Book notes: Choose Yourself by James Altucher

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This image is misleading. I read the book on my Kindle so there was never a moment when I was holding a hard copy of the book. Although technically I’m also not bald and my skin isn’t an interesting blue-green color and I have internal organs and wear clothes. So there’s all sorts of misleading information in this image.

This is why I refer to myself as a writer, not an artist. Why do I even draw these pictures?

Because it’s more fun that searching for a stock photo to use, I guess.

Also, James Altucher, I am sorry for drawing the most unflattering portrait of you ever. I am, like I said, not good at drawing.

Also, artists out there, how do you draw a mouth so it is both speaking AND smiling at the same time? I couldn’t figure it out.

Okay, on to the book.

  1. Get the book.
  2. Read the book.

I highlighted a lot of this book. 72 highlighted passages.

Here’s a highlighted passage:

Every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up, burned up, a smoke signal to the future saying, “I did it again.” The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. They will smoke every drug lit by your fire. They will try to ignite their own fires. They will try to light up their own dark caves. The universe will bend to you. Every time you say yes to something you don’t want, your fire starts to go away. You will get burned out.

Altucher talks about how the economy/world is changing and already has changed.

But this reliance on others has to come to an end. It was always a myth. Everything we hoped for. The society that we were told would be here, waiting for us, is completely gone and is never coming back. You can either take the blue pill (become depressed about an artificial reality that is never going to return) or take the red pill (fully enter the Choose Yourself era and take advantage of its opportunities).

Then he talks about what won’t work anymore (don’t wait for the powers of the old economy to pick you and keep you safe, that doesn’t work anymore) and what will work (choose yourself, build a healthy life, take advantage of the opportunities around you, connect people, do good work, continual learning, take risks, don’t let rejection stop you, find new combinations…).

There are some themes he talks about that are ideas I think about a lot. Things like doing what you enjoy, not letting stress/anxiety own you, arranging your life so you are not at the mercy of one decision maker, being open and creative, being honest…

Dishonesty works…until it doesn’t. Everyone messes up. And when you are dishonest, you are given only one chance and then it’s over. You’re out of the game—at least until you get your act straight and you have to start from scratch with your tail between your legs. HONESTY COMPOUNDS. It compounds exponentially. No matter what happens in your bank account, in your career, in your promotions, in your startups. Honesty compounds exponentially, not over days or weeks, but years and decades. More people trust your word and spread the news that you are a person to be sought out, sought after, given opportunity, given help, or given money. This is what will build your empire.

And there are many other things he talks about that I haven’t really thought about, but they connect to the other things (that I do think about), so I like that. I like those expansions and connections.

Also, I try to cultivate friendships the way Superman cultivates friendships. He doesn’t hang out at the bar with Lex Luthor. Superman is only friends with the Superfriends: the Flash. Black Canary. Wonder Woman. Batman. They all have secret identities. They all see a world totally out of balance. They all have powers they use for good, and which they use to bring balance back to the world. All of my friends are superheroes, too. Each one of my friends has a different power. But they are all amazing powers and I’m blessed when I see those powers in action. And once someone joins the bad guys, they are no longer my friend. I’m busy saving lives. I don’t need bad friends.

I also like his very real voice and examples and attitude:

And when I say “everybody”, what I really mean is “me”. I don’t know anything about everybody. I only know what happened to me. And I was up to my neck in it.

I’m not going to quote anymore, because that’s enough to get an idea and decide that you want to read the book.

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