Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: "Bachelor Pad Economics" By Aaron Clarey

Aaron Clarey's most recent contribution to the Manosphere canon is perhaps his strongest and most important overall, collecting the themes of his previous work and distilling them into a consistent and complete world view. "Bachelor Pad Economics" is, at its most basic, a how-to guide for living a life outside of the matrix of conventional wisdom. Fans of Captain Capitalism will recognize his trademark sarcasm as he explains unplugging from societal expectations, girls, economics, education, minimalism, mindset, and the future of the country. 

One of my favorite parts of the book is where Clarey addresses the end-game of bachelorhood, and the major factors that a bachelor will have to deal with as he ages:

"The reason was that while 12 hours ago you were the life of the party and you genuinely were the most interesting person there, 99.9% of the people in attendance were normal people with normal lives. [...] Who do you talk to? Who do you discuss your adventures with? No one, because htere is nobody that can compare to you, let alone relate to you"

It was also refreshing to hear a concise perspective on how to find a wife. The vast majority of Manosphere writing is understandably focused on the demonization of marriage, but Clarey provides a handy chapter of disqualifiers, traits, flags, and risk/reward analysis of getting married. This is not necessarily groundbreaking information, but its inclusion around the Manosphere was heretofore scattered across too many blogs and perspectives to be truly useful. 

Despite the general high quality of the ideas, Clarey does get it wrong in one area---the economic and social value of attending an elite university in the United States. He writes:
"These schools are considered 'the best' not because they're actually the best, but because they provide the students with the best connections, nepotism, and networking. In reality, a Harvard graduate is no better or smarter than a University of Ohio [sic] graduate, it's just that he 'went to Harvard' while the other guy went to Ohio. This means your success will not rely on studying and excelling in your passion, as much as it will your ability to schmooze, kiss ass, and brown nose."
In this case, Clarey is simply wrong. If you get accepted to an elite university in the United States and have the financial ability to attend (most have need-blind financial aid anyway), you must do it 10 times out of 10. Speaking from personal experience, he is dreadfully incorrect about the doors it will open, and not just via the dreaded rent-seeking of "networking" that we both detest. Having a name like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or Stanford on your diploma means that you will never be unemployed for long, likely even after the forthcoming robot singularity. If the goal of college is to make yourself employable, it is logically inconsistent for Clarey to deride schools that makes you eminently more in-demand. His sour grapes in this area taint what was otherwise a very informative and important section in the book. 

Overall, this was a very solid life manual. Clarey's prose has noticeably improved since his early writing, and this book had a much better flow and copyediting than his prior work. I would recommend this especially to younger guys, but it has useful nuggets for men in every life situation, from permanent bachelors to plugged-in guys trying to make sense of the world and live a semi-happy life within the matrix. Buy a copy, even if it's only to give to a teenager or 20-something that you care about.

Click here to buy "Bachelor Pad Economics"

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