Archives for James Altucher



In Praise of Mediocrity: An Excerpt From James Altucher’s Choose Yourself!

James Altucher, who has shown up on this blog a number of times — and who was having lunch with me when we saw a lady get a mouse in her salad — has a new book out. It’s called Choose Yourself! Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream. It is a classic Altucherian blend of insight, candor, and calamity. He has already made news with the book by letting Bitcoin users buy it ahead of the official release, and he is also giving people their money back if they read the whole book. Since he’s essentially giving the book away for free, we thought we might as well offer a free excerpt here. It is a chapter in praise of mediocrity. My favorite passage by far is this one:

The best ideas are when you take two older ideas that have nothing to do with each other, make them have sex with each other, and then build a business around the ugly bastard child that results. The child that was so ugly nobody else wanted to touch it. Look at Facebook: combine the internet with stalking. Amazing!

Enjoy! Read More »



Why the Market Meltdown is Crazy

After Thursday’s massive stock market sell-off, a lot of people are talking about how we may be experiencing another year like 2008. I’m going to get right to the point: that’s impossible. Here’s what was happening in 2008:

A) Housing bust: housing prices were already down 20-40% off of their highs.
B) Financial crisis: two major banks had gone bankrupt and every other bank was at risk.
C) Mark-to-market accounting was ruining bank balance sheets.
D) The uptick rule had been abolished on short-selling.
E) We were already in a recession.

Let’s fast forward to right now and walk through those items plus a few more. But first, a reminder to follow me on Twitter. Read More »



How to Eat What You Kill

Life only tastes good when you eat what you kill. When you hustle for what you earn and someone pays you money in proportion to the service you’ve offered, the idea you’ve created, your ability to execute on it, and their ability to consume it in a way that benefits them.

Someone asked me the other day, “What does it mean when you say you ‘Eat what you kill’?”

It means that the greatest pleasure is going into the jungle and mastering the ability to hunt and survive without the help of masters who only pretend to guarantee our safety; i.e., bosses. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an employee, a student, a homemaker, a writer — it’s time to start forgetting about all the ways the world has promised you safety and comfort.

Human knowledge has torn apart our families, our bank accounts, and lulled us into a creepy sense of Disney stability. A good friend of mine was just laid off from his job of ten years. He found out through an email and was asked not to come into work for the rest of the week and to clean out his desk when security came in on Saturday. All of that human knowledge in an email. Ten years of work. Time to cut costs. “What do I do now?” he asked me. Read More »



For Madoff, Reputation Is Apparently a One-Way Street

Our friend James Altucher, in an interview at Yahoo!’s Tech Ticker, talks about visiting Bernie Madoff and his son Mark back in early 2005 to pitch them his fund of funds: I had a fund of what’s called PIPE [private investment in public equity] hedge funds. And I went through the whole pitch. My returns […] Read More »



The Monster Smash

We’ve been following James Altucher‘s continuing social experiment around the idea of ad-agency disintermediation — JungleSmash, a cash contest where people compete to make the best commercial for a product of James’s choosing. The submissions are in for the latest product: Monster Energy Drinks. It’s a little graphic, but “Garage Can-Opener Massacre” is definitely worth […] Read More »



The Forever Portfolio

The Forever Portfolio, spotted this week in the Nashville airport. Our friend James Altucher has a new book out, The Forever Portfolio, which is an investment book — the subtitle is “How to Pick Stocks That You Can Hold for the Long Run” — but it is also full of James Altucher stories about poker-playing […] Read More »



JungleSmash Has a Winner … and a New Contest

James Altucher over at JungleSmash has awarded his first $2,000 in the Great Ad Agency Disintermediation Experiment. The first product for which he solicited homemade ads was Crest toothpaste; here are the winners. Now he’s got a new contest up, for Monster energy drinks. If a Freakonomics reader happens to win the booty, I certainly […] Read More »



Ad-Agency Disintermediation, Cont'd.

We blogged not long ago about our friend James Altucher‘s experiment called JungleSmash — a cash contest for people to make their own commercials about products they feel strongly about. The first product James chose was Crest toothpaste, and you can see the results here. My favorite is the one below — “Crest Wars” — […] Read More »