In this post, Jason Braun continues our discussion on Tim Ferriss and the role of self-promotion. Earlier, we asked: is Tim Ferriss a 4-hour hero or just another asshat? Jason says he’s a hero. Read on to find out why.
It seems Kevin, in part one, was suggesting that Tim Ferriss makes 4-hour promises that 100-man hours couldn’t produce.
Attacking the salesmanship of a teacher is an old move. It’s at least as old as 390 B.C.E., when Isocrates gave the speech “Against the Sophists.” In that speech, Isocrates positions the Sophistic teachers as the kind of people who, if they were around today, (would be really old and) would write self-help books. Isocrates does not believe in sales, advertising or public relations.
By the way: Plato was even more worried about the dirtiness of money and spat upon (metaphorically) the Sophists for taking money for teaching, yet Plato’s own apparently free of charge tutoring of the privileged youth of Athens most likely did not harm his finances.
Isocrates, a tricky one, admits to being a Sophist though claims he’s not like the other ones. His biggest beef against the Sophists is that they promote themselves. His approach makes is seem like all advertising and PR is bad.
But we’ve heard this before. The traditional karate dojo frequently doesn’t have a sign out front, and the sensei usually has a regular job as well. This is often compared with the commercial karate or taekwondo club, which is sometimes referred to as an mcdojo.
The most basic idea of marketing is to sell the sizzle not the steak. The Sophist knew that back then and Tim Ferriss knows this today. Don’t sell the features, sell the benefits. He could have called his first book:
A Bunch of Strategies, Stories, Quotes, and Acronyms that Could Lead to a Much Better Lifestyle, if Used by Intelligent People Who Aren’t Surrounded by Haters and Who Know How to Use a Computer and Have a Thousand Bucks to Create a Product.
Yet The 4-Hour Work Week has a ring to it.
Finally: On the topic of self-promotion, I put this question to those who think it is always negative: Which character is more egoistic, the one who works to share what they have been toiling over, or the one who thinks that the world is waiting at their door?