NDG Live

NDG Book Review: ‘Rental Person Who Does Nothing’ could be a catalyst

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

You need a hand there? A little help?

You know where to find it: your contacts list is full of people who’ll lend a hand, make repairs, offer assistance, lift, and oomph. You know people who’ll run to your side when you need them and you know others, as in the new book “Rental Person Who Does Nothing” by Shoji Morimoto, who’ll just stand around and watch.

In a way, Shoji Morimoto wasn’t meant to work for someone else.

For many years, he was a freelance writer in Japan, penning ads, textbooks, and material that he found dull and repetitive. He was “stressed” by it, and by every financial aspect of merely having to work and so, looking for something totally different, he launched a service he called Do-Nothing Rental, announcing its basic lay-out on what was then Twitter.

You needed a fourth for a card game, he’d be that guy. Want someone to hold you accountable? He’d do it, but only if it didn’t require him to make decisions. Need somebody to hold your spot in line? He was your man, but not twice. Want a lunch buddy? Tweet him and he’d meet you there. A good listener? He was on it. He’d show up when nobody else would. And yet – “Rental Person” was discerning and didn’t take just any old task, it had to be legal and interesting.

The cost? Morimoto didn’t charge for his efforts.

He was comped for transportation and usually for any meals and tickets required.

Appreciative clients sent him gift certificates and freewill offers of cash but Morimoto mostly tended to his family’s needs through financial trading and by using his savings. Still, he’s adamant that Rental Person wasn’t a volunteer gig, that it was a job but not exactly a business.

And even that all depended on what the client wanted…

“Rental Person Who Does Nothing” is one of those books that makes you tilt your head, squint one eye, and wonder what the heck you just read.

It’s quirky, to be sure. Appealing, to a point, but also somewhat half-finished and not completely applicable – and so probably not easily do-able. It’s also confounding: in keeping with his do-nothing aim, author Shoji Morimoto admits up-front that he didn’t even write this book, thus underscoring its title and reveling in the ultimate laziness – all the while ignoring an obvious (and well-exampled) need for occasional bursts of pure hustle.

For the right reader, this will sound like fun in its unpredictability and its by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants-ness. Alas, it’ll make most business people intrigued but slightly horrified, if nothing but for the financial aspects and concerns laid out here. Those, along with repetition, ultimately competing statements, and impulsivity, and the book becomes a bit of a challenge.

Still, for people-watchers and well-moneyed free spirits who’re ready to shuck the rat race, “Rental Person Who Does Nothing” may be a tiny catalyst for that one foot out the door. If you like the status quo, paycheck and all, though, it’s safe to say hands-off.

NDG Weekly Picks
North Dallas Gazette


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here