Essay

17 Steps to Instant Success as a Lifestyle Designer

By Eric Schiller on October 7th, 2010

I’ve noticed that a lot of lifestyle design gurus have done a very poor job of teaching you how to live their lifestyles. I thought I would do the community a service and write a primer that teaches you exactly how to fit in and thrive in the lifestyle design community. Enjoy.

1. Get a poofy haircut that only a rockstar could pull off.

Use this to hide your vanity.

2. Get rid of every thing you own, and make up for it by purchasing as much boutique yuppy clothing, shoes, and apparel that you can fit in a large backpack.

(Note Colin’s poofy hair.)

3. Use the backpack full of clothes and move to a foreign country with great beaches where you can feel wealthy by being around desperately poor people.

4. Talk about how many desperately poor people are around and how you wish you could help them.

5. Take advantage of desperately poor people by leveraging your powerful American money against the pitiful local currency.

6. Talk about changing the world for the better, while at the same time flying to every country in the world for the novelty of writing about it, releasing countless tons of C02 in the the environment as a result.

The Spread of Chris Guillebeau’s C02.

7. Take friendly photos with the natives so you can demonstrate how cultured and well adapted you are.

8. Call yourself a “consultant,” even if you’ve never had a client if your life.

9. Buy the laptop of gods (Apple Macbook Pro) and be seen “working” [browsing twitter] on it in trendy coffee shops.

You can have 15 inches for only $1799.

10. Name drop all the famous bloggers who have replied to you on twitter while you were working in coffee shops.

As lifestyle designers age, they begin to look like bald chipmunks.

11. Read the Communist Manifesto or Atlas Shrugged. Write your own manifesto. Quote the Communist Manifesto or Atlas shrugged when talking about what moved you to write your own powerful manifesto.

She sure was a sexy capitalist.

12. Use the words revolution, awesome, freedom, and nonconformity in any sentence it you can fit them in.

And buy a T-shirt with Che on it.  Because it’s awesome.  Because it’s revolutionary. Oh I give up.

13. Constantly refer to your “projects” even if they don’t exist. If your projects don’t exist, make some up, and find some lifestyle designer friends to “work” on them with you.

A lifestyle design project.

14.Write an about page detailing every single interest you have, ever had, and ever will have. Write a second about page just in case you missed any gaps in your ego, err resume.

15. Make lots and lots of videos.  Talking about inane things is okay as long as your hair is sexy and/or poofy or you are at the beach.

I picked this video because of the awesome first image, and the fact that Ferriss just bullshits his way through anything and everything.

16. Be as cool as humanly possible. Take lots of sexy abercrombiesque photos of yourself near the beach or somewhere that could pass as a beach in pictures.

Edit 5/11/11:  Cody “How To Be Joyful And Accept Life As It Is” McKibben has decided to pull a very thrilling heroic by requesting that I remove his photo from my post *seven* months after I offered to take it down. Prior to that he said that it was fine and carry on.  I guess Mckibben lost his balls and just couldn’t accept life as it is.  Anyhow, you can still view the photo (and thousands of other vain photos of Cody) here on his flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/codymckibb/5033919160/in/photostream

Carlos and Colin remain cool.

17. Rip off wealthy white Americans by promising that they too can live on the beach with desperately poor people.

Well, that certainly puts some things into perspective, doesn’t it?

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96 Responses to “17 Steps to Instant Success as a Lifestyle Designer”

  1. Oliver says:

    Eric, just want to point out about #5, spending less money for services is not "taking advantage" in a negative way. Leveraging currency to hire drivers, translators, guides, personal assistants etc. while abroad is generally a positive thing, if you are paying a fair amount relative to their living standard. You are supporting the lives of these people with a smaller proportion of your own resources. It's less wasteful in that sense. Just ask my cousins in the Philippines how far $20 can go*, or how many years of tuition the median annual 3G iPhone bill can buy.

    There is such a thing as abuse, and there are ways to fund unethical activities. We are not talking about those things. We are talking about honest local people providing legit goods and services for cheaper than in your home country.

    *My point about how far money can go is actually one reason my family doesn't travel so often to the Philippines. The money we'd spend on plane tickets is better spent helping out our relatives who are in distress. This would have been a more compelling #6.

    • Tim Ferris calls this "geoarbitrage."
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbitrage
      "In economics and finance, arbitrage (IPA: /ˈɑrbɨtrɑːʒ/) is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets"

      Whether the "taking advantage" is negative or not is certainly a matter of debate, but I think it's a different scenario to talk about people like you that have relatives in the Philippines versus a white suburban kid from the US doing the same things in order to maximize profit for his lifestyle design business.

      • Wille says:

        I would assert that it is most definitely not negative – for an economic exchange to occur, both parties must feel they gain something from it, or it would simply not occur (unless someone is holding a gun to their head).

        Say in the case of a white suburban kid hiring a Virtual Assistant or programmer in a third world country to do some minor work for $8/hour: we might consider it an extremely low wage by our standards.. But would the person in the poor country be better or worse off without the money?
        How would the person in the poor country be better served if the money never reached them and was spent at Dominos Pizza in LA instead?

        It is unfortunate not all can live an affluent, westernized lifestyle if they want to, but not allowing people to trade with you because they are "too poor" seems to me to be a very circular, self perpetuating argument.
        My recent post Who Took My Money – Why Cash Really Is Not That Safe

        • There are certainly problems with restricting free trade and lack of competition, but also problems with unrestricted free trade and hypercompetition.

          both parties must feel they gain something from it, or it would simply not occur (unless someone is holding a gun to their head)

          Again, it's not black or white. There are levels of coercion and control in between "totally free exchange" and "life-threatening extortion."

          • Wille says:

            "Again, it's not black or white. There are levels of coercion and control in between "totally free exchange" and "life-threatening extortion.""
            Most, even in rich countries go to work not so much out of love for their jobs, but out of necessity to provided a better life for their family, pay for food and mortgages, pay for college etc, etc.

            Though I wouldn't consider that coercion, it's life. The proverbial free lunch doesn't exist, even if many today believe they are entitled to one.
            My recent post Who Took My Money – Why Cash Really Is Not That Safe

          • No free lunch advocating here. In any case, we are unlikely to get to the bottom of global economics in the comments of this satirical blog post. :)

        • Chris says:

          "I would assert that it is most definitely not negative – for an economic exchange to occur, both parties must feel they gain something from it, or it would simply not occur (unless someone is holding a gun to their head)."

          I am pro-trade, but I think it is only fair to admit that our global hierarchy, including exchange rates, was in fact determined by guns to heads–usually in a figurative sense, occasionally in a literal sense.

          That, or to explain why one hour of labor by an overweight American is inherently worth three times more than one hour of labor by a scrappy Filipino?
          My recent post Steven Seagal- The CIA’s Final Option

          • Wille says:

            It's funny you should mention exchange rates, as if you keep up, you'll notice that the US, UK and most of the western world are desperate to devalue their currencies relative to those of developing nations (it's the whole subject of the budding trade war between China and the US, and China is having none of it).

            Previous weakness in developing nations is as much political mismanagement as anything else. How else would you explain that in 1955 nations like South Korea and Singapore where on the same level as some African backwaters, whereas today South Korea enjoys western standards of living, Singapore is richer than the UK and the US while countries like Mozambique and Kenya languish in poverty.

            "That, or to explain why one hour of labor by an overweight American is inherently worth three times more than one hour of labor by a scrappy Filipino? "
            It quite simply is not, which is why the America has soaring unemployment, whereas developing nations have soaring growth. Wages are "sticky", the only way they will come down in real terms is through unemployment and dollar devaluation.
            That being said, American living standards are bound to come down, while Filipino are going to go up. Most likely they'll met somewhere in the middle. There is no reason Americans have a God given right to make $40/hour for something a Filipino makes $4/hour for.

            My recent post Who Took My Money – Why Cash Really Is Not That Safe

          • Cody McKibben says:

            Also, I'd like to note (although there *is* some bias and outright racism, just like everywhere else in the world) the idea is that ANYONE with the same skills, no matter if you're "American" or Filipino, if you move and work in the US, you get the same wage. …If an American goes to the Philippines (I know several) and works locally, you almost definitely take a wage drop there, unless you start your own company. It's more about geography than it is about race, so don't make it about race…
            My recent post 70 Countries in 3 Years- An Interview with Permanent World Traveler Gary Arndt

          • Carlon says:

            Good point. I live in South Korea and definitely get a wage drop. In 3 years, the local currency has devalued 20%. I lived here in the late 90's and saw a wage drop of 60% because of the devaluation of the currency. Those of us who live abroad are in tune to exchange rates
            My recent post The Ease of My New Mac is Bumming Me Out

          • From what I understand of Tim Ferriss (one of the folks included in this satire piece from Eric), he advocates for making US dollars on foreign soil and/or paying virtual assistants Filipino wages with a US income, thus taking advantage of global inequalities aka "geoarbitrage." He isn't recommending moving to make less money. In that case, it is about race (or at least nationality), for it's about where you were born and thus what advantages you received without any efforts on your part, and how you can exploit differences in such pregiven conditions of birth.

          • Dave says:

            Tim lives in San Francisco these days. His book about geoarbitrage sold so well he doesn't need to practice it himself.
            My recent post A quick Alloy Steel update

          • Now his next book is on…wait for it…weight loss (among other things).

          • Morganizer says:

            The failing of capitalism is that it presumes that both parties engage willingly in a transaction because they both have equal power. As is more often the case, one party stands to make a healthy profit, while the other is choosing the lesser of all evils, the one available option that will make them lose the least. If you don't understand what I mean, try negotiating with your cel phone company.

          • Well put, Morganizer.

    • EricSchiller says:

      In this post, I sought to highlight a lot of what I think are the negative features of the lifestyle design community. Namely the egotism, the privileged attitudes, and the elitism that is demonstrated by a majority of those who call themselves "lifestyle designers."

      As a result, number five is more about the ethnocentric and and western elitist attitude that these people exhibit. I think looking at lifestyle design through a post-colonial lens is much more productive than a western economic one, and I see Ferriss' original message as 'lie cheat and steal as much as you can get away with.' As a result he called these things life hacks and ended up making exploitation of the third world "cool" again.

      I am of the opinion that this is a negative thing. It is putting us back into the age of colonialism, dog eat dog capitalism, and annoying "put thy own self first" Randian thought.

      By no means am I suggesting that we shouldn't participate or spend money in the third world. What I am saying is that we need further dialog about what is and isn't ethical in the lifestyle design community.

      I think that both Oliver and Willie's perspectives are of the standard western economic status quo, and that is exactly the kind of thing I am challenging, and will continue to challenge with my posts on lifestyle design.

      • @32000days says:

        ‘lie cheat and steal as much as you can get away with.’

        That sounds pretty. His approach to business, lifestyle, and so forth, may not be the same as yours, but have you really found specific evidence of lies, cheating or stealing? (Or are you speaking metaphorically?)

        TF seems to get a lot of flak in particular for his Chinese Kickboxing experiment, but this is a perfect example – he found a clever loophole in the structure of the game that he could use, and worked smarter, not harder.

        My interpretation of his approach is that it is more about refusing to play by other peoples sets of assumptions about work, lifestyle, and other things – e.g. among other assumptions, the pervasive one that you need to work 40 hours a week, and stack your paper up, in order to retire at 65… and only THEN are you “allowed” to travel and have free time.

        Instead, by running cheap business experiments, and testing all your assumptions and guesses empirically rather than accepting received wisdom of “it’s always been done that way”, you can engineer your life, work, business, and so forth in a way that operates more effectively.

        • EricSchiller says:

          I don't have the link handy, but I have read in the past that a lot of Ferriss' "feats" could not be verified to have happened at all, specifically the kickboxing thing. For more insight into his attitude on truth telling, see the section in his book about "becoming an expert."

          Consider BrainQuicken itself, the thing is just a cheesily marketed supplement that likely works on placebo alone. Is that lying?

          I think a lot of the problem here is that there are several layers of assumptions. The people who buy into this sort of stuff have assumptions about people who have those assumptions. If you were to read most any self-help / entrepreneurial book from the past 20 years you would read a lot about how to do things differently, and how to be a renegade and what not. Breaking the status quo in this way isn't new, and usually just gets you closer to a book deal, not running your own personal business really successfully.

          I agree that there is something to breaking assumptions, but the problem is most "lifestyle designers" I know are worried about breaking OTHER people's assumptions, not their own.

          • Ha, I don't doubt it. Many PDev/lifestyle gurus make stuff up, get "credentials" from diploma mills, etc.

          • @32000days says:

            I don't have the link handy, but I have read in the past that a lot of Ferriss' "feats" could not be verified to have happened at all, specifically the kickboxing thing. For more insight into his attitude on truth telling, see the section in his book about "becoming an expert."

            Consider BrainQuicken itself, the thing is just a cheesily marketed supplement that likely works on placebo alone. Is that lying?

            Ah, got it. I'll check that section again – It's been a while since I read the book.

            If you were to read most any self-help / entrepreneurial book from the past 20 years you would read a lot about how to do things differently, and how to be a renegade and what not. Breaking the status quo in this way isn't new, and usually just gets you closer to a book deal, not running your own personal business really successfully.

            Indeed, there's a lot of BS flying about paradigm shifting, doing things differently, reinvention and so forth. As always, running the caveat emptor test is a good idea, to make sure that if you're expecting fresh new thinking, that you're actually getting it.

            I agree that there is something to breaking assumptions, but the problem is most "lifestyle designers" I know are worried about breaking OTHER people's assumptions, not their own.

            Well said. That's probably true of most people, actually, not just lifestyle designers. Most of us probably have blind spots that others could point out. But then most people don't blend their lifestyle and their countercultural social identity into their business model.
            My recent post All I really need to know I learned in Fight Club

          • Dave says:

            I don't know whether BrainQuicken works or not, but the most questionable part of the 4HWW was whether he was really making 5 figures per month selling it. See this post, "How much was Tim Ferriss really making from his supplement business?".

            It's interesting that so many commenters jump on Tim about whether the Chinese kickboxing story was accurate, or the ethics of outsourcing, and so few question whether he could really have been making $40k per month selling supplements.
            My recent post A quick Alloy Steel update

          • Thanks for the link, Dave! This wouldn't be the first get-rich-quick guru to give misleading or outright false income numbers.

            For example… http://saltydroid.info/frank-kern-underachieving/

          • Jacq says:

            You might be thinking of the discussion on the No BS MMA and Martial Arts forum: http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=…
            I think the conclusion was that nobody had heard of him.

            BB.com forum on the geek to freak gaining 34 pounds of muscle in a month – post 34 esp: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=28…
            And this: http://www.healthynewage.com/blog/bull-strong/

          • Excellent links–thanks!

        • Cheating in kickboxing by employing a radical dehydration technique and then pushing your much smaller opponents out of the ring to win on a technicality does not make one a martial arts champ, but a chump!

          It's been three years since 4HWW. Most people I know who were psyched about the idea are still freelancing, have wasted thousands on get-rich-quick internet marketing schemes, etc. I know of almost nobody with a "muse" business that pays the bills. The fact is, these principles make money primarily for the person selling the dream of liberation, i.e. Ferris himself.

          That said, running cheap business experiments—that's great, go for it. Just don't waste your money seeking shortcuts to success.

          • Carlon says:

            Amen..I blogged about how Ferriss promoted the "schemer mentality" with that whole "loophole" thing. The post name: You too Can Get Rich..If you're a sociopath!

            My recent post The Ease of My New Mac is Bumming Me Out

          • @32000days says:

            Cheating in kickboxing by employing a radical dehydration technique and then pushing your much smaller opponents out of the ring to win on a technicality does not make one a martial arts champ, but a chump!

            I don't think he was ever claiming that he's a master kickboxer – I believe that he admitted that he entered the contest on a dare and that he wasn't even trained in the technique. And as a practical technique for training and competition, it's obviously kind of silly, even sneaky. (I won't go so far as to call it cheating – at least as the anecdote is written, he obeyed the letter of the rules. Barely.)

            However, as an anecdote illustration of charging to the goal by any means necessary, leveraging your strengths, and mitigating your weaknesses, I think it's pretty solid.

            It's been three years since 4HWW. Most people I know who were psyched about the idea are still freelancing, have wasted thousands on get-rich-quick internet marketing schemes, etc. I know of almost nobody with a "muse" business that pays the bills. The fact is, these principles make money primarily for the person selling the dream of liberation, i.e. Ferris himself.

            Yeah, I think the book is a bit glib in some ways – it's nice and motivational in its discussion of risk and facing fears and so forth, but it's not an obvious step-by-step / how to guide by any means. My total investment in the scheme is the $15 (well, not really, since the book was a gift), so I can't speak to spending thousands of dollars, but then again I came to 4HWW rather late in the hype cycle. (I've only had 4HWW for a few months now.) In the book, TF seems to advise constantly against overspending on things – much of the emphasis is on conserving money, negotiating hard, and starting the business for minimal up front investment. The sheer popularity of the book definitely created fertile soil for a wide range of internet marketers, though – some dodgy and some not.

          • Let's just say that I don't consider monomaniacal ruthlessness to be a value, nor something the world needs more of.

          • @32000days says:

            Fair point. I think there are some contexts where it's great and others where it's a terrible mindset.

            e.g.
            Good: ER doctors trying to save the life of a critically injured patient
            Bad: addressing your kids' argument about a later bedtime

            My recent post All I really need to know I learned in Fight Club

          • Sure–some contexts call for more ruthlessness and cutting corners than others.

        • itp says:

          "have you really found specific evidence of lies, cheating or stealing?"

          In 4HWW, Ferriss says that one way to get cheap/inexpensive airline tickets is to fly to a hub such as Panama or London, then get on Priceline to bid on tickets from that hub to the city you want to go to. When I went on Priceline, I found that it doesn't allow bidding on flights that originate outside the US.

      • @32000days says:

        Hmm, my text markup screwed up… I also meant to write "that sounds pretty harsh".

      • Chris says:

        When we hear the term "life hacks," should we imagine a machete slicing the outstretched hands of the third world?
        My recent post Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video Camera Review

      • Wille says:

        "As a result, number five is more about the ethnocentric and and western elitist attitude that these people exhibit. I think looking at lifestyle design through a post-colonial lens is much more productive than a western economic one"
        You mean western elitist like in being a white rich guy taking on to be the representative and voice of the poor and exploited in the third world without them having asked for it or having walked a day in their shoes? No?

        To takes Duff's example of a Vietnamese or Filipino getting paid to do a job by their cousin as opposed to a white American, two questions:
        - Is a poor man better off with or without the $20 he might get from a days work?
        - Does it matter to his well being who the money comes from?

        I do not dispute that there are ethically questionable business practices, like selling placebos like some great nutritional supplement, but I'm trying to get the point across that we need to separate the two issues: some business practices would be questionable regardless whether the guys paid to do the grunt work where Viatnemese or American – international trade is a whole separate subject from individual business practices.
        My recent post Who Took My Money – Why Cash Really Is Not That Safe

  2. Mick Morris says:

    HAAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! That is an absolutely freaking awesome take on the "lifestyle design" industry…. you have really nailed all of the required elements… I know realise why I will never make in this "industry"….. no way a balding dude like me can get the required haircut!

  3. Excellent work, Eric. I could never be a lifestyle designer because I am apparently the wrong gender. But it’s great to live vicariously.

  4. EricSchiller says:

    I almost thought about sending it to you, but I figured BG could use a little lightening up every now and then. ;-)

  5. I blame Eric for the funny.

  6. Lori says:

    I would add one more: after you rip off wealthy Americans with your book about how they can do the same thing you have done (even though you are younger, buffer, cuter and way smarter than they are, which you continue to rub their noses in page after page), make sure you leave the "how to" part out so you can come up with another addition two years later with a tad more practical information put in and make a big deal (and more big bucks) on the expanded and revised version. Well maybe that was a bit wordy, but you know what i mean…

    Like Connie, I am the wrong gender and also the wrong age obviously, but I did buy this book the minute it came out and was ashamed of the fact that 1) I couldn't make it work, then 2) I blamed myself for not making it work, then 3) that I bought it in the first place.

    Of course this was the cheapest of all the crap ideas I bought into and probably the most entertaining, so I'm not really complaining.

    Now laughing at myself and learning from my mistakes is my new "life passion" and it doesn't make money but neither does it spend any, so I'm good.

    • I did buy this book the minute it came out and was ashamed of the fact that 1) I couldn't make it work, then 2) I blamed myself for not making it work, then 3) that I bought it in the first place.

      That's the self-help addiction cycle in a nutshell…especially if the shame drives more purchases of self-help material.

  7. Thanks for the comment, Leigh. I'll be curious to read some of your stuff, as there seem to be only a very few social-justice oriented personal development bloggers.

    Speaking of minimalism, I wrote this recently: http://beyondgrowth.net/social-criticism/the-new-…

  8. Cody McKibben says:

    I want to remain good-humored about this Eric, but you know I see this going down a destructive path. I have a heated but productive conversation with you over Twitter, admit that maybe you have a point and I need to research further (and spent 2 hours catching up on posts from Beyond Growth!)…

    Next day you post my photo and some of my friends' photos on your site. You make some good points (like you always do), and it's funny, but it's dangerous because you make it personal, and you stir up the frustrations of others, psychologically attached to my face. A lot of what I see in the conversation here is, unfortunately, misplaced anger or frustration from folks who either haven't been able to make this lifestyle their own, or are too scared to even take the risk. There is no rulebook that says you have to be male, or in your 20s.

    And the guilt from your poor bleeding hearts! In the desperate search to feel better about your comfortable existence, you point the finger at others and blame them for all the injustices of the world. If you really take issue with me living where I want to and putting money into the system here, then I am curious if you have ever been to any of these kinds of places? Expat communities have been living in the developing world for a LONG time man, way before Ferriss ever wrote his book. But you're right, if all Americans would stay at home and just continue to "buy American" THAT would solve all our problems, that would make the world a better place!

    I dunno dudes, there's SO much wrong with what you're doing now, this undermines a lot of credibility you had in making your "good points". I much prefer your cautionary stories based on experience, your thoughtful critiques, than when you make it personal and wind people up. The tactics you are starting to use make you no better than the people you critique.

    (Also, speaking of what's illegal, you're using my copyrighted personal photograph on your website without any kind of permission or attribution.)
    My recent post 70 Countries in 3 Years- An Interview with Permanent World Traveler Gary Arndt

    • George Burley says:

      No offense Cody, but the truth stings and this is EXACTLY how I view you as well as numerous other digital nomad and digital lifestyle bloggers out there.

      I didn't need him to use a photo of you in the article to associate you with this article because you are one of the many bloggers I was thinking of while reading this article… and then including your photo just made me chuckle because I guess he felt the same way.

      Eric Schiller pretty much nailed it and summed up my feelings exactly. It's pretty amazing how he was able to nail it so perfectly in a single post. Reading this seriously made my day.

    • I would distinguish "Expat communities" from lifestyle designers. Expat simply means living in another country other than the one you were born in. This certainly has been taking place in the developing world for a long time. Lifestyle design, especially along the likes of Tim Ferriss' Four Hour Workweek, emphasizes taking advantage of and exploiting global inequalities and creating an envious lifestyle. It's multinational corporate capitalism meets conspicuous consumption. I suspect that you and your friends have a foot in each.

      I don' t get that Eric was satirizing expat living at all, but the pretentiousness of lifestyle design with its emphasis on portraying one's self as "living the dream" others should envy.

      • Carlon says:

        As an expat, I agree with Duffs assessment, Expat living and what is called " lifestyle design" are different things. Living in a foreign country was not part of any grand lifestyle movement but simply a good job offer and the fact that I like living abroad. Not everyone can live in a foreign country for a long time, especially if they can't pick up the local language,

        I read Eric's post and didn't think he was talking about expats (me) at all

        But there were things in Ferriss's book that as an expat I could relate to. And the one thing he gets totally right is that staying in a foreign country for a month or three is cheaper than vacationing there. I know this from experience,
        My recent post How to Pick Up Women

  9. Colin Wright says:

    My first impression here is to take this as well-intentioned, and hopefully that's how it was meant.

    Some of the assertions are on point, but I think it's needless to say I disagree with several of the assertions (it's easy to criticize people you don't know).

    I guess more power to you for not being afraid of offending people, but I agree with Cody that it may have been a better choice to take stock images or something instead of using photos of real people in the field you're critiquing (like me and my friends). Hard not to take things personally that way, whereas otherwise I likely would have laughed and sent it around to everybody.

    I don't know man, I haven't seen this blog before, and this first impression really hasn't encouraged me to stop by again…though from the tone of this post, I get the impression that won't concern you too much.
    My recent post The Bomb in My Apartment

  10. @darchand says:

    my comment got lost too. dammit.

    wanted to say i disagree about the geoarbitrage thing, because its opening up a huge market for people in 'desperately poor' countries as knowledge workers, instead of manufacturers. the children of the people that used to make your tshirts and shoes are now web designers, call centre workers, or VAs. and they work from home. how is that a bad thing?
    My recent post darchand- trying to limit checking twitter and email to twice a day i think any more is bordering on OCD

    • Admin note: This comment ended up in Intense Debate's moderation queue for some reason. Not sure what happened to your first one. Sorry for the bugs!

    • There are certainly some advantages to global free trade, but there are also those who deliberately advocate for taking selfish advantage of global inequities…for example Tim Ferriss! I think it's reasonable to ask whether geoarbitrage increases inequality or decreases it, when and why.

  11. Cody McKibben says:

    Abercrombie good! :P

  12. [...] Read it. 1. Get a poofy haircut that only a rockstar could pull off. [...]

  13. carlosmiceli says:

    Make haste!
    My recent post Shifting To A Daily Focus

  14. Wille says:

    I know most of this post is written in jest, and very well so, but regarding point 5 and the ensuing discussion in the comments, I thought I'd elaborate my view: http://www.adventurecapitalist.net/post/126841255…
    My recent post Who Took My Money – Why Cash Really Is Not That Safe

  15. EricSchiller says:

    It was a bit of a mis-step on my part to use their photos without permission. I'll add attribution later. I just emailed both Colin and Cody apologizing for using their photos, and offering to remove them if they find my use offensive.

  16. tdhurst says:

    How dare you bring a defenseless MacBook Pro into this.

  17. @32000days says:

    Great discussion here… after weighing in a bit last night, I wanted to check my quotient… so I actually took the challenge.

    I'm highly amused… I think I hit quite a few points already… probably not quite as much as in Stuff White People Like (that book feels like it was an unauthorized bio), but still not too bad…

    1 I have DEFINITELY hit 1 on the head. :) I have awesome hair. http://thirtytwothousanddays.com/blog/wp-content/…

    2 I lost a lot of stuff in basement storage in a flood after downsizing from my apartment to a shared apartment, so I'm well on my way to minimalist nirvana. Yeah, I blogged about it.
    http://thirtytwothousanddays.com/blog/2010/06/min…

    3, 4, 5, 7 I still live in the USA, so I'm well behind the curve on these. Gotta hustle!

    6 I've got some UK travel planned, but that's about it. Gotta book that old "around the world" ticket :)

    8 I'm actually a coach and blogger, not a consultant, but I could use the term consultant if it fits better. Whatever the client wants, right?

    9 Big time. I got a MacBook Pro after someone who lived in my edgy urban neighborhood decided to walk away with my old plastic macbook. It's the price of being real, I think. Of course I blogged about it. ;)
    http://thirtytwothousanddays.com/blog/2010/08/lif…

    Do I get bonus points for going locally owned rather than Starbucks? ;) http://keelweb.com/c3cafe/

    But seriously, what's the other choice. You want I should use Windows on a Dell? A Lenovo? Nu?

    10 I don't really name drop. I prefer people who know me to do that.

    11 I read Atlas Shrugged in high school. It was a bit… long. :) I did write my own manifesto but I prefer to keep it in my journal.

    12 I adore those words, so yeah, count me in. I have a Che t-shirt ($1 from second hand store) but I sometimes wear an Armani jacket (ebay $44) over it for the amusing juxtaposition.

    13 Mmm, projects. I haz them.

    14 OK, gotta get a bit more detailed in my About page…

    15 I've got an intro vid but that's about it. On my todo list…

    16 Cool as humanly possible. Check. See (1) after all ;)

    17 Rip people off… not really my thing.

    So I suppose I score about 9 or 10 out of 17. It feels like I just took one of those girly quizzes from Cosmopolitan.

    Action items include:
    move to developing country
    keep blogging
    maintain awesome hair…

    Srsly, tho… thanks for the lulz and an interesting discussion.
    My recent post All I really need to know I learned in Fight Club

    • EricSchiller says:

      Awesome! I guess I should have used your picture instead of Cody's. You truly appreciate the value I'm offering here. ;-)

      • Cody McKibben says:

        You know, I'm flattered we got the "sexy abercrombie" call out, I even tweeted it to 4k people. But I just don't like that you not only used MY photo, but you brought friends of mine into it, and you associate us with taking advantage of the desperately poor, and kids.

        I've spent time with terminally-ill kids out here, friends of mine volunteer with hopelessly poor families 4+ days a week, so I actually don't find those kinds of accusations very funny or satirical, I find them very serious and extremely offensive. I was hoping for a better-backed-up and more thought out response from either of you on my comments, but you're apparently too preoccupied with making good points and feeling like you're right to take things seriously.

        Good luck with that, keep making good points.

  18. I'm not sure why your comment got erased—Intense Debate has strange errors from time to time. Eric and I didn't erase your comment though, just so you know.

  19. Norcross says:

    I've been following this whole shitstorm off and on today as I've been tending to other things. Work things. Honestly, I'm a bit torn. On one hand, I think this is excellent satire and well written. It also hits a lot of points that I've seen folks mention about the "Lifestyle Design" movement. And some that I've felt myself.

    On the other hand, I personally know a few people mentioned here. I've worked with them, done contract work for them (at a full US rate, of course) and actually met a few in person. Not one of them came across as vain and egotistical when sitting down and talking.

    So where do I stand on this? I don't know yet. I have no problem associating with folks that I've actually gotten to know and have some sort of relationship with, either personal or professional. But I think a lot of that movement is indeed complete bullshit. I'm not starting a revolution. My 3 year old son is 10x more awesome than I'll ever be. As my bio says (which was written by someone else since I hate writing). I smoke a lot of cigarettes, sleep very little, and enjoy my tattoo'd nerdcore life.

  20. Gosh I feel like a poser now. Some of the stuff up there I actually write about, but I DO LIVE IT!

    Well, I don't have poofy hair that is, nor do I meet with locals and smile for photo ops or live on a beach drinking out of a seashell and "scamming" people by making them buy my books… but I do hope I don't come off as a poser.
    My recent post What do you consider “rich” Comments please!

  21. [...] “17 Steps to Instant Success as a Lifestyle Designer” (Hat Tip: The Fourth [...]

  22. [...] reality check is too spot on not to be classified as integral [...]

  23. [...] debt as a percentage of GDP by country Lampooning lifestyle design gurus ? [...]

  24. [...] and new experiences more than financial security?  Get yourself into debt or not make a lot by traveling around the world selling e-books to other people who haven’t figured out that you just have to move.  And call whoever doesn’t want to [...]

  25. Sarah says:

    THANK YOU. This post is very, very important.

  26. justadude says:

    Ha I really liked this.

    For the record, I'm an expat. It's not an easy lifestyle, not for everyone, but I grew up this way and it works for me.

    I'll never understand the desire to plant your foot and your digital camera in as many countries as possible to feel that you've accomplished something. You could've just browsed flickr, downloaded some world music mp3s, gone to an ethnic restaurant and called it a day.

    Living for a long time in a foreign country (probably permanently?) has taught me a lot, but I doubt I would've gotten that much out of back-packing, at least the way I see most people do it.

    ps – A lot of these guys seem to want to come to my neck of the woods (Latin America) partly to mack on local women… so there is some overlap between the "lifestyle designer" and "pick-up artist" phenomenons, the popularity of both can tell us a lot about the malaise of modern america, they both also suck.

    pps – What's with all these bros and the special "toe shoes"? I'm not that grossed out by feet themselves but somehow those shoes make feet seem extra disgusting : P

    About the social justice stuff, I'm MUCH closer to quoting the Communist Manifesto (actually, try Chomsky, much better) than Rand (who I despise)… but still not sure that paying people less than US rates is necessarily exploitative, a lot depends on the particulars.

  27. @DanHaneveer says:

    Some good points here, but plenty of misguided twattle also.

    1. Haircuts? lol
    2. Dress sense? com'on
    3. Desperately poor? Travel tends to significantly alter your ideas of poverty. How many LD's are actually motivated by this (feeling wealthy compared to poor people), none is my guess.
    4. Some help, some don't. This is neither here nor there.
    5. Sounds like you are suffering from "white mans burden", it's an international economy dude.
    6. C02, you can point that gun at just about anyone.
    7. I'm begining to think you are just a tad racist.
    8. Saw that happen a lot, I think it is less popular now.
    9. Haha, harmless.
    10. Yeah, self promotion is pretty cheesy most bloggers, LDers or not do it though.
    11. Kinda self indulgent and self important isn't it.
    12. Oh buzz words, grinds my gears most of all i think.
    13. Hey I have one of those models, it was purchased long before 4HWW though, is unfinished and never been mentioned till now.
    14. My about page sucks arse, and I really need to delete that last sentance.
    15. Lotsa boring, same same videos around.
    16. LD isn't just a lifestyle, it's people, people take pics and like nice places, big deal.
    17. Those oppressed poor little natives again, wouldn't it just be terrible if foreigners came and spent their money in the local economy.

  28. Cody McKibben says:

    Thanks for removing my comment that would have told my side of the story Eric. Actually, for any of your 3 readers who makes it this far in the conversation, what happened was I asked Eric to remove the photo when he made that offer 7 months ago, for the reasons cited in my comment above, and the fact that it slanders not just me but also my 3 friends, which he never did. And until now, making a circus performance of the whole thing, Eric never linked to my copyrighted material to give me attribution as he promised he would either.

    • EricSchiller says:

      Cody, we never remove comments unless they are inappropriate (racism, swearing, trolling etc). If your comment wasn't posted, it's stuck in moderation. As I demonstrated by way of screenshot yesterday, you never asked me to remove the photo. Here's the email correspondence from 7 months ago for those in the peanut gallery: http://img.skitch.com/20110512-k16ij5uf69p3jtfg2b…

      You should look up slander. Slander itself only applies to communication that is spoken verbally. Nevertheless, nothing in this post is libel, slander, or defamation. It's satire, which conveniently is protected under US law for both making fun of children like yourself, and borrowing your images.

      You should probably get back to running that scam artist training school you've been working on.

    • Jason mKey says:

      Wow…

      You're running a scam business and got called out on it.
      The best thing you can do now is to leave this alone. If it offends you so much, maybe you should focus your efforts more on doing something legitimate with your time. Just a thought.

  29. [...] 17 Steps to Instant Success as a Lifestyle Designer | Beyond GrowthJul 21, 2011 … Stockbrokers Ben Silluzio and Brett Dawson had a great initiation into harness racing, when 4-Y-0 Falcon Seelster/Stronechrubie gelding … [...]

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