The Sex Scandal Technique: How to Achieve Any Goal, Instantly (and Party with Tim Ferriss)

It’s no secret I almost never do guest posts. But when my friend, Maneesh Sethi offered to write one, I didn’t hesitate to make an exception.

Maneesh is a 24-year old with a resume that most people won’t accomplish in their entire lives. He was an international best-selling author still in his sophomore year of high-school. He took two years off from Stanford to travel the world, learn five languages, build a business that paid for his lifestyle while working fewer than four hours per week, and even started an NGO,, in India to teach poor kids computer skills.

Maneesh’s secret isn’t that he’s an insane workhorse, he will admit himself he’s lazier than most. Instead it’s a talent for stripping away the irrelevant in pursuing a goal to rapidly outpace the people who spend years working but never see any results.

It would be easy to dismiss or dislike Maneesh. But I prefer to learn from him. Even if you don’t want to live in a desert for a month or become a DJ in Berlin in 90 days without any experience, you can apply his systems-hacking to create your own remarkable life.

The Sex Scandal Technique by Maneesh Sethi

Let me tell you a story about one of my employees in the Philippines. I hired Klarc to help me build a habit: at 10:00 every day, he would call me and remind me to floss my teeth.

One day, at 10:32, I received a Skype message. “Excuse me Mr. Maneesh Sir (Klarc always called me sir, even though I asked him not to), I’m so sorry I’m late. We were hit by a hurricane, and the whole village has no electricity! I had to run 8 miles to the next village so that I could call you!”

Would you run 8 miles to remind me to floss? I was paying Klarc $2 / hr (but gave him a hefty bonus after this incident). What are you doing to make yourself so valuable employer would pay 10-20x that amount?

The Entitlement Fallacy

“I went to college. I worked hard and got good grades. I got a degree. Now, I can’t get a job. This just isn’t fair.”

Here are the facts: everyone is doing exactly the same thing. In 2011, there were 19,700,000 college students. At the same time, there are 13,100,000 million unemployed Americans. Look at the staggering disconnect: there are more and more students graduating from college every day, but almost no job creation. What do students expect will happen to them after graduation? [Sources: The US Census and The Bureau Of Labor Statistics].

The truth is, anyone can hire an employee in India for much less money and FAR LESS paperwork than hiring someone from North America. Where’s the incentive for any employer to choose you?

I was sitting down with a friend last night, lamenting the difficulty of finding good employees. When it came down to it, we both agreed: ‘Almost everyone sucks at absolutely everything.’

This is horrible news for employers. It’s almost impossible to find someone good to hire, even on a short term basis.

However, for you, this is AWESOME news. Fortunately, almost everyone sucks at absolutely everything. You don’t have to be the best. You just have to be better than everyone else—everyone who sucks.

Faster Than The Average Bear

Two friends went camping in a forest. In the morning, one friend noticed a bear eating their supplies (probably because he didn’t use a proper bear bag, which I had to do while living in the wilderness for 28 days). The bear, startled, began to charge the two friends.

The two scattered, and one friend yelled: “We’ll never outrun this bear.”

The second, pulling ahead, yelled back: “I don’t have to be faster than the bear—just faster than you.”

In the same vein, you don’t need to be the best in your industry. You just need to be better than everyone else.

How Not To Suck

Getting a job in any industry requires two things:

  1. Skill in your work
  2. Ability to market your skill

Most people stop at step one. It seems simple, right? If you’re talented in your work, you deserve the job, right?

Wrong. You don’t deserve anything. If you want something, you need to grab it.

Hiring doesn’t discover which candidate is the best for the job. It simply finds which candidate is the best at interviewing for the job.

Put yourself into the mind of an employer: “Why should I hire this person? There are 25 other candidates—what makes this person special?”

The shortest path to a goal is not by doing what everyone else is doing. It’s often by doing the EXACT opposite.

How to achieve any goal via the Sex Scandal Technique

When most people approach any goal, they do what everyone else does: Figure out a goal, write down milestones to achieve it, and slowly pursue the milestones.

Unfortunately, everyone else is doing the same thing.

Instead, every successful goal I’ve achieved has followed what I call the Sex Scandal Technique.

  1. Figure out your final goal
  2. Skip all of your worthless milestones–focus on kicking ass and hitting that goal, immediately.

For example, when most people decide to become famous, the often do what everyone else does: go to Hollywood, try to meet people, work on their script, etc. But Kim Kardashian found a faster way: sleep with someone famous, make a sex tape, get famous.

In the same way, you can approach your goals by looking at methods of beating the system.

I’m going to show you two of my most successful hacks to achieve crazy goals. First, I’ll show you how to network with the best people in your industry. Next, I’ll show you how I became a “famous DJ” in Berlin (and got to party with Tim Ferriss) in just 90 days.

How to Meet Famous People

I met Scott in person while road tripping for my Hack The System Podcast (which you should totally subscribe to). He let me crash on his couch for five days, mainly because I wanted to beat Call of Duty on his LCD TV. (Check out my podcast interview with Scott here)

While staying there, I met Scott’s roommate, Vat, who is currently trying to become an architect in Vancouver. He was rather interested in my podcast.

“So what’s the point Maneesh? Are you expecting a lot of readers to watch?”

“I don’t really care man: With my podcast, I have an excuse to meet my biggest role models, get an hour of free consulting with them, and great content for my readers.”

Now, all of the people I’ve interviewed (Chris Guillebeau, Ramit Sethi, JD Roth, Jonathan Mead, Tynan, and many more) are friends of mine. They introduce me to other people. They retweet my links. They give me great advice.

“That’s great Maneesh,” said Vat. “But how can I use this idea to become an architect?”

“It’s simple: a three stage process. Just do this:

  1. Start a website.
  2. Find all the people in your industry that you want to meet.
  3. Interview them (in person if possible) for your website.”

You can do it in any industry: web design, SEO, architecture, finance, research, teaching, knitting—anything. By virtue of having a blog/interview series, you have an awesome excuse to sit down with experts—and get extremely valuable free coaching, and content for your readers.

This is the strategy I’ve used for networking. Rather than trying hard to convince influential people to sit down with me, I do something that targets their own self interest. Besides, who doesn’t like to talk about themselves on camera?

Partying With Tim Ferriss: How to become a “famous” DJ in Berlin with no experience

Let’s take a look at another example of trying to hack the system. In 2011, I lived in Berlin, Germany, and decided to film a Youtube show: 90 days to becoming a DJ in Berlin. I had no prior experience DJing.

When I moved to Berlin, I didn’t have years—I wanted to become a DJ, but I only had a few months to make it happen. When I asked around, everyone told me the same thing:

“It’s going to take you YEARS before you’ll get your first gig.”

I wasn’t willing to accept that. I didn’t have years—I only had a few months. So, instead, my partner and I figured out a way to subvert the system–we could throw OUR OWN party and position ourselves as the DJs.

Most people think that it takes years to become successful, but there are specific tactics you can use to dramatically decrease that time frame.

We began throwing our own monthly party. We made advertisements, printed flyers, we bought facebook ads. During our second show, just a month after starting, we earned a profit of 1000 Euros ($1500) in *one night*.

Guess what: Within just a few weeks of throwing these parties, we got to host Tim Ferriss live in Berlin. Our party brought in hundreds of people from countries all around the world.

Again, we could have gone the normal route: practicing in our basement, emailing bars, and hoping we would be discovered. Instead, we did what we do best—hack the system, figure out a way to achieve our goals, and execute. The Sex Scandal Technique.

My special gift to Scott H Young readers

I put together a resource kit especially for Scott H Young readers, just because I love Scott (and you!) so much. Check out this Hack The System page. Drop your email address, and I’ll send you over some awesome stuff I’m preparing specially for you. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A 3 minute video with my DJ Partner where we deconstruct EXACTLY how we did it. A 3 minute video that shows you the exact steps we took to become “successful” DJs—in just one month.
  • The Travel Hacking Report – How to get a) an international plane ticket for less than $100 and b) free office space in every country of the world.

Thanks so much for reading my stuff, and don’t forget to check out Hack The System.

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  • Dream

    Concerning the goal-achieving, why isnt it necessary to have milestones? I would say it is necessary for long term goals.

    Do you mean that one should focus on one goal intensely until the goal is achieved?

  • Mike

    In the interest of full disclosure, it might be relevant to add that Ramit Sethi is Maneesh’s brother, who also happens to be friends with Tim Ferriss.

    As for the article, I would argue that these tactics point to a rather superficial definition of achievement.

    While I appreciate the idea of hacking skills, I think it’s important to remember the difference between ability and vanity.

    Actual ability is only gained through hard work (and many of the techniques Scott talks about), while vanity is only concerned with giving the illusion of ability or obtaining the rewards of ability.

    An example of this would be Tim Ferriss’ famous Kickboxing example. To be proud of winning on a technicality is an example of winning for the sake of vanity. It’s not about proving your skill, it’s only the win that matters.

    Likewise, saying you’re a famous DJ in Berlin by throwing your own parties and booking yourself (something anyone can do) is another example of vanity. It does not prove to anyone (or more importantly, yourself) that you possess the actual skill of being a DJ, it only proves that you did, in fact, DJ in Berlin.

    I’m not writing this to flame Maneesh. But I do find it concerning that there is an ever increasing fixation on results without effort.

    True achievement is something remarkable because it redefines who you are and what you can be. True achievement is inspiring and demands respect. You can’t hack your way to that in 90 days.

  • Rachman Blake

    Swweeeeet post!

  • Dean Ouellette

    Great post… so good I wanted to email it to a few friends, but no email share option.. should install it!

  • Amelia

    Really interesting stuff. We are conditioned in so many ways to follow convention – what everyone else is doing – and we are usually about as successful as everyone else too. I am fascinated to read and learn more, for sure 🙂 Thanks Maneesh, and cheers to Scott for putting up the guest post. 🙂

  • Scott Young


    Maneesh happens to know quite a few people who are also friends with Tim Ferriss–connections are important, and Maneesh is good at cultivating them.

    As for the issue of real vs vanity accomplishments, they’re hardly mutually exclusive. Becoming a DJ in Berlin might not be the same as someone who has expertly mastered their craft, but then why not do both? Interesting accomplishments, vanity or otherwise, fuel opportunities for rapid growth of a skill.

    Does effort matter? Of course it does, but the world is full of people who put in tons of effort and don’t become successful. It requires as much the fine-tuning of the mastery process (ala Cal Newport) as it does the strategic thinking and rule breaking Maneesh writes about here.


  • Michelle

    This is great but depressing for me. I am a product of conventional thinking and my resume is embarrassing because of it. And I know Maneesh is not lazy, just SMART…and he probably ends up doing a lot of the GOOD, EFFECTIVE work that most of us conventional kids are too frightened to do because we’re too busy sitting around overthinking, trying to follow protocol and do what we THINK we’re supposed to do…why is doing what we think we’re supposed to do so damn addicting, even when we are getting the same crappy results? I’m rambling. I have a question for you, Maneesh.

    What do you (and Tim, and Scott, and Rachman, all the people out there) have to say to people like me that are trying to BREAK out of the step-by-step, traditional mindset that they’ve been conditioned to for all of their lives? What steps can we take to work smarter, and not harder? Does it start with one step? Doing one crazy thing a day? Quitting our job all of a sudden? Building creative habits? This stuff is cool but really really scary. People like me are not used to it.


  • Josh


    With all due respect, every time I hear of people attempting to oversimplify complex professions and engage in what amounts to “mastery exhibition”, “instantaneous success”, subsequently lamenting why “everybody isn’t a tango-dancing, bear-wresting pornstar DJ”, it reminds me of this…

    Now in contrast, your efforts with the MIT program are a simple demonstration that given effective discipline and the right methodology, anyone who has the time and willpower to realize attainable (“reasonable”) goals can achieve them. You document your progress, and you don’t take shortcuts (apart from study hacks) with regards to the material or the experience of learning all of the peripheral knowledge that leads to a more holistic understanding of computers. As a result, you’ll have more genuine knowledge about the subject and can go more in-depth than someone who simply pretends to be a programmer and tries to take shortcuts to achieve a shoddy product which may produce similar looking results, but amounts to poor quality.

    There’s a joke which states that the easiest way to make six figures blogging is as follows:

    1. Find/make a career that pays six figures
    2. Automate said job
    3. Blog from “work”

    That is the approach that is espoused by these gurus who typically gloss over the fundamental steps that got them to where they are and instead focus on the leisure, because let’s be honest, the hard work they inevitably had to go through isn’t glamorous and wouldn’t make for good subject matter in a mass-market paperback. Did it take you only 4 hours to make this blog a success?

    Make no mistake, I admire these guys. They live lives of perpetual fulfillment in terms of having numerous opportunities to experiment with new hobbies. But their lifestyles aren’t for everyone, nor is it sustainable for everyone to adjust their mindset to believe that they too can live a similar life without some sort of anchor to support the mundane needs that we mere mortals have to fulfill. Hence, we fall in love with the story, much as less-fortunate viewers fall in love with the travails of the Kardashians, the Jersey Shore crew, or Paris Hilton. If we were to collectively all try and follow their methodology towards success, would we be better off? What exactly does it say of this methodology when Kim Kardashian is used as an example instead of, say, Warren Buffett? Is Warren Buffett not a success because he focuses on a single career, one where he spent decades mastering his craft?

    Mike makes the point of emphasizing ability over vanity; it is an excellent point and serves to distinguish those of us who’d rather hone our profession or follow through on a singular passion for our own sake rather than spread ourselves over a dozen pursuits in order to purvey a sense of broad mastery to people we know may not have the same circumstances to facilitate such choices.

  • Josef

    @ Mike, Dream

    It’s too easy to get lost in details – cutting out middle steps makes clearer where you actually want and need to go. It helpts to keep focus on your main goal and not getting lost in subgoals. I see Maneesh Sethi’s advice as a cognitive tool to find the most direct path and stay focused. Then you can detail your plan.

  • paurullan

    This may be one of the greatest guests post I have ever read; thanks Scott and Maneesh!

  • sudheer dunga

    I am big fan of Maneesh, this post is awesome to read. some hacks and techniques mentioned is completely acceptable. I started feeling this new system to achieve anything in this world.

  • Jonathan

    I think Mike got it exactly right. You’ll never be great at deeper skills using Kim Kardashian as your career model. You’ll never become a great architect by socializing with great architects. You’ll never become Steve Jobs by being his biographer, or further still, reading his biography and copping his lingo. You’ll never even become a great DJ, which admittedly is so arbitrary it’s hard to know where the edges of greatness lie, by throwing house parties. You might get rich though. That’s what Kim Kardashian did. And that’s really what this advice boils down to: getting rich by exploiting the glitches in systems. If you think of a serious pursuit like being a jazz musician, you can’t hump your way through those hoops. – Jonathan

  • Arjan

    Folkloric tales from all over the world are often about characters that try to outsmart everyone. At first they usually get away with it, but eventually their tricks backfire on them.(Monkey King from Chinese mythology and Anansi the Spider from African-Caribbean folklore are marvelous examples of such characters).
    I think there’s great wisdom in those stories. As Stephen Covey has pointed out, sustainable success has to be based on principles. It can’t be based on tricks, shortcuts and quickfixes. Maneesh seems to be advocating some kind of shortcut philosophy. Perhaps it can lead to spectacular results, but I don’t think it’ll work for everyone under all circumstances.

    But I agree with Scott, you can learn from Maneesh. He’s right when he points out that success requires being skillful in your work and being able to market your skill. But most important: he thinks out of the box. That’s a skill we all need these days to succeed. But we also have to bear in mind that sustainable success doesn’t come overnight.

  • Michael Medric

    Although I found this post very interesting, I have to agree with Jonathan and Mike.

    I think it is important to distinguish between “hacking” and actual talent. As to Scott’s point, I don’t think they are mutually exclusive…developing skill and also hacking can be a powerful combination for achieving…but I don’t think its that simple…

    Using the DJ example, I think there are two sides to DJing that a successful DJ must conquer: the artistic/skill side and the business side. The logical way for a DJ starting out would be do develop the art/skill side and then market yourself and make it a job. Impressively, Maneesh did it in reverse and much faster. The difference here is the end result.

    The business-first DJ can get a gig very fast (apparently) but then what? One would think you could simply land the gig via business skills (connections, marketing, social skills), then learn to DJ along the way and end up in the same place. How long will it take though for patrons to realize the guy behind the decks isn’t much of a DJ but is masterful at appearing as one? Even if the DJ goes on to learn the skills later they will have already established a reputation for themselves that becomes a limiting factor. Its not easy to back-date talent once you’ve enjoyed its results. If you only want to prove a point to get a DJ gig but have no interest in becoming a skilled DJ, this won’t really matter. For an aspiring DJ looking to make a career out of it, I find this approach dangerous.

    The former artistic-first DJ will take much longer to develop but will end up with a more solidified and flexible career path as a DJ. With skills to back up his bookings, he develops a reputation as a talented DJ and he can apply that talent wherever he wants. The business skills are less critical when he actually has something impressive to market. The problem here is a lot of DJs don’t do enough on the business side so nobody ever gets to see how talented they really are.

    In the end, I think the value of this approach depends on what the long term goal is. It is certainly effective for someone looking to accomplish an isolated short-term goal, but I question its use for long term en devours. I do think the “get your foot in the door” idea has merit and can be useful but you have to be able to provide some level of value once you are in the door. If not, then this is a recipe for one-hit wonders.

  • Alexander

    Some of Scott’s strategies to life, if I’m not mistaken, are: view goals just as a direction so you can fill your life with the paths towards them; patiently show up every day to slowly improve your skills; serve yourself indirectly by being altruistic. The strategies described in this post seem to be the opposite of Scott’s ideas. I like this blog for Scott’s insights; this post seems to mock people that take the safe route, making a long-term commitment towards a formal education/a career.

    It’s conceivable that doing the more advanced courses of the MIT Challenge takes more time than anticipated and there wasn’t enough time to write an original article.

  • Galen Pearl

    This was a blast to read. First, I laughed out loud about the sex scandal approach. Second, I am decades older than y’all and I love knowing that I’m handing over the world to folks like you. There is hope after all.

  • Nitin Puranik

    I would agree with Alexander here. I’m definitely not a sucker for hacks. Thats the reason I follow just a couple self-development blogs such as Scott’s and Cal Newport’s Study Hacks. The kind of articles that these guys have churned up over the years are all about hard focus, long term persistence and deliberate practice. These are the qualities that stand the test of time and eventually will help practitioners beat others that may flash like a meteor, only for a while.

    Definitely not against the article. These techniques do hold well for contexts where you need to sell yourself, much before you are [quoting Cal here] “so good they can’t ignore you”. However, when it comes to cognitive and knowledge domains, sustained deliberate practice is the only hack one can look for.

  • Jonathan

    This just highlights the important of goal setting imo. When I start a project I carefully examine what I want then try to achieve the results as efficiently as possible. For example Kim’s goal was to be famous, and starring in a sex tape with someone she already had “connections” with was the fastest way to do it.

    It’s true that Maneesh is a DJ, but he probably isn’t a very good one (relatively). The people who trained their skill ‘in their basement’ probably improved faster than Maneesh who was on facebook advertising. If the goal was to become a great DJ he would be at a disadvantage. I do agree that if the goal was only to host big parties as a dJ then Maneesh method is probably far more effective than the average guys.

    TL;DR Nothing special here just focus on forming clear goals and employ your creative mind to help accomplish them.

  • Manny

    Excellent post gentlemen. Reading this reminded me of my time in the Marine Corps.

    The sex scandal technique can be visually explained by this picture.

    Marines tend to think this way, except the goal is referred to as a mission. We define the mission, designate it with a laser and blow it the hell up.

  • Dream

    Alexander, I could not agree more. It feels like this article goes against Mr.Youngs philosophy? Scott, I am not throwing shade at you. I love you and your blog and it changed my life.

  • John

    It seems to me that the debate is about two separate issues – being an “expert” at something and achieving a goal. The way I read the article, Maneesh had a goal to become a “famous” DJ in Berlin, and he achieved that goal.

    His goal wasn’t to become the best or even an accomplished DJ, simply to become a famous one. I’m going to assume he had some skills as a DJ going in, or he probably couldn’t have made it past a couple of parties. People might come on the strength of his marketing once or twice, but if the parties sucked I doubt they’d keep coming back.

    Skill in your work was one of the two requirements he listed for getting a job, so I think it’s implied that you need to have *some* semblance of skill.

  • usexpat

    I agree with a lot that Jonathan has said. One needs to be precise with deciding and planning their goals. Maybe it’s my age but I find that I choose my goals as much for the journey as for achieving.

  • adelbert

    This is great! Yeah there are really techniques of getting the faster route, there are really no shortcuts in life but there are faster routes, you still work hard and I appreciate you for that, this also happens to me, I thought I can have my car at 30 years but I have it when I was only 27, I always try to figure out what will be the best way to earn money fast and I figure out that companies are making you poorer because they still have percentages of what you are earning from the clients, so what I did is I try freelancing and I immediately directed myself to the clients so there will be no more deductions, I relate to this post, this is so great!

    Zero Dramas

  • Alex

    This is advice is great if you want to learn something quickly and test the waters. It’s a wonderful way to decide if you want to create proficiency at something. Though of course in order to become a master you’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to your endeavor.

    But if you want to test something out from a certain angle for the sake of “testing:, I don’t see anything wrong with this advice. But again don’t expect to become an expert over night; that takes practice and guidance from the right source.

  • Harry Che

    Great advice on “marketing” part of the goal attainment. But again, with certain goals, we still need to work on our “skills” part. Is it not so?

  • Manny

    Hey guys,

    Great post! Thank you for taking the time to put this out for us.



  • Nathan

    Marketing yourself to interviewers is definitely huge. Specific job skills are often much easier to learn… which brings me to another interesting topic this article brings up; the applicant pool “sucking.” I don’t think that is the case.

    Good job interviewers and managers don’t have a problem finding quality people because they know what to look for. If a person conveys values, passion for the specific work that your company does, and is reasonably intelligent, they can do the job. The problem is that most interviewers and managers look for the wrong things in applicants. They look for proven skills like being proficient in Excel, etc. instead of looking for quality human beings who are a good cultural fit.

    In a weekend course you can take someone with no Excel skills to being able to do everything you could ever need them to do. In 3 weekends the person can become proficient enough to do accounting or market research level work. Necessary math skills and programming skills for a job don’t take any longer. On the other hand, passion and personalities take years to form. Doing the research to learn to measure those qualities, and hire based on them, is a far better strategy than hiring based on skills that can be taught quickly and cheaply. It is also a better strategy for developing quality employees for other positions and management.

  • Maneesh Sethi

    So, I’ve gotten a lot of comments and feedback from readers. Thanks guys.

    What it boils down to is this: I’m not in this game to become an expert in one narrow field. I prefer to be a jack of all trades—and success rides on success.

    One of my stated goals is that I want to be a well known producer/DJ. Well, by doing this 90 days project allowed me to meet with lots of really well known producers—ones who have helped me with my music, improved my skills, and will actually listen to my tracks when I produce them.

    I could have spent years in my bedroom before playing my first party—but instead, I used radical goal setting to skip the process and jump to my version of success.

    But that’s not the end. I subscribe to a ready–fire–aim approach. As both Cal Newport and Scott say, passion is created–not found. I had no idea if music would be my calling, so I made it one of my many goals—ready–fire at lots of ideas, and then aim(focus) on what sticks. That is why I’m heading to an intensive music school this summer in NYC.

    So guys, tell me that I’m not an expert in music because I did it only for 90 days…I don’t care. Because it’s not the end. I know what I love now, and I’ll go ahead and focus on it.

    In the same way, you can decide on trying out something, succeeding in your version of success as soon as possible—and then focusing on improving once you’re sure you love it.

  • anonymous

    No matter how useful or wise your idea might be, that is a terrible, terrible name for it.

  • Prince Sam

    Ur post was very right and gud in its intents{to beat the system other than allow the bite of the system cage you into mediocrity}.

    But in reality your presentations are simply disappointments to expectations of the reality that is worth believing(just as Scott’s posts makes clear).

    Starting from the caption it contradicts the decency we know,value and respect in this blogsite.

    Flaming is not my intention, just airing my observation

  • Vlad Dolezal

    This is a great, thought-provoking post.

    I think Michael above in the comment section summed it up best. This approach is great for having a list of “achievements” that sound great and give you great memories. Not necessarily for lasting success.

    And while Maneesh’s examples are a bit extreme, I think it’s a useful approach to keep in mind. Just last week, I was out in town with friends in a café, and I noticed they have a grand piano in there. So I dropped by later, and asked to talk to the owner – and suggested I could play for them an evening a month, or so, in exchange for some cash. We’re still figuring out the terms, and it’s a bit scary for me to think of performing in front of a large audience of strangers with no backup (it would be my first time) – but I’ve also loved playing the piano for years now, and I know I have the skills to pull it off!

  • Yogesh

    Maneesh, Scott

    Can you honestly answer this question – If you/or your kin had to undergo an eye/organ transplant would you trust a 90day surgeon who hacked his way to get a job in the best hospital?


  • BornInChicago


    It’s clear your goal is only to be a celebrity.

    For example, your new goal of “intensive music” is not to become a skilled musician; it is to become a musical celebrity.

    In just a few weeks of training on an instrument you cannot acquire any remarkable skill. But that’s not your goal. Your goal is to be able to fake it enough to market yourself as a “musician”.

    But the celebrity world is filled with celebrities with no real skill other than marketing themselves. That is what you are doing, as I see it.

    When you are 50 years old, it will be interesting for you to look back at your posts in 2011 and 2012 and ponder what you thought success was in your youth, and what you did to achieve it. And how it worked out.

    I loved the 4-hour dentist link, by the way. It sums this approach very well.

    I do suspect you come from a wealthy family and do not need to work a real job as most people do. Because real jobs at your age are “starter jobs” that demand that your can actually perform a task, not pretend.

  • Ed

    Love this post! Funny to see the negative comments. I don’t think the writer is telling us to “game the system” but to become much more effective by applying intense focus other people’s needs. What’s wrong with that?

  • Maneesh Sethi

    Hey Born in Chicago,

    So first of all, I do not come from a wealthy family. My parents were from India, immigrated here, lower middle class–and I have been supporting myself since I was 13. Oh that’s right—I have been sending my parents money home ever since I was 16.

    How? I busted my ass. I wrote 6 books when I was a teenager (one was an international bestseller, translated in 4 languages). I studied hard and went to Stanford (oh yes, there is a book even written—by Cal Newport none the less—about my high school career).

    How does a 14 year old write a book that’s an international bestseller? (I also had a monthly TV segment on Techtv, with Leo Laporte —… ). By not being afraid. By trying new things. By approaching people. I was told I would never be allowed to publish a book, I was too young—so I did it anyway. I wrote 80 pages and sent it to editor who prematurely rejected me, and above his head as well. They couldn’t ignore me.

    Again, the goal of this was as an experiment…I had 3 months, how big of a DJ could I be? Also, do I really love music?

    Well, I discovered I loved music—it was an example of my ready-fire-aim approach. Try lots of things, an see what sticks.

    Now I’m going to music school, starting april, in NYC—an intensive Music Production school. I’m refining, getting better—the first 90 days was about a youtube show. The next several years are about becoming an actual musician.

    I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to be a celebrity–it’s clear that I do. But many commenters seem to believe that it’s not possible to do anything interesting in a short period of time. Try reframing your assumptions—it’s not about being the best in the world in 90 days…it’s about being better than you ever thought possible.

  • Dilanka

    Great post Maneesh / Scott. I will promptly make arrangements to make a sex tape with a old girlfriend of mine — my dreams of becoming famous will quickly come into fruition :P.

    On a less lighter note, speaking of the huge disconnect between college kids and the job market, I would recommend reading godin’s latest 30K word manifesto on the issue:… – it’s quite well done.


  • Peter

    Great follow up comment by Maneesh.

    “How does a 14 year old write a book that’s an international bestseller? (I also had a monthly TV segment on Techtv, with Leo Laporte —… ). By not being afraid. By trying new things. By approaching people.”

    I can attest to the truth of these methods. Why, because I lived that way also? No, because during my teenage years, my personality/methods were the exact opposite of what Maneesh described, and I had the opposite results to the success Maneesh describes.(You know what that means; the F word- the bad one that comes from fear/anxiety and inaction)

    Your ready fire aim approach of living life and going after your dreams fearlessly is VERY inspiring to me. I for one appreciate it and thank you for explaining it to us.

    It is a personal pet peeve of mine, when people neglect to acknowledge all the positive about a person or their methods, and eagerly latch onto any negative they perceive and attempt to rubbish the person based on that. It is entirely possible to post your disagreements and not do it in such a manner.

    Take care everyone,

  • Sheyi

    Maneesh, I so much love your spirit and that of your brother, Ramith. You guys are a product of good belongings and high value. Scott is such an interesting guy too. He is this guy I always rush down to his site anytime I need inspiration.

    Playing Bball with Obama (his latest post) is something that made me to start writing a guest post (I dont even know which business blog i will submit it to) but I have spent more than 5 days trying to bring the best out of the post.

    Thanks for been an inspiration and you have been added to the list of the people I will love to meet (1on1 physically) because you are sincere and transparent. So Nick Denton, Benny Hsu, Brian Rowse, Ramith Sethi, Clark (copyblogger) Pat Flynn, Corbett Barr to mention but a few are wonderful people I love to mee. Guy Kawaski, Adrienne Smith and host of others too.

    Keep believing in the beauty of your dream and just to tell you this, your country which some people thinks is poor is better than my own country, Nigeria. As i type this, I have not seen electricity supply (power) for more than 2 months in my house and it gets worse day by day here.

    Well, I’ve planned to move down to India and later on down to South Korea as I will be doing a lot of Internet entrepreneur.

    I just got an idea now, instead of posting the blog post for one blogger, I’d hire my friend to help me change it into a proposal and I will send it to some investors and see if they are going to accept it.

    Thanks for been an inspiration.

    I love you (Yes, but i’m not a gay…. lol)


  • Martin

    I respect what you two guys are trying to do: make your way in the world, carve your own path.

    At the same time, it’s important for readers to understand that this type of blog is more for entertainment than education.

    There is only on true path to success, which the reader Mike is pretty close to describing. Using Mike’s approach, Scott becomes a really good blogger by working at it very hard, and in order to attract readers, he cleverly titles blog posts. You obviously can’t achieve any goal instantly, but it’s amusing to think you can. And that’s all that’s needed to have a successful blog.

  • ad

    Maneesh is truly a narcissist. The meaning of success is the right time, right place and right you. He is too young to teach us all of these. His system might not working in future and in every field.

  • Ben J

    I am normally a huge fan off all Scott’s posts, but I am disgusted by this one. Maneesh, you have completely missed the point – not all of us are concerned with the goal, it is about the journey getting there. By your logic it is ok to cheat in a test, to take drugs in sport, to lie to get yourself into office, etc. as in your opinion the goal is the only thing of importance. It’s not about making money, it is about improving yourself by pushing your limits and achieving your dreams, not taking shortcuts.

  • John

    I really want to know where I can hire a guy like that for $2/hour.

  • Rasheed Bustamam

    “Maneesh is truly a narcissist. The meaning of success is the right time, right place and right you. He is too young to teach us all of these. His system might not working in future and in every field.”

    I like people like you. “He’s too young to teach us all of these”– it’s people like you who give people like Maneesh and me the courage and inspiration to do shit that older people couldn’t ever dream of.

    And “his system might not working [sic] in future and in every field”–tell me a system that does?

    “Maneesh, you have completely missed the point – not all of us are concerned with the goal, it is about the journey getting there.”

    Dunno about you, but I’m concerned with the goal. The journey is important too–but I only have a certain amount of time to live, and tons of goals to accomplish during that time. The faster I can accomplish goals, the more I can get done. If you enjoy taking 5-10 years accomplishing one goal, then obviously this method isn’t for you. For those of us who enjoy trying new things, a method like this is a godsend.

    Let’s take NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for example: during the month of November, participants are to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (roughly 1600 words/day). Will this make a person into an international bestselling author? Probably not. But it will get a person’s foot into the door of writing, and who knows–a publisher may like the content.

    Lastly, I’ll end with this TED video:

    Some of us love doing new things. And taking years to do one thing simply doesn’t leave enough time for the other awesome things we want to do with our lives.

  • James

    Rasheed, I’m not sure that all the criticism is motivated by envy and bitterness. It’s more a disagreement over whether it’s better to do something, or only do something if you do it well. One approach makes you look like a stick-in-the-mud, the other like a dilletante.

    Both sides can agree that you should test out lots of things to work out what you’re good at, but it doesn’t seem like either will agree about what the minimum viable product is that you need. (There’s plenty of literature that will tell you that you only get to be good at something after you’ve put in 10,000 hours of practice; Maneesh didn’t try performing a Beethoven concerto on a violin in 90 days. Would you think “hmm, I think I’ll try running a marathon”, buy some shoes, run as hard as you possibly could for as long as you could, and then say “well, gave that a try, wasn’t for me”? Similarly, I don’t believe Nanowrimo teaches you how to write: the most you’re likely to get out of it is the ability to type faster, which isn’t the same thing.)

  • Fernando

    Amazing post Maneesh. I love your style of writing here. This post is a must read for people just starting to become high achievers in business and their lifestyle. This will motivate them alot. Thanks for sharing.

  • Matt

    Your technique for getting a DJ gig in Berlin is ingenious, but incredibly disingenuous, which makes me discredit you and everything else you will continue to write.

    Also, your use of over-generalizations is a HUGE red flag for your credibility while reading this article.

    “I was sitting down with a friend last night, lamenting the difficulty of finding good employees. When it came down to it, we both agreed: ‘Almost everyone sucks at absolutely everything.’”

    If you want to be credible and go for the long-term goal (gaining followers who love and respect you) as opposed to the short-term goal (writing an overly-general article that links to your website) I would be more careful about what I write and reveal about myself.

    If you openly talk about how you’re a fraud when it comes to DJing, what makes me think you aren’t a disingenuous fraud about everything else?

    Where’s your integrity?

  • Carlos Castellon

    “If you want something, you need to grab it.”

    Yup. This was how I started my business. A future client was looking for someone else but I intercepted the job and told them I could do it. I can still remember the doubt in their eyes but I delivered in a big way. They were one of our main clients during the startup years.

  • Carlos Castellon

    “If you want something, you need to grab it.”

    Yup. This was how I started my business. A future client was looking for someone else but I intercepted the job and told them I could do it. I can still remember the doubt in their eyes but I delivered in a big way. They were one of our main clients during the startup years.

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