“Gonzo Capitalism” Audiobook Review
As I’ve mentioned before, I fairly regularly look through Audible to find newly released finance audiobooks I might want to review. Not too long ago, I came across one I purchased nearly on sight: Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in An Economy That Hates You by Chris Guillebeau. Released last summer, I’m not exactly sure how the book escaped me until now. Nevertheless, I’m glad I finally found it and had a chance to consume it in one sitting.
In the book, Guillebeau looks at a number of unique ways that people have managed to make money in recent years. From streamers that allow viewers to annoy them while they’re trying to sleep and TikTok creators teaching Excel tips to those betting on politics and, yes, investing in cryptocurrencies, the breadth of topics is vast. For some of these, such as play-to-earn games, Guillebeau has actually experimented with and offers first-hand insight. But, other times, the author will instead cite third-party examples. Still, in both cases, Guillebeau does a good job at zooming out and sharing what lessons readers can learn from these stories rather than merely suggesting you copy people directly.
Speaking of following the lead of others, as Guillebeau acknowledges, the state of play changes quickly. Therefore, some of the options discussed may no longer be relevant. Again, this shouldn’t be an issue since the goal is more to get you thinking outside of the box in general.
Lest I make it sound as though this book is merely a listicle highlighting weird gigs (you won’t believe #27!), there’s much more to it than that. In many cases, Guillebeau will dive into the history and evolution of certain markets. These instances prove to be just as if not more interesting than the splashiest examples found in the book.
Meanwhile, despite the subtitle, talk of “late stage capitalism” is primarily reserved for a single chapter — and even then, it’s more of a discussion about how younger generations of Americans have increasingly negative feelings towards the system. In other words, if you’re expecting some sort of socialist manifesto to be a part of this book, you’d be wrong.
For all of the truly wild examples found through Gonzo Capitalism, there are also plenty of “tamer” ones. These include mention of niche YouTubers, the aforementioned Excel influencer, and more. There’s even a section dedicated to a discussion on creating online courses. I mention this because, for those who don’t foresee themselves getting into crypto or looking for investors, there may be at least a few more reasonable ideas to be found in the book.
Overall, I had a ball listening to Gonzo Capitalism. Furthermore, I found myself mostly agreeing with Guillebeau’s takes on personal finance (which he offers near the conclusion). However, the level of inspiration and number of actionable ideas I gathered from listening were lacking. To be clear, this didn’t bother me, but perhaps this element of the book was a tad oversold in the intro — either that or I’m just not as creative as other readers/listeners will surely be. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in An Economy That Hates You and think that plenty of others will too.