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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

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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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

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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: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
Oh, the poor CEO who "discovers" that he's an alcoholic and has trouble relating to the children he's neglected over the years. Um....the only thing humorous about this book is that the author seems to think that he's done something extraordinary by using his unintended forced absence from the workforce to gain new insight about what he was missing by pouring himself into his work for many years. Really? Many people have done this over the past few years with much more grace and less self aggrandizement.

For some of us it was the loss of our jobs and identities during middle age - when we had planned to parlay our decades of experience into making some real cash. For others of us, it was coming back from a war where brutality and violence were tools for daily use. Our lives were in constant danger and we lost good friends and people we relied on to keep each other alive until we got home. We got home to an environment for which we were ill-prepared and which was as foreign to us as Iraq or Afghanistan had originally been.

This is not a motivational book except for perhaps the millionaires who have had to become "hundred-thousandaires" as a result of our poor economy. Grow up. 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.
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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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