The Ten Commandments of The American Religion

This is a cross-post from James Altucher‘s blog Altucher Confidential. His previous appearances on the Freakonomics blog can be found here.


If I stood in the center of Times Square and said something like “Moses didn’t really part the Red Sea,” or “Jesus never existed,” people would probably keep walking around me, ignoring what I said.

But if I stood there and said, “Going to college is the worst sin you can force your kids to commit,” or “You should never vote again,” or “Never own a home,” people would probably stop, and maybe I‘d lynched. But I would’ve at least gotten their attention. How? By knocking down a few of the basic tenets of what I call the American Religion.

It’s a fickle and false religion, used to replace the ideologies we (a country of immigrants) escaped. Random high priests lurk all over the Internet, ready to pounce. Below are the Ten Commandments of the American Religion, as I see them. If you think there are more, list them in the comments.

The below is an excerpt from my just released book, I Was Blind But Now I Can See

The Ten Commandments of the American Religion

#1 Thou Shalt Own a Home. The American Religion wants you to have a home with a white picket fence. Why would the high priests of the American religion want that? A couple reasons:

So that you owe the banks money for 30 years or more (after second, third, or fourth mortgages). The banks need to borrow from your checking account at 0.5% to be able to lend right back to you at 8%. That’s how they make money and it’s one of the largest industries in the world.

Also, owning a home makes you less flexible in terms of where you can move. The job market is ruled by supply and demand. Supply of jobs in an area is finite. So they want to make sure you can’t move so quickly so that demand only goes up.

#2 Thou Shalt Go to College.
There’s the myth that going to college leads to a better life, or a “promised future.” Almost like how the contract Abraham had with God would lead to Judaism being a group of “chosen people.” A couple of points:

Statistically, there’s no proof that smart, ambitious, aggressive people won’t benefit enormously from a five-year head start against their peers who choose to spend five years doing homework and drinking beer and going to frat parties. And don’t quote me the stat about the differences in salaries between college grads and non-college grads because there’s enormous selection bias in that stat and it’s like comparing apples and oranges right now.

The government needs to pay off $74 trillion in Social Security in the next 50 years. They have to make money somehow, so student loan debt is now higher than credit card debt for the first time in 50 years. Imagine that: we send our children off to college and then 5 years later (the average time spent in college by those who graduate) they come out owing the government $100,000. Thank God the government gets to exploit our kids so they can pay off the promises they made under Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War.

There are so many exciting alternatives to college. I list some of them here. I’m excited for my children, because I hope they have experiences that will change their lives forever rather than going into the rat race so they can end up ignorant, in debt, and working at nonsense jobs so they can pay off the gangsters who have guns pointed right at their heads.

One anecdote: the guy who caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit is a sales clerk at Verizon with $150,000 in student loans. Why couldn’t he get a better job with his college degree? Why did he give Jeter the ball back? Jeter is going to make $100 million in the next few years. This guy could’ve paid his loans back and been free. Freedom is everything. But he wanted to be a “good guy.”

The American Religion needs you to be in debt; needs you to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to read the same Plato you could’ve read in the bathroom at your local library. “You’ll have a better life,” they say. “Your life is secure now.” Right, you are fully secured by the shackles they hand you on graduation day.

[See, Living Life Is Better than Dying in College]

#3 Thou Shalt Recognize that Some Wars Are Holy. Everyone argued with me in my post about “Name me a war that was worth it.” Apparently some wars are “holy” and can’t be argued against. All I want is to prevent 18 year-olds from dying. That’s the basis of my argument. We can argue all the history we want after that.

#4 Thou Shalt Obey the Constitution. There’s no document more sacred (as it should be) in the American Religion. And yet, just as the principles of the Bible are often forgotten by its highest adherents, ditto goes twice over for the U.S. constitution. For instance, who has the power to declare war? The House of Representatives according to the Constitution. The House hasn’t declared war on anyone since 1941. The U.S. Constitution is the Holy of Holies in the American Religion. Until those moments when we break the rules. Then everyone looks the other way. “We had to do it that way,” goes the common refrain. “To protect our way of life.” Someone is always protecting me and my way of life. I’m fine thank you.

[See my post: July 4 is a Scam]

#5 Thou Shalt Give to Charity. Because the American Religion, unlike most religions, doesn’t have a strict code of ethics, giving to charity is often considered the sign of a “good person.” A couple of points on that:

Giving to charity costs money. So the best people in the American Religion then are the ones who have the most money to give.

Volunteering is more and more difficult for people who have to pay back student loans and exorbitant home loans. Good luck volunteering when your children need to be fed or when you are an indentured servant thanks to your advanced learning in the ivory tower.

Let’s go over the math of every dollar you spend on charity. When you give $100 to a major charity, most of that goes into the bank. They then invest the money. On the interest they make on their investments, a percentage goes to actual charity, another percentage goes to salaries. So for every dollar you give to charity, about 2 cents a year, give or take, goes to the actual charitable cause you wanted to support. Now let’s break that down even further. How many charities have executives making over $500,000 a year. More than a few. And let’s say it’s a medical charity. Now most of the money is going toward drugs that cost billions of dollars to approve. See the next point.

[See my post: A Better Way to Donate to Charity]

#6 Thou Shalt Obey the Food & Drug Administration. What is this organization? And does it do any good? The FDA requires that drugs go through trials to prove their safety and effectiveness. That sounds good, right? Before you give an 80 year-old a drug for cancer, let’s make sure it doesn’t kill him first.

It costs billions to build those trials and the FDA can shut you down at any point. Companies raise those billions from charities and from individual investors, who usually lose all of their money when the FDA shuts down a trial. But what’s the solution?

Well, we have the Internet now. We have social media. We have “word of mouth” on steroids. That’s what technology and innovation is for. Lets get the drugs out there. We can all see which scientists worked on them and what their backgrounds are, we can all read the patents, we can read real-life experiences from people using the drug. The Internet will conduct “virtual trials.” Will people die? Yeah, but people die in FDA trials too. Will more lives be saved? Of course! Many drug companies just give up (they can’t raise the money even if their drugs are miracle drugs). Now they can get those drugs out there and we can really see. If I have a terminal disease, I want the FDA to get out of the way and let me ingest whatever I want.

#7 Thou Shalt Always Vote. When I wrote the other day that I don’t vote I got quite a bit of violent email. That I was somehow ruining the country. Really?

I live in New York. So I know my vote is meaningless no matter which way I vote. And I’m tired of voting for congressmen who supposedly represent my interests, but then make deals with lobbyists and other congressmen for bridges to nowhere, and then get hired as vice-chairmen of Goldman Sachs when they “retire” after years of “public” service. I’m fine representing my own interests and I’d rather vote directly on issues.

So why can’t I vote on the Internet? I can read all about the issues there. I could vote directly on bills, presidents, wars, drugs, whatever I want. If I could vote directly on issues, instead of sending a “representative” in my place, the costs of lobbying would go from the millions to the billions, which would deter the corrupt lobbying industry and further give more power to the people. And then, maybe things would actually get done in this country. In the article below I explain why all the initial reasons for the legislative branch (as it stands now) are obsolete. And the beauty of the U.S. Constitution is that it can change.

[See my post, Politics is a Scam – Why I Will Never Vote Again]

#8 Thou Shalt Choose Between Two Political Parties. We’ve basically had two parties for the past 200 years. With occasional offshoots. I don’t believe in either party. And I bet a lot of you don’t either. It’s all a way for a select few to push through an agenda that is going to change constantly over the years anyway. This is not a new opinion. Most people hate the two-party system. So let’s change it.

Again, with the Internet, I’d rather be a party of one and just vote for what I want on every issue. I’m perfectly willing to read about the issues of the day and vote directly. I don’t need to have my congressman represent me. How many ethics scandals are going on in Washington right now? And, how many should be going on that we don’t even know about?

#9 Thou Shalt Recognize the Media as the “Fourth Estate.” There’s this weird idea that’s developed over the past 50 years that the media is somehow a “check” on the other three branches of government. This is ridiculous but people still don’t get it.

Six months ago everyone was panicking that radiation from Japan was going to get blown over San Francisco. Did that happen? Of course not. But the media doesn’t apologize for the thousands of people who got sick taking iodine pills, or who spent weeks away from supposedly radioactive areas.

And let’s not forget the whole “debt ceiling scare.” Every week there’s a new fear. I obviously don’t think the media should be shut down. But there certainly should be a greater sense of responsibility than simply scaring the hell out of people with a new topic every. single. week. I am so bored of the “fear of the week,” I’d rather watch Snooki all day long rather than another “fear of the week” analysis from the pseudo-experts who are desperate for screen time.

[See, “How Snooki Can Help Stop Violent and Sex-Crazed Children”]

#10 Thou Shalt Forever Progress Toward the Frontier. My kid had to read about Lewis And Clark this summer as she prepared to go into the fourth grade. The “frontier” is a beautiful, almost spiritual concept. The idea that we can always expand, always improve. For the first several hundred years after the Europeans took over North America, we expanded into every unmapped territory. But then something went wrong.

We’re missing out on the more subtle points of the word “Frontier.” For the past several decades we’ve expanded into the frontier of technology, creating everything from computers, to rockets that go to the moon, to the Internet, and many cures for many diseases (polio, smallpox, etc). But now our innovators, technologists, and creators have to pay down their homeowner debt, their credit card debt, their student loan debt. They have to vote for people who never truly represent them and get us further and further into trouble. The government puts more and more hurdles in front of our creators.

Who knows what further twists and warps the American Religion will take to destroy us more than we’ve already been destroyed. At the end of the physical frontier is the ocean and we’re all being pushed into it.

I love this country. But I get sad when I see all of the above. When 18 year-olds are sent to get killed while 60 year-olds can’t get the drugs they need to survive. Where the government and banks and even charities take all my money. Where commercialism in its worst form conspires to take the remaining dollars of my salary.

I’m not political. I’m not in any party, nor do I believe in any particular political philosophy. For me, I believe in the impossible. That change, even at a mass level, only comes from the inside of each individual. That if each person tries to remain physically healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy, and spiritually healthy, then the country itself will rise to new heights never seen before in the civilization of man.

A height without mythology, without the dream of immortality, without fantasy notions of a “better life” that turn out to be just lies. Without deeper and more complicated mechanisms to control the masses. Where mediocrity is not rewarded with power over the creators. I know, I’m asking for too much.

So today I’m going to do what I always do. And it has nothing to do with anything in this article.

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  1. Ali S says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Disliked! Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 23
    • James Altucher says:

      Thanks Ali, The truth does hurt and many people don’t want to face the hard work it takes to undue the brainwashing.

      Disliked! Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 17
      • JohnS says:

        Oh no no, don’t try and rationalise people criticising your articles into “well, they are bitter” or “it just proves my point”. The criticism here is well founded, and assuming that your detractors are just lazy or misinformed is incredibly arrogant.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2
      • James Altucher says:

        It;s amazing how many people can only prove their point by using insults. Thebest way to havea discussion here is to read thepost, read the references and stats I link to, and then say, You know what, I think you’re wrong and here’s why, and try to be polite about it. When people just dish out insults to someone they don’t know then my only assumption is there is something else at play other than the content of my article. Meanwhile, its got almost 200 facebook likes so clearly some people out there agree with me.

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      • JohnS says:

        But people aren’t posting insults, many of the comments to your posts are pointing out the faulty logic, misused statistics and inconsistencies found in your posts, but you don’t seem to reply to them. And when your best response is that you got many likes on facebook, well, that doesn’t help your case.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
      • Mike B says:

        Generally in debate club the first side to claim that the other is “brainwashed” loses.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0
  2. The Hill says:

    I’m guessing Greg and Ross are both from the US. What Mr Aultucher says is all fairly obvious looking in from the outside gentlemen.

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    • jm says:

      thank you at least one person on the planet is thinking outside the box, married with kids
      and they still haven’t fooled you into the rat race, you are a rare duck!

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  3. AndrewB says:

    The best part of this post is how the author quickly and without snide comments answers the comments. It would be great if this happened with most of Freakonomic posts, as well as on other blogs. Keep it up Mr. Altrucher.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3
    • James Altucher says:

      Thanks Andrew, I plan on continuing to respond. Heading to sleep now but will be back in the morning.

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    • Mike B says:

      There’s no authentication, that person could be anybody, possibly even some sort of comment bot.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
      • James Altucher says:

        Well, I can assure you I’m the real thing. Why don’t you facebook friend me, I’ll reply with a confirmation and then I’ll unfriend you. That process would only be done by someone who is me and who has written this comment.

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      • James says:

        Because I don’t use Facebook, and indeed – in response to your previous comment about anonymous posts – can’t really understand why any sane person would post their personal details on the internet.

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      • James Alrucher says:

        I was just supplying a method he could use to confirm my identity. The issue of privacy and identity on the Internet is worthy of a separate blog post.

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  4. Matt says:

    He likes randomized controlled trials over observational studies in theory (to determine whether college is beneficial), but thinks they shouldn’t be applied in practice (to tell which drugs are helpful or harmful).

    Hormone replacement theorpy killed a lot of women before randomized controlled trials figured out that it was harmful. Would social media do a better job?

    Lots of people think wearing magnetic bracelets will improve their health. They probably learned that on the “Internet, through social media and through “word of mouth” on steroids.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0
    • Ulysses says:

      Sigh. Yet another thread about the unfreakonomical nature of James Altucher cross-posts. While his tone is by far the least freakonomical of anyone writing here, his posts are always at least loosely related to macroeconomics, and often very closely related. Frankly I’m more interested in what he has to say than I am about the origin of quotations and colloquialisms, which has precisely nothing to do with economics.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6
  5. Chris says:

    Ohhhhhhhh he is a friend of Dubner’s thats why he is able to post here. Probably a nice guy, but a terrible addition to the blog. I honestly read freakonomics significantly less because of him.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 7
    • James Altucher says:

      Well,I think everyone who posts here is a friend of some sort. But I do have 7 books out, attended grad school, started and sold several businesses, and have been writing for the financial times and wall st journal for the past 8 years.

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    • Sam_L says:

      “I honestly read freakonomics significantly less because of him.”

      But you are here. And posting. “The Lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
  6. PoliticalHack says:

    The title and promise of this article piqued my interest, but then I read it. Sigh.

    Reading each item, rather than reading statistics and well thought out logic to back each one, I was given a bunch of suppositions and anecdotal references to why each one did not fit the author. It reminded me of Mr. Altucher’s article on why he would never buy another home – then telling us why we’d be fools if we ever bought another home, but having backed that up with life experiences that affect him and maybe 2% of the population.

    I like the FDA, at least the idea of it. Think of the wonders of Phen-fen and Vioxx – why worry about one or two people’s insides rotting due to untested (or undertested) drugs, when folks can get thin and feel better? (Should Mr. Altucher need to make a few extra bucks, drug testing companies are always looking for bodies to test on.)

    I come to Freakonomics to read articles that have logic and data supporting them. Looks like I can skip some of the articles – at least the ones with the byline at the top of this one.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1
  7. rick says:

    #2 Thou Shalt Go to College. There’s the myth that going to college leads to a better life, or a “promised future.”

    Well, well educated people do earn more money. If you plan ahead your kid does not have to be in debt.

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    • edel says:

      As I am doing a prestigious MBA now, I cannot stop thinking I could be equally happy being the lab technician I was many years ago. Maybe we should not measure money as the goal, but wellbeing.
      Said that, i recognize is harder in the US to take that option when compared to Denmark or Germany. Maybe that is why university is free in those countries, otherwise few would have chosen that path.
      By the way, I did travel the world for 2 years after high school, and did volunteering for another 2 and at the end decided go to college and finally graduate school. Nevertheless i would not have changed a bit that “lost decade”. I can see why college is not for everyone, just for those that like that approach of learning rather than by experiencing. The society should value both paths equally.

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      • James Altucher says:

        Thanks for the comments. This isn’t a reply to any one in particular but some commenters are bringing up the fact that I have no “statistics”. Just to mention: there are links under each point that link back to posts that have many statistics. I did not intend to write a whole book on this blog post but I link back to many reference points. I hope people get a chance to check those out before judging the research and work I put into these. Thanks.

        Most of all, I do think it’s important to look around at the society we’ve build for ourselves and occasionally ask the question, “is this what will bring me happiness?” We are often identified by our labels: he’s a writer, he’s an academic, he’s an environmentalist, he owns a home, etc but nobody ever says “he’s happy” and leaves it at that. Questioning the labels we ascribe to ourselves and why we feel the need to do that is a big part of “religious freedom” which is why our ancestors came to the US in the first place.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
      • Laura says:

        Mr. A, I think I’m in love with you.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3
      • pawnman says:

        I checked the link under your point about college…a link back to your original article about college, with a similar lack of statistics. I’ll throw my own statistics out again: every year of college gives you about 4% more income per year (so a 4-year degree is worth about 16%, per year…nothing to scoff at over a 40 year career). In the current dismal economy, the unemployment rate for college graduates is about half that of the national average (4% versus 9.5%). Finally, as a big fan of the Freakonomics podcast, I’m going to side with Levitt’s assertion that education pretty much ALWAYS results in a better financial position.

        The debt part can be debated. Is it worth $100,000 in student loans for a BA in philosophy? Probably not. But there is no requirement for that kind of debt to get a decent education.

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    • pawnman says:

      There is a certain amount of irony in having a college graduate tell you not to go to college. Attempting to thin the competition, perhaps?

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
      • James Altucher says:

        where is the irony? Who would be more qualified than a college graduate to tell you the ills of graduating college?

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      • Mike B says:

        A peer reviewed study?

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
      • James Altucher says:

        define “peer”

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      • Mike B says:

        Because an answer specific to you wouldn’t pass the moderation I’ll just say people with the skills and abilities to vet statistical claims and data.

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      • Michael Peters says:

        Do you think that your life would have been better if you hadn’t been to college? That everything you learned there that you use today you could have taught yourself? I honestly do think that for some people college is a waste of time, but they are very much the exception to the rule and in my experience they already know that about themselves.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • James Altucher says:

        It’s obviously impossible to know if my life would have been “better”. How do you define “better”? But I do know I would’ve graduated with less debt and more knowledge in my field of interest.

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      • pawnman says:

        Well, do you think anyone would have hired you to do any computer programming without a degree? Would anyone care about your blog if you didn’t have those work experiences? Can you honestly say that you would have been as successful professionally without a degree?

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      • astorian says:

        Despite his denials, it’s clear that Mr. Altucher enjoys being a contrarian and takes some pleasure in pushing people’s buttons. As a result, many people are (understandably) quick to dismiss him as a crank.
        But try to look beyond his tone and ask yourself if he doesn’t have a point.

        As it is, I DO own a house and I DID go to college, and I have absolutely no regrets about either of those things. But people should think long and hard before committing money to a house or college tuition, because it’s NOT immediately obvious that either of those things is always a good investment.

        I like having space and a yard for my son to play in, and in my case, I have little doubt that I could sell my house and a substantial profit. But there’s often a LOT to be said for renting. People often repeat the mantra that “Rent is just throwing your money away,” but really, is that true? When I was single and lived in a rented apartment, I didn’t have to worry about repairing the air conditioning, hiring a roofer, mowing the lawn, replacing the siding or the insulation… get the idea? I actually got a LOT for my money!

        I repeat, I LIKE owning my house- but owning and maintaining a house ALWAYS costs more than you think it will. Depending where you live, that may or may not be a good value. People SHOULD do a lot of research and think carefully before deciding whether buying a house is a good investment. It’s NOT the no-brainer people long assumed it would be.

        The same is true of college. I went to a fairly prestigious college, and I learned a lot there. But as a practical matter, how much of what I learned comes in handy at my job? Answer: not much. In truth, a high school graduate who’d taken a few computer programming courses at the local community college would have been about as qualified for my first job as I was.

        Now, in SOME professions, advanced study of very specific topics is essential. If you want to become a physician or a mathematician, you undoubtedly DO have to go to college. But is a psychology major from UCLA really much more qualified for an executive job than a high school grad who’s been a banker’s secretary the past 4 years? Is an English major from Ohio State automatically better qualified for an executive job than a high school grad who’s been manager of a McDonald’s franchise the past 4 years?

        College MAY be a great investment for you, if you study the right things. Owning a house MAY be a great investment for you, as I believe it is for me. Just don’t take those things for granted!

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      • James Altucher says:

        I recently funded a company co-founded by a high school dropout. Its revenues have gone up every month and is now profitable so i definitely would hire programmers if they didn’t have adegree.

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  8. Jon says:

    Mr. Altucher, many people are complaining about your contrarianism, and how you seem to make statements without backing them up.

    Here are the top ten reasons why I don’t like your posts.

    #1. Your posts always include a list of items, numbered or lettered. Most items are quite unrelated except that they fit in the wide category in your title, such as “America.” This “grocery list” writing style is uncreative and, frankly, boring.

    #2. You always have several links to other articles you have written previously (there are 12 in this article). Other bloggers do this, even regular Freakonomics articles, but not to the extent that you do. This is annoying and it makes you seem arrogant and egotistical, given that you hardly ever link to articles written by others.

    #3. I don’t agree with your economic or life philosophy. Your posts seem to value making money over all else, but for me, life is not about how much money you make. I am a senior college right now, and regardless of how much money I make in the future, I am positive that college was the best thing I could do for myself. I got to spend four years learning from the wisest in our society, engaging with highly motivated peers, making friends, and finding time to have fun, too. My professors push the boundaries of my thinking in a way that I could not do on my own.

    I will continue to vote because I want people like me, who have gone to college, to be the ones voting. I hope my peers do the same.

    When I am older, I will give to charities even if they are flawed because I am not a selfish ass, and I realize that most of the world does not live in a cozy house where they can watch Snooki all day. I will also try to make sure the charities I give to are actually helping others.

    I will continue to follow the constitution because I feel it has sound and moral principles, and I have a social contract; it would be irresponsible to not obey our constitution.

    Well, actually I only have those 3 reasons why I dislike your posts, Mr. Altucher. I feel sorry that you have to listen to all this negative criticism. Some of the things you say are thought provoking, which is a good thing- that is in the style of Freakonomics. But there are many things that could make your articles better, not the least of which are cited sources backing your provocative claims. Congrats on the book.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
    • James Altucher says:

      Hmm, thanks for the well-thought out comment. It seems like you have not read my other posts. Most of my “economic or life philosophy” hasnothing to do with money but more about the obstacles we place in front of ourselves before we can find happiness. The idea, forinstance, that “college leads to a better life” is a mistaken philosophy (in my opinion) and it’s fair to address it.

      Also, I appreciate that you find my posts boring. Many don’t (i get many favorable comments, likes, etc.) I also appreciate that you feel the need to share with me that you find my posts boring despite the evidence that many people don’t.

      However, sinceI’ve written here many times, and obviously accrued many facebook likes both here and on my blog, you can just choose to simply not read orcomment on my articles when you see them.

      So it suggests to me that something about my articles actually does effect you in some way (clearly negatively but strongly) so that you are compelled to act out something in response. In fact, maybe you wish me to feel bad or insult me. Sadly, that won’t happen.

      I should also mention that about 80% of my blog does not include numbered lists although I have nothing against numbered lists. Perhaps I should even do more of them since the numbered lists tends to attract the most traffic.

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      • Jon says:

        I wasn’t discussing whether “college leads to a better life,” although nothing you’ve said has convinced me it won’t. I’m just saying that “college is a great part of life.” I and most people I know wouldn’t give up being at college for anything. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy college more.

        I’m glad you seem to take negative criticism well. I don’t like criticizing anyone negatively, but I disagreed strongly with almost everything you wrote in this post, and I don’t think your articles have a place on this blog because you need to give more evidence for your statements than your own articles and random anecdotes. I obviously don’t read all of your posts, only the ones that make it to the Freakonomics blog. And most of those have been lists. You also talk a lot about yourself.

        I don’t really care how many people enjoy reading your posts. I’m sure the people who read your blog have a greater tendency to like what you write. I would guess a majority of people who read this blog do not enjoy reading your articles, due to the amount of likes for posts that call for your removal from the blog, but I won’t contest that you do have some fans. And I think the Freakonomics audience is pretty fair– most of the actual insulting comments are “disliked.”

        Oh, and please write whatever you want, Mr. Altucher. The constitution protects your freedom of speech. I just probably won’t agree with much of anything you say. I’m glad that you don’t vote.

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