How to Be a Human

parade

“james altucher is a f’ing idiot on parade” someone wrote on a message board the other day. I don’t really like parades. But it got me to wonder about the psychology of people who take valuable time out of their day to write things like that. Not just about me but about anyone.

In general people get angry at me because I say in various ways that the world is not falling apart. That we’re not all going to die at the hands of some obscure European debt crisis or whatever the latest crisis of the week is in the media.

(this must be me at the parade)

Many people feel very strongly against some of my opinions. One woman wrote an article “James Altucher is an idiot” and then when she was getting zero views she emailed me the article so she’d have at least one view. To guarantee one view you can email me an article titled “James Altucher is an idiot” and I am sure to read it at the very least out of curiosity.

Other people replied on various message boards about what a F****ng loser I was, etc etc.

They seem to care more about my opinions than I do.

If my daughter comes to me and says, “I’m sad because I’d like to have more friends” then I would care about that. If my wife were sick I’d care about that. If I was sick I would VERY much care about that. I’m selfish. I’d care about my own sickness more than I’d care about my daughter’s ability to make friends.  I also care if I am writing interesting things. Or if I’m reading books that will make me a better writer. Of if I’m winning more at chess now that I’m taking chess lessons. I care about these things. If people write to me and ask for advice, I care a lot about the advice I give. But about the rest of the world, I don’t care at all. How big can one head be?

Why do I sometimes care about the stock market?

First off,  I can’t put this more bluntly: I’ve been ass-fucked repeatedly by the stock market for the past 15 years.

I’ve written before 10 reasons you shouldn’t buy stocks (even though I am very bullish on it). Nobody should. I give ten reasons but the main reason is: you buy a stock, then the media has people all over the place saying, “the end of the world is here so you better get out of stocks”, then everyone sells stocks, then the stock market goes straight up. Why does the media do that? The obvious reasons: fear and greed sell papers.

I’ve seen this happen every time, the exact same pattern: summer 1997, summer 1998, summer 1999, 2000-2002, summer 2004, summer 2005, late 2008/early 2009, summer 2010, and now summer 2011. Oh! I almost forgot: summer 1995 (“irrational exuberance”). But I wasn’t in the stock market then so I didn’t care.

October 1987 also. The market collapsed, everyone thought the world was over. FOOLED YOU! The market went straight up for years after the big crash.

But if I try to remind people of this simple pattern that happens over and over again, a lot of people get angry. I’m not upset at them. I don’t blame anyone for being angry at me. But I can tell you exactly why they were angry.

Here’s why:

  • –          Their fathers or mothers didn’t love them.
  • –          Other kids beat on them
  • –          Girls (or guys) didn’t like them or called them names.
  • –          Their friends backstabbed them.

So now they want to do the same to other people. So rather than working at their jobs they go from article to article and whatever message boards they can, then anonymously spew their hate.

Many of these people would like to kill themselves. I hate to say it but it’s true. I feel bad for them. How do I know they would like to kill themselves? How can I possibly be so psychic as to know this, particularly since in most cases they are anonymous so I don’t even know what sex, age, race, religion, location, they are.

I know this because they want the world to end. They keep blaming their problems on how bad the world is. How the world is falling apart. How we “borrowed too much” or how “the United States is going to fail” or how “Europe is going to take us down” or how “China is going to take over the world”. It’s an easy excuse so they don’t have to blame themselves on their own failures. They can blame me instead because I don’t think “China is going to take over the world”.

Two responses:

A) Its Your Fault – blame yourself before others.

B) Most Things In Life Don’t Work Out – which is fine. That’s all of life.

I also could care less if the US borrowed too much.  They can easily solve the problem: [Skip this if too boring. I’m bored already writing it].

  • A)     The US can forgive the $1.6 trillion in debt they have with THEMSELVES
  • B)      They can stop the four or five ongoing wars they have everywhere
  • C)      They can sell everything they own. Sell all the highways, the Universities, sell Washington DC (why do we even need a Department of Education if Education has gone straight down since that Department was created. Why do we need a legislative branch?)
  • D)     There’s six million private businesses. After you do A-C above, you’ll have money to incentivize every business to hire at least one more person. That would get us down to 3% unemployment, generate more revenues in taxes, etc.

There. Problem solved. The US is saved! Yay! Now onto the important part of the article.

The stock market is a window into the world’s depression. The world is manic-depressive. Right now, and maybe for the past decade, the world has been in the depressive cycle. The Internet bust, 9/11, Enron corruption, the financial crisis, the housing crisis, Europe crisis, unemployment. I get it. It’s been a hard decade. It’s been a hard decade for me also.  Before that it was in the manic cycle.

Animals ebb and flow with the world’s cycles. Humans rise above it and create their own cycles. I don’t know if I’m a human or an animal (I know, humans are a subset of animals, but I’m making a point). I’m a little bit of both. I hate to see the world depressed so I try to do things (go on TV, write articles, whatever) to convince people the world is not over. But it’s pretty pointless. People believe what they will because of that severe beating they had when they were nine that they could never shake themselves from.

How to be Human?

–          Step 1 is easy. Ignore the news.  The media is for animals.

–          Don’t watch the day to the day of the stock market.  You don’t have to be depressed when the world is depressed.

–          Do the Daily Practice. It’s the only way I’ve ever been able to rise above animal and be human. I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, and killed and finally it all stopped when I decided to focus on my insides instead of the outside. That’s how you train your body and mind to get over the beatings as a kid, the humiliation you’ve suffered, the lack of love you might’ve had to deal with. In my opinion (take it for what it’s worth), it’s the only way.

–          Don’t engage with crappy people. The woman who emailed me her fabulous article: “James Altucher is an Idiot” –  I actually responded to her email. I didn’t even follow my own advice. Then, finally,  I stopped responding to her on her four responses to me. It’s hard to follow good advice. If everyone followed good advice we’d all be superheroes and be flying around and using our x-ray vision to see naked people everywhere. I wish I followed my own advice every day. But it’s hard. Sometimes you have to modify it to fit your own needs and circumstances. Sometimes you have to modify every day.

–          Be creative every day. You can use these tips. Creativity connects more and more of the neurons in your brain to each other. Neurons that animals never connect up. If you are too busy with work, child raising, business-starting, etc don’t use that as an excuse. You can be creative in little, tiny ways. Make your kids laugh. Do something the exact opposite of what you would normally do at work. Try standing on your head at the busstop. Whatever.

–          The last three items are the most important. If you do those then the first two come naturally. If the above three items are too hard then modify them to suit your own purposes. For instance, if you can’t meditate every day (I can’t) then at least when you wake up say to the sky “what the hell do you want me to do today? I’m yours!” In other words, be gentle, humble, and surrender.

Don’t be an animal anymore. Planet of the Apes isn’t coming true. Be nice to other people. Become a human.

 

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FVAXY5OZTYZ2D35XXYJLNEJVBI Bullocks

    I vote for C) sell Alaska!  Problem solved. The US is saved! Yay!

    • http://twitter.com/jamesjansson James Jansson

      It’s called “the Russian solution”

    • Anonymous

      Hey!  I live in Alaska!  Better idea–sell California.  Oh wait…nobody would buy it…

  • J Tsang

    Hahaha….
    I’M Your Fans James!
    And This Is My First Time Post ~

    JTsang
    Chinese – Indonesia

  • Anonymous

    From one human to another, I enjoy reading your insightful comments, in fact, I may have a bro crush.

  • http://twitter.com/bondtrader83 David Schawel

    Negative comments on my blog always bother me more than I’d care to admit.  Remembering that my significance is from other more important things is difficult but true.

  • Anonymous

    James I read every post you tweet and get a lot from viewing life through your lens.  In this post I agree with your steps the US can take to save itself.  I would rejoice if our leaders followed your advice.  However it’s very unlikely they will.  Our leaders don’t have the guts to do what’s needed.  We will continue on the path to “doomsday.”  Whatever that might be.  Each crisis continues to amplify in size and the solutions continue to be to put a bigger bandaid on it.  Sooner or later a crisis will occur that will be a mortal wound that no bandaid can fix.  That point might be in six months or it might be in 50 years but it will happen.

    • Jake

      Hmmm. What does this final doomsday look like to you?

  • Steven L Goff

    “First off,  I can’t put this more bluntly: I’ve been ass-fucked repeatedly by the stock market for the past 15 years.”============
    Thats your own fault! …..for starters by not hiring me permanently as your advisor/trader!

    • Steven L Goff

      you bring too much emotion to trading. Notice i did say investing in start ups and VC (venture capital)

      • Steven L Goff

        it should read   “i did Not say”…….why dont you get a friggin’ one minute edit window James….. WTF Bro?   Mr.  High Tech website guy ….

        • Jake

          Wow. Why the anger?

  • Agb2mail

    Man, I love this article! Thank you!

  • bryan lankford

    thanks for writing and sharing your knowledge

  • Chicken Butt

    James, I love your articles but I do have one main problem: can you please stop telling people about the fearmongering based on nothing real? Can you please stop telling them that fixing the US debt “problem” is really very simple, so long as politicians actually want to fix it?

    Here’s the thing: I like making money. If everyone understood the world you do, the markets would be a lot more sane. And I’d make a lot less money.

    Thanks for your kind consideration.

  • Stevebalmer

    “But about the rest of the world, I don’t care at all. ”
    Of course you care, otherwise you wouldn’t have written a 1000 word article about why you didn’t care.

  • Caromusa

    It’s hard to be human. Most people I see everyday are living dead. It’s hard to be nice to them, when I feel they don’t get the point of life. Always blaming others for their problems, sitting all day waiting for someone (parents, employer, the government, whatever) to give them all they need, like babies who need to be fed.
    And I don’t care if they were bullied when they were 9. I was, too, but I’m happy now with who I am. They should get a shrink, then come out of their beds in the morning.
    There’s no incentive to be creative or productive in my country, you just have to take advantage of others and get away with it, but never forget to complain about how hard is your life (which is not) and spill your negativity all around. I’m sick of it. 
    (A ver los muchachos argentinos que están por ahí, si comparten un poco lo que digo).
    But now I’m complaining myself. I’ll better go and try to do something productive, so I don’t become a living dead myself.
    PS: JAMES IS AN IDIOT if he loses one more minute of his precious time with someone who doesn’t think he is brilliant.

    • Nope

      Being nice to others isn’t about them, it’s about you.

    • Nope

      Being nice to others isn’t about them, it’s about you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodrigo-Silva/1792750726 Rodrigo Silva

    Hi James, 

    Man, you have EXPERIENCE. The experience that comes from suffering. I respect it a LOT!I would say there are 3 classes of animals: 

    a) “the” (other) animals 
    b) human animals
    c) human beings

    You´re asking people to stop being (b) and start being (c). True human beings are CONSCIOUS of their weaknesses and their animal behaviour. They are “better”, in a good sense, than that. They have peace of mind and true happiness.

    The sad part is, the advice you have given works for those readers that are on the thin edge that separates (b) from (c). They will accept it. But those who are in a defensive position, those who the cap fit, they will be on denial and struggle a few/many (?) more years to start. I would say more, some will die and won´t become CONSCIOUS of who they are (as animals).

    This post is a public service. You should win a medal. No kidding! :)

    Rod

  • pjc

    Destruction is so much easier than creation. 

    My five year old was annoyed I was reading the Kindle in the hot tub, and not playing with me. So he dumped a big pile of leaves on me, while I was still in the hot tub.

    I got mad at him, which is pretty rare, because generally I’m pretty tolerant of his shenanigans. His mom and his teachers and his brother all make him toe the line, Dad lets him run wild. But this time I was mad.

    “Why are you so mad?” He cried.

    It’s because this mess will take so long to clean up. I’ve got to turn the heater off, drain the hot tub, scrub the hot tub, refill the hot tub, and reheat the hot tub. In just five minutes, you created 3 hours of work, and 36 hours of “no hot tub for Daddy”.

    The “world is coming to the end’ phenomena is the same thing. Adults grasp that destruction is easier than creation. Butchery is easier than surgery. So they hear those “it’s all gonna end” stories, and it makes sense to them on some gut level, and they freak out and pile on.

    The best is just to keep your hot tub clean, and wonder about how, 100 years ago, the idea of sitting in a hot tub, reading a kindle, and drinking a spinach smoothie would be considered absurdly extravagant.

  • N012

    I love how you bleeped every single F* word in the article except the one relating to the stock market :)

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    Excellent comment

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    So I ask you.  What are you afraid of?  Why did you post anonymously instead of attaching your name?

  • SueMC

    You are a brilliant writer with a unique and compelling point of view.  I am a closet writer who is trying to learn from writers I respect such as you.  We are all too self-critical, which is why I’m still writing in the closet.  You must get 100+ positive posts for every negative one, yet you single out the “idiots” to read and respond to.  Why do we [all] do that?  Anyway, the only thing I don’t like about your writing is the use of the f word.  Too vulgar for me.

    But thanks for keeping us all thinking and entertained with your writing, James.  

  • http://twitter.com/kamalravikant Kamal Ravikant

    Unrelated but related…..have you heard Derrick Brown’s poetry?  Listen to this particular one, it’ll move you, blow your mind (in good ways):

    http://youtu.be/3ww4-d5FTvk

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      That was great. Checking out other things on his site now.

  • Anonymous

    Great article, James. David Burns has a metaphor; if crazy person walked up n’ said you’re the antichrist, would you be bummed rest of the day? Nope, just as you say, the anger is coming from somewhere inside the trolls. Nothing to do with you.

    As for the country’s future, you’re absolutely right. 99% of the time it’s all a bunch of puff over nothing. Life goes on.

    Good fun is reading 17th c US history. Unbelievable the shit that went on — hyperinflation, sovereign bankruptcy, wars between states, hunting down and massacre of dissenters. And guess what? Life goes on. For 99% of the people, 99% of the time, we figure it out.

    Humans are resilient.

  • Bill Walker

    The US is up to six wars now, plus funding all other wars, usually both sides. But good post anyway… we’d all be better off if the Department Of Education and the rest of the Departments were abolished and the money left in private hands. At least then our taxes wouldn’t be paying for nuclear reactors for North Korea:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/walker/walker36.1.html

  • Anonymous

    James, you given these people too much credit. They aren’t as deep as you think. They don’t want to kill themselves, they aren’t victims of circumstance…alot of people are mediocre. People who lash out anonymously are pedestrian, and beneath us. They will always be consumers, never creators.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QAQZQ63L26FNAGYSOUBIL6XXIQ kjp712

    No Job,No Future,No Money,Not Happy.Johnny will not be a Rock Singer or a Movie Star.He falsely believes he has no future because Today is rotten and the Sun is not shining.If you say today was a good day and there is hope for the future,Johnny shakes his head no.Why? To use your mind to create a future for oneself can be difficult and require a lot of work.Some do not want to put in the required effort to achieve those goals.James posts strike a nerve because they make you think.Although you may never be a Rock/Movie Star,to build a foundation for future success is within your grasp.You only need to open your mind to grab that opportunity.

  • Jake

    “Don’t
    engage with Crappy People”: Being presumptuous, but I get the feeling from
    all the posts I’ve read that maybe you (and probably most others) consider
    folks with differing opinions backed with as much conviction as you have for
    yours as falling in the category of “Crappy People”. I think it’s
    more helpful to engage in dialogue with those of differing opinions rather than
    with those who agree, and to try to keep an open mind to at least fully
    understand where their opinions are coming from. Of course, those who disagree
    with personal venom really are Crappy People.

    I love
    your honesty and the thoughtfulness behind the way you express / structure your opinions, though I often
    disagree with the severity (or some other elements) of the opinions.

  • William Krivan

    I agree that there is excessive fear-mongering in the mainstream media about European debt problems or other crises du jour. And I appreciate your effort to bring this to the public’s attention. With regard to Europe, there are undeniable reasons for concern about the fiscal health of some countries; but, I am stunned by the sheer number of news stories that show
    severe clinical symptoms of malignant fact-deprivationitis and acute inflammatory nonsensia. These two diseases seem to be far more contagious than any of the European debt problems that many media outlets currently utilize as a major source of revenue. A few random examples that I found interesting/amusing:

    I heard Brian Sullivan from CNBC say more than once that “the entire Eurozone economy [i.e. the economy that is supposedly falling into the abyss – a word of Greek etymology, by the way – and that will drag the whole world down with it] is actually larger on a GDP basis
    than the United States.” This is not true. While it is true that the EU economy is larger than that of the US, he ignored the fact that not all countries in the EU use the Euro (17/27 currently do). I may be missing something, but it seems to me that recent data from the World Bank, the IMF, and the CIA Factbook give $12-13 trillion for the nominal Eurozone GDP. Even with creative algebra, that number can hardly be interpreted as “larger than the US,” which is about $14.5 trillion. Is this another example of a $2 trillion mistake? In combination with preposterous nonsense such as Michelle Caruso-Cabrera “reporting” from Greece wearing safety goggles, this does, in my view, not make CNBC a AAA candidate for any journalistic excellence award.

    On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal’s front page featured the headline FED EYES EUROPEAN BANKS – “Regulators Scrutinize Ability of Institutions’ U.S. Units to Fund Themselves.” After reading a statement from the President of the New York Fed later that day, I had the impression that the Fed is continuously monitoring all banks as a standard procedure. Interesting. Imagine a big fat headline “Radiation being monitored at Japanese Nuclear Power Plant.” So what? They do it all the time.

    Today’s big headline in the WSJ was BANK WOES TAKE CENTER STAGE and the second
    paragraph about Friday’s market action read “The Dow…fell 1.6% dragged down in part by concerns that the problems swirling around European banks could spread into the U.S. banking system.” (How does that whole financial disease spreading and contagion thing work anyhow? I wish a fiscal epidemiologist could explain it to me.) Well, JPM was down 2.4% but BAC declined only 0.6%. What really seemed to have dragged the Dow down on Friday
    was HPQ along with INTC, IBM, MSFT, and also AA and CAT. (On Thursday, HPQ had
    announced a major overhaul of their operations.)

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    Good work.

    The fact is that the only reality is within ourselves, living large in our own minds.  If the person spewing the anger and hatred can not recognize this, well, that just isn’t (y)our problem.  We need to look at that person and say to ourselves, how can I view this person from a place of love.  

    You’ve done just that.  

    Maybe they weren’t loved as a child, etc…it doesn’t matter today. What matters today is what we do today.  This particular person chose to hate.  That is so sad. Maybe she or he, will have a better tomorrow.  

    I like that you brought this up instead of ignoring it, or letting it go by the way side.  It’s a vivid reminder that people can be cruel, but we don’t have to see them as bad and we don’t have to own their anger.

  • cindyluwho

    I am an admitted news junkie. Not uncommon for me to watch 3-6 hours per day However in the last few weeks due to lack of funds I have lost my cable and my news. I must say it is one of the best things that has happened to me and my family.  I am less stressed and yes, I do find that my creative juices flow much more freely. I don’t want my cable back. Watching too much news was a drain in my life. I never would have seen it had it not been for yet another financial hiccup in my existence. What a Blessing!

  • http://jayliew.com jayliew

    James, once in a while, it’s purely entertaining to see you write a post counter-ing your naysayers, but after a while it gets old, and this just reeks of drama. Once in a while it’s good to see you counter them point by point to further solidify the fundamentals of your assertions. But just once in a while.

    I know you admitted above you didn’t follow your own advice – so here’s further reinforcement for you, of your own advice: stay away from crappy people. Keep fanning these flames and it’ll make people think you secretly enjoy the drama a little too much (I stay away from people who are attracted to drama). Once in a while is ok ;)Now start writing about stuff that can help people change the world already! Enough attention has been spilled on people with a negative outlook – give some attention to the folks with a positive outlook ;)

  • Kristin

    “I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, and killed and finally it all stopped (…)”

    Whom or what did you kill?

  • Esther

    The world abhors an optimist!

  • Joe Antenucci

    Great post. I don’t agree with everything you say (DOW 20,000), but this article was excellent.

  • Dgarber

    I couldn’t agree more.

    We run from manufactured crisis to fictional doomsday scenario to international conspiracy in search of a new adrenalin rush. All while sitting in an air-conditioned, well fed, and technologically coddled setting, bemoaning our unfair state.

    Where has the common sense questioning of the prevailing wisdom gone? Why is everyone parroting the party line? What ever happened to polite disagreement? -For that matter, what has happened to respect and manners?

    Sometimes I feel like a stranger in a strange land (great Heinlein book).

    As different as you and I are, James, we agree more often than we disagree. When we do disagree, I am respectful of your opinions because I know they are well-reasoned and heart-felt. I read your blog because it exists beyond the venomous echo chamber that is prevalent today. It also makes me question.

    We live in a silly season, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. Good is bad and pi is equal to 22/7ths. Gold will go to $15000, if you listen to some people. -It doesn’t have any real value except it’s scarcity and a magical ability to calm the nerves of the persons who have been whipped into a frenzy.

    I wonder when people will get the clue that they are being played.

  • Mano Subramaniam

    James, you may sound very negative at things; but there’s always positive matters  in it. Just don’t bother those “sheep”, they are more animal than human. Those haters and news believers are love to be herd than being advise to walk by themselves.

  • Anonymous

    If it bleeds, it leads. 

    That is the ethos driving most television newsrooms.  And for good reason. 

    Watching a disjointed story develop right before our eyes, with reporters getting a snippet here and a tidbit crawling across the screen there, we are left feeling that we are unable to fully grasp the situation.  That, in turn, creates a sense of low level anxiety.  Add a graphic with exploding rocket jet fire drone surveillance apaches or crashing unemployed recessionistas in downgraded foreclosure, and they’ve created the perfect, hopeless slave-worker-consumer.  The only thing left to do is deliver that consumer to their partners in crime at the commercial break who, in turn, administers a whole host of social-comparison anxieties.

    The easiest way to fix these anxious, helpless, fearful states is to go shopping. 

    A few years ago Alan Greenspan frankly told the Wall Street Journal, his job as Fed chairman was to maintain a certain minimum level of “worker insecurity” so there wouldn’t be “wage inflation” – income increases among the middle class.”

    The only thing left for anyone who wants to remain sane is to open the window and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” 

    Then toss out the TV. 

    Hopefully the sidewalk below will be empty.  If not we’ll be watching you on the news.

  • http://twitter.com/KevVigil KVigil

    Too funny. I’ll be in the front row whenever you decide to do your first stand-up show.

  • Michael Grosshandler

    James, maybe it was your hair but I initially thought you were a loser.  I now realize you were quite right about the market as well as about “haters”.  Keep it up and I will read.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Im confused…by being ass-fucked did you enjoy it, like the ~15% of guys and ~30% of women who enjoy that act? Or did you not enjoy it?

  • http://edwardcarmichael.wordpress.com Ed Carmichael

    I loved this article James, especially the advice to surrender and say “what the hell do you want me to do today.” Most people approach life from the opposite perspective, demanding life to make them happy, which is a sure recipe for disappointment. Thanks for your work.

  • http://twitter.com/MicroMediaHits Andrew Nelson

    One problem of getting a lot of web traffic is that other people will try to get web traffic by bashing you. It’s a cynical and calculated ploy for attention, aka ad money. Ignore them, don’t mention them else they’ll be encouraged to take more extreme positions.
    BTW I’m trying to be creative. Thanks for the encouragment and the steps!

  • http://twitter.com/drewallstar Andrew Nelson

    One problem of getting a lot of web traffic is that other people will try to get web traffic by bashing you. It’s a cynical and calculated ploy for attention, aka ad money. Ignore them, don’t mention them else they’ll be encouraged to take more extreme positions.
    BTW I’m trying to be creative. Thanks for the encouragement and the steps!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Very good advice.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Very good advice.

  • Dana R

    What do adults do but build better frameworks? 

  • Anonymous

    I generally agree. However, the financial markets are an absolutely crucial element to our modern, fragmented, capitalist economy. From production to distribution to the retail level, capital markets are an intrinsic component in the way the economy functions. And they’re disfunctional (or maybe highly functional if you’re a 29 year old wonderkid sitting on the 16th floor of the Goldman Sachs building) and the average Joe is losing faith.  The wealthy having lost faith a while ago (ever been to the Caymans?). There are TRILLIONS of dollars in capital that has fled overseas and Congress is obsessing over flag burning or boys screwing boys or whatever. We keep going like this and the kids under 30 may just head for somewhere less ridiculous, where their efforts are duly rewarded and they’re not stifled under trillions in debt they themselves didn’t accumulate. Brazil maybe. Who could blame them?

  • OracleLurker

    James i certainly wouldn’t say you are an idiot – you do, however, appear to me to be more adept at producing idea’s in quantity then quality. The irony of this post is that you are complaining of a defeatist attittude in others yet what could be more defeatist then the notion that the Dow is going to 20,000 yet no one should buy stocks? I’m pretty sure I’ve never come across anything more defeatist then this. Also this entire post is basically directed at a straw man – yes I’m sure you get as much ridiculous hate male from fools as the bearish bloggers do – but wouldn’t it be more interesting to address why someone like Mike Shedlock has taken issue with you in the past then these garden variety dum dums? You did ask for an apology from Mish back at the end of April i believe. Your points on competition in the “why you shouldnt buy stocks” post are well taken actually – but why should success come easy? Are people entitled to just thow some darts at a wall of ticker symbols and succeed without a deep understanding of market history and dynamics? It’s the notion that they can and should which is promoted by the industry that makes me cringe far more then the pessimism promoted by the financial media.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Not sure what you are trying to say. I did several times address Shedlock in articles over a year ago. And I address the other issues (bullish vs dont buy stocks) in other articles. Not suggesting people throw darts either. What ideas am I doing in quantity.

  • John_icg

    Someone mentioned Mike Shedlock?  Talk about a fragile-ego’d little soul who can’t handle how his deflationist views aren’t working out so he lashes out at others…

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.conley Adrian Conley

    James, I always enjoy reading your posts and find them insightful. That said, using funds from the sale of assets to artificially decrease employment would do nothing to decrease national debt. There would be no net increase in tax revenue to reduce the national debt.

  • Lifeoutpines

    so what’s the solution? continue to pursue success yet consciously still try to be human?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes

  • David

    James,

    I felt compelled to write because I appreciate your blog very much and this post was extremely powerful. If more people displayed your level of honesty and transparency we’d have a healthier world. The concept of the Daily Practice has really changed my life. You won’t please everyone but you are changing lives! Please keep writing!

  • Jdpeak

    James,
    I have a contract on the building and it will pay off debt and expensives. Thanks again.
    Yoou “saved a life” when you helped me. I will be forever grateful.
    God speed

  • http://HireHassan.com Hassan

    best advice I’ve heard with regards to friends: the easiest way to gain more friends is to be someone you would want to be friends with. I probably would not want to be friends with someone who just wanted more and more friends.

  • http://twitter.com/fledglingtrader Aris David

    Planet of the Apes “was” in London. Riots, looting, mugging, arson, destroying other people’s livelihood :-)

    As always great advice. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504592623 Charlotte-Elizabeth Clark

    Love a good rant! :)

  • Padraig

    james altucher is a f’ing dick,nah I’m just kidding James, your alright ;)

  • Kevin M

    Step 1 is gold. I started a “news diet” a few months ago and almost immediately became a happier human. So much nicer to read a good book then go to bed than to listen to 2 anchors talk about murder and how f*cked up the economy is. I’m sorry, every time I drive by Hooters, IHOP or Starbucks they are full (and everyone I know but me has an iPhone) – the economy can’t be THAT bad.

  • Vellenga

    James, your blog posts are like a Ctrl-Alt-Del for my brain.  Nice, fresh reboot that purges the crap out of my RAM and then I can think clearly again.  Love coming here.

  • doug graves

    James:
    Have you ever read Anthony DeMello?  His writing helped me detach from the folks who change direction so they can blow smoke up my ass.  http://www.amazon.com/Awareness-Opportunities-Reality-Anthony-Mello/dp/0385249373

  • kingsef

    I always tell my doomsday minded associates “Hey, look on the bright side. If the world ends tomorrow, you wont be here to give a F*&k anyway.”

  • kingsef

    This is BRILLIANT. Rarely do I read words that make me feel like “finally” someone had the balls to say this, but this is one of those blogs.

  • mariam

    Thanks james for bravo blog n i’d like to tell u that this is ur first blog which i read from first word to last word otherwise i dont read so big blogs coz it make me bore

  • http://asaneapproach.com Jeanne

    James, I love how you bleeped out all the F bombs in this post except for this one, ” I’ve been ass-fucked repeatedly by the stock market for the past 15 years.”

    For some reason, that really made me laugh.  

  • Anonymous

    Good job James!
    I wish more people could decide that living a neurotic life based on what knuckle heads are reading to them on TV is a terrible thing.  Good chess might be over most people’s heads.  There are many other things people can do that I see sadly lacking.  Play some music, learn how to cook, eat and talk to one’s family and friends.  Stop trying to get ahead of the “Jones'”  You’ll probably find that they are in debt, neurotic and suicidal given the realities of their phony lifestyles.

    Walt

  • http://www.insuranceactivist.com Alan

    I believe this is the 3rd article of yours I’ve read, and have to say I agree with the woman that called you an idiot. Why Rockwell links to you I don’t know?

  • Anonymous

     “It is important at times like these
    to remember that there have always
    been times like these.” — (?)
    Look at the picture.
    Look at the frame.
    Walk on.

  • JTsang

    Hi James

    First Sorry about my stupid question,But am like to hear your opinion.what is quantitive ease actually ? Its just simple printing the money and does the effect is good for short mid or even long term for one country like US ?

    Many Thanks

  • Dnowf

    If you ask me the news is way to too pollyannaish. Just wait till christmas and you will see. Everyday you will see articles with headlines claiming “consumer spending at an all time high”, “visitors to malls across the country breaks record”, “christmas bonuses up from last year” video footage of the masses lining up for black friday and the like. There is no need for the MSM to scare people(the exception being natural disastors and health related reasons). The MSM will rarely have scary news stories regarding the economy because its not good for business. People dont want to spend on expendable goods when they are scared about their economic future.

  • Prof. Byron Brainard

    Nice posting however I disagree about the 10 reasons you shouldn’t buy stocks – Stocks will always be a better investment, you are actually buying a piece of a company, if that company does well, your money will do well also over the LONG TERM – no amount of media nay-saying can change that.  

    • eric obrien

      tell that to the old shareholders of GM

  • Cindy

    James Altucher is a d#%n fine fellow. So there.

  • http://www.busking4freedom.net Jesse Slokum

    Keep up the good work!
    ME? I’d rather be out rock’n’rolling
    than on the internet, trolling…LOL

  • http://twitter.com/godyxz Raul Gallardo

    Dear James, 

    I have read this article at least three times this week, because I think it is so good, that I am probably going to keep it in a place where I can look at it when I am not connected. Every time I should panic or feel a little down, this article will cheer me up and remind me of what is really important. 

  • http://twitter.com/godyxz Raul Gallardo

    Dear James, 

    I have read this article at least three times this week, because I think it is so good, that I am probably going to keep it in a place where I can look at it when I am not connected. Every time I should panic or feel a little down, this article will cheer me up and remind me of what is really important. 

  • Reality?

    I am always amazed at the responses to some of James’s posts. People seem to forget that the post above is just someone’s view, an opinion. So many readers treat it as ‘truth’.

    The article contains very little in the way of facts though.

    It is a fact that the world (with America leading the way) has a standard of living that has been borrowed from the future. We are now very close to the point where the interest payments on that borrowing are unsustainable. So many of us rely on governments for so much, whether it be healthcare or infrastructure. We rely on the thought of our pension.

    Well, simple maths shows that when debt exceeds GDP by wide margins, the promises governments have made will be broken. This has happened many times over the past few thousand years, so it isn’t doom-mongering, it is mathematical fact.

    For those, like James, that espouse the stock market, and are bullish, please just examine the Japanese experience over the past 30 years or so. They suffered a huge property-driven debt bubble, which burst. The Nikkei index peaked at 40,000 and is now still under 10,000. All through those 30 years people like James were bullish on growth.

    One final point: James says on his blog ‘Don’t buy stocks’. He says on TV ‘buy stocks’.

    Odd eh? And he calls people like me suicidal and lists 4 reasons why. I’m sane, pragmatic, have a good family, friends, enjoy sports, holidays and life generally. James can’t handle being in a room with 10 people, and spews his darkest most personal thoughts on the internet…..like wanting his daughters to be lesbians. Truly, this blog is a sign of some of the ills that infect our world.

  • Anonymous

    I have been checking out this site for a few months.  The content is great.

    Agreed, the US could get be out of debt very easily.  Economics is interesting to me and I need to learn more.

    The US takes in around $2.2 trillion a year and our expenses are around $3.7 trillion.  In 2002, our expenses were about $2.2 trillion.  What has happened since 2002 that justifies such an increase in spending?  Just something to ponder…

    James mentioned four ways to solve our national debt problem.  Canceling the $1.6 trillion debt held by the Federal Reserve is the first step and should have already happened. 

    My concern is that big government is a big money-maker for a lot of people.  I have a hard time seeing any agreement on our debt, budget and taxes.  Is the US debt more of an issue than we think? 

    The solutions are pretty simple, but will there be an agreement?  Will the US ever have a balanced budget?

    This is my first post and I’m sorry if it is too political for anyone.  Any feedback on my questions would be great.

    Thanks James.  I plan to continue reading daily.

  • Mansal

    “Here’s why:
    – Their fathers or mothers didn’t love them.- Other kids beat on them- Girls (or guys) didn’t like them or called them names.- Their friends backstabbed them.”

    Don’t you think that is a bit simplistic? I thoroughly enjoy almost everything you write (including your book, which I surprised myself by finishing in a day). However, you speak from the heart a lot more than other people – and sometimes that can offend. This person who thinks you are an idiot was probably offended.

    Or…more than likely, everybody and their mothers thinks it is a good idea to blog whatever dumb idea pops into their head (kind of like that think before you speak thing? – yeah do that before blogging too).

    …or potentially she just wanted to get a rise out of you. My dad can sometimes be a bit testy and I’ll be the first to admit I play around in that way. :-

  • Michael Sivan

    “what the hell do you want me to do today.”

    I believe that if you ask hell what to do, hell will give you bad advice.

    Why not ask “what for heaven’s sake should I do today?”