Boomercide The Book And Robin Williams
Within hours of Robin William’s suicide, I had some incoming email from marketing friends that suggested that I should use the press attention to promote my 2012 book Boomercide: From Woodstock To Suicide. While this idea might have made sense from the very pure marketing perspective of leveraging the news, I chose not to synergize my book marketing with Robin’s death for the obvious reason that it would be rather crass. Even ugly. I couldn’t see going through a keyword analysis related to his suicide to increase page views.
Now that some time has passed (how quickly the press moves on) I think that I can discuss my book . And, in case you think I am still being crass, crass in today’s world means that I would be promoting my book on Twitter using a Robin-related hash tag. I’m not.
I think that people should consider reading the book because it is a thoughtful approach to the discussion of suicide and suicide is a subject, like mental illness, that should be discussed. This is the table of contents:
- A Personal Perspective
- I Have Been Thinking About Suicide
- How Many? Suicide is on the rise
- Who Commits Suicide?
- Baby Boomers and Suicide
- Why Suicide?
- How It’s Done?
- Where People Do it?
- Rational Suicide
- Assisted Suicide
- The Insurance Question
- Religion, Philosophy and Suicide
- Suicide and the Media
- A Reading, Viewing and Listening List
Why Boomercide? I Sold My Advertising Agency
My approach to the subject started when I was sitting in my accountant’s office a couple of years ago after I had sold my advertising agency. My accountant began the review of my financial position by saying that there were three variables when planning one’s financial future.
- How much money do you have (and, expect to earn.)
- How much do you spend?
- How long will you live?
He said that we can control the first two but the third was up to fate. I thought for a couple of seconds and said… “Nope, you can control how long you will live.” Its called suicide. Or, in my case, rational suicide. I want to be very clear here. I am talking about me. I am not in any way advocating suicide.
Here is the book’s description from its Amazon page.
Peter Levitan has scheduled his own death. Peter believed that after working 35 years he had set up a smart retirement plan. After the housing collapse, the financial meltdown and the continuation of an unstable economy, he realized that there were just too many variables out of his control to make any plan a guarantee. This book is about how Peter takes back control by eliminating one of the biggest uncertainties in future financial planning; his own life expectancy.
Boomercide: From Woodstock to Suicide chronicles this Baby Boomer’s need for personal control over his future and his resulting decision to use suicide as a financial planning tool. His research reveals that he is not alone. Baby Boomers haven’t saved nearly enough and have the highest suicide rates in the U.S. and that rate is dramatically on the rise. Boomercide: From Woodstock to Suicide examines the concept of rational suicide, the act of suicide itself, religious and moral views about suicide, and Peter’s very personal decision to schedule his own death, complete with his family’s reaction. Rational suicide as a solution… what do you think?
As you can see, I tried to cover suicide from more than my initial financial planning perspective. I also know that readers have found the book thought provoking. After all, on a personal level, many of us recognize the issues associated with aging, the retirement savings deficit and the Baby Boomer desire to take control over one’s life. I put one of the more thoughtful Amazon reader reviews below.
Take a read and I hope that you will consider buying the book. As you will see, the price is very easy to handle. Writing this book was all about expressing my thoughts about suicide and, frankly, wanting to write and publish a book. making money was not an objective.
Writing the book was immensely fulfilling. In fact, I am about to publish my second book, this time a tamer business book, in September. I am also going to speak about the act of writing and publishing at HubSpot’s Inbound conference.
A Boomercide Review
Levitan has thought his suicide out, no doubt. His highly readable book on the subject is, unsurprisingly, both fascinatingly novel and somewhat uncomfortable to digest. He lays out his rationale lucidly and there can be no doubt that he’s thought this through. He wants to make sure his family is informed all along, and that they are taken care of financially afterwards. He is sensitive to whoever it may be that first finds him after the act. He offers a patently useful checklist for anyone wanting to get their affairs in order as they age, irrespective of how they’ll go (living will, will, life insurance). And most importantly he makes a strong case for the type of ‘rational suicide’ that he’s writing about to better enter the conversation adults have around the big issues of life and death. The book is short, crisp and challenges some of the conventional wisdoms one might carry about such weighty subjects. I recommend it.
But… and this is not a critique of the book itself, but rather about the premise: Everyone is surely entitled to make their own decisions. I feel, however, that the most important sentence in the book is not dealt with sufficiently:
“There is a saying that a single suicide kills more than one person”.
Levitan doesn’t intend to enact his plan until he’s 80 (19 years away). Still, he doesn’t offer any hint of that being something he might reconsider along the way. He presumes his health will be poor and that his finances will be slowly dwindling away. But what if he celebrates his 80th birthday and realizes his assumptions were all wrong, or even partially wrong. Many things can happen in the interim–including this fascinating book selling enough copies to assuage his financial concerns. In any event, part of why Levitan is planning his demise is to ensure he can pass on his remaining wealth to his family rather than–potentially–burdening them with the utterly staggering costs of home and health care for the elderly. His thinking here surely reflects altruistic intentions. However, another way of proceeding altruistically–and I would argue far more altruistically–could include him double checking with those around him that his death “won’t kill more than one person”.
OK, one more review. This is my favorite.
Stopped reading this book quick, I don’t really agree with it and the guy seems pretty materialistic but he’s a DECENT writer.
While I wish the reader finished the book, I like, “DECENT writer“. I think the review points to our society’s ability to ignore suicide unless it hits home. It does. 22 military veterans commit suicide everyday. We need to pay more attentions.