Saturday, October 06, 2007

"So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset."

So says a guy making over $500,000 a year to a beautiful woman asking on Craig's List why she can't find a rich husband.

The 4-Hour Workweek

I finally got around to reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. I had been meaning to do so for awhile just because the title sounded catchy and I figured the author would have some good tips for making a living on the internet. I ended up reading part of the book at a local Barnes & Noble and found it interesting enough to buy. I am glad I did because it contains a lot of good information about how to structure work, live a fun life and get yourself out of the rat race of 9-5.

In a chapter entitled "Chronology of a Pathology," I learned that the author, Tim Ferriss, had problems with authority since day one; I can relate, having cursed at my first grade teacher for giving what I thought was too much homework and realizing early in life that with my personality, I would need to become an entrepreneur and work for myself if I wanted to make a decent living. The 4-Hour Workweek teaches you to do just that, more or less.

Ferris starts by telling the reader to make a "System Reset" and he offers platitudes such as "Doing the Unrealistic Is Easier Than Doing the Realistic." He explains this by stating "Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel." He helps the reader figure out which unrealistic goals are worth pursuing and has one draw up a "sample dreamline" to calculate the cost per month for each of one's dreams. He then launches into time management and gives great tips such as "the key to having more time is doing less" and "do not multitask."

You'll then learn how to escape the office, embrace mini-retirements without having a nervous breakdown and learn to avoid the Top 13 New Rich Mistakes. Some of these mistakes include micromanaging and e-mailing to fill time, striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, and blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work.

Do I think if you follow the steps in this book, you can become rich by working four hours a week? Probably not, but it's worth a try. My concerns about the book are that the things he has people doing to make money do depend on having the right product, the right advertising and enough people who will buy it to make it plausible. However, I learned a lot about how to go about doing those things in a better and more efficient manner, had some good laughs and imagined myself swinging from a hammock in the Caribbean while millions accumulated in my bank account. For that alone, the book is worth the purchase price.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Got Kids? Then you need to read up on what your doctor might be doing with them behind closed doors.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

What Peer Review Actually Means

Do you ever wonder if peer reviewed journals are the big deal that elitist academics try to make them out to be? For example, here is a definition of a peer reviewed journal:

Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a process of subjecting an author's scholarly work, research or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field. It is used primarily by editors to select and to screen submitted manuscripts, and by funding agencies, to decide the awarding of grants. The peer review process aims to make authors meet the standards of their discipline, and of science in general. Publications and awards that have not undergone peer review are likely to be regarded with suspicion by scholars and professionals in many fields. Even refereed journals, however, can contain errors.

Not only can refereed journals contain errors, they can contain "experts" who make errors about acceptance and rejection of articles based on their prejudice and fear of ideas that do not meet with their preconceived ideas of how the world should work. I experienced this first hand with an article I wrote with some colleagues a few years ago and submitted to The Journal of Legal Education whom we had contacted and they said they would be interested in such a piece. We thought an article on violence prevention would be helpful to law professors but apparently, the reviewers had other ideas. I have no problem accepting a rejection for an article but when I saw the two reviews our rejection was based on, I must say, I lost respect for this particular journal's decision to allow such lame reviews.

One review was just lame stating that our analysis of violence prevention was just "simplistic"--a buzz word for "I don't agree with your viewpoint"--and we needed to get more information from administrators and deans (the very people who have no clue about violence!) with regards to their experience with violence to get more insight etc. Not sure that would help but okay. The second "expert" review reads more like a rant than a review; the funny thing is that I can just imagine the fury of this guy who wrote a long tirade full of typos and I could just imagine his fingers clacking away angrily as he typed. Here are a few highlights from this "expert" review:

The article "Anger and Violence on Campus" is not worthy of publication. Reading it, I was reminded of the premises of so-called war on terrorism-terrorists are evil people who need to be contained or eliminated. Never mind trying to understand the underlying reasons people might resort to violence, there is something fundamentally wrong with them so we need to figure out who they are and keep them from causing harm to others. This paper takes a similar superficial look at violence on campus- those who act violently are fundamentally disturbed people who need to be identified, contained, and if possible eliminated or screened form our campuses. At no point do the author(s) follow-up on their initial observation that "vengeful individuals sought to address perceived grievances" Rather than examining the sorts of perceived grievances people sought to address, they focus exclusively on the failure of institutions to recognize "clues of impending violence" and their inability to take preventative actions.....{long rant}

I will not even bother going into detail in my concerns about the sorts of admissions screening and record keeping that are suggested at the end of the paper-the authors) must have been taking instruction from the Justice department since there is not even any recognition that there might be some issues of rights involved here.

I have no problem being rejected but I do have a problem with the bias that this reviewer shows, indicating that we are "taking instruction from the Justice department" because he does not agree with us. Why say this? I can just imagine the "I hate Bush stickers" plastered on his office door. Anyway, good news, our article has been resubmitted and been accepted by another equally prestigious law review so obviously it is not as "unworthy of publication" as the biased reviewer seemed to think.

I am not retelling this story to get revenge, I merely want to point out that peer review can often mean gate keeper to those ideas that some academics want kept out of print. Diversity of ideas often means little to some elitists when it comes to ideas that do not fit in with with their preconceived notions of how the world should be. This is not a scholarly critique so much as a political rant. We get it, he doesn't like Bush, but what does this have to do with violence in the classroom? It is, to say the least, disappointing.

Time for a Career Change

So SayUncle used to be a counselor: "Needless to say, I soon got out of counseling. Wishing your clients dead isn’t healthy for you or you clients."

No, it's not. When your job leaves you feeling like this, it's time to go.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of Cellphones and Backbones

I have a column up at PJM on Giuliani's cell phone problem:

When Rudy Giuliani took a phone call from his wife in the middle of a speech, PJM advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith was appalled. What his campaign tried to spin as the act of a caring husband, she sees as a red flag.

Can a guy control the nation if he is controlled by his spouse?

Do you know husbands or wives who take numerous calls from spouses no matter where they are--even at work in the middle of a speech? I do and I have often found out that this behavior is often as much about control as it is about just taking a friendly call from one's spouse. Short leash, just lust, or common behavior? What do you think?

Read the column and let me know.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Evil Genes

I recently had the pleasure of writing a blurb for a new book by Professor Barbara Oakley entitled Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend. Barbara has just informed me that the book is now out and up on From the back cover:

Have you ever met a person who left you wondering, "How could someone be so twisted, so evil?" Prompted by clues in her sister's diary after her mysterious death, author Barbara Oakley takes the reader inside the head of the kinds of malevolent people you know, perhaps all too well, but could never understand.

Dr. Oakley suggests that some people really are born to be bad. She has first-hand experience with her sister who was personality-disordered and she ties in her life throughout the book with an analysis of the behavioral tics of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Slobodan Milosevic. My favorite chapter in the book was entitled, "The Perfect Borderpath" where she explores a new personality disorder, a combination of the Borderline and the Psychopath and uses Mao as an example of this dangerous combination.

I highly recommend taking a look at this book if you are interested in understanding the genetic component to why psychopaths and others who we think of as "evil" act as they do. It will be well worth your time.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Interview with Governor Mike Huckabee

huckabeecov.jpgWe interview Governor Mike Huckabee on running for President, his campaign, where he stands on the issues and how he lost 110 pounds. He was diagnosed with type II diabetes, lost the weight and ran four marathons and wrote Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork : A 12-Stop Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle to let others know how he did it. The Governor and I also have something in common; we are both interested in, and have written books on kids who kill. The governor is author of Kids Who Kill: Confronting Our Culture of Violence which he wrote after the Jonesboro school shootings in Arkansas. You can view his website at

You can listen directly -- no downloads needed -- by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. Or you can download the file and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version, suitable for dialup connections, by going here and selecting "lo fi."

This podcast is brought to you by Volvo Automobiles.

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