Are you free?

This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.


This book is a detailed, step-by-step instruction manual for achieving financial freedom.  But what is that, exactly?  To better understand the concept, consider the following questions:

Could you quit your job if you wanted to? 

That is, could you resign tomorrow, knowing you would be financially secure for long enough to easily find another position?  Say, for a whole year?  If the answer is ‘no’, are you not a slave?  While you may presently enjoy your work, if things took a turn for the worse you would have to continue working there for much longer than you’d like, or quit without another job lined up, which would be a huge risk.

If you played it safe and stayed on, you would have to tolerate any degree of injustice, bullying or plain stupidity, and you would have to put up with it all while keeping that pleasant, non-confrontational and submissive smile on your face.

If someone else took the credit for your hard work and initiative, or if you copped the blame for someone else’s failure, or if the new boss turned out to be a psychopath, or if a customer berated you over an issue you have no authority to fix, or if the mean girls were spreading absurd rumors about you, or if your pay was late or incomplete, you would be unable to print out and sign a resignation letter, collect your things in a box, get that cute reception girl’s number and stride out the door with a smirk on your face, calm as a Brahman cow.

If you can quit any time you like without risk, you are free.

This book will show you how to Read More

How to make extra cash, including crazy ideas you might not have thought of

This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.  I thought it might be relevant at the moment, with a lot of people doing it tough.

Niche websites:  If you’re on top of the technical side of things, you might make money by either selling a good/service on a niche website or by using it to refer clicks to other sites as part of an affiliate program.  There is a little bit of money to be made in advertising, too.  You might want to check out the course run by This is Trouble[i] if it sounds like your kind of thing.  And no, that is not an affiliate link.  I should follow my own advice.

Sell an eBook:  Here I’m more of an expert.  Let me start by saying, don’t bother with this unless you’re really keen to write a book anyway, just like there’s no point trying to be a zookeeper if you hate animals.  It is a huge investment of time to write even a short book, it will probably cost you more than $1,000 to get it copy edited, and much more if you choose to get it hard edited, i.e. to have a professional editor help you shape the book itself rather than just pick up all your bone-headed typos.  Add another $200 – $300 for a professional cover design, or more if you also want a dead tree version.

Non-fiction books tend to sell well, especially niche how-to guides.  As for fiction, erotica and romance are most popular.

Maybe that book you’ve always dreamed of writing about how to knit your own woolen underwear, or that fantasy romance about the diamond-in-the-rough werewolf and the wallflower Stegosaurus, is just what the world has been looking for.  Perhaps you could give it a go if it would be a labor of love anyway.  If you’ve hated writing ever since you had to do it at school, definitely find something else to do.

A lot of your success will depend on how well you can market the book via an author webpage, online advertising, social media etc., so even after it is published there will still be work to do and perhaps expenses to incur.

Sell stock photos/classroom lesson materials/background music or images/stuff like that:  What it says.  There is a market for these things online if you have the skills.

Phone work:  You can make money from home by Read More

Friend or foe? The strange case of J.M. Coetzee

Book review of Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, with reference to other books by him and some by Dostoevsky.

I have always felt that I ought to like Coetzee.  Ever since I was in uni and the tutor pointed out that one bit in Foe where it seems like Character 1 is knocking on Character 2’s door but if you read carefully it’s the other way around, I’ve had an admiration for linguists like savage Papuans have for sorcerers.  This led me to take Noam Chomsky seriously for too long.

But I didn’t actually trouble myself to Read More

Intellectuals are bad, mmkay?,600

Book review of Intellectuals, by Paul Johnson.

There are very few books that I have read twice.  One was The Lord of the Rings, which I read when I was eight and later when I was fifteen and actually understood it.  The only other I can remember off the top of my head is this one.  I happened to look something up for some reason, got distracted by the chapter on Sartre, and ended up reading the whole thing again.  The antics of this intellectual crowd are highly entertaining.  My favourite was the list of drunken injuries that befell Hemmingway, which stretches over three or four mirthful pages.

I thought about inserting here a check-table of intellectuals and their sins but concluded it would be too much work and you wouldn’t be that impressed anyway.  So instead I will Read More