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Any Fool Can Criticize and Most Do!
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A writer's life can draw criticism from the losers of this world. I received this e-mail the other day:

    To whom it may concern:

    Let add to the chorus of one who criticized your book [The Joy of Not Working].

    I don't take offense at your drift - I make less than $10,000 and am "retired" at 33 - but I have to say, you sensibility is for the idiotic.

    Not only are your critiques and suggestions hypocritical - I can't imagine how you justify working so hard at not working.

    Working hard never killed anyone, and to contribute to the common good, for love of country and love of humanity and brotherhood of man is definitely a positive concept - such as Blake's concern echoes.

    Feel free to print this - I think you're full of it. And send me a check if you use my letter, I could use the spare change, I didn't have enough to pay for your work - not mine.

    Creative Commons is a great licensing tool - that's the first one that comes to mind.

    Use the net, promote peace, and hard work, not idle inspirational talk.

    Canada deserves better, eh?

    Thanks, Ernie. Dean

This was my reply:

    I receive at least 100 positive comments about my books for every negative one like yours. (Below my name I have included an e-mail that I just received yesterday from Richard Thibeault, Pointe Claire, Quebec).
     I can see why you make less than $10,000 a year.
    Quite frankly, people like you think you are so smart — but you are really quite stupid. You go around criticizing others but never accomplish anything major in your own lives.
    As Mark Twain said, "Any fool can criticize and most do."
    I am very good and successful at what I do and other successful and intelligent people like Richard Thibeault recognize this — but fools like you don't.
    In November I will be making a keynote speech to 2,500 executives of the National Turkish Congress on Quality at their 17 annual convention in Istanbul. The cost to the organization is between $15,000 and $20,000 to have me speak for an hour. See the link below:
    Would a prestigious organization like this ever consider a loser like you to speak to them? Of course not. Last time I checked, I didn't see you anywhere on the program.
    One thing is certain: If I had the same belief system as you and the limited thinking ability that you have, I could never have been as successful as I have been — making over $100,000 a year for the last 5 years by only working 3 to 4 hours a day, selling over 550,000 of my books, and receiving thousands of positive e-mails and letters about my books. Incidentally, The Joy of Not Working has made me over $625,000 in pretax profits.
     As Jack Canfield says, "Results don't lie."
    But excuses lie. False beliefs lie. And critics like you lie big time!
    I must thank you for one thing: Your e-mail to me and my response to you will make a great entry on several of my blogs for thousands of others to read.
    and the International Bestseller The Joy of Not Working (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)
      Dear Ernie:

      I have just finished reading your book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free for the second time.

      It was recommended to me by a coworker who retired a couple of years ago, since I also hope to retire as soon as possible.

      I must say that considering the subject matter of your book I didn't expect to find so much more than instructions or suggestions on how to approach retirement.

      Next to the Bible it may be the most inspiring book I have read.

      I read a lot and I usually highlight passages that I find inspiring and wise.

      Well this book has more colour and scribbled notes in it than any other.

      I also love the way you share some of your reader's letters and comments and as you seem to appreciate them which is also why I've decided to write you this note. I hope to put in practice much of what I've learned from your book and read others as I enjoy the way you write as well.

      At the very end of the book you wrote , and I wrote at the bottom of that last page.

      Of course you have given me many good ideas and one of them is writing. I have always had a desire to write more and hopefully get something published one day (many false starts so far) but haven't yet found that I have sufficient material or inspiration to be able to complete anything worthwhile. Anyway I look forward to read more from you even this book for a third time possibly.

      Thank You and God Bless.

      RICHARD THIBEAULT (Pointe Claire, Quebec).

1 Comment count
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Think you've got kooks? Try writing about grammar. : )

Thanks for sharing. Reading these types of letters sent to other authors is always helpful for a little perspective.

I spent years wanting to write about feminism, religion, and politics. But it was by accident that I discovered the nastiest subject of all: grammar.

For example, I've been shredded for saying that "which" is for nonrestrictive clauses -- a tidbit I reported straight outta the AP Stylebook and Chicago Manual of Style.

Of course, in my subject area, it gets fun because the shredders are -- more than half the time -- demonstrably wrong.

E.g. "You're an idiot because you ended a sentence with a preposition."

Response: Citations from a dozen different dictionaries and style books refuting this mythical prohibition and, at times, calling it "superstition." Take THAT author-picking-on letter writers!

(Of course, sometimes they're right. But we won't talk about that here.)

Anyway, thanks for the smile.