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How To Lose Money in Your Spare Time at Home Paperback – March 27, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Mullen lived in New York’s Greenwich Village for twenty years before moving to a farm in the Catskill Mountains. His fictionalized memoir of the experience, "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" was a finalist for the 2001 Thurber Prize for American Humor. It got rave reviews from the Washington Post, the Nashville Tennessean, the Virginian Pilot, CNN, the Cleveland Pain Dealer and the Baltimore Sun. The Rocky Mountain News named it one of their “Best Books of the Year.” His spoof of a baby shower gift book, "Baby’s First Tattoo" is now in its fifteenth printing. “Most baby books have places where you fill in the blanks for things like ‘Baby’s First Tooth’ and ‘Baby’s First Haircut.’ Mullen's has spaces for things like ‘Baby’s First Ritalin Prescription’ and ‘Baby’s First Lawyer.’ It’s a totally different take on child-rearing.” For thirteen years, Mr. Mullen wrote a column in Entertainment Weekly magazine where he regularly made fun of self-centered celebrities and their enablers. His freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Village Voice, and many other magazines. Since 2002 he has been writing a weekly newspaper column for United Features Syndicate called "The Village Idiot."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468173464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468173468
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,520,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My first newspaper column was in the weekly "Village Voice" in the mid-80s. It was called "I believe" and each week it had ten lines that went like this: "I believe that if you really think about it, men should be the ones who ride side-saddle." "I believe that somewhere there's a place for us, but it's $3600 a month plus utilities." "I believe that if you wake up and smell the roses, you've probably been buried alive."

That got me a job as a writer for Jim Kerr, the morning dj at WPLJ-FM at the time. Eventually I ended up producing his show for a few years, while also working at different magazines as a writer and editor. I would get up a 4am, go do drive-time radio until 9, then go to a bar and have a few drinks with Jim before jumping into a cab to whatever magazine had their hooks into me at the time. Trust me, if you're not drinking at 9am, you're doing it wrong.

I created a column called "The Hot Sheet" (try and say that fast, three times in a row) that was published in three or four "downtown" magazines before it ended up in "Entertainment Weekly" in 1991. It was a list of people and events that were in the news that week, ranked from 1 to 20, with a snarky comment attached to each. I called it "kicking people while they were up." EW over-paid me for thirteen years before they showed me the door, which was fine, I had absolutely nothing new to say about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and the Sopranos.

My wife Sue (we just celebrated our 39th anniversary by staying up past 9pm) was working on Seventh Avenue in Times Square and for some reason she wanted a place where we could get away from the city on the weekends. She bought a little farm house outside a tiny little town without a stop light in the Catskills, three hours away from the cocktail parties, the free-movie screenings, the gift-filled swag bags and expense account lunches that I was gorging on in Manhattan. What was she thinking? We had lived in Greenwich Village for twenty years. We didn't have a car, I didn't have a driver's license, we didn't have a lawn mower or a grill. It took years, but I gradually came around to her way of thinking, a story I tell in "It Takes a Village Idiot" which is a thinly fictionalized version of the real story. I, of course, am the idiot in the title.

"Baby's First Tattoo" is a spoof of those memory books they give parents so they can write down the day the baby got his first tooth, the day she said her first word. My mother had eight of them and never got past the second page on any of them. "First Tattoo" is the memory book for real children, it has places for baby's first Ritalin prescription and baby's first lawyer. I wrote most of "Baby's First Tattoo" on the back of napkins on a plane ride from Omaha to Albany after spending a long, long weekend with small, noisy, sugar-fueled nieces and nephews. Inspired isn't the right word for that, tortured is. If you think I'm kidding, those same nieces and nephews are out of college right now, none of them married, none of them have kids. Because they know what they were like.

"My First Wedding" was a spoof of a wedding planning book, a follow-up to "First Tattoo." The premise was this: everyone knows that they're probably going to get married more than once, so why not make a deal with the caterer? If he does a good job on your first wedding, you promise to use him on the next one. It was a huge bomb. We could have dropped in on Iraq and ended the war ten years ago. Apparently brides-to-be don't find wedding planning as funny as I did.

After "The Village Idiot" came out, I thought a good way to promote it would be to get a newspaper column, write about fun stuff, and at the very bottom there'd be a line that said, "Jim Mullen's new book is "It Takes a Village Idiot." I've been writing that syndicated column every week for 10 years for United Media (which merged with Universal Uclick this past June). If you run a newspaper and would like to shower me with money go to www.universaluclick.com/ and sign up for my column. If your newspaper doesn't run my column, ask them why. Sometimes if you Google "Jim Mullen newspaper" you can find the column on line. I don't know why it's so hard to get on line, but I'm guessing it has something to do with money.

I put 43 of the columns together as a book called "Now in Paperback!" and it's companion volume with another 43 columns will come out in soon (around the first of the year, 2012) called "How to Lose Money In Your Spare Time -- At Home!" Don't ask me why, I like the exclamation points at this point in my life. I also have two novels in the works, one of which should come out in 2013.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Three Bears on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Other than being mostly boring, it really doesn't have much to say. Maybe because of the general malaise in the world now, this just doesn't strike me as particularly hilarious.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Swain on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jim Mullen is the finest humorist in the Catskills. I'd like to stop there, but the sign says I must write at least twenty words. Having now attained that limit, I can afford to stop but now find it difficult to do so. Mullen's latest book contains more reflections of an aging hilarion (look the word up and see if it has a meaning before you decide it's a typo) -- writing about colonoscopies, cleaning out his basement in the spring, eating lo-cale-ly, and so much else. Humor is like the mist that arises from a freshly peeled orange. It may not last that long but while it does, it's marvelous and perhaps even mystical.
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By Kindle Customer on May 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was so funny! Jim Mullen has a real talent for taking the mundane, trivial things that we see, think, and do everyday and weaving a humorous tapestry of American life. Encore!!
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