David Ortiz

“They pick me [to be tested for steroids] every time. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a big guy, or what, but all I know is all they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans.”
- David Ortiz in The Boston Globe, March 11, 2005

I’ve been a baseball fan my entire life, and my favorite (non-Cub) player for many years has been David Ortiz, the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox. Prior to their World Series win in 2004, the Red Sox were my American League club of choice, simply because, as a Cubs fan, I empathized with the long, long history of painful losing moments that Red Sox fans witnessed. Ortiz’s playful attitude and amazing performance in the 2004 American League Championship Series cemented the guy in my heart.

Another big reason I’ve always been able to identify with Ortiz is his background. How could a white guy from the rural Midwest identify with someone who grew up in the Dominican Republic? We both grew up poor. We both were blessed with some great opportunities in our lives and we pushed ourselves to make the leap to do something we dreamed of. We both keep big parts of the way we grew up in our hearts.

That’s why I loved that quote from Ortiz that starts this article. When I first read it, I printed it out and posted it on my desk at work. At the time, it made me think of the value of keeping in touch with your roots.

I love going back to my hometown. Wandering around the pasture behind my in-law’s house, eating fried catfish my father cooks, and going to the hometown festival each September are wonderful. Time and time again, I see some of the good lessons I learned pop through. I see it in my actions, my values, and my personal choices, and whenever I go back there, it still feels in some ways like it fits like a glove.

As time went on, that quote began to change for me. I went through my financial meltdown and started to come out clean on the other side, and one day I looked at that quote again.

“They pick me [to be tested for steroids] every time. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a big guy, or what, but all I know is all they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans.”
- David Ortiz in The Boston Globe, March 11, 2005

Here was Ortiz, earning millions of dollars a year, and he was feasting on a diet of rice and beans. Ortiz could afford any food he wanted, but a sack of rice and a bunch of beans were good enough to fill his belly.

For me, that quote became a symbol of the idea that you don’t need to spend money just because you have it. Instead, focus on what you actually value in your life. I don’t need to go out to an expensive restaurant when a big old plate of beans and rice at my dinner table with my family all around me will do the trick.

I carried this throughout my life. I severely cut spending in every area that I didn’t feel was vital to my life. I focused instead on my key values – my family, my writing career, and learning and growing as a person.

I didn’t need a shiny BMW in the driveway, even if I could afford it.

I didn’t need to go golfing at a great course every weekend – instead, I went when it was really fun, with my father-in-law and my wife at a local nine-hole golf course.

I didn’t need to buy new books every week – instead, I started using the library and PaperBackSwap.

I didn’t need to do all these things to enjoy my life, and by scaling back in those areas, I found that I had plenty of room to focus on the things that really did matter to me.

Life goes on. I make a big career switch and become a writer. Then, suddenly, in late fall 2008, I have something of a health scare. I got a virus that left me feeling tired all the time and suddenly I really thought about my own mortality more than I thought.

And then I saw the quote again.

“They pick me [to be tested for steroids] every time. I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a big guy, or what, but all I know is all they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans.”
- David Ortiz in The Boston Globe, March 11, 2005

Ortiz plays professional baseball – he’s in pretty good shape. He goes out there every day, takes batting practice, stretches out, gets his sweat up and his metabolism going, and he plays the national pastime.

The fuel he uses to do this is nothing special – just staple foods without lots of additives. Rice and beans and exercise.

The recipe was simple for me. Just cut back on the fatty foods – the cheeses and the soda – and replace them with healthier options – water and, yes, rice and beans. It’s a simple choice that’s also an investment – it improves my health now and it extends my lifetime and period of quality life later.

The next step: add some exercise. I don’t have to go out there and kill myself, but I do need to go out there and move. Just go take a walk three to five times a week. Get the fluids moving in your body. Stretch your muscles. Raise your heart rate a little.

The end result? I’ve lost about forty pounds in 2009 and I feel quite good. I have more energy than before and some days I feel completely on top of the world. My values, my career, my money, and my health seem to all be falling in line.

Sometimes, you find the inspiration you need from the most unexpected places.

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167 thoughts on “David Ortiz

  1. BirdDog says:

    Congrats on the 40 pounds Trent! I’ve lost about 42 since March and it has made a huge difference in my life.

  2. Corey says:

    I’m pretty sure you’re taking Ortiz way too seriously. It looks like he was just making an ethnic joke (rice and beans are two staple Dominican foods).

  3. Tori says:

    Congratulations on your weight loss and happy All-Star Game Day!

  4. Jose says:

    The rice and beans thing has nothing to do with money… he’s Dominican. Us Hispanics love nothing more than to come home to a good plate of rice and beans.

  5. Trent says:

    “I’m pretty sure you’re taking Ortiz way too seriously. It looks like he was just making an ethnic joke (rice and beans are two staple Dominican foods).”

    Or it could be that people find inspiration in unexpected places.

    You can either have a positive or a negative mindset in life. It’s up to you.

  6. Kristen says:

    Perhaps he was referring to his integrity….

  7. Corey says:

    I understand what you were trying to express, but it doesn’t really make sense, especially because Ortiz as a world-class, highly paid, elite athlete almost certainly does not limit his diet to rice and beans, and indeed if he did he would not be an elite athlete at all. It’s very difficult to be healthy, much less athletic, when eating a diet that consists mostly of rice and beans.

    So your analogy works in terms of not changing who you are just because you’ve made a little money, and I agree with you. But as health advice…not so much.

  8. Russ says:

    I have a positive outlook on life and I still think it was just an ethnic joke. You do have a tendency towards melodrama, Trent.

  9. Trent says:

    “I have a positive outlook on life and I still think it was just an ethnic joke. You do have a tendency towards melodrama, Trent.”

    I don’t know how it’s positive to take something that obviously inspired someone else and attempt to belittle it.

    Whether or not it’s an ethnic joke, that doesn’t change the fact that inspiration comes from unexpected places. To attempt to do nothing more than belittle it is pure negativity, a surprising turn from someone with a “positive” outlook.

    Your brand of “positivity” is one that’s best avoided.

  10. Trent says:

    “It’s very difficult to be healthy, much less athletic, when eating a diet that consists mostly of rice and beans. ”

    Obviously. But you also don’t need to run down to GNC and drop a hundred dollars on supplements, either, to get yourself into basic shape. Just eat vegetables and get up and do something.

  11. Jeff says:

    Funny, I have a completely opposite view of Ortiz. It’s probably based on the yellow Lamborghini I see downtown with ‘BIGPAPI’ on the plates :).

  12. Russ says:

    Good grief, no-one’s ‘belittling’ your inspiration, merely pointing out that a lot of it comes from your own extrapolations from a quote rather than something intrinsic in the quote itself.

    What was I saying about melodrama again?

  13. Corey says:

    It’s not an attempt to “belittle” anything, nor is it really negative at all. You’ve set yourself up as an expert on this blog in the areas of personal finance and living a frugal life (in money and in attitude) and you’ve done a good job of it. Your thoughts on those subjects are fairly authoritative.

    However, if you’ve achieved your own weight loss by eating rice and beans and walking three times a week, as you suggest in the post, you clearly don’t know enough about health or nutrition to make authoritative comments about those subjects. I mean, it’s a free internet and you’re certainly entitled to write whatever you like on your blog, but you’ve got a pretty big soapbox. Lots of people here take your word as gospel and may end up trying something very unhealthy. That’s all I’m saying.

    I’d love to see a post on how you’ve achieved your weight loss, though.

  14. Vladi says:

    That’s funny. I live in Dominican Republic and the Rice and Beans is like the National Hantem :)
    Anyway the Big Pappy is a very generous person and as you say, he never forgot his roots. When in DR you can see him around in his luxury cars stopping by a beer in any place and the people loves him.
    I think he is very inspirational even if you don’t like baseball.

    …by the way maybe i am the only one Dominican reading this blog… i am not?

  15. Trent says:

    “You’ve set yourself up as an expert on this blog”

    Guess you haven’t been reading for long…

    http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/09/16/what-a-frugality-expert-is-and-why-im-not-one/

  16. almost there says:

    I think Russ was right, Ortiz was making an ethnic joke about himself. But…Trent was right too, drawing inspiration from a quote and using it in his writing. Russ, that is what writers do, take grains of inspiration from everyday quotes and making them into an article to bolster the idea that is to be presented. Keep up the good work Trent. I don’t always agree with you but I like your blog and learn lots of good gouge.

  17. Trent says:

    “However, if you’ve achieved your own weight loss by eating rice and beans and walking three times a week, as you suggest in the post, you clearly don’t know enough about health or nutrition to make authoritative comments about those subjects.”

    So, let me get this straight: if I lost weight by eating more vegetables (beans and rice included) and less meat and by walking, I shouldn’t talk about it because I don’t know what I’m talking about? That boggles the mind – truly, it does.

    What should I talk about instead? The things that didn’t work?

  18. brad says:

    “But you also don’t need to run down to GNC and drop a hundred dollars on supplements, either, to get yourself into basic shape.”

    not sure how many have a gnc near them but i find its very cost effective to stop by at least once a week. i only purchase expiring products, and the savings are pretty incredible. protein bars for 75 cents, energy bars for 50 cents, protein powder for a few bucks a pound.

    its very easy to shop at gnc and be on a budget.

  19. Suzanne says:

    Love this one Trent…and, funny enough, I thought it was one of your best ever in regards to letting your personal side show. Being insightful enough to use the simple words of another person to grow your awareness and empower yourself to make positive changes is awesome.

    Good job on handling the comment exchange above also. I always give a little laugh and then let it go (“it” as in my thoughts, my judgments, my attitude, etc.) when a person declares themselves to be one way (such as positive) and then shows their limited understanding of it by being the opposite.

  20. Tony says:

    Ortiz blows. And so do the Red Sox.

  21. Anne KD says:

    Louis Armstrong is known for signing letters with ‘Red beans and ricely yours’. I’ll take inspiration where I get it. If someone can’t use an extrapolation, they can always find some other source. Everybody can make their own extrapolations from whatever gives them inspiration. I’m not ‘inspired’ by Trent’s David Ortiz quote, but I am inspired by reading some of Trent’s (and other bloggers’) posts to make better financial choices for our household.

  22. DD says:

    He is full of beans alright…

  23. Corey says:

    Beans and rice aren’t vegetables, first off.

    Second, it’s possible to eat poorly and still lose weight. It happens all the time, actually. In developing countries we’d call it malnutrition.

    Most nutrition experts would suggest to anyone trying to lose weight that they eat a diet of around 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. There are a few other accepted ratios, but if you’re eating rice and beans with some veggies thrown in and the occasional piece of meat, you’re nowhere near any diet that any scientist would consider healthy.

    What typically happens to people who make dramatic changes to their diet (like switching to a eating third-world dish of staples most of the time) is that the weight comes off, they feel better, but the change isn’t sustainable and they end up gaining most of that weight back, if not more in the long run. I don’t know your history so I don’t know if you’ve yo-yo’ed like this in the past, or if you have superhuman will and can continue eating stuff like that indefinitely, but that’s what happens to most people. And I’m not speaking from some ivory tower here; I’ve tried stuff like that too and failed, and only succeeded when I made sustainable changes to my own diet.

    Not to mention that a carb heavy diet combined with only negligible exercise (like a light walk three times a week) might result in weight loss but not typically fat loss. So your body fat percentage stays the same, with all the attendant harmful health effects.

    Anyway. My two cents. You’re entitled to write whatever you want, as I said above.

  24. spaces says:

    Red beans and rice are about 60% carb, 20% protein and 20% fat. For example, see http://www.thedailyplate.com/nutrition-calories/food/generic/red-beans-and-rice .

    If you’re eating mostly beans and rice, plus vegetables, plus the occasional piece of lean meat thrown in, you’re hitting about the 40/40/20 ratio.

    Anyway, I liked the article. Taking one idea and viewing it through different lenses IMO is a powerful and interesting way to write.

  25. Kevin M says:

    It’s amazing when people completely miss the point of a blog post and focus on the tiniest of details.

  26. John says:

    No comment on the article. Just wanted to point out that this is turning into a bit ad hominen

    I love your blog Trent. Great stuff! Looks like this baseball hero is a sensitive topic for most. These comments have very little to do with personal finance…

  27. Adriana says:

    I think Trent is taking things a little too personal- let Corey speak and accept it as it is (or answer it without coming off as aggresive). I also took the quote as an ethnic joke. Whatever the case, Trent, just lighten up a little bit- dont respond so aggresive (atleast thats how I perceive it) …Another blog (Get Rich Slowly) the GRS writer responds in a positive light often not agreeing with the person posting the comment, but atleast he doesnt sound snappy like you are doing right now….just my two cents.

  28. Johanna says:

    @Corey: So every vegetarian in the world is “superhuman”? Because it kind of sounds like that’s what you’re saying.

    Also, I don’t know who you’re counting as scientists, but the official position of the American Dietetic Association is that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

    I’ll admit that I don’t know very much about weight loss – that’s not the reason why I eat the way I do. But it kind of seems to me that if you’re looking to make any kind of change (dietary or otherwise) in your life, one way to reduce your chances of success is to convince yourself before you even start that what you’re trying to do is impossible.

  29. Art says:

    “I didn’t need a shiny BMW in the driveway, even if I could afford it.”

    My BMW 740i will turn 290,000 trouble-free miles today. Still runs and looks great. And it’s still shiny.

  30. Landon S says:

    From reading the posts, it seems this was a tough day for material for Trent. Two articles a day are a major challenge especially with the amount of great content Trent produces. Let’s ease back on the attacks.

    Yes rice and beans are not vegetables, yes Ortiz probably eats at expensive restaurants, drives luxury cars, and is excessive with his wealth, yes there is more to life than squeezing every last penny out of every single transaction we make, but let’s accept what this post is and move on with our lives.

  31. Trent says:

    “It’s amazing when people completely miss the point of a blog post and focus on the tiniest of details.”

    This, right here, is exactly why I rarely get involved in comments. As soon as I jumped in, the conversation went down a completely different path, one that wound up focusing on trivial details. Thus, usually, I don’t interfere with discussion.

  32. Art says:

    We still love you, Trent. Keep up the good work.

  33. Russ says:

    “As soon as I jumped in, the conversation went down a completely different path, one that wound up focusing on trivial details”

    Yes, that’s because you took Corey’s throwaway comment that Ortiz was making a joke, and turned it into an accusation of negativity. If you’d laughed it off it would have ended there.

  34. Corey says:

    Well, the healthiness of vegetarianism is a separate debate, Johanna. There are plenty who disagree with the ADA’s stance. I know that I’ve had a very tough time marrying vegetarianism with my fitness goals (I eat no meat during Lent, and I always regress in fitness during those six weeks) but I know others have had different experiences. Bring this up on a fitness blog and watch the sparks fly.

    But note the caveats in the statement: “appropriately planned”, “adequate”, and “MAY provide health benefits”.

    Rice and beans, in my view, does not meet the threshold of “appropriately planned”. It’s a subsistence-level food that is, quite appropriately, a major part of the diets of many developing countries. If any significant part of your diet comes from that dish I’d say your nutrition is way out of whack.

    For every vegetarian I know who makes that lifestyle healthy, I know three others who eat mostly mac and cheese. Vegetarianism isn’t intrinsically healthy.

  35. Michael says:

    You think cutting out cheese makes you healthier? What?

    Oh, sorry! That was a trivial detail. I was, uh, very inspired by this post to remain true to my bean-eating, cheese-avoiding roots.

  36. Marty says:

    I’ve been reading you for a while and appreciate your work and your ideas. But all these comments are even more entertaining! First time I’ve read them.

  37. Trent says:

    “Corey’s throwaway comment that Ortiz was making a joke”

    Corey’s criticism wasn’t of Ortiz.

    Let me spell it out for you. I’m tired of receiving emails from readers who say they no longer comment because of negativity. This puts me in a difficult place. On one hand, I support free speech. On the other hand, I don’t like an environment where people who want to contribute positively don’t because they’re afraid of being attacked. Corey’s comment is a perfect example of this. Some people think of it as a “joke” – others see it as an attack.

    To you, it may have been a “throwaway.” To a lot of readers, such negativity means “stay away.” And I’m moving in that direction.

  38. Corey says:

    “This, right here, is exactly why I rarely get involved in comments. As soon as I jumped in, the conversation went down a completely different path, one that wound up focusing on trivial details. Thus, usually, I don’t interfere with discussion.”

    If you don’t like comments, then don’t have a comment section.

    Second, the details aren’t trivial in this case. You’ve given very bad nutrition advice in this post. You’ve also done so on several other occasions, where your readers have rightly called you out on it. You betray a lack of understanding of nutrition issues, which is perfectly okay, because no one understands everything.

    One of the very cool differences between blogs and newspapers is that if a blogger is wrong, someone can point it out right away. It’s not “negativity” to point out when someone is wrong. If you don’t like that kind of accountability then get rid of your comments section.

  39. Russ says:

    “Corey’s criticism wasn’t of Ortiz.”

    Corey didn’t CRITICISE anyone. He simply said he thought you were reading too much into a quote. He didn’t belittle the fact that you were inspired by it, he didn’t belittle the result of that inspiration, he simply said that he thought Ortiz was just making a joke. Then you got all defensive.

  40. Trent says:

    “Second, the details aren’t trivial in this case. You’ve given very bad nutrition advice in this post. You’ve also done so on several other occasions, where your readers have rightly called you out on it. You betray a lack of understanding of nutrition issues, which is perfectly okay, because no one understands everything.”

    My “nutrition” discussion above points to doing three things. Eat more plants. Eat less animals. Move around more. These things caused me to lose forty pounds.

    Since you didn’t read it above, I’ll quote it for you again here:

    “The recipe was simple for me. Just cut back on the fatty foods – the cheeses and the soda – and replace them with healthier options – water and, yes, rice and beans. It’s a simple choice that’s also an investment – it improves my health now and it extends my lifetime and period of quality life later.

    The next step: add some exercise. I don’t have to go out there and kill myself, but I do need to go out there and move. Just go take a walk three to five times a week. Get the fluids moving in your body. Stretch your muscles. Raise your heart rate a little. ”

    Please, explain to me how this “betrays a lack of understanding of nutrition issues.” Cutting back on fatty foods like cheese and pop and replacing some of them with water and beans betrays a lack of understanding of nutrition? In what way?

  41. Robert Speirs says:

    Weight loss is simple: eat less, exercise a bit. Simpler is better. Don’t obsess on numbers and buzzwords, like calories and carbs and fat grams and trans-fats and “natural” (whatever that means) and “organic” (last time I looked Man wasn’t eating much that was inorganic!). Educate your appetite. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. I think the point of the “red beans and rice” quote was to celebrate simplicity. I approve!

  42. tentaculistic says:

    Yeah, I think it’s true that people who get wealthy and stay wealthy in life are those who stay grounded enough not to think that money should be thrown away – like those athletes you hear about smoking a $100 bill (btw, that seems like a bad idea on so many levels, including disease contamination from the side in your lips, bills are filthy!) – but saved and savored. I think that’s the point of this and other financial blogs & books (including Dave Ramsey’s). If you save on things you don’t care so much about but are mindlessly spending on, you can buy/invest in the things you love.

    As to the rice and beans, I know my latino husband would love it if I got with that program, but after a summer in Central America eating rice n beans, beans n rice, 3 times a day every day, I just… can’t… get myself to cook them. I think it’s a texture thing. I hate the mealiness of most beans. Ugh. Although lentils and chick peas are ok, oddly enough, so long as they are partly pureed.

    I think the inspiration that has tended to stick in my brain, like Ortiz’ comment for Trent, has been the list of traits from The Millionaire Next Door. I just went back and found the article, and I’ve remembered #1 (They live well below their means) and #3 (They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status). I have this mental image of the millionaire next door in his 20-year-old plaid shirt, living in the same house where he raised his kids, automatically turning off the lights when he’s not in the room, still checking his bills scrupulously to make sure he’s not being overcharged. Actually, I guess that’s my uncle, who actually may well be a millionaire, despite barely finishing high school.

    The lesson it told me was that people who are involved, even in a low level, in the workings of their finances tend not to go overboard. People who have money but don’t pay attention just spend with wild abandon (MC Hammer, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears) until even their vast stores of cash get squeezed dry.

  43. Adriana says:

    TRENT PLEASE STOP REPLYING…

  44. Sunshine says:

    Wow, Trent, you got a bug up your butt today (I mean that in the best of ways); good for you. I have never seen this many comments from you – it would take almost a month for that. I understand why; this post only reinforces why you don’t post.

    In any event, good post. It’s sometimes funny where we find inspiration. Currently, it’s MJ for me; it’s corny, I know. His death has prompted me to bellydance more and enjoy life a bit more than I used to.

    Anyway, you take inspiration from where it comes. Congratulations on the weight loss. That in itself is inspiring.

  45. Johanna says:

    @Corey: I’m aware that there are people who disagree with the ADA, since when it comes to nutrition, there are people who say all kinds of things. But you’re the one who said that a diet of rice, beans, and vegetables is “nowhere near any diet that any scientist would consider healthy.” And I’m saying that there are indeed scientists who would consider such a diet healthy. (Including me, since I’m a scientist, although not a nutritionist.)

    But you take issue with the “appropriately planned” part. Very well: If rice (and other grains), beans, and vegetables do not an appropriately planned diet make, then what does?

    Also, what do the diets of people in developing countries have to do with anything? I realize that people in such countries face all kinds of health problems that we rich folk don’t have to deal with, but I’m not aware of any that are caused by getting too much of their nutrition from rice, beans, and vegetables.

  46. Shannon says:

    Wow, it’s unreal how defensive and rude Trent is. A commenter already pointed this out, but I’ll say it again – just see how JD (or Leo) respond to commenters – even if they completely disagree, they are always polite (and often funny). You have a LOT to learn, it is honestly better that you do not respond to comments.

  47. troy says:

    “I didn’t need a shiny BMW in the driveway, even if I could afford it.”

    T-Man…you have got to stop with the use of not subscribing to a shiny new car in the driveway, whether yours or your neighbors as an example of your financial “awakening”

    The fact you just a few months ago purchased and financed that shiny brand new TP completely erodes this angle.

  48. Corey says:

    Again, this conflation of “negativity” with “criticism” is ridiculous.

    Your comment above read an awful lot like you subsist on a rather unbalanced diet. Cutting out unhealthy fats (but not all fats) and sugars is a good thing, but it’s not nearly as good if you end up starving yourself (from a nutritional perspective, not calorically) instead. If that’s not the case, and you’re getting a decently balanced diet, then I apologize for the derail. But you may want to avoid celebrating the wonderful benefits of the beans and rice diet, because like I said above, people take your writing pretty seriously.

    And, also like I said above, if you want your comments to be an amen choir, then start moderating them or something. You run a high-profile blog, you should expect to get some pushback sometimes. It really is a good thing.

  49. Trent says:

    “I understand why; this post only reinforces why you don’t post.”

    The real scoop is this: I don’t like making comments that don’t actually SAY anything. Other bloggers often do this – they’ll jump into comments and say things like “Good comment!” or “That’s a great idea!” That, *to me*, is completely empty and hollow.

    The problem with actually SAYING anything is that it rarely goes down a good road. SAYING something implies making a point in response to someone else and that usually winds up being seen as though I’m trying to argue – usually, I’m not. The comments go directly off the rails.

    My solution, usually, is to simply not comment. The problem with that is that people tend to think that I don’t read the comments and I don’t care about the commenters.

  50. ab says:

    You’ll be sorry again as a Cubs fan.

  51. jant says:

    wow, people are so touchy when it comes to their diets. I am a vegan for many reasons, first and foremost, animal cruelty. Also the health benefits and plus the added benefit of frugality. Rice, beans, pasta, fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the cheapest items in a market. I use prepackaged food items very rarely. My diet is clean, simple and very healthy. Most people respect my diet but I do encounter some that are passionately negative about it. I’ve heard it all. Trent, I think you are on the right path. Thanks for the post. There are amazing websites out there that support your goals. Try veganyumum and also vegetarian times for recipe inspiration.

  52. Mister E says:

    Trent I can understand your position somewhat but really, the tone of your replies come off to me as being much more antagonistic than anything you’re replying to.

    “Let me spell it out for you”.. Really?

    You write a blog, you’re going to get negative comments. Probably more than positive ones, people tend to speak up more when they disagree with something than when they agree. And there’s really no value at all to a comment section that’s nothing but “Great post Trent!”, “Another winner!”, “I agree completely!”

    I know someone who describes blogging as one dummy pretending to know what he’s talking about and a bunch of other dummies pointing out that he doesn’t. The dummy part might be a little harsh but the general statement isn’t really that far from the truth. That’s blogging.

    For what it’s worth I think inspiration can come from almost anywhere and it’s great when people can find it in unexpected places. I’ve been inspired by songs before and later found out that the lyrics weren’t even what I thought they were.

  53. Trent says:

    “The fact you just a few months ago purchased and financed that shiny brand new TP completely erodes this angle.”

    I didn’t buy a Prius as a status symbol or to wow anyone – I could care less about having a shiny car in the driveway. I bought it after a year of research which led me to see that it was the best reliability and fuel efficiency bang for the buck that I could buy.

  54. Kevin M says:

    Once again, main point of the blog today:

    Inspiration can come from anywhere, so keep your eyes and ears open. And that inspiration can affect various areas of your life – financial, health, entertainment, family, etc.

    Focus on the big picture people, not whether man can live on red beans and rice alone.

  55. Tony says:

    Reasons I’ve lost respect for this Blog today:

    1. Author has made a false hero out of an athlete who knows NOTHING about frugality.

    2. Author mixing polorizing sports loyalties with an advice column.

    3. Author not responding well to criticism.

    4. I’m a Yankees fan.

  56. J.D. Roth says:

    Trent wrote: I’m tired of receiving emails from readers who say they no longer comment because of negativity. This puts me in a difficult place. On one hand, I support free speech. On the other hand, I don’t like an environment where people who want to contribute positively don’t because they’re afraid of being attacked.

    Trent, a blog is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship, and you are the dictator. That doesn’t mean you have to be a bad dictator. (I’m not saying that you are, either.) You can be a benevolent dictator.

    As part of being a benevolent dictator, your role is to protect your community. You do this in a variety of ways. One of them is to filter comments that you believe will be damaging. There’s no shame in that. None at all.

    You can either trash the negative comments with no explanation whatsoever. Or you can moderate them and e-mail the commenter to explain your decision. Or you can simply hold the negative comments for a day or two before letting them through. I’ve done each of these in the past.

    Sure, sometimes somebody accuses me of censorship. So what? My blog is not a place for just anyone to stop by and spout off. It’s a place for people to learn. So is The Simple Dollar.

    Don’t be afraid to exercise a heavy hand. You shouldn’t be afraid to participate in the discussions on your own site. That’s crazy!

  57. Shannon says:

    Incidentally, I should add that I thought the article itself was inspiring and that inspiration can come from different places for different people. Just wish Trent was a little more light-hearted and not eager to take any criticism personally…

  58. Todd says:

    Can’t we just play nicely together? If this is what “thinking” looks like, I’m beginning to see the value of empty and shallow small talk.

  59. Trent says:

    If all that mattered was my wallet, I’d be all in favor of negative comments. After all, controversy drives page views and page views make me more money. So, for my wallet, by all means, attack away!

    But that’s not my goal with this site.

    The freedom of people to feel comfortable asking questions is something I take VERY seriously. If I overreacted, it’s because I know that readers email me regularly saying that they didn’t participate because of the negativity.

    I want a place where people can feel comfortable posting their questions. When I see comments that simultaneously make an ethnic joke and say that someone’s inspiration doesn’t matter, I view that as negative. Not towards me, I could care less. Towards that reader who’s trying to decide whether they should ask a question that they’re having a hard time dealing with.

    Seeing an email from a reader who says that they didn’t open up because of the negativity of others is way more painful to me than any negative comment about what I write. The entire reason I started The Simple Dollar – and still do it – is because I know how hard it was for me to finally build up the courage to talk about my money and move forward and I want to help give other people that courage. When I see an email like that, I wonder what the point of all of it is.

    “You write a blog, you’re going to get negative comments.” That may be fine for most blogs, but money is a hard thing for people to talk about. Being negative encourages people to NOT open up about their money, and that’s a v. bad thing.

  60. Adriana says:

    Ditto to Tony #55

    ESPECIALLY to #3

  61. Russ says:

    “When I see comments that simultaneously make an ethnic joke and say that someone’s inspiration doesn’t matter, I view that as negative”

    Trent, you’re reading something into nothing again. Neither myself nor Corey said ANYTHING about inspiration not mattering, and neither did either of us belittle it. That’s an inference you’ve drawn from thin air after leaping to the incorrect conclusion that you or your post were being attacked. Corey’s ‘ethnic joke’ comment contains no malice, and doesn’t undermine the point of your post, it’s simply an aside.

    For the life of me, I can’t see why you’ve taken such offence at this. I can’t even see why it’s turned into a discussion about negativity or criticism, when neither was present in the ethnic joke remark. Perhaps when you cool off you’ll reread the comment and see that it’s benign.

  62. Michael says:

    I can’t decide whether Trent #59 or #49 is sillier. Maybe it’s a tie?

    #59: Nobody has excuses like Trent. He’d be happy to be criticized because he can make money that way, but for the sake of the poor, shy wallflowers he must sacrifice income and silence his detractors.

    #49 Everyone’s asking Trent to be more like J.D. Roth and Leo Babuta in his comments (thoughtfully polite, witty and conversational), but he accuses bloggers who comment in their own posts of being shallow and superficial and disavows that behavior. OK, except nobody asked him to act like some crappy Tier 10 PF blogger.

    I can’t figure out why Trent and J.D. are so different. Neither of them grew up rich, both had good fathers, both obviously do similar work now and enjoy similar hobbies, but J.D. is a leisurely gentleman and Trent is so suspicious and proud. I’d like to know why that is the case.

  63. Trent says:

    “I can’t figure out why Trent and J.D. are so different. Neither of them grew up rich, both had good fathers, both obviously do similar work now and enjoy similar hobbies, but J.D. is a leisurely gentleman and Trent is so suspicious and proud.”

    I’m “suspicious and proud” because I’m scared.

    Taking a leap into doing this took all of my courage. I did it because I thought I could change lives.

    This thread – and some of the emails I see – are making me no longer feel that way. Corey’s comments – and many others like them – make me think that I’m not helping anyone at all. Which leaves me wondering what the point is.

  64. Michael says:

    Well, you’re confusing two things. You write a lot of very good articles and I’ve learned several things from TSD I didn’t know. I think I’ve learned more here than I have learned from GRS, and I’ve been reading both blogs for about two years. Don’t worry, you’re helping people.

    But, you flake out when you have to handle criticism almost every time. It’s a problem, but it doesn’t mean your writing has failed.

  65. DD says:

    Now I think you are all full of beans.
    :)

  66. Trent says:

    “But, you flake out when you have to handle criticism almost every time. It’s a problem, but it doesn’t mean your writing has failed.”

    I welcome criticism towards me. Virtually every thread has criticism – I know you’ve read TSD for a long time and you know that to be true.

    What I care about is when that criticism reaches a point that it undermines the whole reason I started The Simple Dollar – to help people.

    I spent this morning replying to several readers who basically said that they no longer feel comfortable commenting or asking questions because of the negativity of other readers.

    Then I open up this thread and immediately see Corey’s comment. I probably overreacted to it, but it’s just an emblem of what those other readers are telling me.

    You say “don’t worry, you’re helping people,” but I see emails that tell me otherwise, that people are clamming up because of negativity in the comments.

    That’s the complete OPPOSITE of why I put so much effort and passion into the articles here, and it really makes me question whether I’m doing anything worthwhile at all.

  67. Michael says:

    Quiet, crappy Tier 10 PF blogger.
    :)

  68. Michael says:

    Oh, sorry, that was for “DD.”

  69. Michael says:

    Well, I definitely don’t think this is a democracy. You threw Jimbo out – if you want to do the same to me or Corey or whomever, go ahead. However, I bet I’ve referred more people who need help to an article here than the people who e-mailed you this morning. Bird in the hand, etc.

  70. kgt says:

    Hello Trent,

    First time commenter, but a very frequent reader. Don’t let them get to you. It’s not about what someone says (Ortiz in this case), it’s all about what you, me and everyone else can make out of it. And your post was an example of finding inspiration and motivation, regardless of what Ortiz actually meant.

    And for the next motivational quote of the day:

    Do not deal with the stupid, as they drag you to their level and beat you by experience.

  71. Trent says:

    “Well, I definitely don’t think this is a democracy. You threw Jimbo out – if you want to do the same to me or Corey or whomever, go ahead. However, I bet I’ve referred more people who need help to an article here than the people who e-mailed you this morning. Bird in the hand, etc.”

    Jimbo contributed nothing but negativity at all.

    Where I’m torn is with people who contribute lots of good stuff along with some big flamers, too. I appreciate 90% of your comments and Johanna’s comments, even most of the criticism.

    My difficulty is in deciding what to do with that other 10%, the stuff that really seems to drive others away. I don’t like being a censor at all and I also have no interest in driving away commenters who largely contribute great stuff by deleting some of their comments.

    It’s something I’m really struggling with right now. This thread is just a symbol of it.

  72. Jennifer says:

    Trent, I love your blog, but please, stop responding to every other commment so defensively. You’re making yourself look bad. You’ll do yourself and others a favor by letting the negative comments go.

  73. Shannon says:

    I would like to know who are these super-sensitive readers “who say that they didn’t open up because of the negativity of others?” I mean seriously – develop a thick-skin – just because there are some comments disagreeing with the author should not be so off-putting so as to skip certain articles. Unreal.

  74. Shannon says:

    And I should add, even though Jimbo disagreed with all of your points, I always thought that he made valid points. Sometimes it’s good to know the counterpoint to what you write…

  75. DD says:

    “Quiet, crappy Tier 10 PF blogger.”

    Alright! I’m moving up in the world.
    :)

  76. Trent says:

    I don’t think you should have to have a thick skin to talk about something that’s difficult for you to talk about. It’s a lot easier to admit you have a debt problem when you’re not in a room full of hecklers.

  77. J.D. Roth says:

    Trent, you should fly out here to Portland. I’ll take you out for a beer (or for some rice and beans), we can exchange ideas, and you can help me work in the vegetable garden.

    (Also: I think it’s pretty funny that Michael pictures me as a leisurely gentlemen. Why? Because that’s what I want to be! (No joke.))

  78. imelda says:

    OMG, Corey and Russ, just shut up.

    Trent, this was a beautiful post. I love the way you take a simple, uncomplicated quote from an unexpected source and draw all of those lessons from it. I love the way you have found yourself coming back to the quote and seeing in it different messages at different points of your life.

    This is what the best and most inspirational books can do–every time you read them, you learn something new. The same holds true for a little quote like this. I think readers should focus on the way you draw inspiration from unexpected places, Trent, which is what this post is all about. Great job!

  79. Trent says:

    J.D.: I will be in Seattle in the near future. If I can swing to Portland, I’ll do it!

  80. Sara says:

    I do not care about the drama of the post and coments, but I just want to say that maybe you are really reading to much on the rice and beans coments. In some countries even rich people eat rice and beans. It’s part of the culture… and yummy!

  81. Michael says:

    Ha, I meant you comment leisurely and generously. I know you work very hard.

    If Trent and J.D. meet up a joint podcast must be recorded.

  82. Sandy E. says:

    Wow – I’m speechless. So many personal attacks – so many disparaging remarks. This isn’t at all why I was coming to financial blogs. Count me out. I can’t be a part of this. I can think of a lot better usage of my time. I believe in constructive criticism; most of this is not. I wish everyone the best though, I really do. Peace.

  83. Trent says:

    We already did a joint podcast (with Jim from Bargaineering, too): http://www.blogtalkradio.com/personalfinancehour/2009/07/06/Personal-Finance-Hour

  84. Nero says:

    On the article: Trent, this is what we call taking a quote out of context.

    If you still haven’t figured this out: Ortiz wasn’t talking about his diet.

    Extrapolating health advice from an off-the-collar ethnic joke is asinine.

    On comments and negativity: This a blog. I think you need to get a grip on reality. The only time I stumble back here is when my wife or coworkers tell me about another “worst post ever” you’ve made. Seriously, we only come here for the sheer comedy of it. That said, your hypocritical nature and rampant unsubstantiated justifications would be best left out of the comments section altogether.

    An example: You say you *like* criticism but not negativity, yet you have proven – time and time again – that you perceive them as the same thing. I have never seen you answer criticism well. Ever. You either don’t reply at all or throw a hissy-fit like a twelve-year-old.

  85. Marc says:

    I think this was a great article, very motivating! Sure it’s not directly personal finance related, but I don’t need to read about debt snowballs 4 times a week. It certainly makes a good point about lifestyle.

    It`s very disapointing to see the negativity in the comments. Some people say things as jokes but it’s clear the internet doesn’t convey sarcasm well. Some commenters sounded downright snarky to me. It`s always a shame when discussions get tangled in semantics and minute details.

    As far as I`m concerned, Ortiz probably was joking, but there was probably truth in what he was saying too. While he may not fill up on just beans now, he probably did a lot more when he was growing up and it got him where he is.

  86. spaces says:

    People are mixed bags, you know. To get the 90%, you have to endure the 10%.

    I moderate a fairly vibrant community on a social networking type site that draws out some passionate discussion at times. I HATE censoring people. My approach to discourse within the group, FWIW, is to have guidelines for what is and isn’t appropriate, and to publicly say “This isn’t OK because of XYZ” and to refer folks back to the guidelines when things get out of hand. I also make it clear that the group is not a democracy. While I’ve had to ban a handful of folks entirely, this approach has tended to work for most people most of the time. The louder speakers don’t seem bothered by being reigned in now and again, and the timid speakers have a measure of security that they won’t get lambasted if they say something stupid.

  87. Corey says:

    Again, your tendency to over-dramatize things comes through here. No one said you don’t provide helpful advice; in fact, I explicitly said that when you talk about things you’re familiar with, you give excellent advice. Your advice on financial topics is usually 100% spot-on.

    But you are seemingly new to the world of health and fitness and you don’t know as much about those topics. You said something here that was completely incorrect and you’ve done that on multiple occasions when it comes to nutrition (see also: the post from a few months back when you suggested your “tuna surprise” casserole was healthy).

    We’re all here (both TSD and the internet in general) to learn, so ignorance isn’t a crime. But the defensiveness when someone points out an inaccuracy in your writing is very odd, especially for the blogosphere, where everything is so conversational.

  88. onaclov says:

    Great Post. I love those quotes that inspire, there are tons of them out there and people find different meaning to each of them, glad you found one you really like!!

  89. Trent says:

    “The only time I stumble back here is when my wife or coworkers tell me about another “worst post ever” you’ve made. Seriously, we only come here for the sheer comedy of it.”

    Glad I’m providing enough value for you to keep you coming back for more!

  90. Trent says:

    “You said something here that was completely incorrect”

    Please, show me what I said that is incorrect! I want to know, because I still don’t understand. The only nutritional statement I made (that I can tell) is that rice and beans are better than drinking soda and eating cheese. If that is wrong, I’d love to see the research, because I’d love to have my camembert and Mountain Dew back if it’s good for me!

    I bow to your superior knowledge of nutrition – please enlighten us!

    In general, just shouting I’m wrong is negativity. Quoting where I’m wrong and providing useful information for everyone is criticism. I LOVE criticism. Negativity is useless.

  91. Mark says:

    Two links I think are relevant to this comment thread:

    http://www.redsoxnation.net/index.php?showtopic=23476
    (interview with Tara Mardigan, the Red Sox team nutritionist: “Getting back to food choices, David Ortiz is famous for his diet of chicken, rice and beans. Is that good? … Sure. Looking at what he’s done, I’d say it’s working pretty well. Let’s put it this way: we aren’t going to change that. For one thing, it’s a cultural staple, and what matters most is the amount you eat. If it’s in moderation, I can justify just about anything. Try me!”)

    Also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

  92. Tony says:

    I know you weren’t asking me, but you wanted an example of where you are wrong.

    “The fuel he uses to do this is nothing special – just staple foods without lots of additives. Rice and beans and exercise.”

    If you think rice, beans, and exercise is all the fuel Ortiz uses for baseball you are bat **** crazy. Finding inspiration in a nonsensical quote is one thing. But painting Ortiz into some kind of superhuman that only eats beans and rice and also making him out to be a frugal person is borderline irresponsible. I’d think the same thing if the article was about Derek Jeter, just to keep things objective.

  93. Tyler says:

    @Corey: What is it they say about assumptions? Cause you are doing a great job of validating that epithet. I agree a diet wholly based on rice and beans is non-nutritional. But where has Trent stated his diet consists primarily of these two foods? Also, you blast him for his lack of nutritional knowledge, yet you provide nothing to back up your criticism.

    I’ll agree this was a bit of a silly post, but an author contributing two or more pieces a day isn’t going to always provide top-notch material or write something you completely agree with. Chalk it up to this and move on. Quit being a hater.

  94. Adrienne says:

    OK – this is the strangest personal finance comment thread. I can’t say I have read all the comments completely but it doesn’t seem that anything really bad was said.

    Trent – as a huge fan of your blog I’ll give you the same advice I give my son when he’s getting really upset oversomething – just take a deep breath and relax.

  95. Tony says:

    Trent, many people appreciate your work. The problem is that most all internet comment sections are essentially school playgrounds terrorized by bullies. Too often, flame wars erupt as the bullies continually miss the points of posts/articles and feel the need to make pointless, sarcastic remarks while the rest of us are attempting to learn something and better the lives of ourselves and others.

    Does anyone seriously think that the point of the post was to advocate a diet of rice and beans?!?! The post was simply how somebody can find multiple pieces of life/pf inspiration and ideas in one simple quote over the course of time.

    If your comment pertains to a trivial detail or a sarcastic response, it adds NOTHING to what has the potential to be thoughtful and useful discussion of PERSONAL FINANCE ideas. Trent, I am very glad you have taken a stand today and I truly hope it makes people think more before derailing discussion with sarcasm and trivality.

  96. Trent says:

    Tony, did you read the next paragraph, where I said that the quote inspired me to replace soda with water and cheese with beans, because I realized that dietary choices can be simple?

    I did not say Ortiz was superhuman and that he lived on rice and beans. I said that I took inspiration from his diet and used it to think about my own.

  97. Emily says:

    Many congratulations on your newer, healthier style of living. Last night for dinner I discovered that frozen green beans heated in tomato sauce is one of the tastiest things ever! I think I can eat just about any veggie in a good tomato sauce (jarred or my mother’s homemade from copious gardening) for a fulfilling, flavorful, and fairly healthy meal. Add whole grain pasta, rice, couscous, or the like, and you’re meeting many of your food groups.

  98. Mister E says:

    This is exhausting and doing no good for anyone, it really should stop.

  99. Jen says:

    ‘Alright’ by Darius Rucker (Country song) reminds me of some of your thoughts from the Ortiz quote. Check it out if you haven’t heard it already!

  100. Tony says:

    Trent,

    I am not criticizing the inspiration you drew from from the quote. If that’s what inspires you, more power to you.

    But you did insinuate that the only thing he needed to prepare himself for baseball was rice, beans and excercise. Here’s the quote again -

    “The fuel he uses to do this is nothing special – just staple foods without lots of additives. Rice and beans and exercise.”

    It takes a lot more than rice and beans for any athlete at the professional or probably even amateur level. Vitamins, protein ect. are all integral components.

    You also insinuate that Ortiz is a frugal person -

    “Here was Ortiz, earning millions of dollars a year, and he was feasting on a diet of rice and beans. Ortiz could afford any food he wanted, but a sack of rice and a bunch of beans were good enough to fill his belly.”

    Again, to draw inspiration from a quote is one thing. But you’re taking this character and building him up into something he’s not based on a quote taken out of context.

    Maybe to some it’s harmless. But to me, as someone who reads your blog, I was taken back by seeing your advice inappropriately applied to a person who I’m not a very big fan of. Again, it’s your blog. Write what you want. But expect to get some negative comments when you write about a polorizing sports figure.

  101. DB Cooper says:

    Trent said, “I didn’t buy a Prius as a status symbol or to wow anyone – I could care less about having a shiny car in the driveway. I bought it after a year of research which led me to see that it was the best reliability and fuel efficiency bang for the buck that I could buy.”

    Pet Peeve: actually, it should read “I couldn’t care less…” By saying that you “could care less” you are insinuating that you care to some degree, since you could care less than you do. If you really do not care AT ALL, you should say you “couldn’t care less.”

    Sorry, but it drives me CRAZY when writers, be they periodical or book writers or script writers for tv/motion pictures, make this obvious mistake.

  102. Mitch K. says:

    Trent, love the site, but you read way too much into those first few comments. You should have just let them slide, and in hindsight, I know that you’ll see it this way, too. But the thing is, if you thought that those comments weren’t appropriate, you should have just removed them, not gone nuts on ‘em.

    I want to let you know that I get a lot out of TSD. This is a very valuable site, I just started a Google Calendar because of it (also because I forgot an important deadline!) in addition to many other things that I’ve learned from it. Don’t let the haters get you down, especially this guy:

    “The only time I stumble back here is when my wife or coworkers tell me about another “worst post ever” you’ve made. Seriously, we only come here for the sheer comedy of it.”

    What a hateful comment. But remember, this is the Internet. A lot of people get on the Internet just to poop on what others have created. The way you responded to this guy’s comment was PERFECT. When someone says something that you perceive as negative, take a step back and see what they really meant. Then respond and add some comedy to it.

    But, I really don’t see what Corey is talking about with the nutrition. You wrote about what worked for you, what more can you ask for?

    Relax, go for a walk, and realize that you’re doing a lot of good. I think you should comment more, but you should use a light touch.

  103. Des says:

    “I bow to your superior knowledge of nutrition – please enlighten us!”

    I know it has been said in other comments, but you would do well to mind your tone. If the attitude you put forth in your comments had been a bit more mature (again, see JD’s site), it would have gone a long way to creating a more positive environment.

    Trent, your comments here have been some of the most negative I’ve seen on your blog, even as you site creating a welcoming environment as your goal.

    I’m sure you will point to this post as the reason you don’t comment, but it is not the mere FACT that you commented that caused this, it was your tone and attitude. If you cannot improve those, then yes it would be wise for you to withhold your comments.

  104. BJD says:

    Thought this was funny — I was just listening to the JD and Trent’s podcat and at about 55 mins into it, one of the things they were talking about was keeping list for blog ideas and Trent said: on my list have David Ortiz circled multiple times and can’t recall why or what I wanted to write up about him

  105. John Parkson says:

    I think that by ‘rice and beans’ David Ortiz was actually talking about steroids.

  106. Trent says:

    Yep, after that podcast, I kept thinking about Ortiz, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about him. Then I stumbled upon the quote again and this post was the result. Good ears, BJD!

  107. Trent says:

    “I know it has been said in other comments, but you would do well to mind your tone.”

    That actually was an attempt to be funny. Guess what? Humor often doesn’t come across in print. Which I guess is part of the reason I was taken aback at the very start of this discussion.

  108. Amy says:

    Trent, I have been an avid reader of TSD for about 2 years. While I don’t always agree with or absorb all of your posts, there is a lot to admire in your writing style and common sense approach to things that bring about real happiness…family and simple living.

    However, I have to admit I’m more than a bit surprised by your posts today. It’s rare for you to comment on the criticism of others, and frankly, I think your blog is better for it. I am afraid you’re going to regret your words today, as they appear small-minded and argumentative. You may want to walk away for a bit and let things slide. Be the bigger person here…

  109. Shannon says:

    When you trying to be funny, Trent, just add a smiley next to the sentence – works every time :)

  110. Tony says:

    “Yep, after that podcast, I kept thinking about Ortiz, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about him. Then I stumbled upon the quote again and this post was the result. Good ears, BJD!”

    Seems to me like being a huge fan of Ortizecaused you to really reach and go way out on a limb for a way to involve Ortiz into a personal finance article. Probably not a good idea. The premise of Ortiz being frugal was weak at best.

    Please let me know if you plan to crowbar the Red Sox into your columns in the future so I can stop reading in advance. Sorry for being “negative” but I REALLY hate the Red Sox.

  111. Marcus Murphy says:

    <<>>

    There is a solution:
    1. Allow commenters to rate each comment and set a default rating that hides and/or deletes each comment that reaches a certain rating (i.e. -5)
    2. To do this you will need to require people to login to rate a comment. (They can still post anonymously though).
    3. After so many negative comments that reached hide and/or delete status, you could have an auto ban on that person’s email address.

    In this way you would allow each reader the power to determine the comments that we find positive…

    It’s not a perfect system, but if you are unhappy with the current one then it seems like a reasonable change.

  112. ChrisB says:

    Wow! I saw 104 comments and wondered what was going on.. wow!

    I enjoyed the post, Trent. Didn’t see you giving poor nutritional advice, didn’t see you writing an article on Three Easy Steps to Becoming a Star Baseball Player… just a nice post on how you found inspiration from this quote.

  113. Wormwood Pearl says:

    Damn, this comment thread is making me hungry for some rice and beans.

  114. Mitch K. says:

    Oh and Trent, when you do find you have a common troll on your hands, DON’T stop them from commenting. Make it seem as if they’re still commenting to themselves, but in reality, no one else will be able to read their comments. Because no one will be trolled, the troll will move on. If you ban them from commenting they will come back, time and again.

  115. Sarah says:

    Trent,

    I must say I’m jealous. I wish I could come across a quote which would inspire me the way Ortiz’ has for you. I have hypothryoidisim, so it makes it harder for me to stick to a diet program since I tend to have a hard time losing weight no matter what.

    Keep up the good work!

  116. didi says:

    I read that whole discussion and I’m now exhausted lol.. I think everyone should all just take a breath and relax. Thx Trent for all your work.. you should know that you are reaching alot of people.. I really don’t think the original posts by Corey etc were meant to be offensive.. they were just pointing out an opinion of the quote you presented. I hadn’t been reading for a while and came back to see how you were. I was sad to read the comments you made on this thread as it doesn’t sound like the Trent I had been reading from for the last few years. Whatever it is that may be bothering you just remember that you can’t control everything.. sometimes, you just have to relax and let things fall as they may. Best of luck to all of you… I am this month debt free in large part due to this blog, Get rich slowly and Gail Vax-Oxlade’s site “til debt do us part” I wish the same for all of you!! Its an amazing feeling!! I have been in some kind of debt since I was 18.. I’m not going to say how many years but 18 as a long time ago lol :)

  117. didi says:

    I mean 18 “was” a long time ago.. :S too long lol

  118. Elle says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. I often wonder how bloggers handle all these comments. Today’s comment exchange brought this to mind:
    http://zenhabits.net/2007/09/how-to-accept-criticism-with-grace-and-appreciation/

    Keep sharing your thoughts and information

  119. Sarah says:

    1) Trent — congratulations on your weight loss and more importantly, your new habits of exercising and eating more healthfully. Get your inspiration where ever you want, it is a choice more people should be making.

    2) I agree with others that your response to criticism (which I admit you encourage) comes off as defensive and dramatic, but can’t pinpoint exactly why. I enjoy your comment participation, and many bloggers successfully are able to contribute to the discussions w/o derailing things. But, your blog, your choice.

    3) You are most certainly helping people. Just because someone feels like they can not comment doesn’t mean that your content isn’t helping them. Not that anyone should feel that way, but don’t confuse the two!

  120. NYC reader says:

    I wondered how this post could have received over 100 comments in such a short time period. I never would have guessed it was troll-like behavior and all the responses to it.

    I read a lot of blogs. They have varying rules and strategies for dealing with trolls and unpleasant personalities, I don’t think one size fits all. What the well-run and welcoming blogs all seem to have in common are a set of ground rules explained in advance of when the ugly situations arise, and then holding to those rules.

    Back in the days of BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), I moderated a few forums. It’s a very thankless task, especially when the 80/20 rule comes into play (80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the people).

    The basic rules I followed for moderation were as follows:

    1) Civility first. It’s ok to attack an idea, absolutely not ok to attack a person.

    2) Name-calling of others will get you banned.

    3) Profanity will be deleted. At my option, I may either edit the post or delete the whole thing. If you can’t express yourself without resorting to four-letter words, your ideas are probably not worth reading. Repeated profanity will also get you banned.

    Where it gets sticky is when the commenter is critical of someone’s idea (in this case, using David Ortiz and his diet as inspiration) and also potentially critical of the person espousing that idea. How much of Corey’s criticism is directed at David Ortiz (whom he might suspect of using steroids), how much at the idea of a meatless diet, and how much at Trent himself?

    There are ways to make the same points without allowing the criticism to devolve into a personal attack, and I think Corey may have crossed the line.

    Those of us (Trent included) who respond to Corey are simply egging him on. Trolling the troll, so to speak. Trolls thrive on attention. If Corey got no response, there wouldn’t be 110+ comments on this post, and perhaps he would fade into the background.

    I think Trent missed an opportunity (perhaps in Reader Mailbag, perhaps in a separate post) to discuss the feelings some people have about negative personal comments and how that chases them away from the blog.

    It’s not too late Trent. I would welcome a post about how to remain civil and welcoming on a blog where we can all put our two cents in, even challenge conventional wisdom and each other, without ending up in a verbal mud wrestling contest.

    I note that Trent has posted a bit of a disclaimer at the bottom of the comment form with a bit of ground rules. Good start.

    On Trent’s grammar and writing… well, I’ve been holding my tongue. I wince a lot at the basic grammatical errors and the overuse of certain words. I think it would be more constructive for Trent if I wrote him a personal e-mail (if I ever get the time) to explain what in his craft of writing needs work. Publicly embarrassing him (and I fear this paragraph might do just that) serves no useful purpose.

    That’s my two cents.

  121. troy says:

    Trent:

    Good for you with the tone of the thread. Shows a little fire in you. That is good. It means you care. And that matters more than if you agree.

    Now, onto my point.

    “I didn’t buy a Prius as a status symbol or to wow anyone – I could care less about having a shiny car in the driveway. I bought it after a year of research which led me to see that it was the best reliability and fuel efficiency bang for the buck that I could buy.”

    Maybe. Maybe those that you judge who have the shiny new cars and trucks in their driveways say the exact same thing. Everyone has their justifications, you included.

    But if you are going to judge them for their reasons, prepare to be judged for yours.

  122. tentaculistic says:

    [Slooooowwwwwwly banging head on desk]

    Really?? This is like one of those fierce newlywed arguments about how to hang t.p., where it’s really about tones of voice or inflections – but neither of those come across right in print.

    I don’t think the original posters’ comments were meant in a negative way, but I can see how they could be taken that way.

    Similarly, my take on Trent’s comments about nutrition was that he was going very much in the direction of Michael Pollan – “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I thought it was good advice when I read Pollan’s 2 books, and darn if I could do it myself I’d be a LOT thinner! :)

    Yeah, maybe Trent came across a bit defensive – but I have to say that I just can’t even IMAGINE inviting people into the nooks and crannies of my life, home, family, and mind, and then dealing with all of the criticism he gets. I’ve often read the comments and thought that if I had written what he had and gotten that comment or another (I’m talking in general here), I’d be in TEARS all night, and needing a serious hug. And very much unlike Trent, I’m a huge extrovert!!

    I guess I think that maybe people can jump in with their devil’s advocacy in a kinder way. It’s hard to pour our your head and heart and hear what sounds like criticism, even if it’s not meant that way.

    And now… everybody… DEEP YOGA BREATHS!
    We’re all on the same side. (Except maybe Jimbo – oops I meant ‘Nero’. That was just uncool, you’re a mean-spirited troll.)

    Peace, folks.

  123. Diana says:

    Trent,
    I have been a reader of TSD for at least 2 years now and I have recomended your website to at least a dozen different people. I love how you look at the simple things in life and see them differently and look at them as a way to learn something new. Each time you post, I gain something out of it, sometimes something little and sometimes something life changing. I disagree with all of the negative comments on this post and think we should all be thanking you for the time you took into posting your thoughts.

  124. Amber says:

    Corey: Most true nutrition experts do not recommend your breakdown of macronutrients. Protein is the least amount your body needs, then fat, then carbohydrates. You need to speak with a RD and get the facts. Beans and Rice together make a complete protein much like chicken or beef.
    Americans on average consume too much protein in tthier diets. If you are going to focus on more protein for building muscle it should be more plant based instead of animal based because you do not consume the saturated fat and extra cholesterol with most plant based sources (not all)

  125. Jenzer says:

    After skimming over the comments on this post, I clicked over to Get Rich Slowly to read through some of the comments JD has left on his posts. As a reader of both TSD and GRS, I’m very curious to know what it is about JD’s commenting style, compared to Trent’s, that makes JD seem less off-putting. I think it lies in Trent’s use of “you” versus JD’s use of “I.”

    From Trent’s first three comments here:
    “You can either have …”
    “Your brand of ‘positivity …”
    “You also don’t need …”

    From JD’s first three comments in one of Monday’s posts:
    “I actually don’t mind …”
    “If I get a new bike …”
    “I’d much rather watch …”

    The use of “I” addresses the author’s experience and opinion, nothing else. The use of “you” implies a universality of experience or shared opinion which might or might not be true. In certain contexts, “you” can even sound accusatory.

    Several years ago I got scorched on a professional listserv when I used “you” to describe my own experience with a particular issue. One listserv member took major offense to my use of that term and shot back that it certainly wasn’t HIS experience and what the h*** did I know, anyway? He, in turn, got attacked for his negativity, and down the spiral went the discussion.

    In retrospect, he was right that my use of the term “you” was incorrect. Though I still squirm a bit when I think about that initial post of mine, the experience has made me VERY careful to choose “I” over “you” as much as possible. That, in turn, has saved me much grief in the intervening years.

    My college professors taught me to use “you” in the papers I turned in for coursework. Life taught me to use “I” the rest of the time. :)

  126. Sandy says:

    Jenzer, I’m also a reader of both TSD and GRS and I’ve also thought the exact same thing. JD seems to talk about his perspective on his experience with money and life. Trent often seems to come off as parental, and I’ve been put off a number of times when he starts a column with “Unless you’ve been living under a rock…”which, often, under his view, I guess I do live under a rock.
    So, maybe, Trent…try and use a few more “I” statements.
    I get quite a bit from your blog, however. I’m always looking for new tips, although after living this way for a long time, the new ideas to me are coming more slowly.

  127. Michael says:

    Good analysis, Jenzer.

  128. Chessiq says:

    @Jenzer (comment# 126) – Thanks for sharing your experience regarding the use of “I” instead of “You”. I will keep that in mind as I blog and as I communicate my experience, knowledge, beliefs, etc.

    @Trent – what a day for you! Nice post, controversial comments. May be it would have been better to do a post on comments and categorize it under “blogging” or something; that way, it would not appear to be directed at a particular person or people.

    I think you should comment more often, and focus on the people who “need help”? Probably that way you avoid “fights” with the “negative ones”, and you also avoid showing up one day, comment a lot, and we seem to see a different side of you, (which is okay, just that we don’t want that to be the only time we see the master!)

    Take care.

    The-Simple-Dollar fan for life!

  129. Brian says:

    Trent, don’t let them get to you. If I were you I’d be IP banning these fools left and right. Remember that 90% of the people who enjoy your blog don’t post comments.

    Russ, Tony and Corey just sit at work and hit Refresh all day because they are bored. Don’t indulge them. Like I said, why not IP ban them? You have 65,000 subscribers and probably twice that many daily readers. A few chumps with nothing better to do than attack you aren’t a good indication of your audience.

  130. a says:

    this is a joke. David ortiz as an ispraration? He plays 1/3 of the game, no throwing or fielding. He eats rice and beans in his 150k car. Bad example…every pro athelete has a sob story. You’ve run out of interesting things to write about…

  131. pennyforyourdebt says:

    Wow, 40 lbs! That’s great! I was hooked by the title of this post, as I live in the New England area and am a huge David Ortiz fan. He is a pillar of integrity and honor and is just plain nice.

    I keep putting off losing weight myself, and this honestly inspired me to start ‘down the road less traveled’ right away. Thank you very much!

  132. Trent,

    Great article and I think it’s great you found inspiration from something at a time you needed it most. I love hearing personal stories about how individuals made it through different obstacles in their life.

    I am the definition of a fanatic when it comes to the Red Sox ;) Good luck to your Cubs the rest of the year!

    Congratulations on losing the 40 pounds and here’s to continued results to you!

  133. Kate says:

    Wow…not to add to the comments but I have seen so many message boards, etc. take this turn and then fold. Trent…I think that you should just end the discussion on this post because the discussion is going nowhere.

  134. sandra says:

    I LOVE YOU TRENT–YOU have also helped me and my family a great deal.

    Another blogger I read and love has mainly closed ALL her comments due to such silliness by posters–DOOCE.

    Remember not to think all your fans are these weird posters.

  135. katy says:

    I love this blog. You get me to think and act on a lot of good and bad stuff.

    I think Ortiz was referring to his integrity also. He could afford anything now.

    Congrats on the weight loss Trent!

  136. Trent says:

    “In retrospect, he was right that my use of the term “you” was incorrect. Though I still squirm a bit when I think about that initial post of mine, the experience has made me VERY careful to choose “I” over “you” as much as possible. That, in turn, has saved me much grief in the intervening years.”

    Whenever I see “I,” I think the person is egotistical. Whenever I see “you,” I think the person is involved with what the other person is saying.

  137. Jenzer says:

    “Whenever I see ‘I,’ I think the person is egotistical. Whenever I see ‘you,’ I think the person is involved with what the other person is saying.”

    I have several thoughts about this issue, but I’ll send them via email rather than commenting.

  138. Barbara says:

    Trent,
    I GET IT!! You found inspiration in Dave’s comment, well, so do I.
    Thanks for all the great stuff,
    Barb

  139. Maggie says:

    How do you know Ortiz wasn’t lying? Just because it is in print, doesn’t mean it’s true.

  140. Diane says:

    Take heart, Trent.
    Any readers lost due to their sensitivity to negative replies in the comment section were probably never open to your message anyway.
    I, too, am perplexed by those who are consistently negative. I’ve noticed on sites such as GRS, the commenter’s name is shown before their response. This makes it easier to skip the Eeyores. I sure wish you’d consider it here at TSD.
    Funny, I’d forgotten all about Jimbo. If you blocked him, I must say “Thank You!”

  141. vckgss says:

    Although I rarely take the time to read comments, I had time today to check these out. I am reminded once again why I read this blog; Trent makes me rethink my daily assumptions and at times challenges me to do better. I apprecate that. Thank you, Trent! For those that don’t like the negativity, may I suggest that you just read Trent’s posts? Reading comments certainly isn’t required, and negative comments are no reason to avoid reading a blog that may actually be helpful!

  142. Sarah says:

    “Whenever I see “I,” I think the person is egotistical. Whenever I see “you,” I think the person is involved with what the other person is saying.”

    Interesting! I think the person who made the distinction hit the nail on the head for me. I am resistant to being told what I think and what my experiences are, or basically, anything. But I’m receptive to hearing others personal experiences. As long as they don’t imply they are (or should be) mine too.

  143. Trent says:

    “You’ve run out of interesting things to write about…”

    Actually, I have more ideas for posts than I have time to write. I have to pick and choose between them.

    I wrote this post because I thought it was a good example of how a single little thing can inspire you in many different ways. I thought it was a worthwhile thing to write about, but I learned that rice and beans are controversial topics.

  144. ChrisB says:

    Maggie (138) wrote, “How do you know Ortiz wasn’t lying? Just because it is in print, doesn’t mean it’s true.”

    Maggie, for the purposes for which Trent used the quote, does it matter? True or not, Trent was still able to draw inspiration from the quote. People do this with things that are known not to be true (fictional stories, movies, etc.) all the time.

  145. Whoa, lots of bad vibes in this thread that are totally unrelated to the article at this point. I agree with JD, that you should filter things out if you think they’re going to be a problem, getting in there and arguing a point defensively just sets it all up for a snowball effect.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Broken Windows” theory. One broken window in a neighborhood begats another and another. Same is true with blog comments, these people are “coming into your home” so to speak, you shouldn’t have to put up your dukes and try to knock people out just to keep dirt off your rug – just let them stay outside. :)

    (wow, way too many analogies there)

    Anyways, congrats on the 40 pounds lost, Trent!

    I disagree with the eating style (I’m a low-carb / high-protein zealot myself – and its worked amazingly for me), but if you’re trying to better yourself I can’t knock that at all!

    Forget the rice and beans and eat cheese and steak instead! :)

    Cheers!

  146. Wren says:

    Definitely an interesting reaction to this post. All I know is, according to his team nutritionist, David Ortiz eats chicken, rice, and beans. And it works for him. Honestly sounds good, to me, and probably far healthier than some of the stuff I eat.

    I’m glad that you’ve decided to jump into the fray, Trent, even if things got a little side-tracked. And I still got the idea that inspiration can come from surprising places, if you’re open to it. From some of the comments above, there are a few folks who perhaps aren’t quite so open, but that’s the way of things.

    Don’t be afraid to chime in, Trent, it keeps things entertaining. :D And with the topic of personal finance, there needs to be levity mixed in amongst all the seriousness, otherwise people get too depressed and stressed.

  147. Kate says:

    OK–this is very off topic but rice and beans makes me think of mice and beans which makes me think of Skippyjon Jones–have you read those books with your kids? Skippyjon’s a Siamese cat who has a big imagination and imagines he is a famous sword-fighting chihuahua. Very funny books and very fun to read out loud:
    http://www.amazon.com/Skippyjon-Jones-Judy-Schachner/dp/0142404039/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247693099&sr=8-4
    (you can probably check them out at your public library–if they don’t have them they should definitely get them).

  148. Rob says:

    Bottom line is eat less, excercise more. Simple rocket science.

  149. Rob says:

    Now you have a viagra ad? I thought you only put ads that you trully believe in. Your still young trent.

  150. lurker carl says:

    Wow, who ever imagined an article about rice and beans could create such an uproar.

    It must be the beans.

  151. Charlotte says:

    For people who don’t read the comments, they are the best part of TSD. If the comments are only positive, I’ll stop reading TSD.

    I’m surprised that Trent commented at all. There have been questions in the past that he could have — should have — answered, but chose otherwise. I’m shocked at his tone today to comments that I considered to be non-provoking. His tone and comments have given me new insight into his personality.

    His poor grammar grates on my nerves, but I don’t consider TSD to be an English lesson. I can only hope that he has someone proofing his books.

    The beans have produced a lot of hot air.

  152. Eli Sarver says:

    I lurk often here, reading comments and never finding the time to actually post a response to an article.

    When I read this post, at first I thought it was sorta pointless. But obviously it’s sparking conversation so it has a point.

    After reading Orwell’s Politics and the English Language, I realize that Trent here is one of the good writers. He’s not often vague, he’s pretty direct, and he usually controls his focus.

    Compare to perhaps the ‘tough money love’ blog where I see nothing but snark, negativity and muddle-headedness. I still read it because part of me enjoys a) the lack of comments on the site, because its author tends to be a complete a-hole b) the flamewars that erupt because like attracts like.

    The majority of the comments here are thoughtful, straightforward, and clear. I wish I could have the quantity and quality of responses on my site(s).

  153. Auntielle says:

    Trent: Thank-you for all the hard work you put into making ‘The Simple Dollar’ a positive, inspiring, educational, fun place to come each day. Please know that, as my Grandma used to say, “There will always be people who will argue and debate on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. I used to wonder why you don’t post in the Comments section of your threads very often; this thread has given me the answer to that question.

    I LOVE the caveat below the reply box. If people are intent on being nasty, mean-spirited and – in general – a distracting factor to the readers of TSD, I say “Flush ‘em”!!! Thanks again, Trent, for all you give of yourself to make ‘The Simple Dollar’ a valuable resource for many of us who are trying to improve ourselves … in terms of our finances, yes, but also in terms of living more fully in many ways.

  154. BirdDog says:

    Hey, if you want to read a blog that is written by an a condescending, snotty, “I’m better than you” kind of guy, go read Ramit’s blog. Otherwise, give Trent a break.

  155. Rob says:

    Actually Trents blog is one of the best out here. Like they say, if you dont like whats on TV change the channel. No one is forcing you to read.

  156. Susan says:

    Trent, your blog is my first stop every morning, and I visit at least twice a day. But this comment sums up my feelings on your replies here:

    “I’m shocked at his tone today to comments that I considered to be non-provoking.”

    I really enjoy your blog. Your posts are always well thought-out and well-written, and they have a positive and uplifting tone. I have never commented before, but I have learned quite a lot from your site. Unfortunately, the tone of your comments make you appear defensive and like someone who has a problem controlling his temper. I’m sure that’s probably not the case, so I hope you get this issue figured out.

  157. reulte says:

    Hiya all — wow! I like reading the comments — both positive and negative. A lot of times the negative comments give me insight into a totally different way of thought. I love how many people thought the article was about Dave Ortiz — when it’s actually about inspiration. I wonder about rice and beans as nutrition – then went and googled it. I find value both Trent’s articles and most of the comments.

    Trent – regarding your comment of “Whenever I see “I,” I think the person is egotistical. Whenever I see “you,” I think the person is involved with what the other person is saying” consider this. While this may be true in an individual, face-to-face conversation, you aren’t having a conversation (although your writing is very conversational), you have an audience. We aren’t here to have you tell us what to do or what we should feel or know (the use of ‘you’ tends to imply this per Jenzer and I agree). We are here to listen to you, to understand where you are coming from and how you deal with your various situations which may or may not be common to most of us. Using “I” is not only perfectly acceptable, I think it is preferable. Compare “I know” or “I think” to “you know” or the very insidious and dubious “everyone knows”. I don’t find your writing egotistical even though it is, in essence, about yourself. If you substituted “I” for everyone one of the “you”s in your articles – unless you were specifying the audience – you would develope a stronger writing voice. May I suggest giving it a try for a week?

    Not that I’m an English teacher or anything . . .

  158. Tyler says:

    Susan #156 – I agree. A chill pill would have been in order…

  159. CD says:

    I guess it’s not the rice and beans. Must be the PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) Ortiz tested positive for in 2003. How disappointing it is when you learn of something like this!

  160. DJ says:

    Unfortunately, David Ortiz tested positive for steroids in 2003, according to the New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/sports/baseball/31doping.html?_r=2

    I know this doesn’t detract from the gist of your post, but it’s unfortunate that your favourite player (and one of my favourites as well) has now had his reputation tarnished.

  161. Bob says:

    So how do you feel not that that whole quote was a huge lie?

  162. Gwen says:

    Trent, as a long time reader I can assure you that you are making a difference in people’s lives. I have employed many of the tactics that you talk about on the blog and because of it I feel I have a greater handle on my finances.

  163. John says:

    A recent leak of the 2003 steroid report indicates that there was more than rice and beans in David’s meals. So much for the source of inspiration.

  164. J says:

    Looks like time to a follow-up to this post, since Big Papi has admitted to being on the ‘roids.

    Very disappointing. I think we all wanted to believe the story, but now the ugly truth comes out.

  165. Eric says:

    “The fuel he uses to do this is nothing special – just staple foods without lots of additives. Rice and beans and exercise.”

    Rice and beans and exercise…and PEDs. This post definitely needs an update–love to hear your thoughts.

  166. Bliss says:

    I get so tired of articles that have to make a dichotomy between valuing family, friends or simple pleasures and the enjoyment of fine (often expensive) furniture, cars, food, etc. and so forth. There seems to be an assumption that the latter can only be because they are expensive and one delights in display or pretension. How about if you simply appreciate beautiful things and find them in lots of places. I love to sit at my beautiful dining table, set with the finest of china and crystal that I could afford (and sometimes couldn’t). No one who sits there with me doubts that I care most for them, but they enjoy with me the beauty of what I have set before them as well as the tasty dinner my husband and I have spent hours preparing. In my value system no inanimate object comes before an animate being, nor will I pay for anything expensive where I can’t discern why its better than the less-expensive alternative.

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