Should I Be Snarkier? Penelope Trunk vs. Tim Ferriss


Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour WorkweekBy Susan Harrow, Media Coach & Author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

I recently read a piece by Penelope Trunk (5 Time management tricks I learned from years of hating Tim Ferriss) about why she couldn’t stand Tim Ferriss (you know The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body phenom who teaches you how to streamline your life so you have more time to Tango – or travel the world doing stuff you love.

It was mean. She called Timothy Ferriss out. She didn’t hold back. She burned her bridges. Didn’t even leave a safety rope to a ladder. No turning back. And this isn’t the first time she’s called anyone out. Just read about her “big publisher“. Anyone can easily find out the name of the publisher that she’s dissing with a tiny amount of research. Ugly stuff. True as it might be. I was appalled….And intrigued. I admit, I’ll cop that I’m a bit in awe of her chutzpah — her blatant disregard for caring what people think. Or rather provoking them into thinking. Dare she? She did.

I read more posts on her blog. I watched a few of her videos. She was funny. Smart. Well put together. Organized. I learned something. I respected her. I liked her even….

I emailed a journalist friend to ask her what she thought. Oh yeah. She knew her. She said, “I’ve interviewed her a few times. She is just as snarky in person as she is on the page.” So she’s consistent. I admire that. She says what she thinks. But at what cost? She doesn’t do it elegantly or eloquently like the late Gore Vidal. She does it more like a cow girl. Or a farmer’s wife. Which she is now in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. Unvarnished dung. There’s beauty in that too….

And get this: she’s got advertisers on her blog. Plenty of them. So she’s doing something right. If you consider that a measure of success in today’s blogosphere.

But should we follow in her footsteps? Should we rope the bull and leave him tied and helpless in the dust? She says things that make your eyelids snap like: “Schedules are like office porn. They let me project my dreams onto the page without the friction of dealing with people to get stuff done.” But is this just eye candy?

The Tim Ferriss post was popular – perhaps her most read post. Over 1,000 comments. Shared on over 8,600 times. We’re talking big numbers here people.

Snarkiness sells.

So does anger. A Wharton School research project looked at 7,000 articles on the New York Times Most E-mailed List and found the the number one predictor to popularity was anger. But thankfully, anger wasn’t then only factor. Humor and awe also ranked.

But should you write angry missives against public people who piss you off filled with vitriol? There’s no doubt that controversy ups ratings — and readership. High emotion whips us to attention.

What do you think? Am I not snarky enough? Want more rants from me? Want to hear more about what I hate, what bugs me or gets my goat? Weigh in and let me know.


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Hi I'm Susan

Hi, I'm Susan

I’m a media coach, martial artist + marketing strategist who helps you double or triple your business with media interviews by using sound bites effectively. I believe that you don’t need to brag, beg or whore yourself to get the publicity you want. Nor do you need to be an axe murderer, a shamed sports star, or be involved in a sex scandal. There is another way…

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