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Challenging Consensus Opinions On Health, Retirement, Income, And More

20 January 2011 7 Comments

I’m reading Timothy Ferriss’ latest book, The Four Hour Body.  I don’t really have a special desire to read a book on health, nutrition or exercise, but I like Ferriss’ style and unique ideas on subjects.  I read his first book Four Hour Work Week and I liked it – not because I liked everything in it, but because I liked the way he challenged consensus views on a number of subjects like finances, retirement, careers, entrepreneurship, etc.  While lots of it might be irrelevant, it is interesting because it aims to challenge the ways we view things.  His new book does the same thing on the subject of health, nutrition, exercise, and other “body” topics.

Business books are notorious for being all the same.  How many different books on investing are there that basically say the same thing?  How many books on business say the same thing?  How many books on finance, etc.

Interestingly, one of the main points that Ferriss points out in his books is that most people fail at the consensus or popular approach to… almost anything.

In Four Hour Work Week, Ferriss pointed out that most people fail at retirement even though 99% of people that are planning for retirement do it all the same by putting away a little money each month.  For most of these people, the numbers won’t work out for them.

In Four Hour Body, Ferriss points out that most people fail at getting in shape, losing weight or whatever.  He challenges things like the calories in vs. calories out argument.  It’s very interesting even if you don’t really care about the topic (which I’m not that into either).

Challenging the consensus view on things is definitely one of the things I try to do frequently here on this blog.  When it comes to investing, I am not someone who’s going to tell you to passively invest your money in the market.  I have a healthy skepticism towards this strategy to where the primary beneficiaries are those on Wall St.

On the economy, I’m even more skeptical.  I listen to shows like CNBC and I almost throw up at the horrible questions the hosts ask guests.  For example, in a recent interview with a tech analyst on Steve Jobs taking medical leave, the best question they could come up with is if this is a great buying opportunity for Apple stock even though it is still well over $300 per share.  Good grief.

I don’t buy the economic recovery, because I work for a small business and I deal with small businesses every day.  Business is tough these days.  There’s a shrinking pie of business and companies are getting more cut-throat to get by on a daily basis.

When it comes to politics, 90% of the voting public is clueless about anything of substance regarding politics or the government.  90% of that remaining 10% knows only what their favorite news station tells them (either MSNBC or Fox News).  I reject all of that.  I say the left vs right thing is a huge distraction and both parties fail miserably at preserving our freedoms and doing what government was SUPPOSED to do.

I think it is healthy to be skeptical of things. However, that is only half the process.  Ferriss does a great job at being skeptical but not leaving it there.  He takes his skepticism and then takes action.

He studies, he works, he does experiments, he tries out new ideas and new theories.  This is what his latest book is about.  Real case studies and experiments that result in findings that either support or refute his skeptical ideas on consensus opinions.

I will work hard here on this website to continue working for new ideas and new theories related to your money.  My experiment over the years has mainly been around the idea of generating alternative income streams.  How many people do you know that generate an income from more than one source?  Probably none.  There’s the consensus.

I’ve demonstrated that an average Joe can build an online income stream of at least a thousand bucks a month or more.  I will continue to document this process and new ones that I work on here in the coming weeks, months and maybe even years.

Thanks for tuning in.


  • Brian Leigh said:

    "Business books are notorious for being all the same. How many different books on investing are there that basically say the same thing? How many books on business say the same thing? How many books on finance, etc."

    Does this go the same for personal finance blogs? Just trying to poke some fun.

    I agree with how most people have no idea that a little effort can go a long way over a long period of time. By working out 2 hours each week and watching my eating habits, I wa able to lose 15 lbs and drop my body fat by 5% in two months. Put this same method to your finances by spending two hours a week actively working on your personal finances and watching your spending habits. Just imagine what you could accomplish…

  • 20smoney said:

    It absolutely does go the same for personal finance blogs and I have said that probably at least 100 times.

    If you ever feel that I'm the same as the major of PF blogs, then you should definitely stop visiting this site.

  • Felix said:

    Kevin, you mentioned that you worked for a small business and you're seeing the effects first hand. However, I do want to raise the question whether your take on the entire economy is affected by this first hand experience. We know Florida is one of the hardest hit states, so that compounds the effect.

    I'm from the Toronto area, and we know the Canadian banks (and economy in general) did fairly well during the crash. I'm personally seeing a somewhat real economic rebound. I work for a public company (TO:ATA) and our customers are largely from the US, mostly public companies and when they come to us, they're spending anywhere from $500K to $40 million…in other words, major capital expenses. We're starting to see resumption of activity, which appears to point to some sort of recovery. I'm almost at the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of economic environment, compared to you…so I'm pretty sure I'm biased from what I see as well.

    In any case, initial jobless claims continue to fall, and that may paint a more accurate picture of the nation (US). What are your thoughts on that? Thanks!

  • Brad said:

    I would agree on the comment about all PF blogs being the same. (many even advocate writing your own as a side job…) However, I often try to read a couple for these very types of conversations in the comments section. This is the real value to me. Your point on the "4-hour body". I loved the "4 hour work week" and I am all for challenging the consensus myself, but most of the reviews I saw on Amazon pointed out his contradicting suggestions and advice. Did you ever find yourself questioning his tests and results? I am curious if you took action on anything he wrote.


  • JohnsonSmith said:

    There will always be different opinions for the people about all the things and bringing them to consensus is really difficult
    Payday Loan

  • drstevewalsh said:

    I recently read a great book business but I forgot the title :|(

  • Bob said:

    Thank you for this blog. That's all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something thats eye opening and important. You clearly know so much about the subject, youve covered so many bases. Great stuff from this part of the internet. Again, thank you for this blog.