Initial reactions to RPGrad

Overall, I’ve been thrilled with the reception of Recession-Proof Graduate.  It’s been downloaded and read by a few thousand people, and nearly all of the feedback has been positive and appreciative.  I even got a couple emails from college career advisers, thanking me for advice that was not “insipid” or “actively bad” (their words, not mine).  I’m extremely happy that I was able to give away something that so many people found valuable.

Of course, there were a few people who completely missed the point of the book, which didn’t surprise me.  Whenever anyone doles out advice to a large group, no matter how relevant or useful they think that advice is, there are always a few people in the crowd who believe it doesn’t apply to them:

“I’m a plumber.  How am I supposed to use free work to gain an advantage over all the other plumbers?”

“I’m homeless and I’m emailing you from the local library.  You can go to hell if you think I’m going to get some skills under my belt.  Now please… click the link below to donate to my Paypal account.”

“I lost all my limbs in a freak Zamboni accident.  How can I build an online presence if I’m just a torso and type with my forehead?  Very disappointed in this free e-book!”

Look, I’m very aware that a few of the principles aren’t applicable in certain situations.  You can’t become a neurosurgeon through free work, I’m sorry.  I didn’t cater to the 0.02% of people who have those jobs, and for that I apologize.  I suggest ignoring the principles that are irrelevant to you, and embracing the ones that will work.

I will continue targeting the 85% of graduates that these principles will work for, and hope to make a much, much better version of the book next time around.

Just to reiterate what I said before: in the next version of the book, I plan to expand on all of the principles, in addition to covering a bunch of subjects I didn’t discuss in the first version.  These new subjects include:

  • How to find work you’ll care about
  • The stepping stones of self-employment
  • Advice on doing free work
  • Email scripts
  • Case studies

And probably even more stuff on top of all that.

To all those who read the first version of the book… Thanks.

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Charlie Hoehn is a speaker and the author of Play It Away (“Here's the cure to your stress!” -Tony Robbins) and Recession Proof Graduate. He has presented at the Pentagon and three TEDx events. His article about the importance of play is the #1 result on Google for the search “cure anxiety." He was the former Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss, and helped launch The 4-Hour Body (#1 NYTimes bestseller, million copies sold). Charlie's work has been featured on NPR TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Maureen

    Just read the book after d/l it from Ramit’s site. I’m really impressed! I was not expecting too much for a *free* book but the best jobs I got were from COOP positions where you work for low pay. It’s not just that, it’s the experience you gain by working on cool things will pay off later on.
    I Googled you to find your site after finishing the book bec/ I think you have really good ideas.
    THanks
    MB

  2. amitkamra

    I found your ebook really interesting and looking forward to implementing some of the techniques you suggest.

    For all the people who think that the techniques won’t work, if you don’t have a job what do you have to lose?

  3. Devin Reams

    Interesting you’ve said (in the ebook and here) that some jobs just can’t apply these techniques. I started thinking about it and disagree:

    If you think outside of the box and want to be a doctor, travel, work flexibly, learn languages, etc. Then start thinking about the off-the-beaten-bath opportunities (not the typical: go to school, go be a doctor, retire). Tons of skills (like medical) are needed in other countries and would allow for you to do all the aforementioned things.

    Same with firefighters, EMS, or even ski patrol. I know of a guy who was paid to fly out to Kenya and teach all kinds of skills: he turned his day job into a teaching, travel, and cultural experience. Everybody loved him, he had a great time, and made for a great 3 month adventure.

    1. charhoehn@gmail.com

      This is a good post, and it’s something I need to think about more / find more case studies. For people who are mechanical engineers, for instance, the problem isn’t so much that it’s impossible to do free work to get ahead, but rather that they can’t do that free work in the US and have it mean much.

  4. Sai

    I guess if the torso guy has reliable friends, he could get some help in typing and have his friends research Dragon Naturally speaking software and use voice enabled commands to surf the web….

    Not to hurt anyone’s sentiments, but the technology is there to find ways around your limitations and its only getting better!

    Good job on getting the book out, i’ve taken your survey and you will find more comments in there, but I thought I needed to respond to that torso comment :), well more so because of my engineering background I guess..

    Keep at it Charlie..your doing a good job!

  5. valeriemondesir

    The last comment really made me laugh.
    I read the book from Ramit’s site and I really appreciate the advice offered on there. I also got my current job through nontraditional methods, so I totally get what you’re trying to convey. I also learned a lot of new things as well.
    Thanks for writing and looking forward to the next version!

  6. Javier

    The torso guy e-mail is made up right? No way that can be true.

  7. holly

    I’m glad you didn’t let the naysayers get you down. I got a little annoyed myself reading all the comments about how they didn’t think the advice would work (because trying it is hard) I liked the ebook and I even went through your blog and read a ton of your posts. Great stuff!

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