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Point. Being nasty can improve your life.

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2008

Point. Being nasty can improve your life.

Next month sees the arrival of Asshole: How I got Rich and Happy by Not Giving a S*** About You, by New York author Martin Kihn. “I was the nicest guy in the world - and it was killing me,” he says in the book. “My life was a dictionary without the word ‘no’. If you asked me for a favour — even the kind of favour that required me to go so far out of my way that I needed a map, a translator and an oxygen tank — even if I didn’t know you that well, I might hesitate a second, but I’d always say yes.”

Kihn walked other people’s dogs, traipsed out of his way to bring back the most complicated lunch orders for colleagues and handed over his money to whichever charity or sales scam asked for it. The result of such “kindness” was a dead-end job and a second-rate apartment.

While Gryzb recommends subtle personality changes, Kihn takes it a step further. He picked up tips from the masters - Donald Trump, Scarface and “the guy in my building with a tattoo on his face” — and decided to “blowtorch away my old personality and uncover the rock-hard warrior within”. In his book, Kihn devises a “10-step programme to assholism” for anyone wanting to acquaint themselves with their darker side. He himself signed up to the National Rifle Association, started kickboxing, screamed at colleagues and ate garlic bagels on public transport.

Counterpoint. The secret to happiness is giving.

Think you’d be happier if you won the lottery or just had a few extra bucks in your pocket? Think again. Overturning classic economic wisdom, new research shows that it’s not how much you have that matters, it’s how you spend it. People who donate their dollars to charities or splurge on gifts for others are more content than those who squander all the dough on themselves.

(via 3qd)