Excerpt: Who's Looking Out For You?

Trust-fund babies and corporate weasels are not allowed to read this book. If you try, I will find out and come to your house, thereby ruining your phony reputation. I will seize your copy of the book and mock you for disobeying the rules. Why would a child of privilege need to waste time with my words? You don't need anyone looking out for you-because you have resources and power already. This book is for everyday Americans who are fighting the good fight.

If you are in this category, here's my first piece of advice: You must learn to become a problem solver, not a problem creator. Problems are one of the few things in life that one can count on. Enough problems will find you so that you do not need to drag unnecessary ones into the house. If you are going to drink a quart of bourbon a day or smoke crack, this book is not going to help you. In fact, if you are in the above category, you've probably stolen this book. Give it back. Now.

Problems are the reason human beings are at the top of the food chain. We are the only ones with the brainpower to solve dilemmas. If our ancestors hadn't developed problem-solving skills, they would have vanished like the dinosaurs. In the beginning, before cable, our ancestors the primates lived a marginal existence until a giant animal ate them. That was it. Then we evolved and learned to stick a fiery torch in the giant animal's face. Problem solving separates the successful humans from the ones in the penitentiary. This book is going to help you learn how to solve the inevitable problems that visit every single person on this earth. And don't believe those self-help books that tell you some problems will go away forever. That's a lie. Problems will hunt you down, slap you around, and leave you disillusioned and sometimes broke. That is, unless you meet them at the door and knee them in the groin. Most problems can be neutralized with smarts and sometimes help from others. Your biggest advantage will be knowing just who is looking out for you and who is getting a kick out of seeing you suffer. Develop that knowledge, and you're on your way to being a kick-butt problem solver.

But even armed with the knowledge that this book will give you, the struggle to succeed will be intense because you are running uphill against those who have more of everything. But we have the numbers. According to Michael Zweig, a professor of economics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, 62 percent of the labor force in the United States are working-class people. There are many definitions of the working class, but Zweig has come up with a good one: People who do not have much control or authority over the pace or the content of the work and are not the supervisor or the boss. That means you can be a high-priced lawyer billing hours or a sanitation worker cleaning up. If you are not calling your own shots, you are working class and you need every edge you can get.

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