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Posts Tagged ‘Gawker’

Penelope Trunk vs. Tim Ferriss

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

There’s an incredibly readable feature story in the Sunday Styles section of today’s New York Times–I highly recommend giving it a read–about self-improvement author Tim Ferriss, who was apparently a popular guest at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. Ferriss was in Austin to promote his new book, The 4-Hour Body, which is a textbook-like manual that purports to teach its readers how to become “superhuman”–or as Ferriss himself might say, how to hack the human body.

Interestingly enough, even though I have the Sunday New York Times delivered to my front door each weekend, I found out about this particular story through a Gawker post, which essentially made the argument that Ferriss is a self-obsessed asshole because of the unusual way he handles his personal email. There’s no doubt that Ferriss has a huge number of very fervent fans, but he has also managed to inspire a good number of serious haters over the past few years, and apparently Penelope Trunk, a popular work-culture writer who I happen to be a fan of, has been one of them for quite some time.

Here’s a recent blog post written by Trunk entitled, “5 Time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss”. One of the many reasons Trunk gives for “hating” Ferriss has to do with a meeting that took place between the two at a South by Southwest conference in 2007, in fact. At the time, Ferriss was aggressively marketing his first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, to influential bloggers. Apparently, Trunk feels as if she was tricked into having a coffee date with Ferriss, who wanted a chance to pitch his book to the sort of blogger who might be able to introduce it a wider audience. Read Trunk’s post, here, for the full story.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Ferriss recently put together an incredibly useful blog post about the ins and outs of dealing with haters, and if you happen to be a public personality of any sort, or if you happen to be especially successful in your chosen field, I seriously recommend reading it. One of very best points Ferriss makes in the post, as far as I’m concerned, begins with a quote from the sports agent Scott Boras, who said that, “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” If that’s a quote you can personally relate to, take the time to check out both of the posts I’ve linked to below.

Do you have any especially useful techniques–psychological or otherwise–when it comes to dealing with unnecessarily harsh critics? If so, please post them in the comments section.

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Unbelievable book deals for lucky bloggers

April 17, 2008 1 comment

Not even a month before this week’s all Thomas Kohnstamm news, all the time, it seems the blogosphere was exploding with book news of a much more positive sort. I’ve only discovered this recently, but apparently two hugely popular blogs, Stuff White People Like and I Can Has Cheezburger, have both landed book deals with beyond-ridiculous advances. In the print media universe. Get this: On March 20, The New York Observer reported that the “Stuff White People Like” book was sold to Random House for at least $350,000. 

For those of you who don’t work in the media or publishing industries, you’ll simply have to take my word for it: This is an incredibly high advance. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that the book will be based on a blog that is currently less than three months old! Initially, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe this was nothing more than a well-executed media prank. And yet here’s a thoroughly-reported New York Times story about both deals. Here’s an interesting quote from that story:

Blog books are far from a sure thing at the cash register. Gawker.com spawner the book, “The Gawker Guide to Conquering All Media,” which has sold fewer than 1,000 copies since its release in October 2007. A book based on a popular Web site focused on fashion disasters has sold 2,000 copies in its first seven weeks of release, according to Nielsen BookScan.

According to Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly, Random House will need to sell approximately 75,000 copies of the “Stuff White People Like” book, just to earn back it’s advance. And here’s another interesting point from the story: Media wunderkind Kurt Andersen is apparently involved with the project on some level, and may have been somewhat instrumental in securing the deal in the first place. What was it about the site, you might wonder, that impressed Andersen so much? Ambitious bloggers, take note:

Mr. Andersen said what impressed him about White People’s prospects as a book is that it was already sort of unbloglike. The site is not chockablock with links to other material, but with what amounts to a series of daily essays. “It’s more like a book he’s putting out serially on the Web,” Mr. Andersen said. [New York Times, link]

The Return of the Labor Party

February 20, 2008 Leave a comment

homeowner-mouse-is-home.jpgWell what in the hell do you know? The Labor Party is officially back in action. How nice. My sincerest apologies for the recent lack of posts, by the way; I’ve been busy with a seriously extreme load of never-ending labor myself lately, and so unfortunately, fun projects that for whatever reason don’t result in actual cash-money have been pushed, every so slightly, onto the back burner. But never mind all that: We’re posting again, we’re keeping strict tabs on the wild, wild world of unusual entrepreneurship, and all is therefore right with the world.

And just in case you’re curious to know exactly what sort of labor has been keeping me so busy as of late: Well … as it happens, not too terribly long ago, my fiancee and I went and bought ourselves a very large house, smack dab in the middle of a relatively large city. And as any of you fellow homeowners out there are already very well aware, being a new homeowner can sometimes be a bit of a pain in the ass, and it can also sometimes feel like a part-time job. Which is to say, it keeps you eternally busy, even if sometimes you can’t really account for exactly what it is you’ve been doing with your time. 

Still, it rules. To wit: As I sit here at this very moment and write, I’ve actually got a contractor and his young lackey hard at work in my basement, three floors beneath me, doing some sort of complicated sealant job that I personally can’t even begin to imagine understanding. So that’s the fun part of being a homeowner: acting all grown-up and serious and shit. And so that’s that, essentially. Welcome back, readers. (Real posts with actual entrepreneurship-related information coming soon. Promise!)      

OMG! I almost forgot: Want to know what it was that actually inspired today’s re-awakening of the Labor Party? Sure you do. It was a totally kick-ass essay by long-time internet writer and current Deadspin editor Will Leitch about how the concept of writer’s block is absolute bullshit if you’re a professional blogger, as he is. (Or if you’re simply a serious writer with a big pile of real work on his/her desk, as opposed to an artiste who can afford [literally and metaphorically] to bitch and moan about how terribly hard it is to fill that horrifyingly blank page with precious prose.) 

Deadspin, by the way, as far as I’m concerned, is an absolutely genius sports blog, and this is coming from someonegodsave.jpg (me) who has absolutely, positively no interest in sports whatsoever. Deadspin’s schtick, as far as I can tell, is that American sports journalism is complete horseshit, and needs to be overhauled entirely. The thing about it is, I just can’t think of too many blogs out there that are as instantly addictive as Deadspin — and I’m talking about addictive in the same way Gawker used to be addictive before it started to suck — and once again, let’s not forget that I couldn’t care one lick about any sort of professional sport. So, there’s my little pitch for Deadspin — go check it out.

Will Leitch’s essay about writer’s block being an entirely false construct of trustfunders and other lazy fucks who don’t care to actually work for a living is here, on the Publisher’s Weekly website.

Seriously, if you’re a writer, please do yourself a favor and read this one; it may actually give you some much-needed inspiration, as it did for me. Leitch makes a great point about journalism — and for that matter, about writing in general — that I have always agreed with: What we do is a craft, and it is a job. It’s not art. It’s never art. As Leitch says in the PW essay: “Writer’s block is the luxury of those who have no one expecting to hear from them today.” (Amen.)

Finally, if you like Leitch’s PW essay and if you happen to also be a Mediabistro AvantGuild member, take a look at this Q&A between Leitch and MB’s Noah Davis, which was posted today, and in which Leitch talks about how he finished his new book, God Save the Fan, in five months, while also working full-time on Deadspin. (If you’re not an AvantGuild member but you really, really want to read the interview, go ahead and send me a really convincing e-mail, and I might just send it your way as a Word doc. If you’re nice. And if you’re lucky.)