Book Notes: Choose Yourself by James Altutcher

Why Choose Yourself

Book Notes and a Book Review for Choose Yourself by James AltutcherSo I heard about James Altutcher through his impressive appearance on 2 episodes of the School of Greatness podcast. The first episode was a show where James was interviewed by Lewis regarding his tumultuous life of making millions and losing it over and over again. The second interview was probably one of the highest listened to School of Greatness interviews where James interviewed Lewis about how Lewis made millions of dollars.

Anyways, I loved this one. I read it in one span of time while flying from Australia to America. I think these notes below are robust because it is written well and it is all about stuff that I’m interested in:

  • How to take care of yourself
  • Cultivating creativity
  • The new economy and how to thrive at it
  • What not to do

I was listening to the book and James is the narrator. He takes liberties to just go off and make his own jokes I think so the whole experience is great. Let’s get to the notes…

Reading Notes for Choose Yourself

The American dream is derived from a marketing campaign done by Fannie Mae

“The learned man aims for more, the wise man decreases and the decreases again.”

James Altutcher saved the stock market in 2009 with a bunch of bags of chocolate.

The whole thing that college graduates make more money than non college graduates is nonsense. The study suffered from selection bias in their sample by simply describing two groups of people.  The study was carried out by Georgetown University so of course there is a bias because they have a vested interest in showing that their University is providing value.

3 Bodies:

1. Emotional – people become crappy people, not because who they are, but because they are crapping inside of you.  Stop letting that happen.

Exercise: be quiet. Most people speak 2,500 words a day. Try to cut it down.

2. Mental

10 ideas exercise – write 10 ideas about anything at the very minimum. Do this to become an idea machine.

Cultivate an idea-sex environment

3. Spiritual – appreciate the rooftops when walking around the city.many people are time traveling by worrying about things.

Accept the beautiful stillness. Leads to 0 chance of burnout

4. Physical – eat well, exercise

“I dominate search engine optimization for “I want to die.” – James Altutcher

The things to do to get healthy
– sleep 8 hours
– eat 2 meals instead of thee
– no TV
– no Junk food
– no complaining for 1 while day
– no gossip
– return an email from 5 years ago
– express thanks to a friend
– write down a list of ideas
– watch a funny movie or standup bit
– read a spiritual text
– Say, “I’m going to save a life today” and spend the day looking for that person
– learn a new hobbie
– write down your schedule for the day and cross one if those things out and don’t do it for eternity
– forgive someone – write down on a piece of paper that you forgive someone and burn the piece of paper
– take the stairs instead of the elevator
– tell someone everyday that you live them
– make plans to spend time with a friend
– deep breathing

5 People That I’m grateful For:
1. Veronica
2. Mom
3. Dad
4. Erik
5. John

Work smarter not harder.

There is enough business in your town to make you rich.

You make no money by traveling.

Help the people around you.

You want to be friends with your clients. You want to make them feel happy to be around you. And you want to be happy being around them.

You make more money working with people you like.

Things I like about being entrepreneur.
– you get to be artistic
– you get to make your own hours

In everything thing you do, bring your art into it.

There is more money floating around than ever before. Most of its hidden from the employee mindset. Be an entrepreneur and reach out and grab it.

Making more money is the real reason to become an entrepreneur. “But the economy.” That’s BS. There is more money out there than ever before

The stock market has a capitalization of several trillion dollars. There’s another 2 trillion in private equity. There are fifty trillion in transaction every year. If you make money, someone will buy your company.

Having control over your own career means you can create what you want for people.

How to make money – chapter 13

Often the real reason that people buy from you isn’t for your product, but for you.

He built a trading business then sold advice on stock piking and finally, James built and sold it. He gave 50% equity to a company that was dubbed the worst idea of all time… But that 50% helped him stay in business when many others were going out of business because of the dotCom bubble

Ch 12 How to Become an Idea Machine

Note: Stephen King in On Writing where he fell out of writing from being hit by the car. 3 weeks of a lack of writing f#%$#d up King’s ability to write. Exercise your idea muscle.

How to Exercise Your Idea Muscle
1. Read or Skim from 4 topics
2. Write Down 10 Ideas ( must be 10, you want your brain to sweat )
3. Activate another part of your brain – watercolor class
4. Collisions – read ideas and compare your old ideas with new ones. Best ideas come from old an new ideas
5. Don’t pressure yourself – be willing to fail and just do your best
6. Shake Things Up – Eat Write Work Sleep…. But mix it up afterwards

Chapter 13 Don’t Have Opinions

7 Habit of Highly Effective Mediocre People

Procrastination – if you’re feeling procrastination, listen to if. Maybe you should be delegating.

0 Tasking – multitasking doesn’t work, and being comfortable in doing nothing is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs

Being Not Original
100% of my successes were when working with people smarter than me.

The best ideas are born from taking an old idea and a new idea and smashing them together. Eg Facebook is the bastard child of the idea sex of Internet and stalking

Poor Networking

Honesty is #1 – this is easy

Honesty about imperfections creates amazing opportunities in life

Subtraction, not addition is what makes for a clearer, more useful mind

Ghandi sugar story – come back in 2 weeks. Why though? I had to stop eating sugar

The Beatles Last Album on YouTube

Review – (Note: This review was part of my notes)

This is a really powerful book because it is relevant to right now. James has a really interesting view on the economy as someone who has experienced it’s ebbs and flows in a visceral way.

It is a great book for anyone struggling with a bummer job who would be interested in taking the leap into entrepreneurship. But if you’re keen on that one, be prepared because the ups and downs are serious.

This is a great one though. I definitely recommend it. He’s funny and if you listen to the audio book, he goes off on interesting tangents, which he didn’t include in the book.

My overall take away from Choose Yourself

Honestly, this one is a must read for anyone interested in being in the entrepreneurial space going forward. If you’re not in the entrepreneurial space, maybe you should think about it.

James recently came out with a podcast called The James Altutcher Show. It’s great and you can get a great idea for his personality through that. If you want more convincing to get this book, other than the fact that I’m telling you to do it, then listen to his show a little and maybe you’ll get more into it.

Oh and if you get the book you can send him an e-mail telling him so and he will reimburse your purchase. I didn’t test this one out… but it would be a cool experiment. If you do test it out, I’d love to hear from you.

I Hope These Notes on Choose Yourself Where Useful

You can get a free copy of this book by singing up as a new member with Audible  through this link.

It’s easy to buy the book on Amazon too. Just go here.


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