Once You Find Me Boorish, Crude, and No Longer Worth Your Time…Success Has Been Achieved

Am I a hero? Or, am I a villain?

Are you getting tired of me? I would certainly hope so if you’ve been at this paleo thing for a while. C’mon. Get a life!

…The most interesting thing that happened today was that I had to get my ass out of bed earlier, go through the emails, walk the dogs & hit the road for the hour & a half drive to SF and Union Square to meet up with young Julian Smith at the Daily Gill for breakfast: already an NYT best-selling author in his 20s…part way through his second book and beginning work on his third.

I seek out intelligence. I seek out perceptiveness. I seek out people who take almost nothing for granted and realize they have one tiny little life shot…to make of it the best they can. And Julien typifies this attitude. And he’s young. And I don’t think he’s alone.

He’s not alone by any means. And do you know what? Fuck history. Yea. Fuck History! The future is immeasurably more important, and the future is so easy to find. You can have good coffee, eggs, & bacon with the future. Just sit down and talk about very serious shit with an intelligent, informed, perceptive 20-something, sometime. Whether you like it or not, you’re talking to the future.

OK, go grab a history book if you like, get out the Ouija Board, and make your profecies of how we’re doomed to repeat it. Or, or, and or again…just go talk to the future. Persuade the future. Educate the future. See what the future really has in mind. Cram an insight or two down its throat if you can. Or, learn new insights and perspectives. Or do both. Focus on the future and its running around, all around you. Do young people in general irritate and annoy you? Then so does the future. What are you doing about that? Citing history?

One thing’s for sure: that rocket sled is leaving the station. Boarding is free. Its path and destination are unsure. History, by contrast, is sure: set in the concrete and stone of interpretation. But, it’s…history. Get it?

Alright, let me give a passing, glancing nod to history: most of these bright 20-somethings will eventually be corrupted. They’ll be corrupted, largely, by the very same or similar things that corrupted us…motivating us to live for “ideals” that were not our own. We didn’t became news junkies and voting booth whores because that’s the life we wanted. All that worthless bullshit just became the next lottery ticket sold to typical fools in a life largely abandoned.

The lottery comes out weekly for a reason.

…I returned a few calls on the drive up, and one was to a longtime business mentor of mine. In 1992, with about $250 to my name, two failed entrepreneurial endeavors in the category of “history”—as well as $50,000 of savings in the same category—and rent due soon, I risked $89 on his book on how to renegotiate and settle trade debt for troubled companies. I got the book on a Thursday or Friday, and on Monday afternoon, got my first client. I proceeded to make about $250,000 in my bedroom that first year…with the help of my mom, who was looking for a way out of doing day care. I subsequently built it into a company with 30 employees, a few office locations and over $3 million annual revenues.

In the early initial run up to that, “Bud” offered private consultations beyond the book. I availed myself of them from time-to-time, at a discount from his $250/hr consultation rate. Bud also put together a few conferences and I went to those, featured among a few others as success stories—and who, like them, could not so much as take a piss in the men’s room without questions from those clamoring for some measure of success.

Bud & I eventually became good friends; but when we talked, it was almost never about the “business,” but about other ideas and most of all, about great wine, food, and living life. Bud’s originally a Louisiana Cajun who loves life and all the good things that go with it.

So, I didn’t need Bud anymore for this business. But it never meant we were not going to be lifelong friends and confidants.

…Many years later, I learned something along the way, which is that you can learn something from any animal, even animal animals. Thinking back, in early 2007, I began to get hints of this whole paleo thing from putting my dogs on a more evolutionarily appropriate diet and observing their changing body compositions and hunger/satiation. …But now that my dear sweet Rotor-man just turned 13, his age is beginning to show and now, he has nothing more to teach me. It’s now to me to apply the principles I learned to nurture him for his last few years.

…There’s a bit of a tendency for people who’ve been at this a while to think that paleo has “jumped the shark,” when in all probability, it hasn’t even begun. In the words of Robb Wolf:

It’s like this shit really works!

And this is why that most will—and even should—get fucking bored and tired with me and move on.

What, have I ever even implied that you need me for the “next big thing?” …Yea and Right, I’ve been keeping it under wraps, doing self experiments…and any day now, am going to release the 4-Hour paleo? And then the 4-Hour paleo Kitchen, followed by the 4-Hour Paleo Bedroom, then the 4-Hour Paleo X? Etc? …All the while, growing my enormous cadre of sycophants?

Look. I’d love to have Tim’s money, influence, independence and so on. But the very last thing in the world I want is dependents.

Two dogs are plenty and a wife is enough.

It comes and it goes. My only objective is to keep the coming rate slightly above the going rate.

But when it’s time to go, go! Pop in from time to time and let me know how it’s going.

In the meantime, I plan to be here to help and assist the next wave of fat asses you see around you.

My market is in minds and fat asses. I simply want the smart fat asses for the two or three years it takes to fix the fat ass and make the mind even better. And those who can’t seem to get to the point where they can begin to figure this out on their own, well…

There’s blogs for that.

But this insn’t really one of them.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Darrin on January 20, 2012 at 20:36

    Hey Richard,

    Hate to hone in on a tangential point in a great post, but I’m going to do it anyway.

    You mentioned you saw improvements in your dogs after putting them on an “evolutionary appropriate diet.” As a lifelong dog-lover and -owner I’d love to learn more about your experiences. Perhaps even a full post dedicated to it? I searched your archive and it doesn’t look like you’ve covered this before.


  2. Ann on January 20, 2012 at 17:23

    You mean you’re not going to write The 4 Hour Paleo Bedroom? Damn.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 20, 2012 at 17:52


      My God, you do have a point now, dontcha?

  3. Skyler Tanner on January 20, 2012 at 18:09

    It’s a whole lot more fun talking in person about everything else but paleo. And irritating our wives.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 20, 2012 at 19:20

      It’s a whole lot more fun irritating our wives. What we talk about to accomplish that objective is largely irrelevant,

      Alright. Priorities are now in order.

  4. Sam Knox on January 20, 2012 at 18:12

    If it makes you feel any better, I never took you seriously.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 20, 2012 at 18:21

      Sam, I don’t even know who the fuck you are.

      But you’re at my house, obviously have been been here before, but still, I repeat, I never, ever have integrated the name “Sam Knox.”

      So, you’re a fucking liar. You did take me seriously, unless, unless, you seriously lack a life and frequent blogs of those you “don’t take seriously.”

      The real point to take from this is that it’s you who aren’t a fucking thing in the world.

      Suck on that.

  5. realLife on January 20, 2012 at 18:29

    live, learn,observe,create,plan long term, enjoy,
    retired @55 boomer, haven’t worked since 10 years making ++$$
    took 2+ years to figure it out get it rolling.
    some never learn.

  6. William on January 20, 2012 at 18:49

    I think you’re on to something, Richard. After discovering FTA on Thanksgiving day, 2008, I instantly became addicted to your site, checking in several times each day. But three years, and sixty pounds, later, plus feeling like a twenty something (ok, there are days I feel like I’m in my thirties . Not bad for 57!) I find myself reading your blog less as the months go by. I’ll check in every so often, as I enjoy your acerbic wit, and life view, but what I’ve found is, I don’t want to be part of a choir. When that happens, “preachers” either get on my nerves, or everything that is talked about becomes so damn obvious, and redundant. You did your job, and I did mine. We are both successful. Thank you!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 20, 2012 at 18:55

      Id rather anyone leave a quotedian review before they end up hating me.

      Thanks William.

  7. Mark on January 20, 2012 at 20:04

    This is one of your best posts ever in my opinion.

  8. james mooney on January 20, 2012 at 20:35

    Not much of a person to leave comments, but I remember your email to Art before he went all paysite and shit. Been a reader ever since. I check out FTA in the morning and at night and maybe once or twice in between. I do remember a while back when you were wondering what the hell was this all for, and my thoughts were that you represented the day to day life style of this whole thing etc. etc. etc. In the end, had you not changed your life, started this blog blah blah you would be doing what you were doing before except fat and not connected to the cool things you are dong now. Amazing how the way you choose to live your life can take off into crazy positive directions… something Taleb oddly refuses to acknowledge as a social black swan. anyhow, what the fuck do I know. I just finished my bottle of Edradour and am rambling. sign my ass up for a SIX month subscription to the new whatever it is and keep on keepin on. FTA rules is what I was trying to say/////

  9. Bixy on January 20, 2012 at 22:26

    Ha ha this is so funny for me that you wrote this post today. It was about 8 hours ago this morning (aus time) after finishing the great cholesterol con that I said to my girlfriend “I’m done with all the blogs and books on nutrition. I’ve learnt enough over the last 18 months of devouring everything i could get my hands on to have a good understanding. Yeah I might miss out on a small tid bit here or there that improves my knowledge 0.1%, but I know how it all works, and the rest is just refinement by self experimentation. Time to move on.”

    So tomorrow I’ll be unsubscribing all my fave blogs from google reader. It’ll hurt a bit at first but I prefer the bandaid approach. On occasion I’ll have a look around, but it’s already all working for me, so I don’t think I need to keep up with every minor refinement.

    So this is me checking out. Richard, it’s been a pleasure, it’s nothing personal, but I’m moving on from fta, mda, archevore, gnolls, phd, kresser et al.

    Enjoy the journey and I hope your book achieves what you want it to.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 09:32


      This is exactly how it should be, or the goal, or whatever. For most people, it’s probably best that they eventually find a way to wean themselves, at least from being a junkie. It will vary and depend, but that’s my general view.

      Also: when you do it that way, then when someone asks about your lifestyle you can tell them with more credibility that it took you a year and a half to be on your own, that it’s not some lifelong thing to learn.

      Drop in now and then an leave a comment.

  10. Erika on January 20, 2012 at 23:11

    “I seek out intelligence. I seek out perceptiveness.”

    Yeah… That’s why we read what you write. The mediocre are, above all, boring. You’re never boring – even when you’re wrong. And that small detail makes all the difference in the world.

    • Jake on January 21, 2012 at 23:22

      Agreed. We might disagree, hell, I think I disagree w/ 50% of what you say, but damn it if you don’t make it interesting to read your stuff.

      And you know what? There was a period of time when I couldn’t read your stuff. I read 99% of the stuff in the paleo world, and I was fucking burnt out. I got my head screwed on straight, and am now back in the game.

      I like brutal honesty. Which is why I’ll continue to keep reading even if I lose all the weight and more. Fat asses be damned!

  11. Pauline on January 21, 2012 at 02:26

    Your honesty is always amazing, and you put it all out there. A rare thing these days…your openness to new thoughts and feelings is what keeps your blog young and interesting. Loved this post.

  12. John Nugent on January 21, 2012 at 02:33

    You’re a beacon (or should that be bacon) of light in a dark and sinister world. I’m leaving the corporate race soon and one of the justifications for that move is what I’ve learnt from people like you, Art De Vany and Jack Kruse. Paleo may not be perfect but the paople who stand up for it are the ones who make most sense to me at the present time. I’ve for too long been driven by money and status. It’s fucked my health and well being. On to better things. So I’ll go on reading you Richard because your counsel is important.

  13. Jeremy on January 21, 2012 at 07:05

    I started reading because of the blunt honesty, I come back for the blunt honesty. Your site was the first I ran into on Paleo after searching for info on MovNat one day. Two years and 65lbs later I am healthier than ever. Your willingness to be bluntly honest, and even admit you were wrong on something, is something rare in many people. I’ll always drop by from time to time for some good info and a laugh.

  14. Sean on January 21, 2012 at 07:15

    When I first got interested in this stuff I was reading a lot of stuff like Mark Sisson’s site avidly, but as I sort of ‘got it’ I ‘ve grown less interested in a nuts and bolts sites like Mark’s–I still subscribe to the feed and it’s very well done, but I rarely finish an article. Same with Robb Wolf–he’s great, and knowledgeable as hell–but I don’t need to hear another listener ask if it’s okay to eat sweet potatoes. FTA ranges around a lot more than just the basics of eating and living a paleo-ish lifestyle so I’ve never lost interest even if I don’t read everything you write, Richard.

    However, if you ever write about renting out your vacation cottage again, I’m totally going to unsubscribe and announce it to the world on my little blog. Be forewarned!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 09:59

      “However, if you ever write about renting out your vacation cottage again, I’m totally going to unsubscribe and announce it to the world on my little blog. Be forewarned!”

      That’s what I like about you, Sean. You never, ever miss a good opportunity to fuck with me.

    • Sean on January 21, 2012 at 16:24

      And here I thought I was fucking with the people who bitch about you not sticking to the topic or something 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 16:27

      I just wriggled in between.

    • Sean on January 21, 2012 at 16:44

      Well, I’m also a big history buff, so fuck you anyway, I’m totally offended.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 17:23

      Damn, I wonder just how ridiculous we could mutually make this. I’m guessing to eye rolling of mutual fans like, “get a room, guys.”

      Unfortunately—not really—Beatrice and Yolan are taking Robert & I to The Boiling Pot for out mutual 51st birthdays.

      I’m going to stuff myself fucking silly with crab. They like cover your table in butcher paper and dump the crab right in the middle, with butter, and you dig in with your hands.

      So go fuck off, Sean.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 16:50

      Well fuck you. I’m eating US Wellness liverwurst and am emboldened!

    • Sean on January 21, 2012 at 17:01

      I’ve just decided to go vegan because I found your comment to be boorish and crude.

    • Sean on January 22, 2012 at 08:17

      I was laughing like hell. Anyway, happy B-day, Richard, hope you enjoyed the crab, but of course that’s a given.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 22, 2012 at 08:37

      Thanks. Mine isn’t actually until the 29th, but as I always tell Bea: in my case, it’s a birth week. Often two.

  15. Gene on January 21, 2012 at 07:51

    I knew the point of no return was come and gone when I saw Robb Wolf’s book at the store. Read through it and thought, “I respect this guy a ton, but I could have written this book.” Every day I see what seems like another Paleo cookbook or something. Meanwhile people in real life are asking me personally to help them. Why stagnate and masturbate over confirming your views again and again from gurus?

  16. patrick on January 21, 2012 at 07:54

    nice post.

  17. Razwell on January 21, 2012 at 08:09

    Hi, Richard 🙂

    This is for you and all readers :

    Be very, very, very cafeful . There is a scam going on at Twitter. They send you a message and say “terrible rumours are going around about you. Have you seen this… And they give you a link to malicious software and a virus.

    Some one posed as you on Twitter sending me this type of link. I do not know if they hacked into your account to be able to do it or what ? You should find out who did it and kick their ass. LOL !

    Take care,

  18. VW on January 21, 2012 at 08:21

    Many people are looking for a guru, a leader, a daddy, so that, in the final analysis, they can put responsibility for themselves onto others. We can see this in religion and every other walk of life.

    I appreciate all you do, Richard, and enjoy your blog and information. I believe that you have benefitted many, many people.

  19. Will on January 21, 2012 at 13:04

    Pilgrims walking together is a favorite theme of mine. There’s a bunch of pilgrims that are walking and exploring a paleo sort of way, and they find your company to be entertaining, informative, helpful. Some might pull ahead and start hanging out with another group; some fall behind and find still other companions. That’s the way of companionships – they are not static, but fluid. So I think of you neither as hero nor as villain, but as fellow traveler on this fascinating and fun journey. What attracts me to hanging around your corner of the pilgrimage at the moment is your honesty and your encouragement of folks to explore for themselves. Keep up the good work!

  20. rob on January 21, 2012 at 13:22

    Screw “4 Hour Paleo,” I’m waiting for “The Paleo Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse”

  21. Bill Strahan on January 21, 2012 at 13:33

    Amazing how the same words can impact people differently. The ones who are offended I don’t think quite get it, and will probably keep reading your posts! Ironic.

    I once checked your site, MDA, and a handful of others every day. I just enjoyed all that came up and I was already pretty well educated. I probably take a peek at MDA once or twice a month now, but have you in Google Reader and pick and choose what I read. I’m amazed at the people who get angry and say they’re not coming back because they didn’t like every single post! Good lord, I’m glad I don’t live with someone like that.

    Sometimes I don’t care for what you write, sometimes I love it, but very seldom do I disagree with it. I’ve spiraled off into fringes of Paleo (and non-paleo) chasing what I am personally interested in these days: Doing a bit of self-experimentation to see how high I can get my testosterone levels from food and exercise alone. I’ve gotten some interesting results in that area, and intend to leverage that to continue to progress physically.

    I appreciate what you’ve done here at FTA. It’s a shame there’s not a good word that combines provoking, entertaining and educating. Provotainucating? Yeah, you’re Paleo’s best provotainucator.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2012 at 14:06

      I have to blog more about my conversation with Julien Smith yesterday. This guy reads all the time, and writes all the time. He, like me, sees Paleo as so much wider than just a diet.

      For example, one thing we talked about was changing attitudes about making your life into being a steward of stuff you own.

  22. John on January 21, 2012 at 16:06


    I’m six months into this paleo thing and yours is the perfect blog for someone like me. It’s just the right mix of science and practical cooking tips and ideas. The latter is crucial, seeing as I was someone who ate 1-2 meals a day at restaurants, and now it’s more like 1-2 meals a week. I can’t think of anyone else talking much about vitamin K2, which is such an exciting vitamin, seeing as it’s great for our health and vanity, which really, aren’t those the two reasons we’re all into this whole paleo thing anyway?

    Love the ideas on liver- keeps me motivated to eat it every week.

    And the stuff beyond diet is great. Improving one area of your life is great, but when you improve two or more together, the effects begin to multiply. Truly awesome.

  23. Elenor on January 22, 2012 at 09:05

    I keep coming back here because I don’t have time to ‘find’ stuff out there on the interwebs. Yours is one of about six low carb / paleo / primal blogs in my RSS reader. You were my first pointer to Denise Minger and you have not-infrequently found and posted about other things I need to scan or skim or read…

    I just bought your book (Nook-style), not because I expect to learn anything (except perhaps more about you: not a particular goal of mine, but okay-fine), but to support you in what you’re doing. I will continue to read your blog, not for learning more about low carb / paleo / primal, but because YOU are interesting. (I’m not fond of the swearing, but it’s part of who you are…. {wink})

    • Elenor on January 22, 2012 at 09:05

      Oh yeah, and LOVE the food porn!!

  24. Bill Strahan on January 22, 2012 at 09:36


    Hope you’re still reading these comments. Have you considered looking at or writing about why you pursue what you do in regards to diet, exercise, and health?

    For me I consider it a triple point optimization: I want to feel great, I want to perform well, and I want to live a long time. If I have any bias amongst the three, it’s for performance. I enjoy competing physically.

    So, would you trade performance (let’s lump sports and sex together) for longevity or vice versa? Healthy, active sex life until 78 at which point you drop dead, or sex until 70, and then just kinda hanging around till 85?

    There are many points at which all three points benefit from the same choice. Take hydrogenated oil as an example. Eliminating it will result in longer life, better performance, and better health. But what happens when you’ve taken all the low hanging fruit and what’s left is to either just take what you’re getting, or specifically choose options that will favor one value over another.

    Obviously you see where my head is these days. I’m your junior by many years at 44, but I do wonder how a triple point optimization like this resonates with you. And if it does, what are your biases?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 23, 2012 at 18:21

      Bill, go see the latest post.

  25. […] a comment from longtime reader, commenter and fellow pilot, Bill […]

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