تاریخ آسیب شناسی

کتاب: هفته کاری 4 ساعته / فصل 4

تاریخ آسیب شناسی

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHRONOLOGY OF A PATHOLOGY

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

—NIELS BOHR, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.

—HEINRICH HEINE, German critic and poet

This book will teach you the precise principles I have used to become the following:

Princeton University guest lecturer in high-tech entrepreneurship

First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango

Advisor to more than 30 world-record holders in professional and Olympic sports

Wired magazine’s “Greatest Self-Promoter of 2008”

National Chinese kickboxing champion

Horseback archer (yabusame) in Nikko, Japan

Political asylum researcher and activist

MTV breakdancer in Taiwan

Hurling competitor in Ireland

Actor on hit TV series in mainland China and Hong Kong (Human Cargo)

How I got to this point is a tad less glamorous:

1977 Born 6 weeks premature and given a 10% chance of living. I survive instead and grow so fat that I can’t roll onto my stomach. A muscular imbalance of the eyes makes me look in opposite directions, and my mother refers to me affectionately as “tuna fish.” So far so good.

1983 Nearly fail kindergarten because I refuse to learn the alphabet. My teacher refuses to explain why I should learn it, opting instead for “I’m the teacher—that’s why.” I tell her that’s stupid and ask her to leave me alone so I can focus on drawing sharks. She sends me to the “bad table” instead and makes me eat a bar of soap. Disdain for authority begins.

1991 My first job. Ah, the memories. I’m hired for minimum wage as the cleaner at an ice cream parlor and quickly realize that the big boss’s methods duplicate effort. I do it my way, finish in one hour instead of eight, and spend the rest of the time reading kung-fu magazines and practicing karate kicks outside. I am fired in a record three days, left with the parting comment, “Maybe someday you’ll understand the value of hard work.” It seems I still don’t.

1993 I volunteer for a one-year exchange program in Japan, where people work themselves to death—a phenomenon called karooshi—and are said to want to be Shinto when born, Christian when married, and Buddhist when they die. I conclude that most people are really confused about life. One evening, intending to ask my host mother to wake me the next morning (okosu), I ask her to violently rape me (okasu). She is very confused.

1996 I manage to slip undetected into Princeton, despite SAT scores 40% lower than the average and my high school admissions counselor telling me to be more “realistic.” I conclude I’m just not good at reality. I major in neuroscience and then switch to East Asian studies to avoid putting printer jacks on cat heads.

1997 Millionaire time! I create an audiobook called How I Beat the Ivy League, use all my money from three summer jobs to manufacture 500 tapes, and proceed to sell exactly none. I will allow my mother to throw them out only in 2006, just nine years of denial later. Such is the joy of baseless overconfidence.

1998 After four shot-putters kick a friend’s head in, I quit bouncing, the highest-paying job on campus, and develop a speed-reading seminar. I plaster campus with hundreds of god-awful neon green flyers that read, “triple your reading speed in 3 hours!” and prototypical Princeton students proceed to write “bullsh t” on every single one. I sell 32 spots at $50 each for the 3-hour event, and $533 per hour convinces me that finding a market before designing a product is smarter than the reverse. Two months later, I’m bored to tears of speed-reading and close up shop. I hate services and need a product to ship.

Fall 1998 A huge thesis dispute and the acute fear of becoming an investment banker drive me to commit academic suicide and inform the registrar that I am quitting school until further notice. My dad is convinced that I’ll never go back, and I’m convinced that my life is over. My mom thinks it’s no big deal and that there is no need to be a drama queen.

Spring 1999 In three months, I accept and quit jobs as a curriculum designer at Berlitz, the world’s largest publisher of foreign-language materials, and as an analyst at a three-person political asylum research firm. Naturally, I then fly to Taiwan to create a gym chain out of thin air and get shut down by Triads, Chinese mafia. I return to the U.S. defeated and decide to learn kickboxing, winning the national championship four weeks later with the ugliest and most unorthodox style ever witnessed.

Fall 2000 Confidence restored and thesis completely undone, I return to Princeton. My life does not end, and it seems the yearlong delay has worked out in my favor. Twenty-somethings now have David Koresh–like abilities. My friend sells a company for $450 million, and I decide to head west to sunny California to make my billions. Despite the hottest job market in the history of the world, I manage to go jobless until three months after graduation, when I pull out my trump card and send one start-up CEO 32 consecutive e-mails. He finally gives in and puts me in sales.

Spring 2001 TrueSAN Networks has gone from a 15-person nobody to the “number one privately held data storage company” (how is that measured?) with 150 employees (what are they all doing?). I am ordered by a newly appointed sales director to “start with A” in the phone book and dial for dollars. I ask him in the most tactful way possible why we are doing it like retards. He says, “Because I say so.” Not a good start.

Fall 2001 After a year of 12-hour days, I find out that I’m the second-lowest-paid person in the company aside from the receptionist. I resort to aggressively surfing the web full-time. One afternoon, having run out of obscene video clips to forward, I investigate how hard it would be to start a sports nutrition company. Turns out that you can outsource everything from manufacturing to ad design. Two weeks and $5,000 of credit card debt later, I have my first batch in production and a live website. Good thing, too, as I’m fired exactly one week later.

2002–2003 BrainQUICKEN LLC has taken off, and I’m now making more than $40K per month instead of $40K per year. The only problem is that I hate life and now work 12-hour-plus days 7 days a week. Kinda painted myself into a corner. I take a one-week “vacation” to Florence, Italy, with my family and spend 10 hours a day in an Internet café freaking out. Sh t balls. I begin teaching Princeton students how to build “successful” (i.e., profitable) companies.

Winter 2004 The impossible happens and I’m approached by an infomercial production company and an Israeli conglomerate (huh?) interested in buying my baby BrainQUICKEN. I simplify, eliminate, and otherwise clean house to make myself expendable. Miraculously, BQ doesn’t fall apart, but both deals do. Back to Groundhog Day. Soon thereafter, both companies attempt to replicate my product and lose millions of dollars.

June 2004 I decide that, even if my company implodes, I need to escape before I go Howard Hughes. I turn everything upside down and—backpack in hand—go to JFK Airport in New York City, buying the first one-way ticket to Europe I can find. I land in London and intend to continue on to Spain for four weeks of recharging my batteries before returning to the salt mines. I start my relaxation by promptly having a nervous breakdown the first morning.

July 2004–2005 Four weeks turn into eight, and I decide to stay overseas indefinitely for a final exam in automation and experimental living, limiting e-mail to one hour each Monday morning. As soon as I remove myself as a bottleneck, profits increase 40%. What on earth do you do when you no longer have work as an excuse to be hyperactive and avoid the big questions? Be terrified and hold on to your ass with both hands, apparently.

September 2006 I return to the U.S. in an odd, Zen-like state after methodically destroying all of my assumptions about what can and cannot be done. “Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit” has evolved into a class on ideal lifestyle design. The new message is simple: I’ve seen the promised land, and there is good news. You can have it all.

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