Frost challenges us to cut the bullshit from our lives, escape our mundane existence, and find ourselves. He himself hasn’t found all answers to the questions that were pressing him either, but he is able to share a tremendous amount of insight in this short book. The review is long and detailed, but if you trust my judgment without reading it, or you simply belong to the “tl; dr generation”, I’ll tell you straight away that I highly recommend this book. It may well be the best investment you have made all year long.
Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a framework, Freedom Twenty-Five is a tour de force taking on your whole existence. It is split into five chapters, which are inspired by Maslow’s categories. As a framework, Maslow may be helpful, but if I was to criticize this excellent book for just one thing, it is that there are a few broad generalizations in the beginning, such as “Success with women is also a necessary precondition for success in the next levels.” In this part, Frost tries too hard to male his philosophy of life fit a common model in psychology.
An obvious counter-example is what Freud called “sublimation”, i.e. using your sexual drive to succeed in any other field of endeavor. I am not sure this is a correct interpretation either. However, the fact remains that many outstanding men have seemingly completely neglected their sexuality, almost as if it was beneath them to engage in such activity, and devoted all their life to extending the frontiers of science. That John von Neumann or Richard Feynman had a reputation of being womanizers does not refute this argument either.
However, this shouldn’t detract from the immense benefit you will reap from this book. In fact, I have read it in two sittings, which was easy to do since the book is concise, and it’s also written in a very lively language. Some parts are exceedingly funny and made me laugh out loudly, while others are much more introspective. For a non-fiction book, the range of emotion Frost manages to hit is impressive.
I was more than pleased to note that Frost is an adherent of the same no-nonsense philosophy I follow. In fact, going through the biographical sketch he provides, I could already see that we would agree on not just a few points. I did learn a few things as well, though. The first was his recommendation of Paleolithic Nutrition, which addresses the problem of unbalanced energy levels which are, ironically, the result of a balanced diet according to general wisdom. My nutrition was certainly not bad, but by cutting carbs and substituting it with meat, I quickly began to feel more active and alive throughout the day.
That’s not all there is to the Paleo Diet. In fact, if you are the average American, then you may have to completely change your nutrition. This diet has many more benefits, such as taking less time to prepare and removing the need to have three to five meals a day.
The remainder of the book is full of such no-nonsense advice. For instance, he recommends a work-out plan that consists of two sessions at the gym a week, for half an hour each, and tells you how to really maximize what you get out of it. Of course, this won’t make you look like Schwarzenegger in his prime, but it will easily put you above Joe Average and the few of his buddies who spend hours on training muscles most medical students wouldn’t be able to identify.
Reading advice on how to minimize the effect of alcohol on your body struck me as somewhat contradictory, but that’s just from my perspective. Frost’s philosophy is to enjoy life, and if getting wasted every now and again is part of it, then so be it. If you are on a tight budget, you will surely appreciate his tips on how to get a bigger buzz for the buck.
The chapter on money should be illuminating for many, especially given how common it is to grossly overspend. Frost discusses typical spending habits, and by doing so he hopefully raises your awareness that your possessions lock you in. For instance, a mortgage on a house usually ties you to a certain geographical region. He gives an excellent overview on money management, and thus I can only hope that this book finds many readers among high-school students who should think twice before saddling themselves with an amount of debt that they may find impossible to ever repay. As Frost correctly analyzes, not even the safe jobs are safe anymore, and the decision to go to college shouldn’t be made reflexively.
Especially in the “Money” chapter the author’s pessimism for Western civilization, which he describes to be in its autumn period, is most visible. However, I do agree with him. Where he might sound a tad too euphoric, though, is in his recommendation of entrepreneurship. If real wages are stagnating or declining, and more and more people lose their job, then you will only compete for an ever shrinking pie. This is the only instance where he seems to buy into purported myths, even though he does a great job imploding them everywhere else in this book.
“You will sink or swim based on how smart you are, how hard you work, and how well you execute,” just doesn’t tell the whole story. Of course, the typical biography of a successful business man is most often a hagiography that makes no mention of factors such as luck or simply connections due to having dropped out of the right womb. Those books read as if their heroes could single-handedly defeat armies, climb the Mount Everest barefoot, and learn a foreign language by osmosis simply by sitting next to a Chinese or Arabian on the plane.
Obviously, it’s not that simple. If you believe business “gurus” who proclaim that guys like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Donald Trump would have become billionaires no matter under which circumstances, then please talk to me. You may be interested in some of the property on the moon I could sell you for a great price. Really. However, I respect Frost for stating that you shouldn’t blindly take his advice as he’s not yet a successful entrepreneur himself.
The chapter on “Sex” is a very good introduction to seduction. I was pleased to see that he shares my criticism towards the seduction industry and, just like me, follows a simple and straightforward method. Since Freedom Twenty-Five is a book on life it goes far beyond pick-up. Frost’s analysis of the fundamental problems of the hook-up culture deserve to be fleshed out in a different book. I certainly would like to read more of him as it is obvious that he has had quite a bit of experience, and has learnt about the implications of easy sex as well.
His ties to the “manosphere” become evident in this chapter as well, with a scathing and brilliant analysis of how feminism makes women bad marriage material:
The harsh reality, which 21st century women seem to be largely unaware of, is that men are generally uninterested in committing to aging women with triple-digit sexual partner counts. (…) Men with options simply don’t like sluts, unless we’re trying to sleep with one and so are trying to make her feel unjudged, in which case we’ll say whatever needs to be said.Truer words were seldom spoken.
Note that this is not a contradiction because it is a big difference, after all, whether you just want to get your rocks off, or whether you are looking for the woman of your children. Jenny with the big fake tits and an an obsession with experimentation that would have made Isaac Newton envious may have been the ride of your life. But while it’s easy to forget the fact that you probable weren’t the second guy she’s ever slept with, you do hopefully have higher standards when it comes to the potential mother of your children.
Arguably the most important chapter is on “Wisdom.” In a powerful opening paragraph, Frost diagnoses the “millennial generation” to have sever attention deficits, and that the need to always be “connected,” and seek entertainment around the clock ruins our lives. You may not be such a bad case, but even then, you will find many great tips on making you aware of how you actually spend your time, and how to become productive.
The culmination of the book is the chapter on “Purpose”. It’s written in a motivational tone that would have made Obama’s speechwriters proud. They wouldn’t approve of the content though, as Frost diagnoses symptoms of a broken era and calls out to change the world for the better. He doesn’t provide many ideas, but he does give you plenty of motivation. Thus, there is hope that Freedom Twenty-Five: A 21st Century Man’s Guide to Life will make one or the other guy forego spending his evenings playing ego-shooters on his Xbox 360, and look for a higher purpose instead. Frankly, I hope this book will give more than a few slackers the kick in the butt they need to finally do something worthwhile with their life.
Freedom Twenty-Five: A 21st Century Man’s Guide to Life is available on Amazon as a paperback and in an electronic version for their Kindle ebook reader. Also, check out Frost's blog at Freedom Twenty-Five.