to Tim being busy and quickly stabbing out his responses.

    2.) He sure spends A LOT of time on his blog.

    I chalked this up to Tim being an egomaniac. :-p

    It’s funny how you make excuses in your mind for people you want to believe in.

    >”If you have any topic suggestions, please let me know in the comments.”

    Yes, real Tim. Please post about muses. See my request in the Lazarus Philosophy post.

    Well played, sir!

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  53. Also I felt like most of the time reading your blog, it was iterating a lot of the same “pseudo-productivity” blog post material around vs. something new and insightful like the original book.

    When’s the second edition coming out?!

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  54. While this appears to be a great practical joke by Mr. Tim Ferriss (the real one), I know of at least 2 people getting paid about $300/mo to ghostwrite daily blogs. Most of the content out there is horrible, amateurish, and pointless. If it’s good, it’s either written by a professional or is written by someone who will earn their rank as a professional.

    Amateur Web content is like American Idol. In the end, a couple of people will go on to be paid professionals, and the rest will go back home to work at McDonald’s.

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  55. I still don’t buy it!! It can’t possibly be that someone else wrote posts to your blog for a whole year. If it were me, I would not be able to keep myself from writing a post for an entire year, beside It’s not even April fool’s yet :)

    >”If you have any topic suggestions, please let me know in the comments.”
    1. Please post more about muses and multiple streams of income.
    2. Post about how to hack the tax code in your favor so the government doesn’t tax you an arm and a leg.

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  56. Note to the globe trotting, work from anywhere, mobility and lifestyle design guru: please coordinate future April Fool’s jokes to coincide with my specific time zone.

    Thank you.

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  57. HAAHHAA. My first April Fools joke that worked. I got to the end of the blog post and was ready to unbsubscribe on bloglines before it occurred to me.

    A good lesson: On Mar 31st or Apr 1st, be sure to finish the WHOLE cup of coffee before proceeding into the world/cyberworld.

    Good one. :p

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  58. To some of you: If you found out Tim Ferriss was actually an intelligent cat that could transcribe his thoughts by communicating with his paw, would you think any different of the information/inspiration/motivation you’ve gained from this blog?

    Good advice is good advice, and if it’s inspirational, it’s inspirational. If it’s driven (hopefully) many of you to be your best, have you really lost anything if this *wasn’t* an April fool’s day joke?

    I think some of these comments tell more about yourselves than it does about TF himself.

    I’m surprised.

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  59. LOL – I was actually thinking “wow, Tim’s got more man-crushes on him than he probably realizes, he really hurt some of their feelings!” ;)

    Good job, Tim!

    ~Marcie

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  60. Just read the Twitter…you’re good! This joke brings up some issues that I think the readers want you to comment on, like ghost-writing and being authentic on your blog. I want to know how you feel about it.

    Aaron

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  61. WOW Tim! Things were totally making sense as I read your post and then halfway down the comments. I felt duped but it totally made sense- how else would you live this active life and pursue so many things, all the while blogging as much as you do with such insightful and thorough posts. But now I’m glad to know this is just April fools. Even if you do continue to post occasionally, with additional help from Elancers or whatnot, I’m happy to know that at least some of the time I’m reading words from the REAL Tim Ferriss.

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  62. Happy Japanese April Fool’s Day!!!!

    Guys, I write all my posts, even the stupid ones. This one might qualify.

    Sorry for any confusion! ‘Twas just a joke!

    More to come soon — if you haven’t seen the newest post, please do! :)

    Tim

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  63. Interesting marketing strategy. Make fools of your customers (my copy of your book is in my Sony eReader, my wife’s in hardback).

    In full disclosure, yea, I was fooled. Even blogged about Tim’s creativity and tossed a link this way, so now all my blog readers know what a fool I am too. Luckily I was able to delete within minutes, but that’s too late for the RSS feed.

    Thanks, Tim. Thanks a million.

    ###

    Richard, I’m really sorry if I caused this trouble. I really just intended it as a simple joke, but the truth is that my other posts on outsourcing — as well as the “joke” post — do nothing but emphasize how practical it is to outsource certain aspects of life, whether writing or otherwise. In my case, I enjoy the blogging, but for others with a higher volume of writing, ghosting makes perfect sense. My “holy grail” post on e-mail is a perfect example of this — utilitarian writing delegated to the best person to handle it.

    I think that while this latest April Fool’s post was a simulation, it is not at all unreasonable to actualize in a business. In fact, it’s a hypothetical step-by-step. To that end, I don’t think pointing to it as a example was necessarily a bad thing. It could well work if done to the T. That said, I would probably respond the same way you did, and I’m very sorry for any problems I caused you.

    All the best,

    Tim

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  64. I don’t even know what to believe anymore. I think I’ll just hide tomorrow if pranks are already going down the day *before* the first.

    It was great to meet you at SXSWi. Thanks for signing my copy of 4HWW; all my friends are jealous. And I’m talking about the book so much, people want to borrow it but I don’t want to let it go (you’ll be glad to hear I’m making them buy their own damn copy). Cheers man!

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