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Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream

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The world is changing. Markets have crashed. Jobs have disappeared. Industries have been disrupted and are being remade before our eyes. Everything we aspired to for “security,” everything we thought was “safe,” no longer is: College. Employment. Retirement. Government. It’s all crumbling down. In every part of society, the middlemen are being pushed out of the picture. No longer is someone coming to hire you, to invest in your company, to sign you, to pick you. It’s on you to make the most important decision in your life: Choose Yourself.

New tools and economic forces have emerged to make it possible for individuals to create art, make millions of dollars and change the world without “help.” More and more opportunities are rising out of the ashes of the broken system to generate real inward success (personal happiness and health) and outward success (fulfilling work and wealth).

This book will teach you to do just that. With dozens of case studies, interviews and examples–including the author, investor and entrepreneur James Altucher’s own heartbreaking and inspiring story–Choose Yourself illuminates your personal path to building a bright, new world out of the wreckage of the old.

276 pages, Paperback

First published May 31, 2013

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About the author

James Altucher

44 books957 followers
James Altucher is a writer, successful entrepreneur, chess master, and investor.

He has founded over 20 companies and sold some of them for large exits. He has also run venture capital funds, hedge funds, angel funds, and currently sits on the boards of many companies.

He has written and been profiled in most major national media publications like the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, CNBC, Forbes, and Business Week.

His blog, which began by detailing Altucher's precipitous fall from wealth and success to absolute rock bottom and then back to wealth, has attracted more than 10 million readers since its launch in 2010, and in 2011 inspired a comic book.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 837 reviews
274 reviews
July 16, 2013
Didn't finish book (finished through ch 12, just do it, pg 202 of 493 in the ebook).

Got his six line summary from a reddit AMA q&a and that was enough to make the book redundant.

In short, do his daily practice of:
"I eat well, i dont eat junk food
i sleep well (8 hours/day). I used to never sleep. Sleeping is the key to ALL health
i dont drink. Drinking is a depressant and has a lot of sugar.
i only engage with positive people. ELIMINATE all negative people from your life.
NEVER gossip
i read every day. 2 hours. Books. not web.
i write 10 ideas a day. Doesn't matter what kind of ideas. The key is to get the idea muscle going.
I am every day grateful. if i start to slip into thinking about scarcity, i change to think about abundance. It is such a pleasure to do this."

Decent self help book overall if you are down.
Profile Image for Bernice.
14 reviews
September 13, 2013
Altucher is an incredible salesman, and I hate pushy salesmen. I didn't hate Altucher's book. He is rather brutal in his assessment of our changing business climate. The middle class is dead, technology and temps have replaced you, and your boss hates you. He won my approval with that last one because from my experience, that is true. I was pretty sure he was looking in my former cubicle, asking whether one should "stay at a job where the boss is trying to keep you down, will eventually replace you, will pay you only enough for you to survive, will rotate between compliments and insults so you stay like a fish caught on the bait as he reels you in." Bravo sir, you have described the futility of the bureaucracy brilliantly. That our economy is shifting and jobs have disappeared is obvious, and Altucher provides the statistics. Most of us are still slogging along in buggy whip factories, even as we know the automobile is about to take us out. We fret, we pray, we get angry, and we do the sit-and-spin. The author doesn't blame capitalism, but he does make available for our view the existing, albeit crumbling, usually invisible system. You have to see it to work with it, even as it is shifting. The author also is quick to tell about us about his failures. There have been a lot of them. I like this too. I never trust anyone who tells me about their steady and singular uphill climb to success because life is far more often about riding a razor sharp sawtooth edge. Altucher doesn't just kvetch, he gives you a swift kick (some effective motivation), and a ton of ideas to not only fuel your passion but also to improve your life - nutrition and sleep and meditation and integrity and connection and giving back ... and more. This isn't a fluffy book, but neither is it overly chewy philosophy (Foucault, anyone?). The writing is accessible, concise, clear and occasionally a little crude. You could absolutely read this book, toss it aside and forget all about it. But, I bet you won't, because what Altucher does best is give you a way, and invites you to give yourself permission to do something else, be something more, create something new and connect with other people in a meaningful way. Even if you don't think you want to change your job, shift your life, or face the habits you know are not good for you, pick this book up for the sheer joy of reading it. If you don't get an idea or two, recognize yourself a little bit, or find a few things to chuckle about, you might want to check your pulse.
Profile Image for Sergio.
6 reviews1 follower
January 16, 2014
I'm a total sucker for self-help books. I know I should be ashamed, because who really takes these seriously? The whole genre is a bunch of rich old people telling you anecdotal evidence about how to "make it," right?

Well, right. For the most part.

Choose Yourself! came recommended by some well-regarded people. Altucher is brutally honest about his success - and his failures - and doesn't posit his advice as infallible or, really, anything more than common sense. Most of *Choose Yourself!* revolves around Altucher's "Daily Habit," a list of 4 areas in everyone's life that they should be mindful of and consistently improving: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. Altucher is quick to note that "Spiritual," in this case, doesn't denote religion or mumbo-jumbo new age schlock.

The rest of the book is fairly sound and straightforward advice for people looking for a way out of this failing corporate economy: become an entrepreneur, an artist, or an investor. None of the advice really strikes me as novel thinking, but Altucher imbues every paragraph with razor-sharp wit and candid self-deprecation. Altucher is not a self-help guru from the top of the mountain: he's a weirdo like the rest of us. That's the foundation of his success; that's also why his advice is so effective.
Profile Image for James.
Author 2 books448 followers
March 23, 2018
I wanted to love this book.

I want James Altucher to be my friend.

James Altucher is a chess-playing, marketing genius and idiot savant with silly hair. The type of person you'd want to have a drink with. His story is fascinating. He made and lost millions in business and investing several times over before making it as a writer.

I am of course none of these things. But both of us are called James so clearly we'd have a lot in common.

The message of the book is simple: The world has gone to hell. If you want to succeed then you have to choose yourself. That means taking care of your physical, mental and spiritual health. It also means putting yourself first in business and having the courage to pursue your dreams.

Basically all the usual self-help crap that you saw on Oprah or read in a Tony Robbins book but were too lazy to put into action.

He summarises the daily practice as follows:

“For now, the Simple Daily Practice means doing ONE thing every day. Try any one of these things each day: A) Sleep eight hours. B) Eat two meals instead of three. C) No TV. D) No junk food. E) No complaining for one whole day. F) No gossip. G) Return an e-mail from five years ago. H) Express thanks to a friend. I) Watch a funny movie or a stand-up comic. J) Write down a list of ideas. The ideas can be about anything. K) Read a spiritual text. Any one that is inspirational to you. The Bible, The Tao te Ching, anything you want. L) Say to yourself when you wake up, “I’m going to save a life today.” Keep an eye out for that life you can save. M) Take up a hobby. Don’t say you don’t have time. Learn the piano. Take chess lessons. Do stand-up comedy. Write a novel. Do something that takes you out of your current rhythm. N) Write down your entire schedule. The schedule you do every day. Cross out one item and don’t do that anymore. O) Surprise someone. P) Think of ten people you are grateful for. Q) Forgive someone. You don’t have to tell them. Just write it down on a piece of paper and burn the paper. It turns out this has the same effect in terms of releasing oxytocin in the brain as actually forgiving them in person. R) Take the stairs instead of the elevator. S) I’m going to steal this next one from the 1970s pop psychology book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No: when you find yourself thinking of that special someone who is causing you grief, think very quietly, “No.” If you think of him and (or?) her again, think loudly, “No!” Again? Whisper, “No!” Again, say it. Louder. Yell it. Louder. And so on. T) Tell someone every day that you love them. U) Don’t have sex with someone you don’t love. V) Shower. Scrub. Clean the toxins off your body. W) Read a chapter in a biography about someone who is an inspiration to you. X) Make plans to spend time with a friend. Y) If you think, “Everything would be better off if I were dead,” then think, “That’s really cool. Now I can do anything I want and I can postpone this thought for a while, maybe even a few months.” Because what does it matter now? The planet might not even be around in a few months. Who knows what could happen with all these solar flares. You know the ones I’m talking about. Z) Deep breathing. When the vagus nerve is inflamed, your breathing becomes shallower. Your breath becomes quick. It’s fight-or-flight time! You are panicking. Stop it! Breathe deep. Let me tell you something: most people think “yoga” is all those exercises where people are standing upside down and doing weird things. In the Yoga Sutras, written in 300 B.C., there are 196 lines divided into four chapters. In all those lines, ONLY THREE OF THEM refer to physical exercise. It basically reads, “Be able to sit up straight.” That’s it. That’s the only reference in the Yoga Sutras to physical exercise. Claudia always tells me that yogis measure their lives in breaths, not years. Deep breathing is what keeps those breaths going.”

Don't worry if you didn't get all that the first time. He repeats it repeatedly throughout the book.
Repeated repetitive repetition? Sorry, my head hurts.

Anyway, you get the idea.

James Altucher's honesty is compelling and that's what kept me reading. It's why I signed up to his mailing list, listened to his podcast, and downloaded as many of his books as I could get my grubby little hands on.

Like I said, I wanted to love this book. But I came away disappointed. The basic idea of a daily practice, taking better care of yourself and the people around you, and pursuing your creative dreams is perfectly sound. But you could write it on a postage stamp. That's a stupid analogy. Who would do that? Ok, you could write it on a post-it note. Let's go with that.

This is the worst kind of 'effortless prose.' Lazy, repetitive and sloppily written. Riddled with grammar, spelling and punctuation errors that make it look like you're reading an unedited first draft.

At one point he even gets bored and announces his word count.

In case you haven't guessed yet I'm trying to put as little effort into this review as James Altucher put into this book.

I guess it's harder than it looks.

You can buy the book here.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
Profile Image for Karan Bajaj.
27 reviews286 followers
January 17, 2016
His sense of humor and refreshingly honest voice really resonates with me. I'm a big fan of his blog, and this book encouraged me to "open the kimono" in my writing and my life. While the advice in the book is pretty solid, I took the journey of reading this more because I get a kick out of James' writing. I would recommend reading some blog posts first before buying this book to see if you feel the same.
Profile Image for Aaron Wolfson.
97 reviews34 followers
October 7, 2014
Drawing on the work of Seth Godin and others on how the Internet, the decline in real wages, rising income equality, and tons of other economic trends are ushering out the old industrial-corporate system in favor of a new connection economy, Altucher comprehensively explores what it means to choose oneself for financial and psychological success this new kind of world, using copious and vivid examples from his own riches-to-rags-to-riches story.

Getting a job is dead. The middle class is dead. In the near future, says Altucher, you'll either be a temp staffer or an entrepreneur -- one or the other. There's nothing wrong with staffing, and we'll always need people to do it, but to Altucher, everyone is capable of choosing themselves to create value in the world.

It starts with what Altucher calls "The Daily Practice," which is his way of keeping the four bodies healthy: the physical, the emotional, the mental, and the spiritual. His go-to metaphor for this is the strong and well-appointed house that, no matter how fancy it looks inside and out, requires a sturdy foundation at its base. Any success as an entrepreneur similar requires a baseline level of health across the aforementioned four spectrums. Altucher illustrates how he does it, from writing down ten new ideas every day (to become an "idea machine"), to relentlessly surrounding yourself only with people you love and who love you.

Altucher anticipates your natural recoil from these ideas by illustrating his own fears -- of rejection, of loneliness, of inadequacy, and plenty more -- and how he's been able to alleviate them. We're talking about a guy who boldly and blatantly states that he refused his father's death-bed reconciliation attempt, and that his mother now blames him for the death. As he says about his blog, Altucher has "turned himself inside out and his guts have ended up all over." And that's exactly what you'll find throughout this book; only it's not just a bunch of spilled viscera, it's a meticulously-arranged set of lessons that we can all learn something from.

Once he's made clear the importance of health, Altucher gets into the details of how he's started 20 business, several of which have been successful, and published 11 books, run hedge funds, etc. etc., all without waiting for some gatekeeper to shepherd him through to the promised land. (And there are other cases, like Alex Day, Gandhi, Woody Allen, Bill Gates, and others). You learn the virtues of cold calling, giving away ideas to others, connecting the people in your network to each other, and doing only what sets your body on fire.

It's by no means an easy road, a fact Altucher maybe undersells. It takes a lot of hard work to carve out your space in the world among the dying corporate giants. But it's possible, and in the end, that's the most important thing to learn.
Profile Image for Ben Iverson.
177 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2013
By nature, Altucher is much more of a risk-taker than I am, and hence he has had both more successes and failures than I have had (or ever hope to have, really). But, it makes him a very interesting person to listen to, even if I disagree with much of what he says. The main things I like in this book were his ideas on not getting stuck in a mental rut. I definitely need more creativity and spontaneity in my life, so I've tried his suggestion of coming up with 10 new ideas every day, and I think it's really good for me. Much of his advice seemed quite conventional to me (get enough sleep, don't carry grudges) even if they were good reminders. And then there was plenty of things that I disagreed with completely (you don't need to have a purpose in life). Luckily, all of it was interesting. My main complaint with the book is that felt very disjointed, with random stories thrown into the middle of chapters than didn't have much connection to the main point. Often I found myself thinking, "Okay, this is interesting and enjoyable to read, but what's the point he's trying to make?" At any rate, this book was not life-changing for me, but it was fun to read and had a few good ideas.
Profile Image for Kristian.
9 reviews5 followers
July 4, 2013
There are some nice ideas in 'Choose Yourself', and Altucher's overriding principles are smart and praiseworthy, but the writing is just terrible. At thimes this reads like an over-enthusiastic 'What I Did On My Vacation' essay by a 7 year old - arguments aren't followed through, his focus is all over the place... It certainly could do with a good editor.

Most of the ideas in here are better explained and more rationally argued by Seth Godin (in 'Linchpin' and elsewhere) and Steven Pressfield (in The War of Art and 'Turning Pro'). Avoid this and go for those instead.
Profile Image for Tim.
179 reviews10 followers
October 5, 2013
I don't typically read this sort of book. In fact, I'm positive that I would have never picked it off a shelf had it not been for a glorious recommendation by someone I admire and the vast positive reviews for it.

This book is worthy of the glowing reviews, though not because of its excellent prose or earth shattering revelations. Altucher has a way of understanding the vicissitudes of life while also giving a well charged pep-talk.

The gist of the "how to" content in this book centers around day to day activities that would typically be an after thought. He doesn't say it, but these are what's known as keystone habits - habits that once in place start a chain of dominoes that work in your favor. He lists so many of these, it's impossible not to find a handful that you could successfully implement that day.

I took a class in college on creativity. Altucher managed to pull up many of the same themes and ideas from that class and give me enough sense to implement them. By the time I finished the book, I already had a serious "light bulb" idea that has grown increasingly rare for me as I grow older. It's not just chance - Altucher planted the seed.

I was already impressed with the book by chapter 12, but that's where it really won me over. Quoting page 108, "I called Bryan Johnson, who started a company called Braintree. You may have never heard of Braintree but you've heard of their customers." Had I read this chapter the night before, I wouldn't have heard of the company, but as fate had it, an hour before I cracked open the book that morning, news came out that PayPal had reached an agreement to purchase Braintree for $800 million.

If you want to know more, the story of how Johnson started the company a mere 6 years ago is in the book!

Truly, that's just icing on the cake though. It may not be Hemingway or Thoreau, but I'll be damned if what he has to say isn't just as important and possibly life changing.
Profile Image for LDB.
262 reviews1 follower
March 1, 2014
Reading the comments, this books seems to have helped many. But, it just didn't do anything for me. Perhaps it was because I have been lucky enough to have never been in a place where I needed to be scraped off the floor because things were so bad, as the author has. But, there are other reasons. The book is really one long rant that isn't even very well organized. Some people put all their frustrations in an e-mail and delete it before sending or write it all down in a journal no one sees. Mr. Altucher wrote it all down then published it. One of the suggestions he gives is to write down 10 ideas a day to make your brain work. The book is written as though he simply expanded on his various lists of ideas -- there are lists of ideas for starting a new business, why your opinion won't change the opinion of anyone else, how to self-publish a book, what he learned from Woody Allen, etc. This book was all over the place. And, some of his opinions I just couldn't agree with -- that businesses should only use robots instead of people; uneducation is preferable; there is no more middle class; etc. He is an entrepreneur that loves to take risks. Not all of us are. While we may all have a bit of an entrepreneur in us, we aren't all made to be out there on our own starting new businesses. But, I am of the believe that we can glean something from everything in life. So, what did I learn from this book? I don't know about 'learn' but there were some ideas he presented that I do like and think are valuable: we won't get anywhere without giving something back to others (in so many words); I actually liked the idea of coming up with 10 ideas a day - I might give it a try; the idea of keeping the four bodies healthy (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). But, none of these are new ideas.
Profile Image for Mona.
460 reviews283 followers
December 17, 2021
I give this a 3.5---somewhere between 3 and 4. I love James Altucher. He is a true original and he is absolutely himself no matter what he does. I really like his willingness to discuss his screwups, his flaws, and his vulnerabilities. He's a breath of fresh air in the usually phony and superficial world of business. Occasionally he over shares but that's better that than the plastic business writers who reveal nothing. He's a lot more entertaining and humorous than the average writer of boring business books.

I noticed some differences between the Kindle book (half read) and the audiobook (which I completed). I liked that too. He spontaneously added stories to the audio version. I saw, however, that the Kindle book was poorly edited and full of typos. But that's a minor quibble. I will say that I think his blog posts are generally better written than this book. Still, I was, as usual, won over by his his self-deprecatory humor and his self-revealing style.

As for his advice...I liked his idea of a daily practice which you create yourself. I'm already following a lot of his health advice. I already agree with his interest in the 4 pillars---mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual as a basis for success. So none of that advice was earth shattering for me. But..one takeaway for me was the practice of writing down ten ideas every day to become an "idea machine". I've started doing this, and it's already helping me generate new business ideas and other ideas.

I generally agree with his assessment that in the current economic climate we can no longer rely on jobs and employers. I really like his focus on helping others rather than on income.

Update 12/17/2021: I’m no longer an Altucher fan for various reasons.
Profile Image for Stefano.
2 reviews2 followers
June 18, 2013
Reasons for reading this book
- Thought provoking
- Practical advice
- Funny
- The authors PAYS YOU for reading his book

Let me elaborate on that last point. If you read his book, you can send the receipt plus some sort of proof to James Altucher who will then pay you back the money for the book. Since Amazon takes a cut, this means that if everyone does this, he will LOSE money. Think about that for a second. Not just the deal I mean, also what it implies. This author literally doesn't care about the money. He simply believes in his message and wants to reach as many people as he can.

Personally I must say, this books crystallised a lot of things I knew (consciously or not), connected them and showed me the importance of not just knowing about it, but practicing it.

Some downsides, but nothing that justifies not reading this book for me.
- Lack of structure
- Somewhat repetitive (but only in the sense that he gives a lot of examples, you could also argue that this really drives the message home)
Profile Image for Richard Newton.
Author 26 books558 followers
February 12, 2017
Oh dear. How do I rate this book? A book I both found incredibly infuriating and at times useful and insightful. I read the book after advice from a publishing agent who I know well that this was a good book to read to learn something from. That's probably true, although I have not quite worked out what yet.

Let's start with the negatives. Firstly, some of the writing is awful, and reminiscent of thoughts as a drunken teenager: "The most dreadful thing in life is not dying. It's being born. Once you are born you are screwed. Now you have to actually survive. You have to grow from someone who craps in their pants ....". Oh dear, oh dear. Secondly, some of the language is sloppy, although this is probably deliberate hyperbole. For example, Altucher talks about how companies and bosses hate you as an employee. No, generally they don't. They may be completely indifferent - but that's not the same as hate. And the difference between indifference and hate is a big one. Finally, Altucher comes across at times as an opinionated arse. Whilst trying to avoid stereotypes, this is at times the sort of American writing Europeans hate. This is the one star aspect of the book.

But, it might be worth pushing on. Ignore the style and specific choice of words if you hate them and listen to what Altucher actually says and his underlying messages. There are some good, important messages, (at least as far as self-help messages are ever good and important). And if you listen, you will find Altucher is actually one of the good guys, just trying to help out. Better still, as he makes clear time and time again he is not that sure about his position and beliefs. He is very open about his own weaknesses and failures, making him a more appealing human being. For me, this only comes out if you bother to read through to the second half of the book. This is the four star aspect of the book.

Make of it what you will. If you want continuously excellent writing then avoid. If you want good personal advice packaged into sometimes annoying writing, then give it a go. It's possible you'll rate it as anything between one star and five.
Profile Image for Cat.
26 reviews
January 16, 2014
I know this is cliche, but I can't think of a better way to describe how I feel about this book: It really is one of the books I wish I'd written. James Atulcher's writing style is approachable and so good it makes you feel he's in your brain, vocalizing exactly what you've been thinking, and helping you get past those mental blocks.

I recommend this to everyone and anyone who needs that extra push when it comes to creating a happier daily existence, to a lifetime realization of something of which you've been striving.
Profile Image for Howard.
28 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2014
Great book recommendation from son Rick. This book was so compelling it t caused me to start hacking out a short book review before I was halfway through the book. I have now finished the book and the review, but it's worth noting that at the time I started my comments I was about 40% of the way through and had already found value that met and exceeded my expectations of this book. It is one of the most practical personal and business books I've ever read. While the audience might be for persons in a public crisis situation (plant shutdown, market crash, business failure etc.) the reality is that we all face a range of decision points and evolving/potential crisis situations large and small on a regular basis.

Maybe it's just me but I found lots of overlap of principles with Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness". And, for me that was a positive. For those whose belief system is offended by The Virtue of Selfishness, it's simply the practical application of the old adage about how, if the plane you're riding on depressurizes, you won't be able to help, let alone save anyone else unless you put your own oxygen mask on first.

In particular I like how author James Altucher recognizes the reactions that one might have to some of his sometimes counter-intuitive recommendations. For example - recognizing the point in a crisis, or recovery, when working harder and doing more is counterproductive, and how one should go about doing less in a manner that re-energizes body, soul and spirit.

Choose Yourself is one of those books that causes me to think "this should be required reading before a diploma is handed out, before a bank loan is granted, and before a marriage license application is approved".

Solid.
42 reviews2 followers
December 21, 2013
Finished reading this morning.

On my mind is an idea from the end. "If you want to get over this, have more that's."

The book reinforced ideas I had about gratitude, finding positive influences, Ghandi, and Woody Allen.

I don't share his pessimism about college and home ownership. I do agree with most of the rational he uses to hate those ideas. Living a full and effective life requires self education and life long learning. College rarely does a good job of helping people answer unanswerable questions that underpin the most important self education. Most often it reinforces pavlovian conformity. The "is that the answer in the back of the book" quest we limit ourselves with.

As for home ownership, it's not the right answer every time. It brings responsibilities that limit other choices.
It should not be the default goal that people often have.

If your boss can have your job done cheaper by someone or something else, they will. That is the legacy of business leaders raised on the wrong lessons of the industrial revolution. You have to choose yourself. No one else will.
Profile Image for Meera.
96 reviews12 followers
February 6, 2015
The title ‘Choose Yourself’ by James Altucher is quite appealing. However there is nothing exceptional in this book. Some of the sections (Simple Daily Practice, Ten ideas to start you off, Interesting stories on Gandhi) were motivating and helpful while some of the sections seemed as add-ons. There is no proper flow of contents; too random. Some sections start off well; end up with an unrelated issue. The book was just ok; could have been better.
Profile Image for Allysia K.
196 reviews74 followers
April 14, 2019
This book reads like a series of blog posts, but I'm fine with that because I'm a big fan of James Altucher's blog. His no-nonsense approach is nice - I like his use of plain, straightforward language. He's self-deprecating in a relatable way, but still very positive. I walked away from this book with a feeling of, "Yes, I can do this life thing. I have agency."
Profile Image for Jenny.
Author 7 books407 followers
August 5, 2013
Hands down my favorite book of the year. I love the mix of business tips with health fundamentals, and James' honest, raw look at his own epic failures and recoveries. MUST READ. Same goes for his blog!
Profile Image for Andrew Lee.
95 reviews3 followers
March 25, 2017
A meandering stream of consciousness punctuated by moments of lucidity.
Profile Image for Cara.
Author 18 books83 followers
April 28, 2014
Just finished this today, and I already kind of feel like I don't remember what it was about or how much I liked it. I interrupted myself in the middle of reading this to pursue several shinier objects, so I'm probably rating it unfairly. By the time I got back to it, I was pretty much over it. But he does have a lot of really good things to say.

This is the book that tells the story of the Beatles' last performance, on the roof when they took a break from hating each other and trying to record Let It Be. Actually, lots of good stories in here.

Highlights:
When you surrender and accept the beautiful stillness around you, when you give up all thoughts of the past, all worries and anxieties of the future, when you surround yourself with similarly positive people, when you tame the mind, when you keep healthy, there is zero chance of burnout. How do you surrender? By trusting that you’ve done the right preparation. You’ve done all you can do. All that is within your power, your control. Now, give up the results. The right thing will happen.--location 555

For now, the Simple Daily Practice means doing ONE thing every day. Try any one of these things each day: A) Sleep eight hours. B) Eat two meals instead of three. C) No TV. D) No junk food. E) No complaining for one whole day. F) No gossip. G) Return an e-mail from five years ago. H) Express thanks to a friend. I) Watch a funny movie or a stand-up comic. J) Write down a list of ideas. The ideas can be about anything. K) Read a spiritual text. Any one that is inspirational to you. The Bible, The Tao te Ching, anything you want. L) Say to yourself when you wake up, “I’m going to save a life today.” Keep an eye out for that life you can save. M) Take up a hobby. Don’t say you don’t have time. Learn the piano. Take chess lessons. Do stand-up comedy. Write a novel. Do something that takes you out of your current rhythm. N) Write down your entire schedule. The schedule you do every day. Cross out one item and don’t do that anymore. O) Surprise someone. P) Think of ten people you are grateful for. Q) Forgive someone. You don’t have to tell them. Just write it down on a piece of paper and burn the paper. It turns out this has the same effect in terms of releasing oxytocin in the brain as actually forgiving them in person. R) Take the stairs instead of the elevator. S) I’m going to steal this next one from the 1970s pop psychology book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No: when you find yourself thinking of that special someone who is causing you grief, think very quietly, “No.” If you think of him and (or?) her again, think loudly, “No!” Again? Whisper, “No!” Again, say it. Louder. Yell it. Louder. And so on. T) Tell someone every day that you love them. U) Don’t have sex with someone you don’t love. V) Shower. Scrub. Clean the toxins off your body. W) Read a chapter in a biography about someone who is an inspiration to you. X) Make plans to spend time with a friend. Y) If you think, “Everything would be better off if I were dead,” then think, “That’s really cool. Now I can do anything I want and I can postpone this thought for a while, maybe even a few months.” Because what does it matter now? The planet might not even be around in a few months. Who knows what could happen with all these solar flares. You know the ones I’m talking about. Z) Deep breathing. When the vagus nerve is inflamed, your breathing becomes shallower. Your breath becomes quick. It’s fight-or-flight time! You are panicking. Stop it! Breathe deep. Let me tell you something: most people think “yoga” is all those exercises where people are standing upside down and doing weird things. In the Yoga Sutras, written in 300 B.C., there are 196 lines divided into four chapters. In all those lines, ONLY THREE OF THEM refer to physical exercise. It basically reads, “Be able to sit up straight.” That’s it. That’s the only reference in the Yoga Sutras to physical exercise. Claudia always tells me that yogis measure their lives in breaths, not years. Deep breathing is what keeps those breaths going.--location 623

Someone asked me, “How do you know when an idea is too big?” I answered that an idea is too big if you can’t think of the next step.--location 1546

If you think you can do something, if you have confidence, if you have creativity (developed by building up your idea muscle), the big ideas become smaller and smaller. Until there is no idea too big.--location 1563

So the question is not, when is an idea too big? It’s how do I make all ideas smaller and achievable? You do this by developing the idea muscle: Every day, read/skim chapters from books on at least four different topics.--location 1570

Write down ten ideas. About anything.--location 1575

Want to really sweat, and learn from my early mistakes with reality TV? Right now, list ten ideas that are “too big for me” and what the next steps might be.--location 1578

Be a transmitter.--location 1586

How do you find and tap this underground stream? By making sure the other parts of your life are in balance: you have no bad emotional situations/relationships happening or you are doing your best to stay disengaged from them. You are keeping physically healthy, limiting (or eliminating) alcohol, eating well, and sleeping well. And spiritually (a word I hate because of two hundred years of meaningless connotations that have been applied to it but I can’t think of a better word), you realize that you can’t control everything in your life, cultivating a sense of surrender to the present moment as opposed to time traveling to your regrets from the past and your fears of the future. Activate another part of your brain.--location 1589

Collisions. Ideas mate with other ideas to produce idea children. Read other ideas.--location 1598

Don’t pressure yourself.--location 1602

Shake things up.--location 1606

List your childhood passions. When--location 1615

Some good places to start are brainpickings.org, thebrowser.com, and (not safe for work), extragoodshit.phlap.net.--location 1626

1. Twitter Search I’ll search phrases like: “I wish I had” “I just paid someone to” “is the worst product” “is a horrible company” “has a terrible website” “is my favorite website” “does anyone know how” With all of those terms, I’ll think of ideas on how I could fulfill their wants or how that terrible website or company could be a little less terrible.--location 1631

I like to try this exercise: every time I have a judgment about something, I change the punctuation at the end of the judgment from an exclamation point to a question mark. “She should do this!” becomes, “She should do this?” Or “Obama should legalize crack!” becomes “Obama should legalize crack?”--location 1824

I would watch either Michael Cera doing comedy or Louis CK doing stand-up. This would get me laughing, make my oxytocin hormones go on fire, and then I’d go right into the date, with all my sex hormones raging. That’s a plus. I would be temporarily funnier, with a half-life of about two hours.--location 1886

The only superpower you really need is the one to constantly cultivate the attitude that forces you to ask, from the minute you wake up, to the minute you fall asleep, “What life can I save today?” It’s a practice.--location 2393
Profile Image for Chung Chin.
107 reviews6 followers
July 5, 2013
The message of this book is great! Choose yourself. Every single time. Are you being rejected by companies when submitting resumes? Choose yourself. Are you being turn out by women when asking them out for dates? Choose yourself.
In this book, James Altucher shares with you a simple message of choosing yourself every single time, in every situation. Not only that, he shares with you ideas on how you can do that.

However, despite the really good content, the writing is in my opinion, a discredit to the book. This, I need to emphasize, is a personal opinion. The reason I mention this is because, if you look at his Amazon's review, you'll find that others have lauded him for his authentic writing.
I personally think that as a whole, the structure of the book can be better organized, and the writing can be made simpler for the reader. There are times when I feel lost while reading the book. And times when I experienced deja vu - "Did I not just read that?" I believe that with some thoughts and perhaps a capable editor, the narrative of the book can be made into a smoother flow.

Still, I would recommend this book for its message. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this book.
10 reviews
April 24, 2014
A chaotic book, seasoned with Eastern mysticism, and embarrassing self-revelation, James Altucher's latest still manages to grip. It's encouraging to read about how such a hot mess of a man could succeed...at least for the moment. And it's funny. After learning that almost all of his businesses eventually (or rapidly) failed, one assumes that he'd better get this book out there quickly while his current business is still afloat. Altucher apparently lacks an internal filter, which makes for entertaining reading, but also gives the book a slapdash feel.

Having read a lot of success/motivation books over the years, this one lacks depth and structure, but will likely be as effective as any of the others, since ultimately your behavior is your decision. If this one helps you realize that you're not bound by your past failures, it's worth the brief time it takes to read.

And, it's funny.
Profile Image for Radek.
7 reviews7 followers
December 5, 2015
The book is written carelessly but the content itself is really great.
101 reviews14 followers
November 22, 2016
می‌خواستم چند صفحه‌ای از کتاب رو بخونم ببینم چطوره؛ چی نوشته. یک روزه تمومش کردم. کم پیش میاد چنین کاری بکنم. برام جذاب بود. احساس همنوایی خاصی با نویسنده کتاب داشتم. خیلی از تجربه‌هایی که تعریف می‌کنه، چیزهایی هستن که توی زندگی روزمره برای خیلی از ما اتفاق می‌افته که یا بهشون توجه نمی‌کنیم و یا زود ازشون رد می‌شیم. چیزی که من فهمیدم اینه که کسایی که بتونن این حالات روحی و روانی تجربه‌های زندگی رو به خوبی بازگو کنن، برای همراه کردن ما با خودشون خیلی موفق‌تر از بقیه نویسنده‌ها هستن. خصوصا احساسات منفی، ترس، نگرانی‌ها، استرس‌ها، غم‌ها، ناراحتی‌ها، دشواری‌ها، بیچارگی‌ها و درموندگی‌ها. چیزهایی که همگی حس می‌کنیم، اما در موردشون با کسی چیزی نمی‌گیم.
خلاصه‌ای از کتاب:
هیچ کس برنامه‌ای نداره که شما رو به موفقیت برسونه؛ یا برای خوشحالی شما سرمایه‌گذاری کنه؛ یا دستتون رو بگیره و تا مقصد همرا��ی‌تون کنه؛ مسئول این کارها خودتونین. در نتیجه باید اول به خودتون برسین، تا بتونین برای بقیه هم کاری کنین. نباید بذاین هیچ کسی، هیچ مرجعی به تنهایی با گفتن یک «نه»، توانایی نابود کردن و رد کردن و خراب کردن کار و حرفه شما رو داشته باشه. باید بتونین مستقل باشین. چون امنیت شغلی و قطعیت آینده، توی این دنیای کنونی ما وجود خارجی نداره. برای این کار هم باید اساس کارتون درست باشه. دنبال تایید و تصدیق دیگران نباشین؛ خودتون باشین؛ کارهایی رو انجام بدین که از انجامش لذت می برین؛ کارهایی که هر روزه باید انجام بدین رو انجام بدین؛ به بدنتون اهمیت بدین؛ بخوابین؛ درست غذا بخورین؛ فعال باشین؛ با افرادی نشست و برخاست کنین که مثبت هستن و به شما انرژی می‌دن و از شما پشتیبانی می‌کنن و شما رو پایین نمی‌کشن. نذارین مغزتون ول بچرخه؛ به کار بگیرینش؛ روزی ده تا ایده جدید بدین؛ توی هر زمینه‌ای که شده. در زمان حال زندگی کنین.
کارهایی که هر روزه باید انجام بدین اینا هستن: بخوابین 7 تا 10 ساعت؛ به جای سه وعده در روز، دو بار غذا بخورین؛ اخبار رو دنبال نکنین؛ هله هوله نخورین؛ تماشای تلویزیون رو ترک کنین؛ از دوستان‌تون تشکر کنین؛ طنز ببینین؛ متن‌های معنوی بخونین؛ یک سرگرمی جدید رو دنبال کنین...
هدف ما توی زندگی تعریف نشده است و شاید چنین چیزی اصلا وجود نداشته باشه. شروع کنین؛ به یک سمتی حرکت کنین؛ خیلی از افراد کارهای بزرگی رو توی سنین بالا انجام دادن؛ کارهایی که بزرگ‌ترین دستاوردهای اونا توی زندگی‌شون بوده، کارهایی که شاید بعضی‌ها هدف زندگی این افراد بدونن، اگه هنوز نفهمیدین که در آینده قراره چه کاره بشین، نگران نباشین.
دنیا به سمت اقتصاد ایده‌ها حرکت می‌کنه. اجرایی کردن ایده‌ها عملی‌تر و عملی‌تر می‌شه. دنیای ارتباطات سریع‌تر و سریع‌تر رشد می‌کنه و پیچیده‌تر می‌شه. دسترسی افراد به هم و ایده‌ها و متخصص‌ها و دانش و هر چیز دیگه‌ای، راحت‌تر می‌شه. واسطه‌ها از بین می‌رن؛ طبقه متوسط جامعه هم از بین می‌ره؛ یا صاحب کسب و کار می‌شی یا کارمند پاره وقت. استخدام و ارتقاء و این جور چیزها دورانش به سر رسیده. الان می‌تونین کتاب منتشر کنین، بدون اینکه ناشر داشته باشین. می‌تونین آلبوم موسیقی تولید کنین، بدون اینکه با هیچ موسسه‌ای کار کنین. می‌تونین خبرنگاری کنین، بدون استخدام توی رسانه‌های بزرگ. رسانه‌های اجتماعی در واقع رسانه‌های شخصی هستن. هر کسی یک پلتفرم داره. فرصت‌ها برابرتر می‌شن. حفظ انحصار سخت‌تر و سخت‌تر می‌شه.
برای کسب و کار: واسطه رو از بین ببرین؛ کسب و کارهای کسل‌کننده رو انتخاب کنین(چون رقیب کمتره)؛ مشتری پیدا کنین؛ با نوشتن وبلاگ و صادق بودن توی نوشته‌هاتون اعتماد افراد رو جلب کنین؛ وبلاگ پول براتون نداره، اما خیلی موقعیت ایجاد می‌کنه؛ به فرصت‌های پیش اومده جواب مثبت بدین؛ خدمات مشتریان رو جدی بگیرین، چون بهترین مشتری‌ها، مشتری‌های فعلی شما هستن.
فروشندگی رو در حد استادی مسلط بشین. ببینین مشتری در نهایت برای شما چقدر می‌ارزه و چقدر حاضرین برای به دست آوردنش پول بدین. این مشتری غیر از پول دیگه چه ارزشی داره. سابقه و تاریخچه کلی مخاطب‌ها، مشتری، کسب و کار، پلترفرم فعلی، خوانده‌های مطالب‌تون رو بدونین. بیشتر از اونچه که قرار بوده، برای مشتری کار انجام بدین؛ با این کار شگفت‌زده می‌شن؛ وقتی می‌گین هستین، باشین؛ سر قولی که می‌دین، بمونین؛ دانش لازم رو کسب و کنین. در مواردی که لازم باشه، حتا می‌تونین رقیب خودتون رو به مشتری پیشنهاد کنین.
صداقت توی دنیای امروز ضروریه. دو رویی و دروغ و حقه‌بازی زود رو می‌شه. افراد می‌تونن توی دنیای آنلاین در مورد شما نظر بدن یا با بقیه مخاطب‌های شما رابطه برقرار کنن؛ برگردوندن اعتماد از دست رفته هم کار خیلی سختیه. رو راست باشید. به علاوه، صداقت در طول زمان جمع می‌شه؛ خودش یک سرمایه است؛ سودآوره. برای کسب درآمد و ثروت نیازی به دروغ و دغل نیست. این روش بلندمدت هم نیست. اگه فکر کنین فقط فریبکارها پولدار می‌شن و باید برای کسب ثروت درست‌کاری رو کنار گذاشت، توی مسیر خودتون مانع ایجاد می‌کنین.
درس‌هایی از وودی الن: سحرخیز باشین؛ از حواس‌پرتی‌ها اجتناب کنین. کار کردن بدون وقفه و حواس پرتی و هر روزه، خیلی تاثیر بیشتری از کار کردن توی ساعت‌های زیاد اما پراکنده داره. سه تا پنج ساعت کار کنین و بقیه روز رو لذت ببرین. کمال‌گرا باشین، اما متوجه باشین که در نهایت هیچ کاری بدون اشکال نمی‌شه. اعتماد به نفس داشته باشین و مرزهای کار خودتون رو گسترش بدین. کاری کنین که معنایی که به دنبال انتقال اون هستید رو توی خود رسانه‌تون هم ادغام کنین. یک جا نمونین، حرکت کنین و چیزهای جدید رو آزمایش کنین. می‌تونین قواعد بازی رو تغییر بدین، اما اول اونا رو خوب یاد بگیرین.
در مورد رد شدن و «نه» شنیدن: افراد تا حالا شما رو توی موقعیت‌های مختلف رد کردن، از این به بعد هم ایده‌ها و خواسته‌هاتون رو رد می‌کنن؛ کوتاه نیاین؛ نگین که اونا احمق‌اند و نمی‌فهمن؛ ببینین تغییری لازمه یا نه؛ دوباره امتحان کنین. کارتون رو تکمیل و یا متحول کنین. جاها و افراد دیگه رو امتحان کنین؛ روش دیگه‌ای رو امتحان کنین. از کسی که به شما نه می‌گه بپرسین «چرا». عیب‌ها و ایرادها رو بر��رف کنین. شکست می‌تونه راه بعدی یا اشکالات قبلی رو نشون بده؛ دلسرد نشین.
جلب نظر همه افراد کار غیرممکنیه؛ توی زندگی هر کاری بکنین و یا هر نظری داشته باشین، یک سوم افراد از شما منتفر می‌شن، یک سوم دوست‌تون دارن و یک سوم هم اصلا به شما و کار و نظرتون اهمیتی نمی‌دن؛ تمرکز خودتون رو بذارین روی افرادی که دوست‌تون دارن و بهتون انرژی مثبت می‌دن.

Profile Image for Debbi Mack.
Author 22 books122 followers
September 16, 2017
I really wanted to like this book, which was the problem. I kept reading, even though it really didn't offer much in the way of solid advice, other than (frankly) platitudes.

I finally made it to the end, primarily by skipping past his laundry list at the end of bad decisions (most of which made me wonder, "What on earth did you expect?" or words to that effect).

Forgive me, but it's hard to muster up a lot of empathy for someone who quite obviously takes good health as a given. Not all of us are so fortunate.

So, if you're looking for good solid advice on how to handle misfortune, do yourself a favor: choose another book.
Profile Image for Mark Speed.
Author 15 books75 followers
July 21, 2016
Just short of five stars, and I'm not quite sure why. James Altucher is one of these people you've never heard of who suddenly seems to be everywhere. He's made millions, then gone bust, then made it again. He presents an interesting perspective on what it takes - and will take - to get on in the world and become successful. He's not original in saying this, but he says it in a fairly compelling way. You might think he's a bit of a mess in some respects when you read the book. Maybe he is. But he's a more successful mess than me, or - in all probability - you. Whatever lessons he's learnt, he's learnt the hard way. And he's sharing them with you. And that's nice. And he's also right: you should choose yourself. I count myself as part of that small percentage of people who knew this years ago, after doing some Tony Robbins courses, and have tried not to be one of the sleepwalking 95%. Have I done better than I otherwise would have? I don't know, but I've had an interesting time and learnt loads on the way. Most of the time it's been a lot of fun, and I'm more resourceful for it. I'm rambling now. Read it. You can go to his blog and read most of it for free.
Profile Image for Rosie Nguyễn.
Author 6 books5,803 followers
April 11, 2014
It's just like every book comes to me in a certain period of my life, to help me in a certain way. I'm currently reading this book and The fountainhead, both are about individualism, with its most positive meaning.

So I am on the verge of taking steps to be independent, about to do something significant for my life and helpful for my community, about to set myself free. So I found this book inspiring and encouraging. Choose myself. To overcome the uncertainty when breaking the circles of my old belief. To sharpen my desire. To start doing.

I like James's blog right at the first time I read it. Honest, pensive, humorous, creative with very convincing ideas. And I like this book of him for the same reason. A good workout for the mind.
Profile Image for krishnendu mukherjee.
29 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2019
Very practical indeed. The author draws heavily from his experience and thus comes out very honest. Few key takeaways :
1. Taking care of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual body
2. Working on 10 different ideas each day
3. Keeping in touch with people you like and be away from negative ones
4. Class job safety net is a myth
5. There are multiple ideas to earn money, one just need to keep looking and be innovative
6. Reduction of knowledge is more important that unnecessary addition
7. Meditation

Cheers !!!
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