13 things I learned from James Altucher

Audiobooks read by the authors themselves are truly amazing.

I even think they are underrated.

It’s like the author is sitting in front of you and telling you all he knows. In person.

I was listening to Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness on my way home the other night and and I couldn’t help but put it out to the world:

I’ve read (listened to) both Choose Yourself and The Power of No twice each.

And I’ve been following James’ podcast, books, Twitter Chat, Quora answers and blog posts for over a year.

So it made sense to get a bit excited when I was having a 1-to-1 conversation with him, however virtual it was!

Here is what I meant by “lots” when I said to James, “I’ve learned lots from you.”:

1. Follow the Daily Practice

Focus on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional with the daily practice. And do it every day as the name suggests.

Acknowledge that it’s not your external life that needs to change (you have little control over that), but that external changes flow from the inside.

2. Get a mentor

From James’ Twitter Q&A:

3. Only do things you enjoy

Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human. Only go to the events that actually make you laugh or fall in love. Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.

4. Write down ideas

To strengthen your “idea muscle” and turn into an idea machine.

Once in a while, let the ideas mate and have babies too.

Check out Become An Idea Machine. James must’ve talked about this enough to make Claudia write a 400+ page book about it! It’s the next to be read in my Kindle library.

5. Complaining is draining

Complaining sucks the air out of any new possibilities that may appear in the present moment. It leaves us drained. It’s reacting to the pain we’re already feeling in a negative way. When we stop the complaining we start seeing every new situation as an opportunity.

6. Don’t worry about the outcome

Just do your best.

Hugh Howey thought he would write novels that only his family would read. So he wrote ten of them. Then he wrote “Wool”, which he self-published and has sold millions of copies and Ridley Scott is making the movie.Clayton Anderson applied to be an astronaut for 15 years in a row and was rejected each time until the 16th.

Sometimes when I have conversations with these people they want to jump right to the successful parts but I stop them. I want to know the low points. The points where they had to start doing their best. What got them to that point.

7. Don’t take things personally

You can’t hate the people who reject you. You can’t let them get the best of you. Nor can you bless the people who love you. Everyone is acting out of his or her own self-interest.

8. Write

Write every day. And write shorter sentences. Sometimes a single word counts as a sentence.


9. Be grateful

Now, every day when I wake up I am grateful. I have to be. And I have to count the things that are abundant in my life. Literally count them. If I don’t they will begin to disappear. I’ve watched them disappear before. I don’t want it to happen again.

10. Say No

If you say yes when you don’t want to, you’ll quickly learn to hate everyone around you, including the person you see when you look in the mirror.

11. Read

Read books, not newspapers. And read a lot of them.

Another Twitter Q&A:

12. Think twice before choosing university

While at university, you become very invested in your particular topic of studies, and not what’s happening in the wider world. Universities really encourage students to be into university and they then get out, and are like, “wait, I don’t have anything to offer.” Yeah, you just ignored the wider world for a few years while you were focused on university. Huge financial opportunity and time opportunity costs.

13. Show up

Woody Allen famously stated, 80 percent of success is “showing up.” Nothing more really needs to be added there except it might be changed to “Ninety-nine percent of success for the entrepreneur is showing up.”

What do you have to show up for? You have to find the investors, you have to manage development, you have to find the first customers, You have to find the buyers. They don’t show up at your door. You show up at their door. Otherwise your business will just not work out.


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