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Fat, Forty, and Fired: One Man's Frank, Funny, and Inspiring Account of Losing His Job and Finding His Life Hardcover – April 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740764330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740764332
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Recounting the life he led during the nine months he was not working, Marsh opens with his operation for "anal fistula"; the six-week convalescence enables him to reflect on his next step after learning that the firm he runs in Sydney, Australia, is being closed. Breaking open the family nest egg, he decides to escape the pattern of "enforced inertia that kept men in a tie and at the office" and to take a year off. Marsh's epiphanies during his hiatus include the realization that he is fat, but more poignantly, that he is an alcoholic. While the light tone of the book sometimes undermines his struggle with alcohol, Marsh clearly takes it seriously. The strength of the memoir lies in the intimate and often humorous moments he shares as he reconnects with his wife and four children. Whether it is his preschool-aged daughter announcing to her gymnastics teacher, "We don't touch Daddy's willy because it's dirty," or the more somber account of his wife talking him out of having a glass of wine, Marsh is at his best in vignettes. The narrative slows in the middle, during a European trip with his wife, but when Marsh finally re-enters the workforce, he does so recognizing that instead of obsessing about the time he misses with his family, he should enjoy the moments he has. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When a business misadventure offers Marsh the opportunity to take a hiatus from work, he expects to spend some time relaxing with his wife and four young children, rediscovering his family after years as a CEO in Australia. He didn't count on rediscovering himself. This is the touching and laugh-out-loud funny story of a man who embarked on a life-changing odyssey without the slightest clue about what to expect. The book has plenty of the usual comic episodes (see Dad try to get his kids to school on time! Watch as his daughter embarrasses him in front of the foxy gym instructor!), but it also tackles some serious issues. In order to avoid having his dream of "dropping out" become a nightmare, Marsh and his family not only had to adjust to a reduced standard of living but also had to learn how to balance the sudden abundance of "free time" with a seemingly endless list of new things to learn. A very funny but also enlightening and inspiring memoir. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Up until a few years ago I was the classic corporate warrior. I was eating too much, drinking too much, working too hard and generally neglecting my family. Then when I turned 40 I had an epiphany. I read a line in a book from St Benedict that said "pause for a moment you wretched weakling and take stock of your miserable existence". I decided it was good advice for me at that stage of my life. I made a resolution to try and change my life - in every way. I gave up the booze, lost the weight and reconnected with my family. I started to 'make a life' rather than simply 'make a living'. It began me on a journey that I am still on to this day. I may be poorer than I was in my 'office days' but I have never been happier.

Customer Reviews

This book is easy to read and very entertaining.
D. Carlton
If your wife has to beg you to not have a glass of wine, go to a meeting, save your whine for them, but don't ask people to shell out money to read your sob story.
Book Lover
I laughed many times while reading this book and loved the way he looked at things in life.
William F. Cleveland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 110 people found the following review helpful By SupernovaWriter on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had picked up this book hoping for a funny and inspiring story of someone finding himself after a job loss. Unfortunately, I found Fat, Forty and Fired to be tired and somewhat simplistic. The author came across as overly privileged and frankly, whiny. For example, gosh, he had to fly coach using some of his frequent flyer miles during a trip to Europe! And seats only reclined an inch or two! Plus they had to fire the nanny (although the wife already stayed at home). Yawn.

This is on top of short chapters and a stunning lack of detail.

It was disappointing to see how quickly he went back to some of his old ways at the end of the book. Didn't even make the swim race he had talked about for some fifty pages or so throughout the book.

Even more concerning are the rest of the reviews on Amazon. I find it hard to to see how everyone else gave this book 5 stars. But I see 13 of the 16 other reviewers have only this one review to their name. Nigel's friends and family perhaps?
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By seldombites on September 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book was not nearly as entertaining as I had expected. There were some funny bits and I really related to Nigel's struggles with the children, but overall I was quite disappointed. To begin with, the story is non-linear, jumping back and forth from past to present and making it a little confusing to read. There was a lot of the 'whinging pom' attempt at humour, which was also off putting. The majority of the time spent reading this, I was a bit bored. This is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of book.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Carlton on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read and very entertaining. I highly recommend it. I have only one criticism. Nigel Marsh is not some poor smuck who was fired from his average job. He is an extremely well educated, intellegent man who was able at age forty to correct some things about his life that needed fixing by not working for about 10 months. As a father, I had the same day dream when my children were small. I admire Mr. Marsh for being able to make his day-dream come true. I don't think it would have worked out as well for me or many other folks. Still, those ten months were great for Mr. Marsh and his family.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By GreenWeaver on February 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an easy read, and funny in many places. But the author's high income level (especially in these tight economic times) can make the lifestyle portrayed in the book seem distinctly foreign to those who lead more modest lives. How many families can afford a nanny, or a $600 stroller? How many people could afford to take several vacations - including world-spanning vacations - when they are out of work and supporting a family of six?

Mr. Marsh appears to be so accustomed to the privileges his income level allows (CEO of a major advertising firm), that while he mouths the platitudes, he simply has no idea of how most of the non-privileged people in the world live. This is less distinct at the beginning of the book, but becomes more and more evident the further one reads. At one point, he reports being astounded at the discomfort and inconveniences suffered by having to fly tourist-class, rather than first-class, and completely misses the point that many people can no longer afford to fly at all, even if both parents are working full-time and somehow manage to actually get vacation at the same time!

Perhaps it's because a lot has to be left out in a short book, or perhaps it's because I'm female and tend to notice these things, but it seemed that even after he left his job, Mr. Marsh spent a lot of time *on vacation from his family*, and spent a lot of (supposedly scarce) money on just himself and his own wants. His wife continued to perform most of the work around the house, which he finds somewhat humorous. By the end of the book, I simply found the man to be incredibly selfish. I no longer cared whether he accomplished his goals, but wondered what his wife's goals might have been, and what he'd done to help her accomplish them.

So in sum, I would have to say that the beginning of the book is funny, and by the end I simply disliked the author.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Jilg on March 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It seemed like a good idea for a book, but just wasn't all that inspiring to me. There is a lot of documenting the daily life kinda thing, and how he gets back in touch with his kids. Overall, it felt like a diary, and not a great one at that.

On the plus side it seems well edited and proof read - which is always appreciated.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marie Nicole on February 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I honestly felt like I was reading a blog... Ordinary at best. The notion is interesting at first but then each chapter is rather superficial. The author just skims every topic as he makes a mad dash from one to the next.

On the topic of chapters... I know it can be interesting to tie in the beginning with a cool loop to the ending of a chapter, but every time? For the love of variety, please spice it up dude.

I am currently going through a year like this and was hoping to find some kind of kinship. Didn't happen. Couldn't even finish the book...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lightningfast on July 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was hoping that this book would be more inspirational; however, I found that the author, who was describing a year in his life of choosing not to work, ended up simply going back to work because he felt he was financially forced to.

I saw Nigel Marsh speak on Ted and thought that his book may provide ideas on how to escape the 9-5 and enjoy life with friends and family more.

Instead this book just describes a gap year.
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