Book review: Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher

My third read of 2017 was Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher.

I discovered James Altucher last year after spotting his high ranking iTunes podcast, The James Altucher Show, and becoming a regular listener. He’s a former hedge fund manager, author and entrepreneur.

Since listening to a few episodes of his podcast, I subscribed to receive his emails and enjoy his writing style, which is engaging and fresh.

Reinvent Yourself is his 17th book, so he’s a prolific author. I enjoyed reading this because he draws on his own life experience and lessons from other experts to write this series of essays on dealing with change.

Here are some of the passages I highlighted on my Kindle:

Health is the most important thing, else your body today won’t let you enjoy tomorrow.
You need to find well-being from within. And here is what it is: FREEDOM RELATIONSHIPS COMPETENCE Increase those every day and you will find well-being.
Let me summarize the seven aspects of influence: 1.Reciprocity — if you give someone a Christmas card, they will want to return the favor. 2.Likability — make yourself trustworthy. For instance, outline the negatives of dealing with you. 3.Consistency — ask someone for a favor. Now they will say to themselves, “I am the type of person who does James a favor.” 4.Social Proof — if you are trying to get someone to do X, show them that “a lot of your peers do X.” For instance, if you are at a bar and you are a guy trying to meet women, bring your women friends and not your guy friends with you. 5.Authority — “four out of five dentists say…” 6.Scarcity — “only 100 iPhones left at this store!” 7.Unity — you and I are the same because: location, values, religion, etc.
The goal is not to wipe out all of your problems. You can’t. There are no goals. There’s just growth.
“The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals, but that’s normal, because a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.”
To be better than the other seven billion people on the planet who would like to be as good as you would like to be. How can you compete against that? Only hard work backed by true, sincere passion.
You can only be good at so many things. But don’t limit yourself too much either. Always be looking for new opportunities to improve incrementally.
If a piece of writing is not hard, it’s weak. It’s not worth writing. It’s not worth sharing. If it’s not hard, it’s soft.
If you sell 800 hats, don’t try to sell a million the next day. Sell 1,000. Always take affordable steps forward so you aren’t at risk of going out of business.
So the rule is, get comfortable, and only then get mega-rich. If you try to go for the big number too early, you can end up miserable.
No matter what you are doing, get as much press as possible. Don’t use PR firms (maybe he does use PR firms but he certainly doesn’t need to; he creates his own PR). Be OUT there creating your own buzz with your own energy. PR firms can never do that for you.
Nobody can predict the future. Anything can happen. When I got out of the “future” business I was much happier. I got into the possibility business.
Sometimes people think “choosing myself” is a selfish concept. But it’s the only way you build the strength to help others.
When I interview people on a podcast, I never know. I want to know. These people have such a variety of backgrounds: writers, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, astronauts, and on and on. I want to get at their secrets. To peel back the layers. To grasp a little bit of their heart and feast on it.
To have well-being in life you need three things: A) A feeling of competence or growth. B) Good emotional relationships. C) Freedom of choice.
The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.
If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.
To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.
Goals are a myth. Our ancestors for 200,000 years didn’t have goals. Every day started from scratch: hunt, forage, eat, sex, sleep, wake up to a new day.
Learning to find happiness with less is true wealth.

I was supposed to read Deep Work by Cal Newport next, but I could find it on my Kindle when I finished reading Reinvent Yourself, and didn’t have wifi where I was to download it!

So instead I’ve started reading Too Much of a Good Thing: How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us, by Lee Goldman.

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