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Nine Ways to Guarantee Success (And Failure)

I really blew it and everyone knows it. I was even asked to speak at some conference about failure on I think June 13. I might’ve deluded myself into thinking I’m the keynote speaker. But I might just be on a panel. Hopefullly I won’t fail at it. But if I do, I hope you can all come and watch it happen in slow motion. By the way, my favorite technique in public speaking is to slightly slur my words, but that’s another post.

I’m like Dr. Failure. I know exactly what you need to do if you want your wife to hate you, if you want to get thrown out of school, if you want to lose your investors $100 million. If you want to lose your home.

One-sixteenth of the time people are happy. The rest of the time they’re not. So if you start to avoid all the things that cause unhappiness then maybe there’s a small chance you can improve the ratio in your favor.

Claudia says, “Why are you writing about failure? Think positive!” What? Avoiding every possible way to fail is the most positive thing you can do to be happy and successful. Read More »

How I Self-Published a Book, And How You Can Too

I just self-published a book called How to Be the Luckiest Person Alive! I published it in paperback form, Kindle form, and free PDF (see directions below to get free PDF). The entire process took me three weeks. Using an established publisher would’ve taken over a year. [If you want Kindle version, click directly on kindle link above.]

I’ve written a prior post on my sales and advances on my first five books which were all published with major publishers. But I’m never going to publish in the morgue of the publishing industry again. This post today is about why I did it and how you can do it.

The book publishing industry is dead but they don’t know it. It’s like how the typewriter industry died. And the reason companies like Blockbuster and Borders can’t survive. And the entire music industry is dying. And broadcast television might be on the way. And the tablet industry is the first sign that companies like Dell might be in major trouble. And companies like Sirius mean the radio industry is dead. Read More »

Why I’d Rather Shoot Myself in the Head than Ever Own a Home Again

I had only one friend on MySpace when I joined in 2005, Tom. In fact, everyone who joined MySpace was friends with Tom. He welcomed us all to our new cyber home and made us feel as comfortable as possible there. Tom is Tom Anderson, a co-founder of MySpace, and automatic friend to everyone who signed up.

So, through a strange set of circumstances and coincidences, Tom just emailed me. A great crime had been committed against me and Tom Anderson, my first friend on MySpace, wanted me to know about it.

Somebody had disagreed with me. Tom sent me a link to a site, realtytrac.com. He wrote me, “Btw, saw a rebuttal to your home-ownership article today that I thought you might be interested in:” Read More »

Ten More Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job Right Now!

I realized I had been a bit misleading. I looked at my blog post “Ten Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job,” I realized that I said 90% of people “should” quit their jobs and I gave 10 reasons for recognizing if now is the right time for you to leave. But that’s a little different than saying, you have to quit right now.

But the reality is, most people need to begin their exit strategy right now.

So here are the 10 reasons you need to quit your job right now. And below that I have the methods for doing it. Read More »

Ten Reasons Why I Would Never Donate to a Major Charity (How to Be a Superhero, Part 2)

“Giving to Charity” is another myth we fervently uphold as part of the Great American Religion — just like “own a home” or “send your kids to college.” It’s time we stop blindly believing in mythology. I’m not saying don’t give. I’m not saying don’t be spiritual or don’t be good. But do it with thoughtfulness, with true spirit, with a true desire to help. More harm than good is done when you blindly throw money at most charities.

When the first version of this article came out (“How to Be a Superhero…or Why I Would Never Donate to a Major Charity”), I got a lot of criticism. So I’m going to answer some of the criticisms/questions that arose and I look forward to any comments or further suggestions. Read More »

The 100 Rules for Being an Entrepreneur

This is a cross-post from James Altucher‘s blog Altucher Confidential. His previous appearances on the Freakonomics blog can be found here. If you Google “entrepreneur” you get a lot of mindless cliches like “Think Big!” For me, being an “entrepreneur” doesn’t mean starting the next Facebook, or even starting any business at all. It means […] Read More »

How Prevalent Is Insider Trading? And What’s to Be Done About It? A Freakonomics Quorum

As I type these words, the biggest insider-trading trial in years, that of Raj Rajaratnam, has just gone to the jury. I haven’t followed the trial too closely, but the gist is evident: the line between “insider trading” and the legitimate, if sharp-elbowed, acquisition of useful trading information is extremely blurry. This is hardly the only insider case at the moment. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, famously said last fall that “illegal insider trading is rampant and may even be on the rise.” So it seemed a good time to put together a Freakonomics Quorum and ask a couple of straightforward questions. Read More »

How Kai-Fu Lee Talked Me Out of Making a Million Dollars

James Altucher on his graduate school obsession with the Asian board game Go, and his attempt to enlist Google China founding president Kai-Fu Lee to help him make millions off of it. Read More »