While not entirely applicable, the word that kept coming into my head as I read “The Laptop Millionaire: How Anyone Can Escape the 9 to 5 and Make Money Online” was “shyster.”

Author Mark Anastasi’s 2012 book feels like a novel in that it is a bunch of regurgitated buzzword internet money-making schemes that feel more about making money than the “value” he claims they represent. Adversely, he never actually represents that value with anything more quantifiable than overusing the same word.

Before I take this book apart with its quantity-over-quality philosophy I must admit I’ve never seen a longer “Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty” at the beginning of a book – ever. That should be your first warning.

This book is basically about affiliate marketing and the tools to make it work. In order to scale up to millions of dollars, you have to create value to sell something. Outside of a few tips for creating ebooks, videos, and audiobooks – which, if followed, would be poorly received – I have no idea what these case studies are selling. 

For the record, according to Anastasi, all you need to write an ebook is to dictate the answer to a problem and hit publish. He doesn’t even gloss over the editing and storytelling elements that are important for quality. He skips it altogether to get you to repackage that same ebook as an audiobook.

That, my friend, is warning number two: quantity is more important than quality, which is counterintuitive to what actual marketers will tell you. Then again, I’m not a millionaire, so perhaps don’t take my word for it.

Perhaps you’d prefer to buy traffic and purchase backlinks, outsourcing anything you can think of to places where you can take their services at fractions of a dollar or even resell their services as your own. Mostly he’s outsourcing to the Philippines, India, and Indonesia, and he even spends some time facing your “exploitative” question by saying that because the value of the dollar and cost of living is different, it’s fine paying them their local worth from halfway across the world.

It’s the only concession he makes in answering something as the reader that I found problematic.

This is an author who admits that too often “freedom eludes business owners because they end up doing all the work themselves,” as if the only reason to get into business is to make money. God forbid there be any possible pride, quality, and humility in hard work and what it accomplishes. I can only imagine what our author thinks of art made painstakingly by hand instead of at the end of an algorithm by artificial intelligence.

Before I leave the idea of exploitative outsourcing, this is an author who thinks  “what is wrong is how inflation in the West has robbed us of our purchasing power and pushes our cost of living higher and higher.” Later in the same book, he fails to recognize that reselling gig economy gigs from overseas with an enormous markup isn’t all part of that same “inflation.”

That’s not even the worst part of this book, though it’s pretty icky all around for anyone who has pride in hard work, wants their work reflective of good quality, and doesn’t measure everything in their life by dollars and cents. 

The worst part is that the mentor Mark refers to as the “Laptop Millionaire” who gave him all this advice says, “I do have people in my life who are not happy about seeing me succeed, because of how it makes them feel about themselves and their own situations. I need to remove them from my life.” 

It continues from there. “If you are truly committed to achieving your goals, as harsh as it may sound, you may want to consider who you allow to be in your own peer group.” Sadly, the preceding paragraphs are all about monetary net worth and have nothing to do with value or quality. 

And let us not forget that this is a numbers game. He’s bought all this traffic and all these subscribers. When he gets to social media, he’s also buying followers and outsourcing the maintenance of his many accounts that will all send traffic back to his numerous websites full of trite buzzword SEO crap that only exists as a sales funnel.

I, for one, refuse to drink the Kool-Aid this guy is selling. His glorious mentor, the one who suggested he get new friends based on their net worth, says, “Cynical people are gutless, don’t let them steal your dreams.” 

Well, perhaps your authentic friends don’t like the idea that you’re making $1,000,000 on the backs of people with whom you could share more of that profit. Perhaps you’ve automated so much crap that you’ve minimized someone’s value and self-worth all to make more money. If they have issues with that, you may do well to listen to them and not cut them out of your life. If, however, it’s all about the Benjamins, this book seems more like indoctrination into a world where anything that can be classified as hard work is for the poor, which isn’t true.

How does Mark really think you should turn your life around and quit your job?

  • Create an ebook. It’s easy. Don’t worry about editing or story or facts.
  • Then start making lists and work on your email marketing. The more you email, the more dollars you make.
  • Next up, work on your SEO, and create templated websites that offer little more than transcriptions of your conversations with realexperts who are just happy to talk to someone.
  • Then, take those conversations and put them on YouTube.
  • Next up, it’s time for some social media. How about Facebook and Twitter?
  • But you don’t want to do all that work yourself, right? Yuck! Time to check Fiverr and outsource everything so you don’t have to do any of the above or even any of the below.
  • Now, do all of that stuff for others with the help of your outsourced help and create your own agency.
  • With all of that under your belt, build a membership site, sell your webinars as live events and again as content archived behind a paywall
  • Lastly, it’s time to get into some real pay-per-click advertising where you can judge your sales funnel by how little you put in and how much you can get out.

Oh, and if anyone is cynical enough to tell you that maybe you’re not creating anything of real value by playing the numbers game and working on the premise that with enough quantity you can ignore the absence of quality, dump them for a more wealthy peer.

This book is the worst.

Read the Secret File of technical information and quotes from The Laptop Millionaire.