DEBTOR NATION

VIDEOS

Wolf Richter On The Keiser Report
"Debtonomics and the NSA"

Wolf Richter on the Keiser Report
"Where Is The Fear"

Wolf Richter on Max Keiser's "On The Edge" 
"The Pauperization of America"

Wolf Richter on the Keiser Report
"Where the Money Goes to Die"

Clarke and Dawe: European Debt Crisis
Two favorite Australian Comedians

Clarke and Dawe: Quantitative Easing
Big industrial-strength printers, all facing the window

The Fastest Drive Ever Through San Francisco
Don't try to do this yourself
 

humanERROR - by "Frying Dutchman"
Powerful, lyrical appeal to the Japanese. Slams nuke industry, MSM, bureaucrats, and politicians.

 

BIG LIKE: CASCADE INTO AN ODYSSEY

A Travel Memoir

 

By Wolf Richter

Twenty years after coming to America to escape the debacle at home, Wolf is in the middle of a successful career when a thought trips him up: What if he dies at forty? After one decade in survival mode and another decade in success mode, what’s his purpose now? Stunned, he quits his job and goes to France to open himself up to new possibilities. But instead of answers, he finds Izumi. Her bubbly enthusiasm about Japan grips him; the idea of Asia fascinates him. And during their one night together, he decides to visit her in Tokyo. But the journey doesn’t go in a straight line.

BIG LIKE is the startling, funny, and culturally intense account of an almost regular guy who ends up on a deliciously slippery slope. When he makes it to Tokyo, he smacks into Japan’s insular culture, impenetrable language, and obsession with unspoken rules. He struggles with inscrutable complexities: love hotels, packed trains, Korean roommates, irresistible food. Everything is hard. That’s the backdrop to the utterly confounding experience of a gaijin who wants to roam the world but gets tangled up with a Japanese girl. And the slippery slope turns into a life-changing odyssey.

 

What readers wrote about it: 


“Funny as hell non-fiction book about wanderlust and traveling abroad.”

“The Japan chapters are astonishing, hilarious, thrilling in many ways.”

“A wonderful reminder of how bubbles get created and evaporate... a must read for everybody trying to understand the enigma inside the riddle of Japan.”

“Super enjoyable, great antidote to everyday life.”

“And then there is an incredible climax. Let me just say that it’s full of cultural complexity, passion, and shock.”

“Super book, really only put it down to go to meetings, meals, etc. Bravo.”

Read the first few chapters of  BIG LIKE: CASCADE INTO AN ODYSSEY on Amazon.com

 

 

Chapter 1

AIRMAIL FROM AFTERLIFE 

1976 

One rainy summer day, I packed my backpack and went to America. I was seventeen. I knew what I was doing: I was escaping from the debacle at home. And I was looking for something. For what exactly, I didn’t know, but I’d go look for it in America. There, the heat burned in my nostrils. Lawns were brown. Cars were big and air-conditioned. Girls went gaga over my accent. Guys thought I was cool. And I fell in love with it all.
          Three years later, I was paying my way through college in Texas when the notion of home, distant and convoluted as it had become, blew up with gratuitous violence. A Boeing had crashed into a mountain in Turkey, killing all 155 people aboard. I heard about it on the radio. But I didn’t connect the dots.
          A few days later, I found a message from the operator in my campus PO Box. Telegram, call Western Union, it said. I called from one of the pay phones. My heart was pounding in my temples, and I had trouble hearing the lady on the other end.
          “I’d read it to you,” she said. “But it’s in German. I think you better come by and get it.”
          “I’m fixing to go to work. Can’t you try to read it to me?”
          “Oh dear.”
          “Is it long?”
          “Two lines.”
          “Can you spell it?”
          “Well, I guess I could. Are you ready?”
          I pulled out a notepad and pen. “Ready,” I said, though I knew that I wasn’t ready, that I’d never be ready for whatever she was about to spell.
          “E-L-T-E-R-N new word,” she said, “A-M new word M-O-N-T-A-G new word M-I-T new word F-L-U-G-Z-E-U-G new word I-N new word D-E-R new word T-U-R-K-E-I—”
          “Stop! Please.” I couldn’t write anymore. Parents on Monday with plane in Turkey.... German sentences, even in abbreviated telegram style, had the main verb at the end, but I didn’t want to hear the main verb, didn’t want to hear it spelled out letter by torturous letter. “Thank you. That’s enough.”
          I’d escaped the debacle at home and had gone as far away as possible. But this wasn’t what I’d had in mind. I stood there in a daze, brain deadlocked, numb, clutching the receiver, drowning in abysmal emotions.
          Then I went to work. It was just a part-time job, but now I needed the money more than ever. Afterward, I drove to the Western Union office and picked up the yellow slip of paper with twelve lines of all-caps alphanumeric gibberish and two lines of readable text. It was from my sister, sent from the town where she was staying with friends. But it didn’t include their phone number. And my brother was on vacation somewhere. So there was no way to reach him either.

NEXT: Read the first few chapters of BIG LIKE: CASCADE INTO AN ODYSSEY, for free on AMAZON.

 

TESTOSTERONE PIT
A Novel

By Wolf Richter

The whole business boils down to numbers. Either you have them, or you don’t. There are no performance reviews; they aren’t necessary. A job is a day-to-day affair of numbers. Move the goddamn iron, and everything else will follow—commissions, satisfied customers, job security even. But nothing happens until you move the goddamn iron. And no one can move it like Ferronickel, the general sales manager at the Ford Superstore. But he’s losing his grip, and he’s going to hell.

As the unforgettable characters, the salesmen and managers at the Ford Superstore, struggle to survive in their tough and often nasty world, they rely on hard-boiled sales processes that are older than dirt. But customers have their own tricks up their sleeves.

Funny, edgy, cynical, and loaded with insider-only details about the car business, TESTOSTERONE PIT, the novel, will change the way you think about buying a car. Seatbelt-mandatory reading.

Read the first few chapters of TESTOSTERONE PIT for free on AMAZON.

 

Chapter 1    Circle Jerk

It was Saturday, the biggest day of the week, and everyone was working bell to bell, over forty salesmen, though Ferronickel didn’t know exactly how many he had because some hadn’t shown up and might have started selling cars some other place and because he’d hired a bunch of new guys an hour ago.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he sang in a basso profundo voice as he marched across the showroom in his asymmetric gait. He was the General Sales Manager at the Ford Superstore. His Tabasco Sauce tie was loosened, his collar unbuttoned. His gut that hung over his belt strained his shirt. He had puffy eyes and was full of mean energy, ready to explode, ready to force things to happen. He blew out the door, came to a halt on the porch that surrounded the showroom on three sides, and lit a cigarette.

Al Millikin, one of his four sales managers and perhaps the best closer in town, was watching Mad Boxer work a customer on the truck lot. Potential deal.

“Why can’t he bring that guy inside and write him up?” Ferronickel said.

“He ought to tell him we got free pussy on the showroom,” Millikin said.

“Don’t give me any ideas for our next live remote.”

“Come to think of it, that would be a hell of a lot more effective than the classical rock-and-roll shit we’ve been doing.”

“For our male customers.”

“We could alternate. Free pussy one day, free Godiva chocolates the next. We’d have both ends of the spectrum covered.”

“You’re a fucking Einstein, Millikin.”

Reginald Pierce, another sales manager, a big guy with a shortish Afro, was jumpy and his eyes darted about. He fretted about Whacker Packer, Hackman Jones, JoAnn Delouche, and several other salesmen who’d formed a dope ring by the plate-glass window. If left alone, they’d make up rumors, complain about dealership coffee, and infect each other with morale problems. He singled out a young guy.

“Freddie T, are you going to participate in a circle jerk?” he growled. They called him Freddie T because of his unpronounceable Greek last name. “Or are you going to sell something?”

It startled them; they’d forgotten all about selling. And they drifted apart.

Lou Massago gesticulated on the phone in one of the closing booths. He wore a white button-down shirt, a red and blue tie, slacks, and ostrich-skin boots. A scar curved upward from the right corner of his mouth, giving him a lopsided grin even when he was serious. His eyes were set close together and peered out from under his bushy eyebrows with ferocious intensity.

But he had a soft voice when he wanted to, and now he wanted to because he was talking to a customer about a fifteen-passenger van that had come out of the rental fleet. There were ten of them. They were scratched and dented and had too many miles on them, and they were overpriced, and no one could sell them. But he was king of sales, and if he could sell them, it would prove he could sell anything.

He hated working the phone. He needed his customers in front of him, needed to stare into the whites of their eyes. But no one had sold any of those vans yet, and to prove he was king of sales and could sell anything, he’d decided to sell them all. Besides, the Saturday rush hadn’t begun yet, and calling old customers was more productive than standing around waiting for something to happen.

NEXT: Read the first few chapters of TESTOSTERONE PIT, the novel, for free on AMAZON.