What do you fear about retirement?

Jun 3, 2009

The World's Best Retirement Book — Who Am I to Tamper with a Masterpiece?

    "Freedom comes from seeing the ignorance of your critics and discovering the emptiness of their virtue."
    — Ayn Rand

    This is my response to an e-mail (see below my response) that I received from a woman criticizing my book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

    Hello Trish:

    I have read your comments and disagree.

    Here are the reasons I will not be making the changes that you suggest:

      1. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free has proven to be the "World's Best Retirement Book", as a reader called it, by word-of-mouth advertising alone. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising for any product because it is based on people getting a lot of value out of it and telling others about it.

      2. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free has now sold over 100,000 copies. Did you know that over 95% of the books published — even by major publishers — sell less than 5,000 copies in their life time? For the record, all 12 of my books published in English have sold over 5,000 copies. So I know I am very good at what I do. I was just at Book Expo in New York and major US publishers and distributors were complimenting me on my success.

      3. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is now published in 7 foreign languages, with the 8th (Bulgarian) being done this year. Did you know that only one out of 10 books gets even one foreign publishers, let alone 8?

      4. Companies such as Allstate Financial, which purchased 3,750 copies of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free with its name on it (see above image), are purchasing this book by the thousands to give to employess and clients. Companies don't just purchase a book without checking it out to see whether it has great content.

      5. Check out the two e-mails out of hundreds that I have recently received from people about the book at Letters from the Happily Retired. As a matter of fact, for every one negative e-mail or letter such as yours that I receive, I receive 50 or 100 positive ones like the ones below. I wouldn't be too bright listening to a negative one like yours, would I, when there are thousands of positive ones stating that the book is just fine the way it is?

    Again, regardless of what you say or think, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is the "World's Best Retirement Book." It has sold 110,000 copies and it will end up selling 500,000 copies.

    As one of my mentors, Jack Canfield, says, "Results don't lie."

    And as Oscar Wild said, when asked to make changes to one of his famous and successful plays, "Who am I to tamper with a masterpiece?"

    If you don't like
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, just send it back to me at the address at the back of the book along with the receipt and I will refund what you paid for it plus shipping. (I can afford to this because the book has already made me over $400,000 in pretax profits).

    And I challenge you to write a better book. I bet that you can't! Thinking that you can doesn't count. As the Buddhists say, "To know and not to do is not yet to know!"

    In the mean time I have attached two of my e-books, 101 Reasons to Love a Recession and The 237 Best Things Ever Said about Retirement. If you don't enjoy these e-books, then send them to people whom you don't like.

    So long for now,

    Ernie Zelinski
    Author of the Bestseller
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 100,000 copies sold and published in 7 foreign languages)
    and the International Bestseller
    The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

    Featured at

Here is the e-mail from the reader:

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Patsy Carpenter
    To: vip-books (at) telus (dot) net
    Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 11:13 AM

    Hello Ernie,

    My husband and I have been retired for several years, and we are having a reading session every day with How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free. This appears to be for people thinking about retiring, not so much for those already retired. I am just at page 50, so I may be wrong there.

    We have lived all over the world for many years working for the U.S. Department of Defense. My husband worked with Colin Powell in Stuttgart, Germany in the 1st gulf war. My husband was the senior DoD logistician at the European Command Headquarters, and Mr. Powell was a general then. That doesn't mean he knows how to "retire," as you point out. It also doesn't necessarily mean he is/we are...morons.

    I read on page 50 of your book that, "Putting purpose into retirement is only unattainable to uncreative and unmotivated people who are unable to think and act on their own. Not only was this very depressing, we were insulted and wondered why we would buy a book on the subject seeking ideas and "help," which we obviously would not need if we were intelligent, creative, and motivated! Some people might just toss your book at that point...really. They buy your book seeking help. So far, we have heard the same thing repeated over and over in slightly different ways...why one possibly should, and could retire early. Of course, you are trying to convince folks they can do this, but we're wondering how many more times we'll hear the same thing.

    I also noticed it's assumed that the career one had obviously had no real significance...as far as connecting with who you really are. For some, their career is who they really are...artists, missionaries, humanitarian workers, etc. There are more than "suits" with careers. My husband was a suit. I was not. I was very involved in "spiritual" work. It was a passion, and one I will continue eventually.

    I'll let you know what I think of your book once I've read it all. If you revise it some day, I'd advise you to leave out the sentence making people sound like idiots for buying your book...for a little help!!! We are enjoying the little cartoons. Well, back to your book!


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