How To Live Forever

images (36)

Lets say you knew that on December 15, 2020, you were going to die in Springfield, Illinois. What would you do? Well, for starters you would probably prolong your life simply by avoiding Springfield, Illinois on December 15, 2020. It just so happens we can use statistics to see the future, and by doing so, can postpone death as long as possible.

I’m sick of the anti-aging industry. Basically, nothing fancy works. Dr. Oz recommends reservatrol but scientific studies only show that enormous amounts of it are what expands the lifespan of a mouse. There’s no way to take an equivalent amount as a human. Anti-aging expert Andrew Weil often suggests herbal remedies instead of pharmaceutical medicines but I think, again, the research is very unclear and it’s no secret that lifespans have gone up in general with the rise of more readily available, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. There’s always a lot of discussion of homeopathic medicine but, again, the evidence is lacking.

My view is to take a very common sense view towards aging. By the way, I have never thought about anti-aging techniques before. But I’m 42-years-old now, and probably past the half-point of my life, so I’ve started to wonder about it. Common sense has served me well in most other areas of my life. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, puts it succinctly with “Do no harm” in his hippocratic oath. There’s a similar rule in the area of financial advice which I think applies here as well. It’s actually two rules, stated by Warren Buffett, the greatest investor ever: “Rule No. 1: Don’t Lose Money. Rule No. 2: Don’t Forget Rule #1.”

The Warren Buffett approach is appealing. Think about it from a financial perspective. Most of the reasons people go broke is not because they failed to make money but because they spent their hard-earned money on bad investments that went to zero. In other words, they broke Buffett’s rules. Much more important than figuring out how to add dollars to your net worth is how to avoid losing the dollars you’ve already accumulated. Applied to the anti-aging industry — don’t spend so much time figuring out how to add years to your lifespan. How about use common sense to make sure you don’t make additional decisions that cost you your health.

We know what the main killers are in life (this comes from the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Government, data):

Top 10 Killers

Heart disease: 616,067
Cancer: 562,875
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 135,952
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 127,924
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 123,706
Alzheimer’s disease: 74,632
Diabetes: 71,382
Influenza and Pneumonia: 52,717
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 46,448
Septicemia: 34,828

So lets start by avoiding some of these diseases.

1. No Smoking. You only have to go to the American Heart Organization website to see their research on how smoking is related to heart disease.  A quote: “Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery.” That doesn’t sound good. There’s also numerous studies on the effects of smoking on cancer. Go to Here’s a  quote: “Of the 250 known harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke, more than 50 have been found to cause cancer. These chemicals include:
arsenic (a heavy metal toxin)
benzene (a chemical found in gasoline)
beryllium (a toxic metal)
cadmium (a metal used in batteries)
chromium (a metallic element)
ethylene oxide (a chemical used to sterilize medical devices)
nickel (a metallic element)
polonium-210 (a chemical element that gives off radiation)
vinyl chloride (a toxic substance used in plastics manufacture)”

That’s pretty bad. I just have to read the first: “arsenic.” Who wants to put arsenic in their body? Don’t forget rule #1!

(smoker's lung on the left side of the image)

2. No Heavy Drinking. Note that I say “heavy” drinking and not drinking in general. In fact, many studies show that moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart attacks by up to 40 percent. Go to this link: .It has a list of studies that show the types of cancers that moderate drinking actually help prevent. What is moderate versus heavy drinking? At cdc.goc, “drinking in moderation is defined as having no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.”

Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is lethal. Obviously, it increases your risk of having a fatal accident, but there’s numerous studies showing that heavy drinking is linked to various cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Here’s a quote from “In the study, researchers found that the combination of heavy drinking and heavy smoking sped up the age of onset of Alzheimer’s by six to seven years. That is a considerable number, making them among the most important preventable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.” Oh yeah, there’s that smoking thing again.

On “After their heart attacks, patients who had done any binge drinking during the previous year had a death rate that was 73 percent higher than patients who did not do any binge drinking. Even occasional binge drinking (as they defined that term in this study) increased the risk of death.” Binge drinking they define as having three or more beers in a day.

From the American Cancer Society: “Death from liver cancer is higher among heavy alcohol users than among people who do not drink.”

So it’s pretty simple. You can avoid accidents, heart disease and a bunch of cancers if you never drink more than two beers a day.

3. Sex. It doesn’t have to be all puritan. Maybe you like to smoke and drink a lot and now you’re pretty upset. How about taking up a more fun activity during the day, like sex. Here’s an article by Jonah Lehrer: “Sex is stressful but good for you.” (  Basically it shows that sex activates various hormones that increases your immune system, decreases your stress levels, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and all sorts of other good things. And it’s pretty much common sense that this is a good thing. Heck, the Bible recommends we do a lot of it.

There’s an article from WebMd on the 10 health benefits of sex. ( One quote: “The researchers also found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month.”

4. No snacking. Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, etc. There’s no shame in being obese. Over one-third of adult Americans are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control. And being overweight and enjoying food are not crimes. But if you stick to the basics you’ll avoid (reduce) being obese. Ugh, I’m really hungry right this second as I’m writing this. Since last year whenever the  market’s gone down I’ve felt an irresistible urge to eat. I’ll eat an apricot Danish, or a corn muffin, or a hot dog, Pringles, Doritos, or anything with Cajun spices. If you have some corned beef hash when I’m in this state, please send it over. I’ll eat all of it. I’m like a shovel working on Obama’s trillion dollars worth of road repairs, I’ll shove it all in.

This is not a healthy lifestyle and now that I’m about to breach  the age of 42 I have to think about my metabolism and how its beginning to weaken.  This happened to me once before, towards the tail end of the bear market of 2002. My entire life I’ve weighed my college weight except for that one time in 2002 when  I gained about 20 lbs. I read through all the diet books and nutrition sites but none of them made sense to me. So I came up with my own diet and it worked. What follows is the “James Altucher White Book Diet” as seen on Oprah, The View, the Today Show, Obama’s Inaugural speech, and other top Nielsen rated TV shows [note from ed.  Unable to verify] . It took me about two months to lose the 20 pounds once I started using this plan

  1. No sodas. Ever. One can of coke contains 16 sugars. That’s just mindless calories.
  2. No snacks between meals. Have a breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that’s it.
  3. No white at night. Meaning, no pasta, no ice cream, no cheese, no bread. Nothing white at night. Enjoy a steak and some asparagus.
  4. One item for breakfast. Knock yourself out if you want a croissant. Or a bagel with cream cheese. Or a fruit cup. Or one Belgian waffle. But stick to only one item.

Do whatever you want for lunch. Doesn’t matter as long as you stick to the other rules above. And if you are also avoiding the heavy drinking then your calories will stay down and your weight might go down.

5. Exercise. I know, everyone says this. I don’t want to be boring so we’ll keep this simple and stick to the minimal basics. First off, its obvious that exercise and being in shape has health benefits. From the Mayo Clinic, there’s an article on the benefits of exercise. ( A quote: “Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.”

And there’s more. “Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.”

BAM! We avoid the two top killers and probably a bunch more.

If you are already an exercise fanatic, then this section isn’t for you. But if you are not really that into exercise or you get bored with it then we need to figure out how to trick your mind and body into getting motivated to exercise. Minimally, you want to do a half hour of exercise a day but that can be spread out. Some ideas:

  1. Can you wake up 10 minutes earlier and do 30 push ups and 30 sit ups? If all you did was 100 push ups a day, spread out throughout the day (do 30 more during a commercial break, for instance), you’re going to get in good shape and build muscle.
  2. Can you take the stairs instead of an escalator whenever you get the chance?
  3. Can you park a little further from work and walk a half mile instead of parking right at the door?
  4. Take a tango lesson once a week or ballroom dancing. Or play a couple of games of tennis or even ping pong. Anything that can get you to sweat a little bit.
  5. Find a basketball court and just try to shoot 10 baskets. Just the jumping and shooting is decent exercise for 10 minutes and might be fun.
  6. Get someone to show you two to four yoga poses. Do them every day.

The key is just to get the body moving in a way that’s new and a little more difficult than its usual movements (sitting down, sleeping and eating). And if you’re really motivated and just want to get through a half hour of solid exercise, just do 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, and 100 squats in a half hour period. Do it three times a week and you’re set for life.

7.Sleep a lot. Sleeping is great. For one thing, when you sleep, you probably won’t have a fatal accident. Nor will you be eating while you sleep. Or drinking heavily or smoking, or any of the other activities that can cause an inconveniently timed death. In fact, lack of sleep (meaning six hours or less on average) is linked to colon cancer, weight gain, strokes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression. Don’t we all like to sleep a little more? Certainly sleeping an extra hour a day has got to be a lot easier than exercising an hour a day.

So how much sleep do you need? Seven to eight hours a night. More than that is not even necessarily healthy. Statistics show that people who regularly sleep eight hours a night, no more and no less, live the longest.

I have insomnia. I’ve also been day trading for a living, on and off, for the past ten years. I’ve traded my own money and others. It’s an unpleasant way to live. The highs are very high and the lows are very low and painful. Whether you are at the highs or the lows you’re probably going to experience insomnia along with 32 million other people in this country that have insomnia.

When I have insomnia here is the form it takes: I have no problem falling asleep. But then at about 2 or 3am, I am awake and can’t get back to sleep. The worst is when I finally get back to sleep around 5:30 but by then I’m in trouble: I’ll wake up around 6:30 or 7 completely exhausted for the day.

This is no good for a day trader. You need to be focused, on your game, and not make mistakes which cost you your livelihood because you are simply too tired to be sharp. Imagine if you take out $5,000 and just drop it on the street and walk away. You would be stupid if you did that. It’s also stupid to let insomnia force you into mistakes that cost you many multiples more than $5,000.

Some of the suggestions below may seem harsh. And the correct solution for insomnia will be different for everyone. But if you do follow the suggestions below, I can safely say it’s unlikely you will have insomnia.

  1. – No computer for the last hour of the day. Not only that, turn off the computer. There should be no computer sound or monitor light. The sound and light keeps you sucked into the virtual reality of the day trading world, where you live and die on every tick in the markets. You need to disengage from that world and enter back into the real world in order to sleep.
  2. – No food after 7pm. I really meant to write 5pm but that might be unrealistic for most people. Sleep and digestion are closely linked. Studies show that many people with insomnia have either irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or sensitive stomachs. Not eating past 5pm and drinking more liquids throughout the day can help you be cleaned out for your sleep. You want to eat easy-to-digest foods at night. No meat, not too much sugar. Vegetables and fruits.
  3. – No alcohol. The sugar will pop you awake in the middle of the night.
  4. – Exercise. This is directly related to what happens to your body when you day trade. Imagine if you were mugged. Adrenalin and stress hormones would get released in your body and you’d either fight or flight. Fighting or running would work off those stress hormones. When you day trade, it’s as if you are getting mugged all day long — but you are just sitting there. You aren’t working off the stress hormones. Those chemicals will keep you awake at night. Exercise (if done early in the day) will at first increase the stress hormones but then over the next few hours after exercise finishes, will work those hormones off.
  5. – Clean your bedroom, your closet, your office, your kitchen, etc. Your mind and your living space need to be friends with each other. Clean mind equals clean living space. Cluttered space means cluttered mind. Cluttered mind leads to anxiety, nervousness, stress, and then those stress hormones are waking you up again in the middle of the night. Power down the computer and clean your room before you go to sleep.
  6. – Put closure on the end of your work day. Make a list of the work related things you did that day. Write them down on a pad. Trades you made, articles you read that you remember, ideas you had, calls you made related to business. I write everything into an email I send to myself. It helps me to see how productive I was (or not), particularly on days that might not have been that good otherwise (i.e. if I lost money trading that day). It also helps me understand and analyze my trades a bit more. And finally, when I hit “send” on that email to myself, my day is over. Onwards to the next thing (talking to family, friends, etc).
  7. – Meditate. You don’t need to get in the lotus position and start chanting for an hour or two. Most of the time during the day, particularly when you’re stressed, you may stop and notice that your breaths are short and uneven. Sit in a chair for ten minutes, with the lights out or on dim. Simply watch your breath. Don’t breathe too deeply but as deeply as is natural. Count the breaths to ten. Then start over. If you find you are losing your place too much (or slipping into “11..12..”) then just count to five and start over. Do that for just ten minutes in the evening. Ideally, do it in the morning also before you begin your day.
  8. – Early to bed, early to rise. Ben Franklin is right. This will make you wealthy (maybe wise also but we’re focused on trading here). 5am is a good time to wake up, read the news, check futures, and plan your trades for the day. That gives you a little over 4 hours to get ready for the trading day. If you need 8 hours of sleep then backtrack from 5am to see when you need to get to sleep.
  9. If you follow these guidelines you will be on your A game when you trade, you will sleep better, and you will wake up each morning refreshed and ready to go.


7. Regular Flow. You know what I mean: constipation is bad. Imagine keeping all that horrible bacteria in your body one more second than you have to. Get it out! What happens is that fecal matter builds up in your colon, causing an unvirtuous cycle: the more fecal matter that builds up, blocking the openings of the colon, the more fecal matter gets stuck up there, putrefying for years, leading to everything from colon cancer to a breakdown of the immune system: more flus, allergies, heart disease, etc. The key of all of this article is how to very simply avoid the leading causes of death. Keeping the inside of your body clean is the simplest. Going to the bathroom more than three times a week is key. Everyone varies in this but ideally, at least once a day is enough to keep the factory working.

How to avoid constipation:

  1. Use it or lose it. When you have to go … GO!
  2. High fiber diet: fruits, vegetables, high fiber cereals (Dr. John Harvey Kellog, the founder of Kellog’s cereal, invented his high-bran, high fiber cereal for just this purpose).
  3. Lots of liquids
  4. Avoid eating too much low-fiber foods. Obviously we all like our ice cream. But too march starch and sugar could be bad, particularly if you are currently suffering.


8. Feel Gratitude. Stress effects every aspect of your physical health and can cause every single one of the causes of death mentioned above. Every technique described above indirectly reduces stress. But dealing with stress also involves building your mental muscles. Mental muscles are like physical ones — they atrophy. If you are bedridden for a few months then you would have to engage in intense physical rehab in order to even walk because your muscles would’ve atrophied that severely and quickly.

Its the same with mental muscles. The muscle that prevents stress needs to be regularly exercised or you will succumb to the excesses of too much stress in your life and you won’t be able to climb out of the hole. Believe me, I know this. At different times in my life I’ve made and lost millions. Part of what I do is I daytrade for a living. While there are many stressful jobs out there, daytrading has to be among the top 10. When I’m in a big position and it starts moving against me I feel every heartbeat in my body pushing the blood all around. The stress permeates me and part of the daily routine of a daytrader is learning to deal with the stress.

Think of the human body when its mugged, or when a car is bearing down on it. The human body signals a flight or fight response. Your adrenalin pumps through and its almost as if you have superhuman powers as you either run the fastest you’ve ever run, or you jump out of the way of a car or, god hoping, you block a car from running over your baby, as has happened in extreme examples. In other words, in a normal response to stress you feel the stress, your body produces the adrenalin and hormones to deal with it, and you react, quickly working off the stress.

But the normal daily grind that causes our stress almost never gets worked off. Its as if you are mugged all day long. And that leads to only bad things in the body (see all 10 killers above).

There are many ways to avoid stress but the one I’m focusing on in this technique is to exercise your gratitude muscle. Try it for just five minutes a day. List all of the things you are grateful for. Don’t think about anything else. You don’t need to meditate with the Dalai lama to reduce stress. All you have to do is for five minutes a day think about the things you are grateful for. Your kids. Your friends. The walk you took yesterday. The smile a stranger through your way this morning.

Once the muscle is exercised, then get it working again during the moments you feel stressed. If you are feeling stress about a family relationship, think about a time when that relationship was great in your life. If you are feeling stressed about money, remember that all things cycle and whatever you have this second is still enough for you to enjoy life. I know it sounds corny. But if you do that five minutes a day I can guarantee that you’ll be surprised at the new muscles you find.

9. Mental exercises. Nobody knows for sure how every detail of the brain works. But we do have a basic model. The brain has 100mm neurons, give or take, that communicate via synapses. When you learn something new, a bunch of neurons and their synapses fire up with traffic. The more traffic between neurons, the more their synapses strengthen. Like in the Gratitude section above, if we keep on strengthening the synapses between neurons all across the brain then we build up resistance to any illnesses that effect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, the #6 killer above. Additionally, there are other benefits to keeping sharp: higher income, perhaps less stress, hopefully an ability to avoid accidents (like balancing your checkbook incorrectly), etc.

Some mental exercises you can do daily to keep sharp:

  1. Play memory games. Exercise your memory
  2. Get a book of brain teasers and puzzles and solve them.
  3. Play chess, checkers, poker, any game that requires some strategic thought and memorization.
  4. After meeting a person, try to remember everything he or she wore and said.
  5. Try to eat lefty every once in awhile (or right-handed if you are left-handed).
  6. Right now try to figure out what coins are in your pocket just by touch. Now do the same for bills (100 dollar bills are less worn than ones)
  7. Play boggle or any other game which takes a set of letters and you try to see how many new words you can form from it.

Like physical exercise, if you do mental exercises for 20-30 minutes a day for five days a week you’ll see dramatic results in a very short time.

10. Avoid hospitals.

Something like 40,000 people die each year from infections they get in the hospital according the CDC. Essentially, hospitals are filled with bacteria and hospital staff (not in every hospital, but some) routinely ignore the basic steps required to insure that people do not pass infections to others.

  1. Make sure anyone who touches you washes your hands first.
  2. Don’t read the magazines (or, if you are a kid, play with the toys) in the waiting lounges at hospitals or doctor’s rooms.
  3. Have an advocate with you preferably at all times.

A quick story: I was once pretending to be a respiratory therapist for a week in a hospital (long story) and I got to walk around with doctors, other respiratory therapists, etc on their routines. It wasn’t uncommon to hear a story such as “such and such nurse took the tracheotomy tube out but forgot to plug it up and the patient suffocated.” Again, not every hospital is like this but mistakes are made. There are millions of surgical procedures a year. Some complicated and some simple and all it takes is a tiny percentage of those to go wrong and the number of deaths from surgery accidents will far exceed the number of deaths from plane crashes each year. “The number of adverse events each year (is) equivalent to 13 jumbo jets crashing and killing all 350 passengers on board,” Kevin Rudd’s Australian National Health and Hospital Reform Commission says. An advocate every step of the way can insure that proper procedures are being followed.

  1. Question all surgeries. If the doctor says “can you do surgery next Tuesday,” find out first if there’s any other non-surgical procedures. I hate to be blasphemous to the medical industry but first check with an acupuncturist (a good one that is recommended by friends who were actually helped by that acupuncturist) or a chiropractor. See if physical rehab can help first, or at least be tried without detrimental effects to the body part in question.
  1. If you must do surgery make sure the surgeon has ample experience (no students!) and make sure a checklist is used durin the procedure (Atul Gawande has an excellent book on the topic of doctors using checklists.
  1. You want to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible if you are having surgery there. Here’s a basic tip: Don”t have your surgery on a Thursday. Doctors don’t want to work on a weekend. You might be stuck there for the whole weekend if you just need to be in the hospital for a max two days.
  1. If you are using a teaching hospital, try to avoid going there (if possible) during July. There is the notorious “July Effect” when interns become residents, residents become full-time doctors, etc. It’s the first time many of these new doctors are full time in their specialty and may not have the experience yet to accurately diagnose and prescribe the right medicines, etc. Here’s an article on the dangers of July in a hospital. (
  1. Make sure the doctor has clear handwriting on prescriptions. Believe it or not, the famous ability of pharmacists to read the handwriting of doctors is just not true. Here’s a recent article (,8599,1578074,00.html) claiming that 7,000 deaths per year are caused by poor handwriting on prescriptions.
  1. Avoid being plugged into an IV. If you can swallow liquids, drink the water, don’t have it put into you via a possibly contaminated IV unit.

11. Cleanliness. This one’s obvious. We collect bacteria throughout the day by touching doorknobs, staircase rails, elevator buttons, shaking hands, eating food, etc. Also, there’s the saying: “clean desk, clean mind.” In other words, keeping our environment clean is not only physically healthy but helps to reduce stress and makes you more productive. Reducing stress, as mentioned above, is key to avoiding many of the diseases that cause death.

  1. Wash hands every time you go from outside to inside. Under the nails is one of the dirtiest parts of the entire body and once you take those nails and rub your eyes or scratch an itch, you are infecting yourself with any bacteria that grabbed onto the inside of those nails. Keep them short. Wash them regularly.
  2. Brush your teeth. Bacteria is all over your mouth. Brushing after every meal is keep and before you go to sleep and after you wake up. It sounds annoying but brushing, flossing, and using a tongue scraper for anything that stays attached to your tongue will help prevent any disease and, of course, keep your breath clean.
  3. Make your bed. Who doesn’t like to come home to a made bed.
  4. Clean your desk.
  5. This is a drag but shower every morning and night. When you go to sleep at night you have a whole day’s worth of bacteria on your. Why take that bacteria and put it all over your nice clean sheets when you can avoid it?

12. Avoid accidents. This almost seems like an oxymoron. The word “accident” implies there is some degree of luck involved. Like you were walking along outside of a building and something falls out of a high up window and hits you. That’s an accident that seems like just bad luck. Or is it. We know that 123,000 accidents a year occur. So lets break that down a little further.

About half the accidental deaths come from car accidents. So one thing we can do is simply avoid getting in cars. Now, that’s not always possible because we need cars to get to work. But a couple of thoughts:

– If you have a choice: live closer to work. Or take public transportation.
– If you don’t have a choice: try to avoid doing more than one activity at a time while in the car. Don’t eat, talk on the cell phone, don’t play with the radio.
– Don’t jaywalk (don’t be the recipient of a car accident if its easy to avoid).
– Wear a seat belt
– About 1/3 of accidents happen at home. Don’t get fancy and try to fix the TV antenna on the roof. Don’t get on a ladder if you don’t have to. Be careful when walking down stairs, etc.

The anti-aging industry makes billions trying to get you to take fancy pills., buy expensive equipment, do expensive medical tests, etc. But sometimes the simplest way to live longer is to avoid all the ways you were going to die.

Enjoyed This Post? Get Free Updates

  • Ayan

    An excellent article, James! I love it.

  • ed wood

    he left out the most important one – environmental! move out of NYC!! – toxic pit of concentrated amounts of diesel, asbestos emfs, – gee, why are there so many folks dying of cancer in the metros? duh….nice try..but living in NYC? you’re on borrowed time, dude…

  • Sooz

    It’s so important to find something to laugh about everyday and it’s better yet when you can bring out laughter in someone else!


  • Sooz

    When I die, whether it be tomorrow or forty years from today, I’d like to die with a smile on my face..;]

  • Missy

    Would like to add under No. 10 Mental exercise, play a musical instrument. What a great article!

  • Cheryl

    Love that you rationlize healthy habits in investment terms. I forwarded it on to my friends and family! (and btw, your section on personal hygiene got a little OCD – 2 showers a day – c’mon!)

  • James Altucher

    @Cheryl, maybe you’re right on the 2 times a day shower. I’m just thinking when you wake up its a nice way to separate the night from the day. And at the end of the day, the reverse.

    • Bobbymak880

      Showering twice a day is refreshing too. FORGET the psych 101 evaluations about OCD. During humid summer months, showering twice a day is a necessity!

    • Anonymous

      Re: that 2 am insomnia, I have an Ipod with audible books, and buy really great stuff like Heroes of History by Will Durant or Structure of Scinetifc Revolution by Kuhn, and others. The droning voice of a text being read at minimum volume helps me relax deeply and even drop back off to sleep. I don´t go to bed without my Ipod-solution next to me in case I suffer one of those Suddenly Wide Awake moments in the black of night, and also use this to disconnect my visual brain from any recnt stimulation at the computer if its late and I am wired. I spend some time rewinding to return to a spot where I was last coherent, or just go over old material over and over.

      Maybe this would work for you James.

  • James Altucher

    @Missy, thanks! Thats a great idea. I didn’t think of it. I’m actually thinking of taking singing lessons for the first time in my life.

  • James Altucher

    @Sooz, I agree. On my daily things to do list I always try to make sure I find some video at least or something to laugh out loud about. In addition to working on my stand-up comedy routine! Which I hope to do one day.

  • James Altucher

    @ed wood, I both agree and disagree. On the one hand, NYC is the pinnacle of “the rat race” but there are many fulfilling aspects of NYC. ON the other hand, its so nice everytime I get out of NYC and have time to just breathe in the fresh air.

  • Lynn

    Seriously, better info here than the past ten years’ worth of NYT’s #1 bestselling diet and health books. You might consider a new genre for your writing and, yikes, maybe we’ll see you on Oprah and a major book tour… Great stuff, thanks!

  • BodyHacker

    The above and more will help you reach your natural age. But if you really want to slow down the aging process, there’s only one way – eat less calories. It’s called Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, with the idea being to get all your nutrients in the least amount of calories. There’s been experiments on over 2000 different species, up to rhesus monkeys (which share much of the same DNA as humans), all extending the max age to the equivalent of 120 if started from a young age. NIH is sponsoring research in humans at Washington University of St Louis under Dr Fontana, and Dr Weindruch at University of Wisconsin is conducting the Rhesus monkey study. The same biomarkers improve. I can tell you that my blood pressure has dropped 20, heart rate lower, body temperature lower, etc. It allegedly works by stimulating a survival genes that normally lay dormant, called Sirtuins, while reducing the free radicals from excess calories that damage your cells. There’s a race to find drugs that mimic it’s effect, such as concentrated resveratrol with mixed success. Sirtris was purchased by Glasko last year to get the rights to Dr Sinclairs research.

    At worst, you’ll eliminate your risk of cardiovascular disease, which claims much of the deaths, while significantly lowering your risk of cancer. On the downside, if you go to far, you’ll shorten your lifespan. From a practical standpoint, the most surprising thing is that after about 3 months, you will no longer miss the calorie dense food as much, as your taste buds adapt. Previously inedible food begins to taste good. You also become quite thin and subject to cold.

  • Mike Levin

    Glad I got you thinking about anti-aging and you know I did from my FB post a week or so ago :-) There are new breakthroughs in anti-aging, if only you were privy to them. I found a public company with a lock around the gene re-expression technology and went out to Utah to go over their science and meet those who invented this (The same doctor that invented the drugs that allow for safer organ transplants) and they have patented their technology and are bringing it to market for both cosmetic appeal and nutritional supplementation that can be proven in the lab. Is it the be all end all or fountain of youth? No, but it is helping people look younger and actually act younger because they really have the mitochondrial effects that lead to more pep in their step. Let’s chat off grid here and I will enlighten you…


  • James Altucher

    Mike, sounds interesting. A couple of points:
    A) Do they have to go through FDA trials?
    B) Are there already top-quality biotech investors in the deal? (Utah is famous for having ‘anti-aging’ techniques that are bogus)
    C) Have they done any human tests?

    I don’t trust any of these biotech companies, which is why the main focus above is on things you can simply do at home to live longer. But, of course, science is moving forward so who knows? I’m sure there are many innovative technologies out there that are moving the needle forward. Its just hard to trust them.

  • Pingback: Lifestyle & Improvement | Anirudh Sethi Report()

  • Mike Levin

    They dont go through FDA trials because they dont have to, all natural compounds. They purposely don’t make crazy claims to upset the FDA, that’s why they are a $1.3 Billion $ co. on the NYSE with a D&B 5A1 rating. Yes, they have raised $ from Pritzer, Fidelity and Whitney for about $46 million in the subsidiary they work with (Lifegen) They have plenty of humans on the products and have developed a machine that won most innovative new product award that succinctly tells the levels of carotenoid levels in the body by laser methods… The age-loc technology they have is patented and they are working on many new products and other patents around this. I will send you other links, quite interesting. Many large wall street firms have reports on them: NUS is the symbol Nuskin is the name of the company. Good balance sheet too… Mike

  • vk

    Also, reducing salt in your diet helps with keeping blood pressure low. I suppose it goes with the “less snacks” point already mentioned.

  • MrB

    Read Nick Lane’s new book Life Ascending, chapter 10!

  • James Altucher

    @MrB, Ill check that out. Never heard of it.

    @vk, I think thats key about the salt. And I’m sort of in agreement with the lots of small meals argument BUT I think ANY discipline at all on food is better than no discipline at all. Ideally, everything must be realistic and not over the top (e.g. not everyone is going to exercise 2 hours a day 7 days a week for instance).

    On calorie restriction, its just not realistic for people to reduce calories by 70%. I can’t do it. ANd the only real evidence for that is in mice.

  • Sammie Lind

    This was a good post… This is my First trip to this site. Greatful for sharing this. I am going to revisit this blog. I am a house decorator for five years. My home decorating hint of the week is: Don’t overdecor a home. A good walking path is a plus. Happy Holidays…

  • Pingback: What I want for myself in 2011()

  • Eduardo Pinheiro

    Great post. I love how to live forever one should focus on doing things right instead of relying on science or drugs down the road.

    It reminds me of that story where the man prays “God, please please please let me win the lottery” to which God eventually replies: “Son, please please please buy a ticket”. We should all “buy our ticket” by doing what’s good for our bodies. Science can help later with the last mile if necessary.

  • Longlife

    I dont wanna die. I wish there was a real way to live forever

    • Steven L Goff

      Be carefull what you wish for!
      Some folks (alot smarter than me….that is many BTW) say we are on the cusp of immortality as a species. That is not crazy talk. I also ask you to think what the weekly unemployment numbers would look like then if we were immortal. We have job availability issues now due to exponential population growth….and you wanna live forever!

    • Officionado

      Cigarette smokers are more prone to die, but cigar smokers live longer than most non-smokers. Just to name some famous ones: George Burns, Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill….

    • Officionado

      Cigarette smokers are more prone to die, but cigar smokers live longer than most non-smokers. Just to name some famous ones: George Burns, Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill….

  • barrkel

    Some bad news for you re jaywalking: on a per-crossing basis, in the US as a whole, crossing at a pedestrian crossing is more dangerous than jaywalking. In other words, proportionately more people are killed at pedestrian crossings than while jaywalking. If you think about the incentive you have for crossing safely, vs inattentive drivers, it should be clear why.

    • Anonymous

      This is most likely because more people cross on the cross walk than they do jaywalk.. simple statistics…

      • barrkel

        What part of “on a per-crossing basis” did you not understand? And “proportionately”?

        • Anonymous

          It’s not an apples to apples comparison because of volume.. you simple cannot just decide that a proportional statistic has any sort of real value if your conclusion is that j-walking must be safer.

          j-walking may also skew things further because j-walkers typically observe traffic as they cross where as cross walkers assume they’re safe.

          • Anonymous

            I also welcome you to cite your statistics please :)

          • barrkel

            You can find more advocacy etc. here:


            Finding the actual statistics is harder; I recall reading them about a year ago and found them very surprising, particularly the per-crossing basis, and that’s why I remember them so well, but finding that data again, well, Google isn’t helping much.

          • barrkel

            I believe it’s exactly *because* j-walkers observe traffic that they are at less risk…

          • Anonymous

            I agree with that conclusion, but your first statement about how crossing the cross walk is more dangerous because of this statistic I think is false. If all cross walkers observed traffic while crossing, the cross walk would be inherently safer.

            Your point about incentives is also very interesting. I missed that.

          • barrkel

            The thing is, when you’re waiting at a crosswalk for the light to go green, you tend to go – but in the US, in most states, you still have to watch out for turning traffic, as well as watch out for idiots who haven’t noticed the red light, who may be obscured by multiple lanes. But with jaywalking, you only cross if the traffic is gridlocked or it’s clearly safe.

            FWIW, I live in London, so no anti-jaywalking rules. It’s pretty clear which roads are safe to cross, and which aren’t, and there are plenty of traffic islands to give respite, so you can cross one direction of traffic at a time. If a road is particularly dangerous, or people are inclined to take ill-advised risks, there’s usually a metal railing to provide further dissuasion.

          • Anonymous

            I think the difference is that when you jay walk you know you’re taking a chance and as such exercise greater caution. In contrast when you’re using a marked pedestrian crossing you may subconciously be depending on the implied “protection” of the crossing and pay less attention
            I believe it is known in the economics world as a “moral hazard.” Great stuff though

  • Amoody2011

    There’s actually a film coming out real soon that touches on most of this. It’s called “How To Live Forever.” I already saw it at the Palm Springs International Film Festival back in January. Mark Wexler has a winner on his hands.

  • Neoboy2184

    believe in Jesus Christ and Love God and your neighbors and enemies….sure way to live forever

    • Barry Gram

      To Neoboy 2184:
      It seems noone ever had the heart or the courage to inform you that Jesus Christ never existed; he was a mythical, hero-figure that the out-of-power Mushite(followers of Moses rather than Aaron) Jews made up to give hope and direction to people who were being terrorized by the brutal Roman conquerors. You should research your made up religion to a greater extent and be less gullible when it comes to resurrected-son-of-God-hero-stories that the people of this region made up for some 3600 years! (Yes, we’re all in a lot of big trouble!)
      Barry Gram, Carol Stream, Illinois

    • Barry Gram

      To Neoboy 2184:
      It seems noone ever had the heart or the courage to inform you that Jesus Christ never existed; he was a mythical, hero-figure that the out-of-power Mushite(followers of Moses rather than Aaron) Jews made up to give hope and direction to people who were being terrorized by the brutal Roman conquerors. You should research your made up religion to a greater extent and be less gullible when it comes to resurrected-son-of-God-hero-stories that the people of this region made up for some 3600 years! (Yes, we’re all in a lot of big trouble!)
      Barry Gram, Carol Stream, Illinois

      • Pk

        Just like you are a myth too?  Who and what are Barry Gram and his opinions?  Nobody and nothing.  Exactly.

        • Poster

          Saying someone’s opinions are “nothing” does not make is so.

      • Index1000

        Must have been a fucking good story  

        • Tcox56_98

          I agree with Barry Gram AND with Index1000.  Could we come up with a fucking good story to motivate people today?

      • Rodrigo Schramm

        Actually he did exist, but he was just some kind of comunist guy that knew how to piss off the government.

        • Wozniack

          The story is made up.
          I can spiderman is my
          is my God. Just like bible i have comics of him.

          • Rodrigo Schramm

            First off, I did not say god existed, I said that Jesus, the person, existed. My god is Paul McCartney, and he does exist.

    • Pablo.

      NOTHING last forever.
      What makes you think that a belief would do that to you?

  • Mari-O in Bangkok

    Hi James —

    You reflect the all-too-common frustration with the nutrition and anti-aging advice peddled by the supposed health luminaries of our day. But the ideas that “nobody knows anything” and that “all the studies contradict each other or are based on absurd premises” are demonstrably false.

    That you reference Drs. Oz and Weil is the health-and-longevity equivalent of an investor citing Charles Givens and Bernard Madoff as noted money experts. Oz’s show is funded by some very unhealthy products sold as “health food,” he does not appear to conduct any research, and he has serious colon problems. Weil is a metabolically deranged salesman. Just looking at him you can tell that he is clueless (unless that is the look you are going for).

    The answer lies in following an ancestral diet and avoiding all of the garbage that agriculture and industry have created in the last 2,000-5,000 years. Humans walked the earth in their present form for some 1.5 million to 2 million years eating a diet free of grains; legumes and dairy. Then we were flooded with a great deal of this “new” food over a very short time.

    With agriculture came the opportunity to develop language, art and science because we could focus on other pursuits than hunting. But with this new food (which in the case of grains, rice and corn, is naturally filled with toxins intended to discourage predation) also came a flood of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and many of the modern ailments we now face.

    Please Google “Paleo in a Nutshell” and check out “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf and “The New Evolution Diet” by Art DeVany.

    I am a year older than you and this stuff has totally changed my life. I am stronger and fitter at this age than I have ever been, period, full stop. Basically, I now look like a college athlete and overwhelm a lot of athletic, much younger guys in the gym — though I couldn’t even make the junior varsity football squad in high school. I’m not boasting. I am more expressing how surreal the impact of this has been in my experience.

    For the coup de grace regarding everything you thought you knew about food, see “Food, Inc.” It’s on iTunes. Mind-blowing. Game-changing. Life-changing.

    If you want to see what a man in his 70’s should look like, Google “devany nightline youtube.”

    (By the way, the guy who posted about caloric restriction above has it half right… But you can achieve huge anti-aging benefits simply through intermittent fasting. You don’t have to starve yourself in a crazed science experiment and sacrifice every pleasure in life. The key is to live in balance and in conformity with human evolution — eating and living how we were designed to do so to the extent practical.)

    I admire you and know you value having the best information available.

    Mario in Bangkok

  • Rouge05

    Holy crap some good advice here thx man sure got my head thinking happy again.

  • Barry Gram

    To Mr. Altucher:
    Very well-crafted and thought-out article. I wanted to inform you of your long-term future–your only future! When your daughters throw your sorry corpse head-first into a cryonic tube and you chill-down for eighty to one hundred and thirty years, we’ll all see what we can do for you.
    If, in the future, there is a microbiologist/bio-physicist that wants to make a name for herself/himself and discovers a way to repair damaged cell structures, especially the neurons and synapses in your brain and brain stem then you’ve got a one in ten chance of a revival, no more.
    However, if a future, cutting edge biotech company or scientist discovers a method of repairing cell fissures that have resulted from your cryonic suspension the chances that your cell structure could be repaired and revived(your specific brain cells must be repaired, not future cloned) your chances of an actual revival go to four chances in ten.
    I’m afraid that’s all that medical science of even future projections of medical science can give you at this time with are known knowledge of bio-physics and cell and gene structures.
    Otherwise, your long-term future is oblivion, where the food is lousy; the service, even worse.
    Just thought you’d like to know.
    Barry Gram, Carol Stream, Illinois

  • Mike

    Regarding nutrition, it is actually much more beneficial to eat more often than three times per day. Smaller (but complete..i.e. carbs, protein, and fat) meals spread out 5-6 times a day is a better way to go than the traditional “3 squares.” And I don’t recommend the “1 item for breakfast” either. Eat a full, nutritious breakfast. Most importantly, just cut out all the crap from your diet.

  • Anonymous

    What an excellent article, and for me quite well timed. I just learned that an old friend recently died. From what I gleaned he went to his local doc to have a boil lanced, a simple procedure. But it did not go well. The lanced boil became infected and antibiotics, via IV, were used. My friend had an allergy to the medicines and died within a week of receiving them. He was 64, too young to go, and certainly too unlucky to have relied on conventional medical practices.

  • Kane1626

     Another great post, James. The part about hospitals is dead on. I went there for an asthmatic emergency and ended up getting sicker from being in there. After the third antibiotic I finally made it. I almost died. Hospitals are disgusting.

  • Ballastein

    I’m going to use the meditation, but I had to laugh at all the “ooo evil bacteria” OCD mumbo-jumbo.

    James, you do realize that in and on your body, bacterial cells OUTNUMBER your own.  That’s right.  You are comprised mostly of bacteria… so next time you launch an all out war on the myriad inhabitants of Altuchistan, realize that your body has evolved to not only live in harmony with the lil’ guys, but also to use and RELY on their processes. 

    Simply put, if you can help it, don’t rub your eyes or stick your fingers in any orifice… ever.  Even if your hands are Howie Mandell clean (his OCD hand-warshing destroyed the skin on his hands, which now has no natural immuno-defense), it’s just not a good idea.  Neither is washing your hands every time you touch something, or increasing your cortisol levels by stressing out about mostly harmless (and helpful) little bugs.

    • Duderkins

      you said “warsh”….I’m from texas too hahaha

  • John Cameron

    Lots of good common sense recommendations backed up by evidence.  Good article.  One diet that does make sense to me at least is similar to your no white diet – Dr Gundry’s (He’s a cardiothoracic surgeon) diet evolution, but to follow takes quite a commitment.  I

  • Derecho

    12. Check out SENS, Longecity, Open Cures…

  • Warren Wright

    I feel the need to point out that studies have shown that being mildly overweight is actually better for you than being in the “normal” weight range. The reason for this is that that level of fat is low enough that it doesn’t cause additional health problems, but high enough that it can help your body deal better with stress.

  • isomorphisms

    it’s no secret that lifespans have gone up in general with the rise of more readily available, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

    Average lifespans have gone up but the lifespan of people who are dying of “old age” hasn’t really. You can probably think of some historical figures who lived into their 80’s.

  • Anonymous

    Being a little further down the road than you, I have had a serious interest in anti-aging for 20 years.  Some comments:

    -The most successful lab  experiment dates back to the 1920’s when they discovered that simply feeding the rats a marginally starvation diet extended their lifespans by 50% or more.  Some people are actually trying this, but it is very difficult and of course by the time they prove it conclusively, the rest of us will have checked out.  But there is hope.  A major point is that the sirt gene, which has to do with insulin regulation, is triggered by this, as by resveratrol. They probably dont  understand all they know at this point,  but the current theory is that at least some aging is due to the ill effects of insulin spikes.  You can get a memetic that accomplishes this from Life Extension for under $20/mo.  .Or a common prescription drug that does it is metformin, which is even less.  You are on the right track avoiding white foods.
    On another front, there is a good possibility that telomere restoration will be more effective.  Again, a pill, or worse a shot, will be necessary.  Call it reset.

  • Anonymous

    Being a little further down the road than you, I have had a serious interest in anti-aging for 20 years.  Some comments:

    -The most successful lab  experiment dates back to the 1920’s when they discovered that simply feeding the rats a marginally starvation diet extended their lifespans by 50% or more.  Some people are actually trying this, but it is very difficult and of course by the time they prove it conclusively, the rest of us will have checked out.  But there is hope.  A major point is that the sirt gene, which has to do with insulin regulation, is triggered by this, as by resveratrol. They probably dont  understand all they know at this point,  but the current theory is that at least some aging is due to the ill effects of insulin spikes.  You can get a memetic that accomplishes this from Life Extension for under $20/mo.  .Or a common prescription drug that does it is metformin, which is even less.  You are on the right track avoiding white foods.
    On another front, there is a good possibility that telomere restoration will be more effective.  Again, a pill, or worse a shot, will be necessary.  Call it reset.

  • James McDonald

    Good read. I’ve done a good bit of research on anti-aging myself, and the most interesting thing I’ve come across is telomeres:

    I’m not affiliated with the above site in any way, but I do think you will find it to be a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

    • Robert Torres

      Yeah, there is a lot of evidence supporting a direct link to cell death and telomeres. 

  • James McDonald

    I just tried posting something on Telomeres for you to read, but I guess it was removed since it had a link in it. I suggest you Google “Bill Andrews on Telomere Basics” for a very interesting read similar to some of the stuff you discussed in your article.

  • Christopher Rasch

    What is your opinion of cryonics? Everything you’ve suggested here may get you to your maximum lifespan (100 or so), but that’s it.  Cryonics seems like the only existing technology that has a chance of getting us to a time when we’ve figured out the causes of aging, so that we can live 200, 500, or 1000 years or more.  

  • Anonymous

    Your blog is too damn addictive.

    • rooster2003

      and I’m not even certain its good for me, or helping me live forever :)

  • Jay Zalowitz

    Well done.

  • Robert Torres

    Good advice. thanks!

  • Amit Srivastava

    Hi James
    Way too good man.
    Thanks for reminding all the healthy habits.

  • Eric Thinman

    you dont really discuss properly managing ones money.

  • JustMe

    “Exercise (if done early in the day)…”

    James, I saw a fascinating BBC scientific documentary about the body clock that warned against exercise in the morning due to a negative effect on blood pressure (morning workouts can make blood pressure worse, while afternoon aerobics lower blood pressure).  Also, they claimed that the studies show that the body is under the most stress in the mornings (7am – noon), most heart attacks happen before noon on the way to work, and that those are the hours to take it easy if possible.  Next, they noted that there’s a statistical peak in road accidents at 2 PM due to post-lunch fatigue, so if all possible one should avoid driving at that time or at the very least drink a strong coffee 20 minutes beforehand.

    Other notes from the show include:

    – 10am – Noon = The best time for thinking and concentration
    – Shortly after lunch, there is a dip in brain activity and many enter into a micro-sleep mode
    – 25% of crashes are due to micro-sleeps.  (As I mentioned earlier, 2 PM has the most crashes versus 6 PM).
    – Eat according to the body clock (eat more breakfast and lunch, and less dinner)
    – Light affects one’s body clock, so early risers and late risers can change their habits by getting more light or less just via sunglasses usage.
    – Shirt night work is not good for the body
    – Testosterone is higher in the mornings, skin sensitivity and female orgasm is highest in the early evenings and late afternoons

    Overall, understanding body rhythms can increase and optimize the fun stuff in life.

    Last but not least, an exercise physiology book that I skimmed through had a useful study – if you do weights and cardio, it matters in which order you do them!  I forget which goes first, but the study showed that one has a relaxing effect on the blood vessels while the other had a negative effects on the blood vessels.  IMHO, it would suck to work out so hard just to cumulatively damage the body.

  • roidude

    Good post. I forwarded on the article about the health benefits of frequent sex to my wife.

  • Alexens

    I would overthink the part about cleanliness.

    In fact children who grow up in clean environments are more prone to allergies and so forth. Chirldren who grew up with cows and barns rarely have any allergies and immune system problems at all. The immune system obviously needs some amount of exercise.
    I also think the skin needs a break from all the shower geels.

    • Rodrigo Schramm

      You’re right, animals have much better immune systems than we do, because they don’t care about washing their hands, not leaving your food for more than 3 seconds on the ground (I know that is a myth), and so on.

  • Rajesh Nathani

    Very nicely written article and overall balanced. One quibble though, you talk of only letting senior doctors operate on you as the junior ones have no/less experience. Well, as a surgeon myself, if everyone thought the same, then the next generation would simply have no surgeons! Every junior surgeon operates under the watchful eye of a ‘senior’ person who takes full responsibility of the procedure. You can always say that this might be OK for others or the lesser informed but that is a narrow and parochial view.

  • taka jode

    People are defined by their beliefs.
    If you believe that to be healthy is to Avoid hospitals then you will never pass the benefits of being immune to those who have disease. Your life will always be paranoid of disease.

  • Ironthumb

    “. If you are feeling stress about a family relationship, think about a time when that relationship was great in your life. ”
    -Basically this line made me weep

  • albert mark

    When I
    searched the blogs suddenly I saw this one and when I read it, amazing stuff
    out there that compelled me to comment.

  • felyhely

    Truly awesome blog!
    I desire the same top-quality blog post from you in the forthcoming also.

    Insurance Hialeah

  • Michael John Turner

    You may find it interesting to note that the puritanical Kellogg created corn flakes in order to assuage the prurient desires of the afflicted masturbator, as it was believed that bland foods decreased sexual appetite (and, of course, that pleasuring oneself was unGodly).

  • jdelane

    i love your writing. you have done it all and survived and thrived. your advice is great.

  • Albert jack

    If you should be
    opting for finest contents like me, just visit this blog site daily because
    it provides the feature contents, thanks.