How Tucker Max Got Rejected by Publishing and Still Hit #1 New York Times

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The infamous Tucker Max, self-proclaimed asshole. (Photo: Randy Stewart/blog.stewtopia.com)

Preface: I’ve debated doing this post for a long while. Today I bite the bullet. Part of my job is introducing you to valuable lessons and interesting people you might not find otherwise. “Interesting” takes many forms. Keep that in mind, and keep an open mind, as you read on.

I rolled over in bed to grab my cell phone. This time, I didn’t mind being woken up. The text message read:

“You hit the list. I $%&#ing said you would.”

Just after 9am PST meant the newest New York Times list had been received by publishing’s insiders. The insiders and one other person: Tucker Max.

He was the only person who, play-for-play, predicted how I would hit the printed list of the New York Times.

I first met Tucker in 2007 at a panel (he’ll explain), where he greeted me with “Who the fuck are you?” Usually, this is a conversation killer, but — instead — I answered him and we ended up drinking later. Why did I brush it off and make the effort? First of all, I expected him to respond like that. Second, Tucker is a veritable genius.

He made his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, a #1 New York Times bestseller with no outside support. Furthermore, a large proportion of the English-speaking world hates Tucker, which is reflected in media mentions and reader reviews. To wit…

“I find it truly appalling that there are people in the world like you. You are a disgusting, vile, repulsive, repugnant, foul creature. Because of you, I don’t believe in God anymore. No just God would allow someone like you to exist.”

But, then there’s the flip side: Tucker graduated summa cum laude from the University of Chicago and went to Duke Law School on an academic scholarship. He’s smart. Last but not least, though I’d think hard before inviting him to a dinner party, he is 100% honest to everyone and 100% loyal to his friends. I’ll take 1,000 Tuckers over the multitudes of false friends who walk on egg shells in polite company but pull out the claws when it serves their short-term interests.

This won’t be the last time you hear me say this about Tucker, so I’ll cut the preamble short.

This post is on book marketing and building an online following. There are many resources listed. The conduit for it all is a rude misogynist named Tucker Max, but don’t confuse the message with the messenger.

I’ll add notes in a few places, as well as an afterword. If you are easily offended, you should absolutely skip this post. I’m serious about this. If midgets, sex, the two together, or far worse will bother you, it’s a good idea to stop here. Hold off a week and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Otherwise, you’ve been forewarned, so no complaints in the comments if you choose to set foot in the Tuckerdome. If I lose you as a reader forever, it’s been very nice knowing you.

Enter Tucker Max.

Tucker Max

I first met Tim when he came to my SXSW presentation (about turning a blog into a book) to pick my brain about what had worked for me. I explained to him everything I did, and he loved the advice so much he bought me a coffee. Thanks, big spender.

[Tim: my very first encounter with Tucker is captured here on film. And, Tucker, you're most welcome.]

We stayed in touch, and Tim called me up the other day and asked me to write a post for his blog that would outline to his readers all the things I explained to him years ago at SXSW. I told Tim that there was no need for a long post; in fact, my success could be explained in a Tweet: “Because Tucker is really fucking awesome.”

Tim politely laughed, took a deep breath, and explained to me–in the least ego-crushing way possible–that that would make a crappy blog post. He asked me to dissect and analyze what I did, and then write about it in a way his readers could utilize for their own writing.

I still think my awesomeness plays the key role in my success, but since my second book (Assholes Finish First) is coming out and I like lots of people to know this fact, I agreed to do this post.

Why I’m Qualified to Write This Post:

Tim told me to start with some background, so readers could understand the basis of my expertise. I told Tim that if they didn’t already know who I was, they were beyond my help. He was silent until I agreed to lay out my qualifications:

-Early 2002: Tried to get my book, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, published. Sent the core stories from the book to every publisher, literary agent, magazine and newspaper in the country. At least 500 query letters, maybe closer to 1000. I was rejected by 100% of them. Literally every single one, without exception.

-Late 2002: With no other option, I learned HTML and put my stories up on a website, TuckerMax.com.

-May 2003: The site’s popularity exploded (on the internet), and the publishers came back to me, asking to publish my book.

-January 2006: Book came out, got zero media coverage and zero advertising support, but still hit the NY Times Bestseller List immediately because of the support of the fan base I’d cultivated through my website.

-October 2009: Reached #1 on the list, more than three years after it came out.

-Current day: Been on NY Times Best Seller List every year since it came out, over 180 weeks total, and currently in its 150th consecutive week. Sold over 1.5 million copies (and counting), and translated into 15 languages.

Now you know how fancy and important I am, so on to the marketing secrets:

1. Give your content away for free, and keep it free:

I started doing this in 2002, long before the word “freemium” existed. Granted, I stumbled onto this idea by accident and had no idea what I was doing, but what I learned quickly was that giving content away works really well. It allows you to find an audience at no cost to you, and allows huge numbers of people to test your material out for no cost to them. Everyone wins.

This does NOT mean you should never make money from your content. Of course you should. If you are providing value to people, you should be able to capture some of that value back. But how will anyone know they want to buy your book or magazine or whatever until they have tried it and liked it? Not only that, but giving things away for free doesn’t indelibly stain them with worthlessness forever. Take my midget story for example; it was originally put up for free on my site, and is still there. Then published by Hustler, for which they paid handsomely. Then it was sold as part of a screenplay. And now, it’s part of my new book.

And here’s the thing about free: It’s not a short term strategy. I’ve kept some of my best stuff on my website for free going on 8 years now. That’s the coolest thing about having a bulwark of good free material out there: it passively gives people an easy and permanent way to be introduced to you and your writing. Plainly put, free is the best kind of marketing: constant, cheap, effective, and meaningful to the user.

Here are my four best free stories up on my site, the ones that have led to tens of thousands of people to buy my book [WARNING: My writing is not for everyone. I curse a lot, I am graphic in my thoughts and descriptions, and I drink to excess and just generally write about all the stupid, assholish stuff I do. You have been warned]:

1.The Famous Sushi Pants Story
3.
The Midget Story
2. The Hockey Story
4. The Austin Road Trip

[Tim: This list was actually five items long, but I couldn't bring myself to include one of them. If you want the missing link, look for "Hilarity Does Not Ensue" in "The Stories" section on his site. You will lose a piece of your soul if you read it. Then again, if you want to see a post with 2,200+ Facebook likes, march onward.]

2. Make your content easily shareable:

This ties into free, but is not exactly the same thing. If you stand on a street corner handing out free books, that’s great, but even if people love them, it’s highly inefficient to share a hard copy with someone else. The beauty of digital media is that additional copies (after the first) have a zero transaction cost. This means people who like your content can easily share it with lots of other people, promoting your free content for you, especially when you make the sharing process effortless for them.

There’s millions of ways to do this, and the specific ones you want to pick will vary depending on your content. For example, one thing I did was format my stories so that they could easily be printed out and taken somewhere else to read. This worked wonders; apparently a ton of people who worked in offices couldn’t just read my stuff on the screen, but could easily print it out to read later, and hand those print out to their friends. [This is basically what newspapers do, with their “Print” button that takes you to a plain text screen with just the story, formatted to print on 8x11 paper.]

There are so many other ways to make sharing easy; free ebooks, links to social media sites, etc. Shit, you can just look at my site, or even better, copy Tim’s blog, he does everything but click the mouse for you to make it easy for you to share his content. Check out these resources on where you can get started:

* Facebook plugins (e.g. “Like” buttons, Recommendations, “Facepile”) that you can add to your site.
* Twitter widgets, including the “Tweet” button.
* Embeddable “share this” button that allows easy sharing across multiple channels (email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
* Delicious bookmarking badges.

3. Promote your content in places that make sense, but DO NOT spam:

I remember at the SXSW panel that Tim came and saw, when I talked about how early on I submitted my website to places like CollegeHumor and Fark and other “link dump” sites, people actually hissed at me. They tried to shame me for promoting my writing to places that ASK PEOPLE TO SUBMIT LINKS!

There is this notion that some people have that artists must toil in obscurity and never search for an audience, but wait to be discovered. Fuck that. A creator’s job is not just to make something useful; it’s also to get it to people who can use it. And if you are a writer, you’d better understand that you’re competing for attention with so much other media, you can’t afford to just sit on your ass and pray. Actively put your material in front of as many people as you can who you think will like it.

But that’s the key phrase so many people miss when making their promotional efforts, “who will like it.” I didn’t promote my writing to fundamentalist Christian sites or Mommy blogs, because it doesn’t make sense. Spam is just promoting something to someone who has no interest in it. But people love finding new things that interest them, so go out and find audiences who might like your stuff and the places where they congregate. Then interact with them not as a huckster, but in a way that potentially benefits you both: You find the audience, they find new entertainment (or information, or whatever value your writing provides).

The top 5 sites that worked for me when promoting my website (this was 2002-2004, remember):

1. GorillaMask.net
2. Fark.com [Tim: this was true for me as well]
3. BoredAtWork.com
4. Stileproject.com (NOT suitable for work)
5. CollegeHumor.com

4. Build relationships with people who can help you, and vice versa:

This is something I’ve never been big on. Mainly because my style of writing doesn’t lend itself to this strategy, and, of course, I hate most people. But it is a strategy that can work for a lot of people, and Tim did this amazingly well prior to the release of his book.

Basically what he did was go to every conference and meet-up he could in the year or so before his book came out, made it a point to meet and befriend everyone who had an online audience that he thought might like his book–diverse groups, ranging from people like Robert Scoble to me–gave them all copies of his book, established relationships with them, and learned everything he could from them. Then when his book came out, he had all their knowledge at his disposal, and had hundreds of very influential friends who were willing to talk about it to their specific audiences, both because they thought their audience would like it, and because they liked Tim as a person.

I know a lot of you people are thinking about how you can do this online, like through email or something. That misses the point. The brilliance of Tim’s strategy was that he met these people FACE-TO-FACE and created real human bonds with them. It was something no one was doing at the time, and he did it very well.

[Tim: How did I go from Tucker's "Who the fuck are you?" to drinking with him an hour later and having lunch with him the following day? Out of 40 people lined up, why did I make the cut? Simple: I made an educated guess and used language to reflect it. Here's how it happened: I noticed Tucker had a big neck when he walked up to the panel seats. I therefore guessed he either 1) had trained in jiu-jitsu or wrestling, or 2) was a former football player who at least watched UFC. In response to "Who the fuck are you?" I answered "My name is Tim Ferriss. I'm writing my first book for Random House and used to compete as a fighter." That was the lure. Tucker responded: "What, MMA?" Bingo. "I competed mostly in wrestling and kickboxing, but I train at AKA in San Jose with Dave Camarillo. Swick, John Fitch, and a bunch of the UFC pros train there." A few minutes later, Tucker grabbed me to go drinking. Once again, it pays to know your audience, and being different is often more effective than being better.]

5. Engage your fans, but only in the ways that are authentic and provide value:

It’s quite the vogue for self-proclaimed social media experts to breathlessly inform companies they HAVE to blog and be on Facebook and be on Twitter and manage communities and all that.

Bullshit. When people ask me what social media tools they should use to promote their writing, I ask them a question in return, “Which ones do you like using? Which ones do other people like reading?” Then they look at me as if they never even considered that angle. That’s the thing that’s cool about the internet: You get to define how you interact with people, and you can pick and choose the tools and mediums that work best for you. Instead of using everything just because, you’re better off picking only the things you like, will engage in a meaningful way, and use to provide value to your readers. Ignore the rest.

I use my personal website, TuckerMax.com, I use Facebook (personal profile and fan page), and Twitter. That’s pretty much it. No LinkedIn, no YouTube, none of the myriad other ways to engage people online.

But here’s the thing: I enjoy using those sites.

I am on them a lot, and I manage them in such a way as to bring value to the people who follow me on them. Go look at my Twitter feed–there is nothing on there about what I had for breakfast or what my favorite color is. Pretty much every tweet is either informative or funny–i.e., they are entertaining, which is the added value my fans expect. Same with Facebook; it’s information about things my fans care about, or me bantering with people (and yes, that’s actually me writing everything on there, my assistant doesn’t do it. You can’t outsource funny).

6. Find the fulcrum of attention for your specific content:

When I decided to pursue writing as a career, it never occurred to me that people would find my subject matter to be controversial or incendiary. I thought they’d find it funny and entertaining, maybe a bit outlandish, but that’s it; after all, this was the same stuff all my friends were doing; I was just the dude who wrote it down.

Well, that’s not the way it played out. I have become an extremely polarizing, controversial figure in media. But instead of running from this, or trying to redirect it, I decided to embrace it. There are even times I played it up to some extent. Why would I do this? Why would I court negative attention in a way that most people try so hard to avoid?

Because it made sense with who I was as a person and a writer, and quite frankly, this was the pretty much the only avenue through which I was going to get mainstream attention, so I took it. Without that negative attention, there would be zero attention, and in a digital media world, attention is the main scarcity you are fighting for.

Now, I would NOT recommend my specific path for most people, simply because it doesn’t make sense for them. If you’re writing about knitting, courting negative attention is a ridiculous strategy. But what might make sense for knitting would be a strategy to write about or engage the topic in a new or novel way, something that the knitting world has never seen (I have no clue what that would be).

The general lesson is that you need to find the fulcrum of attention for your specific writing, and then use it to leverage yourself attention that you can turn into new readers. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask yourself, “What is interesting or engaging about my writing to other people? What about my writing are people responding to? How can I use that to get more attention?”

7. Permission marketing:

This is a phrase invented by Seth Godin (the god of 21st century marketing, I recommend you read his books and blog), but what it basically means is that you don’t carpet-bomb everyone with your ads; you actually ask your fans for permission to tell them about the things you are doing. The most obvious permission marketing tool is an email list, and I use one. I think I have about 100,000 subscribers to mine, and it works great, because I only send out something like two emails a year, and they are always highly relevant. I use my Facebook fan pages in the same way; people “like” them in order to get info about me and things I am doing, and I only post when it’s highly relevant. This is a pretty simple but powerful concept, and you can read more about it from Seth here.

And here are five of my favorite posts about either permission marketing, or similar tactics being discussed here:

Secrets of the Biggest Selling Launch Ever
1,000 True Fans [Tim: If you only read one article on marketing in your life, this is my pick.]
A User’s Guide to 21st Century Economics
So What’s All This New Marketing Stuff, Anyway?
Earning Your Media

8. Word of mouth is key:

Have you begun to see a pattern in the way I marketed my book and writing? If not, I’ll spell it out clearly: WORD OF MOUTH.

Every single piece of advice above is essentially a different way to create and facilitate word of mouth. Why that strategy? Because it’s the one that works best. Have you noticed I haven’t written one word about book reviews or magazine interviews or radio or any of that bullshit? Because for the most part, I’ve found that they don’t really matter. I can tell you from very extensive experience that my book has done so well ONLY because people who read it recommended it to other people, and they went out and bought it. Word of mouth. Nothing else.

But here’s the thing: Lasting, real word of mouth can only come from one source: Creating value.

And thus leads us to the reversal…

9. Everything you just read about effective marketing doesn’t matter…unless you have content that people like.

Everything I wrote is true, and will work, and is relatively easy to do. But Tim has written about it before, Seth Godin has written about it, Jeff Jarvis has, Gary Vaynerchuk has, etc. It’s well known, at least to people who care about this stuff. But smart marketing only explains about 10% of my success. The most important point, the thing that trumps all the rest, is this:

CREATE AMAZING AND COMPELLING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE LOVE AND VALUE. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, flows from that central principle.

That’s the thing; there is no secret to being a successful writer. We all know what it takes: You have to write something lots of other people want to read. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it is obvious, but it’s also difficult to do. And there definitely isn’t a shortcut. It is HARD to create compelling content. It takes work, passion, creativity, and determination.

Take someone like Maddox, whose book The Alphabet of Manliness spent four months on the best seller list. He maybe does two things I talk about above–he gives his content away and uses an email list. His best marketing is just writing another post. Or Paul Graham. He doesn’t even have an RSS feed in his blog, but people created one to get his essays, because they are that good.

People like to focus on all this other stuff for a simple reason: it’s easy to do. And probably because they assume that their writing is already great, but that no one is reading it because of some secret that they don’t know yet.

Nope, sorry.

If you’ve done most everything above and still no one is reading your stuff, you need to go back and look at it. Ask yourself an honest question: Is your writing providing value to other people? If yes, you’ll find success in using the marketing tips I gave you. If no, you won’t. Plain and simple.

What I’m Doing To Promote My Second Book

I know I’m going to sound glib, but it’s truth: I’m not really doing much of anything to promote my second book. No big press push, no huge book reviews, no major TV appearances, no magazine cover profiles, none of that crap.

What I am doing is everything I discussed above. My site is still up, still with all the free stories that have always been there and I still use my Twitter, my Facebook fan pages, and my email list to promote to my fans. I will be doing a 33-city book tour, but again, that’s only being promoted through my permission assets. I am doing a little bit of local press for some of the book tour stops, but only because my publisher insisted on it; no “major” media stuff really at all.

Why not? I don’t need it. That’s a game you have to play only if you haven’t already created a loyal fan base by doing all the things I talk about above that that create value for your fans.

—-

Afterword

To second Tucker’s conclusion: good marketing can grab readers, but good content is what keeps readers.

How is it possible that Tucker has become so popular? There are many contributing factors, but I believe one of the largest is overlooked: he has a clear voice. Good writing does not mean becoming a grammarian or using big words. It means telling stories worth telling (in Tucker’s case) or sharing lessons worth learning (in my case), and doing it with a compelling and consistent voice. Tucker wrote many of his best stories while pretending to write an email to his closest friends. He knew that if he drifted or postured as a “writer” for even one paragraph, they’d hit delete and move on. It was this believable (and authentic) intimacy that hooked people.

The first four chapters I wrote of The 4-Hour Workweek went straight into the garbage. I started off writing like a Princeton-trained pompous ass, which I, of course, was. Huge vocab for no reason, and semicolons galore. Scrapped. Then, I swung too far in the opposite direction and wrote a few chapters like Three Stooges slapstick. It was breezy, which is different from casual, without being particularly funny. Into the recycling bin it went.

Then it was nervous breakdown time. After all, I’d already sold the book and was contractually obligated to write it. Before having a complete implosion, I took a deep breath and tried an experiment. Rather than writing for my “audience,” I wrote as if I were writing an e-mail to two close friends, one trapped in investment banking and the other trapped in his own start-up. That marked the turning point.

To be a best-writing author, you don’t need to win a Pulitzer. You need to have experiences that make good stories, and you need to be yourself on paper. It’s that simple and that hard.

To be a best-selling author, you need to take being a “best-writing” author (as I’ve defined it) seriously.

The “marketing” is then finding people who most resemble the friends you wrote for in the first place. Get specific enough so that this “audience” comprises no more than 2,000,000 people nationwide. Next, find the few curators for this niche audience, much like the bloggers I met at SXSW, and only talk about your book content if you’d be willing to bet $1,000 on “fit”. Fit = they’d definitely read a specific recommended chapter in the subsequent 24 hours. Anything less is, in my opinion, just in-person spamming.

Know thy audience.

###

Tucker’s second book, Assholes Finish First, is now out in stores. If you want to laugh outloud and hate yourself for doing it, this might be your poison of choice.

Related and Recommended:
How Authors Really Make Money: The Rebirth of Seth Godin and Death of Traditional Publishing

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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)

203 comments on “How Tucker Max Got Rejected by Publishing and Still Hit #1 New York Times

  1. Tim:

    Read your blog for over a year. I must say the quality of the commenting has gone down quite a bit. Average words per comments seem up massively vs. 6 months ago (not in value-added ways, rather, in rambling soapbox-esque ways) and the “off topic” posting is really, really bad.

    There’s no consequence for a low or negative value comment.

    Your reader comments were always a quality that put you in the top 3% of bloggers, but I feel it’s sliding hard.

    Do you agree, and would you give thought to comment voting or heavier moderation?

  2. Tucker, what the hell? You wrote the timeline in a way that seems that you had put up the website as a way of promoting your stories. Your website became notorious because of the date application thing, and only after that you started posting your funny emails.

  3. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Tucker’s stories – although it was years ago that I visited his website, its fair to say I’ve been a “fan.”

    I thought it was a bit deceptive and dishonest to intentionally omit the several epic failures in Tucker’s time line specifically related to marketing, both directly correlated to publishing. He started ‘Rudius Media’ as a self-proclaimed next generation publishing / content company, which of course failed and quietly folded. The idea as I recall it was to create a new platform based on a similar premise to what is outlined here, turning a blog into profit by licensing content for publishing or film etc. It didn’t work. Some of the talented blog’s on his platform still exist on their own, and at least one of the dozen or so I can think of did get a publishing deal (Philalawyer.net) albeit after Rudius. A failed publishing / content startup is nothing to be ashamed of, but its dishonest to pretend it didn’t occur.

    The second epic failure of course is well documented online – the best selling book ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell’ became one of the worst received films of the year. It grossed something like $1 million back on a budget that was multiples of the return, and this was based off of Tucker being the driving force behind everything related to the film. I remember Tucker’s blame-game posts after the film with some Monday morning quarterback routines, but right up until the giant flop of public release he was claiming it could do 50 million+ etc.

    Again I don’t take any credit away from someone who was able to write, produce and find financing for their film concept based on a book that sold well, but it seems really odd and dishonest to pretend it never occurred. It felt like the elephant in the room when I read this post.

    Tucker its OK to discuss the things that didn’t work, in fact it helps your credibility, especially for a guy that totes brutal honestly and fan loyalty. Tim, well, I expected better.

  4. Tim,
    Here is the interview Tucker Max had with Opie and Anthony that you were asking about.

    Tucker Max is clearly a liar. It is very disappointing to see you associate with him.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for this and the comment. I’d actually seen this one, as Tucker sent me a link a while back. Here’s my take:

      1) I can’t verify the truthfulness of Tucker’s stories, but
      2) People accuse me of similar lying due to lack of tapes for some things (like the kickboxing, even though I have posted clips on YouTube, etc.), and
      3) This video proves he doesn’t have a tape, but I’m not sure it proves he’s lying about it.

      All that said, might it be untruthful? Sure. I have no way of telling. But, in my dealing with Tucker, he’s been nothing but a straight shooter. I can’t speak beyond that.

      Thanks again for the comment and link,

      Tim

      Thank

  5. Tim,
    Thanks for replying. I have never thought you were lying but have always thought Tucker Max is lying. So many of his stories are so obviously fabricated or exaggerated it is shocking to me that anyone could believe they are authentic.
    You wrote that you don’t condone Tucker’s behavior and you don’t know if he is telling the truth or not. If those two statements are true I really don’t understand why you would want to be friends with him and post articles about him on your blog.
    I understand where you are coming from when you say that you can learn from anyone no matter who they are but I think associating with a guy like Tucker hurts your image. It has definitely made me look at you differently.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks again for the comment, and I’m sorry to hear that. I’m just doing my best to share what works, and sometimes the messenger doesn’t agree with the audience. I understand why you’d feel that way.

      Best,

      Tim

  6. @Steve:
    I’ve never had the impression Tucker was trying to cover up his failures. I’m not sure why you feel that way. As you just said in your own comment, he acknowledged the film didn’t do the numbers he hoped. In fact, here’s an interview where he discusses where things went wrong: http://www.askmen.com/celebs/interview_300/365_tucker-max-interview.html So how is he being dishonest and pretending it didn’t happen?

    I thought the point of Tucker’s post was to discuss marketing a blog and how it can turn into a springboard for other opportunities, such as book deals and movies, and I think it accomplished that.

  7. I recently published a small book and had no idea how to promote it. This post is great, I’ll have to check out Tucker Max… Never heard of him.

    Thanks for the post

  8. “If Tim Ferriss and Tucker Max had a love child… this would be it…”

    That could be the title of a book I’m writing.

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time (first post) and have enjoyed the content. I’ve been developing muse’s for the past few years, but I’m a perfectionist… blessing and a curse.

    Anyway, I think this article is interesting because I’m writing a book that relates the sales (the Tim Ferriss side) to the first sale that every boy makes… the sale of his virginity (the Tucker Max side). The awkwardness makes for a good laugh.

    “A girl on the rebound is no different than letting a fox in the hen house… it’s going to go after every “cock” (rooster, that is) in sight…”

    You’re an inspiration…

  9. “To be a best-writing author, you don’t need to win a Pulitzer. You need to have experiences that make good stories, and you need to be yourself on paper. It’s that simple and that hard.”

    I don’t have a good story to tell… :(

    My life is so damn senseless and useless, sometimes I think, in an attempt to comfort myself: if my life is a joke, I’ll make it the most laughable possible. Maybe that is the turning point to write about it?

    • I think a ton more people can relate to you than to those with fabulous lifestyles.

      Maybe you can conduct life experiments in an attempt to turn your self-proclaimed “useless” life around so other people can follow suit and turn their own boring lives around =)

      Doesn’t matter if you see your glass as half-empty or half-full. Just drink it! Just my 2-Baht (Thai money). Good luck!

  10. It’s been quite a while since I posted my comment and I’m still interested in how you would answer my questions, Tim.

    ..and I’m wondering if you have enough courage to answer.

    Questions:

    The question would be, if you would have a sister (do you have a sister? I don’t know. I guess I’m not a proper raving fan :D ), and Tucker would have sex with her and write about it and call her a whore, would you be okay with that and still be friends with him? What about any other female you care about?

    Because if you wouldn’t be okay with that, and you wouldn’t promote him on your blog after that, well.. What is the difference between the girl who you love and some random girl, when you think about it?

    Because if it’s not acceptable with people you care about, why would it be acceptable with people you don’t even know?

    ..I do hope that you can answer questions like this, so thank you for your answers!

    • Agota,
      First, forgive me, I’ve been sick the past day and have been altogether miserable but the phrasing of your comment struck a chord as I’ve had this happen all too often on my blog.

      So I ask you this, why must women, or in this case, you, always challenge how a man chooses to live his life and make decisions. Almost as if you know how HE can be a real man? And I’m referring to your specific comment “..and I’m wondering if you have enough courage to answer.” The implications being that if he does not answer, that he is a coward. Yet if he DOES answer, he is stooping to your level. Sounds like a lose/lose situation for him.

      Tim is one man. Tucker is another. Despite WHAT you think about Tucker’s content, Tim is not in any way endorsing his actions. He IS allowing Tucker to discuss the marketing tactics that he [Tucker] used to turn his blog, into a book, which later became a movie. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect that he was able to do these things on his own and for lack of a better term, is a self-made man. For everyone out there who blogs, Tucker’s story is a success. Plain and simple.

      What have YOU done?

      People go to Tiger Woods to learn how to play GOLF, not to seek marriage advice, why don’t people focus on what he KNOWS how to do. It would be one thing if Tim deferred to Tucker for “How to Pick Up Women” but he’s not. Focus on the message, not the messenger.

      Feel free to contact me personally at my e-mail address: ethanbishop@unbreakablemanlaws.com if you have enough courage to do so.

      End of rant.

  11. Whether or not Tucker is telling the truth is almost not important. He’s a brilliant marketer, and an excellent storyteller – if you can handle the profanity and self-love.

    I ran into Tucker’s site several years ago and laughed my way through all of his stories. I appreciate his spirit and think it cool that you give him props here!

    Cheers Tim.

  12. The word God says,’ In the last days, there will be difficult times and people will be proud of what they should be ashamed of because their god is their bodily desires.’And this appears be to Tucker’s portion as far his immoral stories are concerned..I have no problems with his marketing ideas but some of writings are verging dangerous’moral insanity’.

    • Steve, I have had a few such comments, like yours here, for my work and website. How do you know that Hell is not a Heaven for sinners? You have a biased vision and point of view! Yes there is evil in the world but laughter will always be the best medicine. If one cannot laugh at himself or others, what are we here for? The stink of negativity never goes far!

  13. Love it. I hadn’t heard of this guy until you started writing and talking about him.

    This explains the world most people don’t believe is out there.. the real one.

    Awesome post,

    RC

  14. Boy was I wrong about Tim Ferriss. I guess I was one of the first to check out his book, that was when I heard Tim on live web broadcast. It was right before The Four Hour Work Week went off. I did as many men before me. I had a closed, critical mindset to the way he wrote!

    Especially hard, when it was about a book and a man I didn’t know anything about, he was totally green. I went on to read the first chapters from the book, as they were free. I thought they had no meat on “how to do” all those things. Just imaginary pictures he painted in my mind. No A-B-C.

    Later I visited his blog, and I thought that it was an okay blog. Nothing else.

    Then, just reasontly, I decided to take a trip back to this blog, now years later… He has grown with cult like followers! What his book seems to do best: Inspire people.

    Now when I read about Tucker Max I went, No WAY! That’s when I remembered why I detested Tim years ago, He seemed too polished. But now I understand that Tim is buddy with a man far extremer than myself. That is, when it comes to being an complete cocky, loud mouthed Assh*le.

    Good to see that swear words are part of Tim’s life. Becayse that’s my type of people.

    Tim. I have just become a lifetime fan of yours, and I’m going to buy your four hour work week book, and I could need a new body too. Thanks.

  15. I LOVE Tim Ferriss because he’s honest. Maybe I even love “I-love-to-fuck-midgets” tuckermax.

    It’s very refreshing to have these dudes out there producing stuff and talking about it. As a kid I loved Dan Millman and such, but when I learned that they all made up their stories – BUT pretended them to be true, my love faded and I stopped buying their bible-rewrites.

    Keep it up Tim, honesty goes a long way!

  16. Haaha this dude is my hero! I watched the movie first then had to get the book. Can you believe this guy?
    Tim thanks for the 4hour work week it helped a lot in life. You are the man, even a bigger man because you know tucker !

  17. This article has hit a home run for me. I can totally agree on Tucker’s word of mouth advice, as this is how I was convinced to buy his first book. I was travelling across country for work and my Driller told me it was not an option to not buy it and that I would not complain. It took me two days on the Drill to read it and it was passed around to just about every person on the job site.

    I found myself in a position, I laughed so hard because I was just like him. In an inspirational way, I started to write down some of my own adventures. I kept at it day after day for two weeks and ended up writing around 16,000 words. In no way did I think I would write that much material or even have enough to continue on to write over 60,000 words. I am also in no way trying to copy Tucker’s work or style, I am just trying to be true to my life experiences and how I convey them on paper.

    I was pleased to stumble onto this blog as I have been having the same issues with either finding an agent for my book or ways to market it. I recently created a website for my material with a catchy domain. The stats are looking good but what would really work is the FREE approach. You have given me the tools to take my head out of my butt and think about the people who would read my stuff rather than myself and making a buck. Thanks Tim for sharing your advice in a not so selfish way when the world seems to be demanding the opposite, and thanks Tucker for pioneering a new genre that is part of our culture in the first place and not to be frowned on….

  18. Hate him or love him, the dudes brilliant. I was working for Disney at the time and overheard somebody talking about Tucker’s book. I purchased it and was shocked with the content that was inside. After reading it in a week, I made sure all my co-workers knew who Tucker Max was. Since then, I have been a fan and an avid follower. Although he is an ass, He owns it and doesn’t care what anybody says. Great post!

  19. This is the correct weblog for anyone who needs to find out about this topic. You notice a lot its virtually exhausting to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  20. Tim, in the afterword you are discussing good clear writing, and write: “Then, I swung to far in the opposite direction”. You’ll see the mistake when you re-read that.

    One of the disadvantages of the internet publishing age we live in in the absence of sub-editing, which is presumably cost-prohibitive in the modern media landscape. I see schoolboy errors all the time in articles on the websites of reputable newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.

    I’d be interested to know what process you follow in self-proofreading your posts (which are mainly error free).

    By the way, I enjoyed and appreciate the insights from both you and TC in this piece.

  21. Hi Tim,

    I have been reading allot of your stuff lately although I’ve been a fan for quite a while. This is actually a great post because most people believe you cannot be yourself if you want to become successful. They believe you have to be fake or be liked to succeed. Tucker proves that you don’t. You do need a good story and an audience but not much else.

    Good post. Keep it coming!