Keep your 75 bank accounts, but I’m not convinced of The Barefoot Investor

You’ve probably heard the testimonials. There are many who have paid off debt, saved tens of thousands, and broken free from financial feuds who swear by the book. Though many people under 30 – who can’t fill a mojo bucket, are unwilling to walk with vital internal organs, and are unchallenged by the idea of ​​dividing their meager salary package into even meager portions – they seem less enthusiastic about Pape’s tax dogma being.


As a former foot soldier in publishing, Pape’s face haunts me. Since 2016, the bestseller charts have been dominated by his sparkling eyes, which have the shadow of a reasonably spent $10 bill. With a historic 2 million copies sold – roughly one for every fifth Australian household – Pape has never been surpassed.

My biggest criticism of Pope Pape stems not from his desire to endow his followers with money-managing superpowers, or from those he has converted, but from his apparent disdain for the publishing business from which he profits. For example, he writes disparagingly about other chart-toppers 50 shades of grayas if suburban moms didn’t find the promise of making “$226,484 an hour” just as unashamedly erotic as a passage of garish prose describing amateur BDSM.

A blockbuster author like Pape can also have advantages. No one really bothers publishing keto air fryer cookbooks and stocking-stocking thrillers, and these commercial mega-sellers serve a crucial cultural purpose. They finance the literature that makes little money and enriches us all. The Miles Franklin shortlisted. The esoteric short stories. The life-affirming novels. The stuff that can move your soul.

pape’s second book The barefoot feeder for families (with at least 250,000 copies sold) was published by HarperCollins publishes literary fiction and creates new writers with its Banjo Prize. Still, Australia’s best-selling author struck a deal with HarperCollins, which he reported on The attic Podcast as “disruptive”. The deal saw Pape pay HarperCollins to publish and distribute the book while retaining the rights. We’re not privy to the details, but I’m assuming less money is going into the debut author’s fund at HarperCollins and more into gilding Pape’s real estate portfolio.

And now he comes for the children. After criticizing the Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites program as a “cutthroat” way to bring its branding into the classroom, Pape has developed his own financial education program for schools. And his new book for children is making serious numbers; now 200,000 kids practice between episodes of the Capital Gains Fixation Bluish.

Yes, there is value in empowering the public with money literacy. But in typical Gen Z fashion, I’m bitterly cynical about the whole damn system. Pape feels less like the financial disruptor he markets himself as and more like the beneficiary of the money-scared people who find themselves on the bookshelves of K-Mart.

Every time I think about investing my eyes glaze over and I remember predictions that by 2050 – when I’m supposed to be reaping the rewards of my well-placed stocks and compound interest – the very fabric of society will be shaking. There’s a reason jokes among friends about escaping to a self-sustaining commune outside the reach of capitalism are becoming increasingly serious.

Maybe we’ll see each other in the commune? Shoes optional. Keep your 75 bank accounts, but I’m not convinced of The Barefoot Investor

Jaclyn Diaz

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