Nine Ways to Break All The Rules!

telemarketer

“You can’t do that,” my parents told me. I had just gotten back from my 9 to 5 job. I was 17 and still a senior in high school. I had gotten a job as a telemarketer selling newspaper subscriptions. I had beaten out two African-American women who had a ton of experience for the job. Nobody asked me my age (17, senior in high school), qualifications (none), resume (what’s that), social security number (huh?), or how I would do this job while attending high school (I hadn’t thought ahead that far). Looking back on it there must’ve been some racism involved in me getting that job.

I skipped school that day by hiding in the backyard until I heard the garage door open and shut twice. A standard technique I had been using since I was 12 (I hope my 12 year old is not reading this). Then the public bus would either go to NYC or Princeton and my direction would be determined depending on what flavor of trouble I was getting into that year. (The year I was in a cult I would head to NYC. But most other times it was Princeton for pizza, video games, X-rated movies, and comic books).

Apparently that was the day the school decided to track me down. It was my 30th absence. That’s the legal limit in New Jersey. So my parents were frantic. “You can’t do that,” they said to me when I got home. I’m not good at listening but I went to school the next day and never returned to my job or returned the boss’s phone calls. I was horrible at cold calling and sold zero subscriptions on my first day at the job anyway.

“You can’t do that,” one of the VPs of Marketing at a major media company I worked at told me.  I had just told her  I had a company on the side and was hiring myself to do the job for the major company I worked for. “And you can’t just walk into the office of the CEO and tell him what to do.” But I have a hearing problem in my right ear where I can’t hear the letter “T” very well when it’s used in a contraction. Maybe I need a hearing device. She was beautiful but I still only listened to her with my right ear.

She was right. I couldn’t do that. So I quit my job to run my other company full-time. Then sold it. Then switched careers 9 other times since then. Some of those careers crushed the soul out of me, where you consistently google all the methods of suicide, where everyone that previously had your back now stabs your back.

The VP and I recently became Facebook friends. I see now, 15 years later, that she got a promotion. Good for her. She deserved it.

“You can’t do that,” the policeman told me. I didn’t want to leave my house. I was lying down pretending to be asleep but both policemen were in my room. They stood there. “Wake up,” one of them said. They ended up forcing me to go downstairs with them and sit in the back of their car. The back of a police car is small and uncomfortable. My knees were up against the back of their seat. I ended up staying the night in a motel.  Sometimes when you disobey the rules, the consequences are unpleasant. But even then, five hours later, wakening in a room filled with cheap, blue colors, a post nuclear fake blue sky with irradiated flowers painted into the wall, all I could think of was not what I had done wrong but, “this is a new life.” New new new.

We are told from an early age to be “obedient”. There’s a lot of actors involved in that word. There’s “me” –  “the obedient one”. Then there’s parents, teachers, siblings, bosses, wife, children, friends, employees, partners, investors, clients, customers, neighbors, citizens, the police, the law. We have to be obedient to all of them. Or else there are consequences. We get punished. Or people hate us. Or people get angry and want to argue. Or people think you’re crazy.

I feel like my chest is constricting even as I type this. So many people won’t speak to me anymore. So many people think I’ve broken some rule I didn’t even know about. And sometimes I screw up. A lot of times I screw up. I can think back to a thousand people I’ve disappointed. But I’m scared to death of slowly dying throughout life. Of living a life of complacency until death. The only way to not be handcuffed and jailed by all the rules set by the people around you is to fight for the disobedience that will set you free. Mediocrity follows the rules. Unfortunately, both success and failure disobey them.

 

(don’t be a robot)

Some examples:

–          When Google started there were already 20 search engines in the process of going bankrupt. I even rejected investing in a search engine company (see, “The worst VC decision I ever made”) because I was obediently thinking, “the whole search engine thing is a done deal”. I was being too obedient. Google was disobedient. They won. I lost my home.

–          Listen to a band like U2 or the Beatles or any band that withstands the test of time. Can you think of any bands that came before them that sounded like them? I’m not a music expert. But sometimes I can’t even figure out what instruments these groups are playing. They have their own styles unique to them. Although influenced by the past, in some important way they were disobedient towards their musical past and came up with something utterly new and astonishing.

(see my post, “The Moment Before Abbey Road”)

–          Kurt Vonnegut is a very disobedient writer. Sometimes he completely steps away from the story and characters and enters the book as the omniscient author. I never saw that done before. In the middle of a novel he might say, “ok, I’m the author so now I’m going to make these two characters which sprung straight out of my head meet each other in this imaginary bar.” (See his book, “Breakfast of Champions” as an example).

–          Andy Warhol is classic disobedience. He would take brand names and completely abuse them and then use his “factory” to mass produce his art. Disobedient to the art world and the commercial world (where he got his start) in every way.

–          Albert Einstein. You can’t get more disobedient than Einstein. He’s almost a fractal of disobedience. Meaning, no matter how closely you examine his life, no matter how minute you take apart his history, those moments you look at will be examples of disobedience. For instance, he renounced his citizenship to Germany in 1895. Then he opposed the war in 1914 despite the fact that almost all his physicist friends supported Germany (!) in the war. Politically, scientifically, and even in his romantic relationships (see the excellent biography, “Einstein in Love”) Einstein blazed his own path, often against the straight path followed by colleagues, family, and the governments which desperately wanted him for their own insidious purposes (Germany, America, Switzerland, Israel were all eager for their own political purposes. But Einstein was a nation of one).

–          Buddha, Jesus, Abraham, and so on, were all disobedient to their family, teachers, and peers. All three of them had to leave and fight the standards of proper behavior in their own communities. Buddha abandoned his father’s wishes that he be king, abandoned his wife and just-born son. Jesus went against the wishes of the ruling class of Jews at the time and Abraham left Ur and his father in order to follow his own religious path. (See my post, “Was Buddha a Bad Father”)

Disobedience has consequences, most of them not good. You have to fight for your life. You’ll end up a nomad. You have to fight the critics. You’re going to cry. People are going to abandon you. I just found out two people formerly very close to me are no longer speaking to me.

You have to fight the people who will laugh at your attempts. Thomas Edison had to try 1000 times before he figured out the lightbulb. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel was rejected by over 20 publishers. People hated it. Hated her. Her friends laughed at her attempts as a middle-aged single mom to become an author. Now she’s a zillionaire. Who’s laughing now?

Don’t you want to be like one of the people above? Or any of the other countless examples I can give? (please give more examples in the comments).

How To Be Disobedient:

If you google the phrase “How to Be Disobedient” there are ZERO results. The only results are things like “What to do about a disobedient teen” or pages on how God does not want “disobedience”. I personally searched about a trillion web pages using the most disobedient search engine of all, Google.

(the original disobeyer)

Nine Techniques to be disobedient. You can try them today. Please suggest additional ones in the comments. In our youth we are butterflies, flying everywhere and trying everything. But in the end, life and obedience eats our dying bodies like maggots unless we truly fly free.

–          Do the opposite. Buddha, instead of being a king, became the most impoverished, malnourished beggar possible in his quest for happiness. His family had told him his entire life he would be happy if he was king and wealthy. He did the EXACT opposite and found his happiness.

Practice: Everything that you consider doing today, consider doing the exact opposite. You don’t have to do the opposite but at least practice considering it. Maybe don’t go to that meeting. Maybe it can be a phone call. Maybe don’t write that report. Draw it instead. Maybe don’t go to that wedding. Go the beach instead. This is similar to my suggestion in “The Other Day I Woke Up Afraid and Angry” – if you are afraid of X, ask youself how you would react if the opposite of X happens (which is the likely result). Start that practice today! Right now as you’re reading this article even! Arggh! It’s a contradiction. Maybe you need to do the opposite of this article! Here’s a modification: for every thing you are told to do today: flip a coin: heads you do it, tails you don’t.

–           Surprise. A surprise is an act of civil disobedience. When they thought you were going to fight, you sat. When they thought you were going to sleep, you loved. When they thought you were going to be a good employee, you stole all of their clients and started your own company. When they thought you were angry, you made them laugh. When they thought you were going to create a website for charities, you created Groupon. Surprise!

–          Change one thing. Larry Page, when he was figuring out the PageRank algorithm which launched Google, didn’t start from scratch. He modified a patent developed by Robin Li (who later started Baidu) when Li was working at Dow Jones. The Dow Jones patent for search is 95% of the PageRank algorithm. So why didn’t Dow Jones start Google? Or any search engine for that matter?

Answer: companies have a hard time being disobedient. 99.9999% of the people in a company are very obedient people, so its hard then for the combined entity to be disobedient. Page, living in his garage, had no problems “changing one thing” or maybe two to create his own new search algorithm that works better than anything before or since. (See my post, “Why are Larry Page and I so Different”). This is not a criticism of “obedience” but just a reality. Procter & Gamble, despite having billions of dollars, can’t start Facebook. Which cost a few hundred dollars to build. Companies should train their employees to be disobedient. But they don’t know how. A slug crawls slowly along it’s own secretions and is happy with that meager existence.

–          Steal.  The best example is the first act of humanity in the Bible. Eve, going against God’s orders, stole the apple of knowledge. The result of this disobedience: all of humanity according to the Bible. For the less biblically inclined, every musical cover is an example of stealing and then “change one thing” or more. I mentioned the other day “A Fifth of Beethoven” done by the Walter Murphy Band and featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever. I’m listening to it this second. He stole Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and “changed one thing” (added a disco beat basically) and had a hit. Or how about Roy Lichtenstein. He blatantly stole panels from pop comic books, added his own text to them, and called it art. BAM! Bad behavior, Roy!

(all he did was change the color of her hair and now his version is worth$20 million)

–          Combine. Take two things that are unrelated. How about DNA science and computing. And combine them. Now you have DNA Computing. Here’s the Wikipedia entry. Someone at some point must’ve said, “you can’t do that!”

Or how about Andy Warhol. He “Stole” the brands (I’m thinking the classic Campbell’s Soup can) and combined it with his pop art ideas. Good thing lawyers weren’t giving him advice.

–          Question Everything. I’m disgusted with myself. I believed Colin Powell when he said Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” (itself a phrase I should’ve questioned. What does a “weapon of mass destruction” even mean? The newspaper is a weapon of mass destruction.) and then used that to justify a war. I was for the war in Iraq when it was first proposed. Now I’m disgusted with myself. I wish I had questioned it more. What a pompous ass I was. Little kids got their heads shot off.

Now whenever someone tells me anything: you must go to college, you must buy a home, of course the Revolutionary War was necessary, XYZ religion is the only path to true happiness, I always question it and consider the opposite and the real reasons people are telling me these things.

Very important to remember: There’s always a “good reason” and the “real reason” and in order to find the real reason you have to question and dig deeper. Colin Powell presented us a “good reason” to go to war with Iraq but the real reasons might have to do with oil, psychological issues Bush had about his father, and who knows what else (only Dick Cheney knows).

Everything that someone tells me today I’m going to question. It takes time at first but once you start practicing questioning everything, even if its silently, then it becomes a natural routine. It’s via questioning that we become disobedient to the brainwashing society has thrust on us.

Many get too complacent in the mechanisms of the Zombie Recruitment Machine  (you MUST have a job, you MUST be angry at this person who wronged you, you HAVE to be scared about Europe defaulting, you WILL be scared about going broke, you WILL listen to the doctor, etc) so it becomes difficult to question, to avoid the death of a guinea pig. But it’s the only way to break out of the Machine.  To remove the bandages. To see the sun for what it is, the source of all light in your life.

(the famous WMD speech at the UN)

          Ignore  CAN’T, DON’T, SHOULDN’T, MUSTN’T:   The same people who are today telling you “you can’t” are usually the same ones who say “I should’ve” about yesterday. Don’t be one of them. One man’s lunacy is another man’s delight.

–          Honesty. Believe it or not, “honesty” is disobedience. Most people can’t be honest. Their friends and family would reject them. Their peers would ostracize them. Their clients and investors might part with them.  In order to be honest sometimes you have to transform yourself. You have to let the sun come down, survive the 12 hours of darkness in the middle of a hurricane, and then let the new day begin.  I’m not a political guy at all. I don’t watch debates. I don’t vote. I don’t even think there should be a Presidency. But I like guys like Ron Paul. Why do people listen to a simple congressman whenever he speaks? Regardless of what you think of him I feel like he’s the only one not carefully scripted. He’s honest. So people hate him. The only way you can become truly wealthy and prosperous, inside and out, is through the disobedience of honesty.

–          Persistence. There are consequences to disobedience. Jesus got crucified. Thomas Edison had to try 1000 times before he lit up his lab. Oscar Wilde got jailed. Mohammed Ali got sentenced to jail for draft evasion and had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court. Andy Warhol got shot. Bukowski worked thirty years of factory jobs before he was hit with literary financial success. Conrad Hilton went bankrupt on his first hotel chain. Mark Zuckerberg has everyone suing him. These are the guys who survived. Maybe you won’t survive if you’re disobedient. But…

Disobedience + Persistence = Enormous success.

If my parents, friends, colleagues, partners and others only knew the number of times I’ve disobeyed them (but always following the rule: do no harm). Maybe one day I can be totally honest without boundaries. That day the ambient stench of obedience will no longer be in my home. I’ll breathe deeply and know that I’m alive.

 

 

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  • Jeff

    I flip a coin to make decisions.  Heads, I do this. Tails, I do that. … this has been my decision maker when I have no idea what I want to do.

  • http://twitter.com/bclund bclund

    Man what a productive weekend you have had James

  • http://profiles.google.com/elyscape Eli Young

    Any chance you stole the cover from Make Today Count by John Maxwell?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Funny, I had never heard of that book until you mentioned it. it does look similar (the red in the middle so I’m wondering if the designer borrowed elements from that) but its not the direct inspiration. Which, once you see, it becomes obvious I stole.

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

    I don’t know what book cover that’s from but you should have stolen the cover of “Farmer’s Woman”

    http://bit.ly/r0GSFy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572545922 Claudia Azula Altucher

    wow James! Speechless here, what a precise, penetrating, fricking REAL post! I am rethinking everything. Starting with antibiotics.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know if I’d go that far. I think your meds may be something you’ll want to trust the doctor on.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

        OK I’ll bite how did you cure gout?

        • Jim

          Vitamin D3

    • Doc Hawkins

      [Preaching starts here]
      [SOAPBOX]
      As a Corpsman who used native methods to keep his Marines healthy whereever. (Milkstone in Peru is one) I would implore you to heavily research every decision as this.  I have found usually taking the best of both worlds results in the best results.

      Traditional and non traditional medicine are often driven by profit whereas you are made well enough to function but not too well as if to no longer need the cure.

      The shaman in Peru (or whatever he called himself) used whatever he could find

      The more you know of  your ailment from a variety of sources (not just Big Pharma) the better you will be. Sometimes when it is to their advantage they lie. Sometimes they do not and they are the best option.

      [/SOAPBOX]

      Best wishes to you both

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

      As a person who’s life has been pretty much saved by antibiotics and someone who has been made quite illl by antibiotics, I strongly suggest that you don’t give up on them. Antibiotics is one of the main reasons why human life span has been extended so significantly in the 21st century. I had an accident and had a severly infected toe (my body wasn’t handling it). My house mate had a kidney and later blood infection that was treated with antibiotics. Before antibiotics, both of us would have a high rate of mortality. But today we are saved. I was made ill twice by antibiotics. When I was a teenager, I ended up with pretty uncomfortable digestive issues from antibiotics because I took them for years for my acne. And recently I had undiagnosed glandular fever and I was given an antibiotic that you shouldn’t have during glandular fever (augmentin duo forte) which gave me a rash. Despite having suffered as a result of taking them, I would never give up on them. My two suggestions would be to make sure you are given the right one (check if it my react with any other conditions or medications) and make sure you aren’t taking them for too long (years).

    • http://twitter.com/fbliss Fred Bliss

      Yeah, I’d stop short of forsaking the numbers on antibiotics and of course, the ever-ripe for conspiracy theories, vaccines.  They work, better than nothing, and they have scientifically proven vaccines do NOT cause Autism.  Now they’re looking at Phthalates and other chemicals leeched from plastics as causes for autism.  If you want to be disobedient, rethink using your Gladware.

  • http://www.web2voice.com/ roschler

    And sometimes the most disobedient thing you can do is to agree and/or compromise.

    • http://www.susan28.com susan 28

      Good observation. Brings to mind an old Family Circle comic: 2 kids sitting under a tree, coupla hippies walk by, clearly-indentifiable with their cultural markers and one kid says to the other, “There goes the Anti-Estabihment Establishment”. 

      pwn’d! 

      I did the same thing when i kicked corporate life to the curb to become a dj of, at that time, goth/industrial. And my employer was sweating my increasingly-deathy appearance. So i quit and got a gig at a record store and started spinning in clubs. At which time my own “scene” started feeling oppressively conformist and i started dressing “normal” while spinnin’ that Skinny Puppy just to keep ’em honest :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/zafkastudios Jim Kasper

    Are you reusing that girl with a snake picture? I don’t mind, but it looks very familiar.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes, good catch. I used it also in a post, “Is Satan a Good Investor?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1032271048 Marcus Lira

        Source? It’s an awesome picture, and I wonder if I can find it in a better resolution.

        (Great post, by the way)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you James.  Needed that today.  I’ve been separated for 4 months and this past week spent a lot of time at the gym during the day (since I was out of work on bereavement leave after finding my father-in-law dead of a heart attack on Monday) and the gym mommies were relating to me how word on the street from my supposed friends is I’m a bum who just walked out on a perfectly good marriage… haha and ugggh… so it’s good to remember that others have been stabbed in the back as well.  And a good reminder that in my “disobedience” of the traditional marriage stuff I am finding happiness!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I’m sorry to hear about your father-in-law.  That’s very upsetting.

      But, yes, separation is the ultimate “disobedience” in our society. Glad that you are finding happiness in it.

  • TripleB

    Love the insight about music.  U2 openly calls themselves the “worst cover band that ever existed.”  When they were starting out as young lads in Dublin, all they could attempt musically was to play the songs they knew from the radio and clubs – but they couldn’t.  They had barely any musical education at all.  So they were unconstrained by any notion of how to play.  And now they just completed the top grossing concert tour on the planet.  The Edge adds a passion for  technology and sound to his guitar playing.  (Sorry….rambling…huge U2 fan…)

    • Armageddonisnigh

      I’m going to be disobediant and I say I don’t like U2. I don’t think there are the worst in the world, but boy, I can’t stand their shit.

  • Doc Hawkins

    Executive Summary
    Experience filter columns        WORKS                      DOES NOT WORK
    People types                          Collect experiences      Collect things

    Detailed Summary (can be skipped)
    after Being Told all my life to listen to the Preacher
    Get married, work corporate America, Buy a house
    Don’t gamble, dress right, don’t swear (I’ll agree to that if you can use any version of historical English)

    After Given the choice of moving to Peoria to keep my Corporate job or Iraq in 04 fixing USMC owies  (Thanks Soldiers and Sailors relief act)
    After a dear John while there
    After Some preacher telling me he prayed for a Monte Carlo with a custom engine and God gave it to him. (I got up Sunday AM for that?). Plus a few other stories. This is the Bible Belt.

    It came down to
    Best time of my life was at 52 in a 3k RV, beach lifeguarding and breaking into cars and condos as a locksmith. I had nothing and it was fun.

    Thus two columns reguardless if they follow conventional wisdom
    WORKS        DOES NOT WORK

    I also found People pretty much come into two categories
    Those who collect things
    Those who collect experiences

    Good Article. I’ll take some of that writers block thank you

    • Crusader79

      But I know some people for whom “collecting experiences”, then bragging about them, is just as compulsive and empty.

      • Doc Hawkins

        Agreed Goes to Motive.  Quote” Question Everything”
        Thanks for adding.
        .

  • Fubar

    http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/was-jeremiah-a-failure

    excerpts:

    …History, in a sense, has portrayed him as a failure. He failed to
    convince his contemporaries not to rebel against Babylon; he failed to
    save Jerusalem from destruction; and he is best remembered as the
    sorrowing prophet who mourns the destruction. Indeed, in English his
    name gave rise to the term for a bitter lament, a Jeremiad. Like Job,
    Jeremiah curses the day he was born. The burden he carries as a prophet
    who admonishes people who refuse to listen is unbearable. Several
    attempts are made on his life. He is sentenced to death and barely
    escapes execution. He is considered a traitor by the king and his
    counselors, by the priests, by self-styled prophets, as well as by
    ordinary people. He can count his friends on one hand. Aside from his
    loyal scribe, Baruch ben Neriah, he only has one constant friend,
    namely, God.

    … Jeremiah
    is the originator of the great rabbinic concept, “One does not rely on
    miracles.” When a desperate King Zedekiah asks him to perform a miracle
    and save Jerusalem from the Babylonians, Jeremiah replies that the
    king’s fate is sealed. Jeremiah is not a miracle worker. He realizes it
    is up to Zedekiah to acknowledge the military superiority of the
    Babylonians and not engage in military adventurism. Zedekiah cannot rely
    on a supernatural force. He must look into his own heart and realize
    that it is within his own power to do the right thing. Later on, when
    the Judeans return from Babylonian exile, they attribute the return to
    the will of God, yet they themselves are the ones who take action and
    make the return a reality.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome post. I kinda hope you speak about this type of stuff at your Big Picture conference. Hopefully someone will upload video.

    The true innovators invent the world they envision and just don’t accept limitations. Jobs is the modern industrial genius of course (who knew they even wanted an ipod? Did anyone even want a computer in 1977?). But if you think about it, there were no gas stations when Henry Ford produced his first automobiles. There were a few hundred cars in the entire country. Roads were almost all dirt and virtually impassible by cars when it rained. And there was virtually none of the infrastructure for cars to be fueled or maintained. That’s vision, baby.  Ford was a failure, by the way until his 40’s.

  • Anthony Robertson

    It’s the cover of a Charles Bukowski book. Nice article. “South of No North.”

    • http://twitter.com/fbliss Fred Bliss

      ARRRGH!  I searched it with nothing but the idea that it would belong to a favorite author he had, so I searched for that, and found Buckowski in the list, and proceeded to search on Amazon.  You beat me by an hour, but I had no pre-existing knowledge of the book, I wonder if that gains me a consolation copy? :D

    • Adam

      That’s totally it. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Bingo. Please email me your address to altucher@gmail.com

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Bingo. Please email me your address to altucher@gmail.com

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AEG6XYFYR53D3ZOEGGNARY25B4 C. C.

        Hmm, based on the typography and layout I was pretty sure it was the Miranda July book “No One Belongs Here More Than You”.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AEG6XYFYR53D3ZOEGGNARY25B4 C. C.

        Hmm, based on the typography and layout I was pretty sure it was the Miranda July book “No One Belongs Here More Than You”.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AEG6XYFYR53D3ZOEGGNARY25B4 C. C.

        Hmm, based on the typography and layout I was pretty sure it was the Miranda July book “No One Belongs Here More Than You”.

  • Crusader79

    “Mediocrity follows the rules. Unfortunately, both success and failure disobey them.”

    Great line, going onto my list of favorite quotations, thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/fbliss Fred Bliss

    James, I’ve got the book, and I hope I was the first:

    South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life  – Charles Buckowski

    Addendum: No, I was the second, though I’m assuming the other commentor had pre-existing knowledge of that book. I’m still satisfied with my effort. :)

  • Adam

    Hi James,

    Is the book cover similar to “My Dyslexia” by Philip Shultz?

  • c-mac-d

    The cover= First, Break All the Rules?

  • Josh

    Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where George does the opposite of his intuitions and finds that he’s most successful?  

  • Syren

    I love this post more than anything I have read maybe ever.

  • Syren

    I love this post more than anything I have read maybe ever.

  • doug

    I think this your best
    effort.

     

    But, we like
    things that remind us of ourselves.  People with the same initials marry
    more often than chance.  As do people whose parents both died early in
    their youth.  As do etc. etc. So perhaps I like this piece for that
    reason.  It is so hard to know why a person likes the things he likes and
    comes to say the things he says.

     

    I suspect
    genetics plays a massive role in disobedience to authority.  Another card carrying
    whistle-blower surprised me one day by telling me, “Don’t you realize you
    have been acting this way your entire life.”  Upon reflection I
    became certain he was correct.  So have
    you James.

     

    As I examined my history
    riddled with high conflict events I observed that there were always several
    people who knew what I knew, and saw what I saw but did nothing.  

     

    Why?

     

    Their anxieties
    kept them in hiding under the stairs.  

     

    Why?

     

    Of course it is
    possible that early experiences taught them to retreat from anxiety.  For
    example, it is believed that the children of alcoholics avoid conflict.
     So is the fact that my childhood was relatively free of anxiety related
    to my repeated acceptance of high conflict arising from disagreement with
    authority? 

     

    It is certain
    that genetics governs the signaling of our anxiety producing molecules.

     

    Regardless of the
    mix between genetic or environmental controlling factors I think it’s hard if
    not impossible to teach adults to move through the anxiety of disobedience. 

     

    There can be no guide regarding the time to conform and the time to disobey. As in your final paragraph, the
    history of whistle-blowing is littered with crushed souls; many of them may have lived better lives hiding under the stairs.  

    It made me rich.  So my brother, count
    on me to endorse disobedience and name this your finest epistle.

     

    doug

  • doug

    I think this your best
    effort.

     

    But, we like
    things that remind us of ourselves.  People with the same initials marry
    more often than chance.  As do people whose parents both died early in
    their youth.  As do etc. etc. So perhaps I like this piece for that
    reason.  It is so hard to know why a person likes the things he likes and
    comes to say the things he says.

     

    I suspect
    genetics plays a massive role in disobedience to authority.  Another card carrying
    whistle-blower surprised me one day by telling me, “Don’t you realize you
    have been acting this way your entire life.”  Upon reflection I
    became certain he was correct.  So have
    you James.

     

    As I examined my history
    riddled with high conflict events I observed that there were always several
    people who knew what I knew, and saw what I saw but did nothing.  

     

    Why?

     

    Their anxieties
    kept them in hiding under the stairs.  

     

    Why?

     

    Of course it is
    possible that early experiences taught them to retreat from anxiety.  For
    example, it is believed that the children of alcoholics avoid conflict.
     So is the fact that my childhood was relatively free of anxiety related
    to my repeated acceptance of high conflict arising from disagreement with
    authority? 

     

    It is certain
    that genetics governs the signaling of our anxiety producing molecules.

     

    Regardless of the
    mix between genetic or environmental controlling factors I think it’s hard if
    not impossible to teach adults to move through the anxiety of disobedience. 

     

    There can be no guide regarding the time to conform and the time to disobey. As in your final paragraph, the
    history of whistle-blowing is littered with crushed souls; many of them may have lived better lives hiding under the stairs.  

    It made me rich.  So my brother, count
    on me to endorse disobedience and name this your finest epistle.

     

    doug

    • Fubar

      Hey Doug,

      Good stuff, thanks.

      As you probably know, there are many collections of data on different personality types, and various theories on group dynamics that are related to interactions between the personality types. 

      Mavericks, entrepreneurs, innovators and achievers more or less fit into the same broad category of people with “disobedient” personalities.

      Their efforts, sacrifices and successes frequently support large numbers of docile “sheeple”.

      Many people subsume their “disobedient” tendencies to “survive” in conformist organizations/societies. Some of the most conformist organizations are colleges/universities, and scientific and medical research organizations. Such organizations are very hostile to entrepreneurs and innovators, especially ones with populist tendencies.

      Corporations are more tolerant of innovators, and encourage nonconformism within narrow “profit driven” contexts. Innovators frequently start up new companies to escape the bureaucracy of large corporations if they do not have direct access to top levels.

      Risk aversion could be seen to have risen to pathological levels.

      (Scaling theory first developed in physics is now being applied to modeling product and information flows to predict global prosperity potentials and associated business opportunities.)

      When organizations become dysfunctional, exploitation of workers and customers  usually increases.

      Many social institutions function to create conformism. Church and School are two of the main ones. USA Government was originally designed to “free” innovators from conformism to High Church and Aristocracy, but has regressed.

      Daniel Elsberg recently stated that all of the illegal acts that Richard Nixon was responsible for are now legal, and Obama is doing the exact same thing as Nixon.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/12/daniel-ellsberg-richard-nixon_n_875484.html

      have a nice day.

      • Fubar

        Also, if you are interested in evolutionary theory as it relates to tribalism, culture and the real conditions of “civilizations”, see:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_inheritance_theory

        http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/boyd/Publications.htm

        http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/boyd/BoydRichersonTransRoySoc09.pdf

        http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~bowles/Holocene.pdf

        This gives a hint at the gigantic role that “imitation” plays in human culture and evolutionary survival.

        At a more basic level, for most of evolutionary history, collective life, such as cellular colonies, has been the norm. Collective existence is very deeply wired into our DNA. Even for humans, the construction of the deepest levels of meaning revolves around collective “spiritual” values, such as compassion,  altruism and transcendence (self sacrifice). The high levels of intelligence required for such forms of consciousness are deeply wired into human DNA (and culture).

        • doug

          Hey Fubar,

          Thanks for the kind words and the references.  Evolutionary psychology is riveting as it provides a satisfying explanation to the confusion and madness.  I am especially interested in the things we say, and our groupish behavior together with an emotion we call “will.”

          If “will” holds your interest you might enjoy “The Illusion of Conscious” Will by Daniel M. Wegner.

          doug

          • http://www.susan28.com susan 28

            Great stuff Fubar. Gotta pull up LRC in another tab now to return to your links as i get time.

            doug: i share your interest. 

            Appropriately enough, while reading this, a daydream flashed before my eyes of me diving in front of an oncoming car to save someone who didn’t see it coming. Accolades ensued. Public award ceremony and all that. Family all grateful. 

            But i couldn’t “in good conscience” accept the gratitude because, reviewing the situation in my mind, i realised i’d acted automatically out of some baked-in groupist instinct and therefore ceased to be the moral actor as which i’d always seen myself and from which self-image i’d drawn both meaning and identity. 

            Stripped of this and unable to stand the reality of being a Drone for Nature, i became inconsolably depressed and, after accepting the Key to the City as it were, said, “i’m glad for your relief but am tired now, so if you’ll excuse me i need to go take a dirt-nap!”. 

            (speaking of which, i never thought i’d come her again after the recent loathesomely-lifeist anti-suicide piece, but just when i thought i was out, Rockwell pulled me back in, heh… harm.. yeah… having kids is like shooting craps with someone else’s money.. not too endearing indeed.. but tres “group fitness-enhancing”.. meh..)

          • doug

            Hey Susan 28,

            You wrote: “…me diving in front of an oncoming car to save someone who didn’t see it coming…”

            I did that once. 

            Ft. Riley KS 1972 or so.  It involved a 2 1/2 ton truck rolling backwards toward a precipitous drop onto a railroad track.  I ran to it, leaped into the driverless cab, and stopped it just before a highball freight train thundered by.

            It train crew never new how close they came to a spectacularly memorable event.  Several people saw the whole thing.  Actually, several people (dressed in army fatigues) were leaning against the truck when it began to move.    None of them moved to stop the truck and I ran past them.

            I didn’t expect an attaboy. Which is a good thing cause I didn’t get one.

            Years later when my daughter asked me, “Why are we are honest?” I told her that it is a gift we give ourselves.

            A few decades and a huge pile of books have past by since then.  I’ve now spent a really long time thinking about evolution’s tracks in our brain and our culture.  Everything about us, our brains, emotions words and our acts follow the rules of a material universe.  I didn’t understand that when I answered my daughter but I couldn’t craft a better answer for her today.

            doug

          • Fubar

            S28, glad you liked it.

            more weird sh*t:

            http://www.esalenctr.org/display/confpage.cfm?confid=1&pageid=33&pgtype=1

            excerpts:

            Constructivism has roots in both Eastern and Western philosophies. It
            is related to evolutionary epistemology (Popper, Don Campbell) as well
            as complexity studies (chaos, self-organizing, autopoeisis, dissipative
            structures of Prigogine). A lot of the recent intellectual climate has
            tended to deconstruction, which can be destructive. Michael loves
            Wilber’s comment that the deconstructive post-modernists are driven by
            the Tag Team from Hell: Nihilism and Narcissism.

            The five main themes of constructivism as he sees it:

            [1] Human beings are active, anticipatory agents in their own experience and development. They are not just reactive like a Newtonian object.[2] The majority of our efforts go into organizing experience — seeking and constructing order. This is predominantly tacit, automatic, and emotionally motivated.[3] Self-relational
            — Construction of the self is a process, much like a scaffolding.
            Limited ideas of identity are impediments to transformation; people will
            become stuck with an idea, a diagnosis, a disorder, or a developmental
            history and no longer see it as possible to live in any other way.
            [4] Social-symbolic
            — Development takes place embedded in human relationships and
            includes charged emotional bonds, language, culture. The power of
            language has both positive and negative attributes. It allows us to fix
            things in certain categories, but life doesn’t exist in packets.[5] Dynamic dialectical development
            — We are always growing, if only to maintain our sense of coherence
            as a system. Development can be thought of as the non-linear emergence
            of new forms through the active interaction of contrasts.

            Humans are thus embodied theories of self & world, seeking a
            Sisyphian balance — a “dynamilbria” — between old and new activity
            patterns. Dynamilibria refers to a moving balance, which is
            different than the static balance typical of equilibria. Michael uses
            Sisyphus as a metaphor because we never quite get there; we are always
            leaning into the next moment. A major contention of constructivists is
            that novelty is necessary for development. We need new perspectives and
            experiences to keep exploring that edge. Too little novelty –> no
            change. Too much –> systemic contraction or a lack of functioning.
            All living systems have a natural and healthy resistance to change. We
            can only take so much change at one time. The long term view
            resembles respiration, with cycles of breathing in and out.

            The essence of Darwinian evolution involves three things: variation,
            selection, and retention. The psychospiritual analogues are creative
            exploration or flexibility (variation), virtue (selection), and practice
            (retention). Development is a process of continuous edging. One fact
            emerging from recent studies in neurosciences is that variability
            precedes the next step in development. Chaos is thus a good thing at
            times. Some scientists even suggest that the brain creates chaos as a
            means of identifying patterns.
            This approach excites him because it depathologizes disorder and
            disorganization. So much of our culture has been orderly and fearful of
            disorder. From a complex systems perspective, episodes of disorder are
            a necessary and healthy expression of an open system.

          • Fubar
    • Michael3223

      how did it make you rich?  You and James have a lot in common as he is incredibly wealthy too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

    Look up Civil Disobedience and you will find Henry David Thoreau the author who opposed the war with Mexico and went to jail (for a short time).Obey me read this essay.I have been greatly influenced by his words.I refused induction into the U.S.military in 1970 and I am glad I did.I do not obey unless it is in my interest.I never believed Colin Powell or anyone else in the Bush administration;I don’t believe anything that can’t pass a fact check.I am very honest so lack of “friends”not a surprise.Kurt Vonnegut one of my faves;I’ve read most of his stuff.I met Lichtenstein during my truck driving days.Did you know Emmanuel Lasker was Einstein’s close friend.At sixty yrs.I still enjoy defying people’s expectations.

  • http://www.shampooprank.com John

    people are either sheep, because they blindly follow others…or they are parrots, because they just repeat whatever they hear….we are all guilty of this

    having said that….thomas edison was not the first to invent the light-bulb

    it was this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Swan

    • Fpenido

      So far I was a parrot, kind of clicking “Like” on Thomas Edison Facebook page!

    • Fpenido

      So far I was a parrot, kind of clicking “Like” on Thomas Edison Facebook page!

    • Fpenido

      So far I was a parrot, kind of clicking “Like” on Thomas Edison Facebook page!

  • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

    Our perspective dictates how we see everything in life.  The current U.S. employment prospects are wonderful from the point-of-view of a new Somali immigrant.   Life expectancy in Somalia is exceptional from the perspective of an eighteenth-century Welsh coal miner. 

    It all depends on how we look at things. 

    Purposely viewing situations from a different perspective can make all the rules fall away.  It can make the bad good, the dumb smart, the sad happy and the frustrating easy.  Looking at things from several angles takes away the “right” angle.  There is no longer a need to make an effort to do the opposite when there is no fixed starting point to oppose. 

    This is why James’s idea about avoiding the news is so important.  The news is one big perspective creator.  Their business model depends on creating the filter through which we view the world. It is done in many subtle and some not-so-subtle ways.  The first and perhaps least obvious is by determining what IS news in the first place and determining what is not news worthy.  Framing and priming are tools used by the news media to screw with our perspective.  Remember, their ultimate goal is to get us to buy from their advertisers. 

    That’s why we must determine our ultimate goals for ourselves.  Once those goals are decided we can pick and chose the perspective that best supports their attainment.  Who cares if the perspective is right or wrong.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that they get us moving in the direction WE want to move.

    • Fubar

      fear about economic uncertainty is used to get people to conform.

      example: after 25 years of the idea that cutting taxes on ultra rich people would “create jobs”, there are no more jobs.

      in a sane world, a people’s army would be marching on DC and NYC, demanding the heads of those in charge of such lunacy.

  • Fubar

    John Taylor Gatto explained how the public education system was set up to create misfits. Misfits are children that are highly creative and/or innovative, and that react badly to having their creativity (and sense of awe of the universe) crushed by a viciously conformist system.

    Gatto explains the connection between the monopolists, plutocrats and other figures of the industrial revolution (ironically all “disobedient” types!) and the creation of a public education system that was designed to assimilate “inferior” races and cultures into a compliant work force under conditions of exploitation.

    Evolution required that some members of any given tribe have a tendency to challenge conventional wisdom, and others have a tendency to protect existing solutions and the forms of imitation that pass on solutions to future generations.

    So, it is inherent that social conflicts over innovations exist in human societies.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah… basically we’re trained to do as we’re told, conform and don’t rock the boat, when the bell rings you can go home.  (But make sure you’re back at it tomorrow.)

      Our corporate-run, fascist government schools turn the masses into good little employees, don’t they?

      Why do we go to school to learn?  We should learn at home, like it has been done for thousands of years.  Don’t send your kids to the indoctrination camps.  Teach them yourself.  If you don’t know it… learn it with them.

      • Shoal Creek

        “Schools” are not indoctrination “camps.”  Instead, they are indoctrination minimum security prisons.

        • Fubar

          Has anyone seen, or done, research on “public-private” partnerships in public education (“alternative” online learning programs designed for poor and working class kids, or middle class “drop outs”)? I suspect a link from such “partnerships” to the military industrial complex and military recruiting programs in disadvantaged communities. It appears that kids going through these online “express diploma” programs are heavily recruited, but I’m not sure if the recruiting in them is any more heavy than in other “regular” schools in disadvantaged communities.

          Do poor families rely on “selling” their kids to the military for recruitment bonuses? $10,000? How about death benefits? $40,000?

      • Tick

        you got that right on the button!!!!

  • Fubar

    I want my first intelligent robot to look like James Altucher.  warm and fuzzy. dangerously smart, but  somehow also harmless.

  • hnladvsr

    Galileo! 

  • http://twitter.com/jkthng jkthng

    You stole the cover of the book from http://goo.gl/vIUb6. Google’s Image Search told me so.

    Now, send the signed paperback over. :)

  • Oakeshott

    James,
    I think you are almost right.  The perpetual renegade is as useless as the perpetual conformist.  The key is judgment and balance and we achieve the latter after many years of practicing the former.  Where it feels like you’re erring, is not recognizing the power of tradition (which can be an unthinking form of obedience) and the importance of judgment when violating it.

    I have in mind a very recent example.  We’ve just awarded the Medal of Honor to a Marine who disobeyed an order and in so doing, along with one of his Marine cohorts, saved dozens of others Marines and Afghan soldiers.  We all know, I should hope, that the military simply ceases to function without the traditional and automatic adherence to rules which is one of its distinguishing characteristics.  Paradoxically, it also wouldn’t function without its tradition of informed disobedience to a direct order.  The risk vs reward for getting “informed disobedience” wrong is the difference between lifetime imprisonment and a medal, so whoever exercises it, must exercise some damned good judgment as well.

    I think the same exists in the business world.  Very early in my career, nearly all the success that came my way was the result of doing exactly as I was told though I did it for many more hours a day than my co-workers (sometimes seen as a minor though acceptable means of disobedience by your peers).  After decades of work, however, I do nearly everything differently from how I did them in my early days as well as from the way my colleagues do their work and that is solely possible because I have the judgment born of experience that tells me when and in what manner I can break the rules.

    Not everyone can do this.  Temperamentally, I am just built this way.  Breaking rules, going against the grain, thinking differently from my peers…these are as natural and uneventful to me as eating toast.  What’s taken me until my middle years to achieve and costs me most of my mental efforts, is learning how to cooperate with those who can’t or don’t want to behave this way.  I rely on these people to take care of the millions of details with which I cannot be bothered or cannot understand.  The minutiae of bureaucracy which I find dull and useless, but without which simply nothing would reliably get done gets done by rule followers, not rule breakers.

    Intellectually, I find Orwell a better example of the sort of independence of mind and honesty than Einstein.  After all, Orwell dealt with the things about which people most care and at the cost of being ostracized not only from the general population, but from his political and intellectual cohorts.  He was a man of the left whose most ripping criticisms were directed at his fellow travelers and it often cost him their friendship and support.  Nonetheless, both his revolutionary and counter revolutionary criticisms were in defense of traditional western values such as individual freedom and the acknowledgement of artistic beauty.  Orwell, unlike the fellow travelers of the socialist party, had the judgment and intellectual honesty to both recognize and point the finger at bullshit.  Doing both is difficult.

    Those who are born natural contrarians like you and, I like to think, me, have it lucky.  We do what we do automatically and the consequences of not fitting in are less scary than the fear of losing our independence and freedom of thought.  Our challenge, however, is the equal but opposite challenge that those unlike us face every day.  We have to learn when being a mindless automaton is the right choice in spite of our visceral dislike of behaving that way just as they have to learn how to be social or political renegades in spite of their fear of loss or alienation.  On first glance, I think we have it easier.

    What do you think?
    m

    p.s.  This post is the result of my first instinct which was to disagree with you.

    • LEONARDO PAVESE

      Good comment,
      problems arise when,because of one’s failure, one start’s doubting himself.
      L.

    • Happy2bhere

      Lol. I love your commitment to first instincts. Very well written. Quite the observation to recognize n call bs n stick to it being difficult. Those with this abiity are often accused of being cold n hard. With learned skills like this there is not much need for could have should have would haves. The only thing i question is why we allow it to b defined as disobedience. Time for a sniglet….. we need a new way to describe ourselves. Igot it these are acts of wait for it………. Indeintelligence!!! Yes thats it. We are not disobedient we r indetelligent.

      • Oakeshott

        Thanks for the praise.  I like the idea behind your neologism, but I know for dead certain I’d never remember how to spell it.

        btw, had to look up “sniglet”.  It doesn’t sound like what it is.  On first reading, i think you were referring to the illegitimate offspring of a snake and a pig.

        • Happy2bhere

          Sniglets are from Saturday Night Live in the 80’s with Joe Piscipo ( who latrer became a royal ass and thay may be too generous). I think they were defined as words for things that had not yet been named.  One of my favorite sniglets is the “Fluggelbinder” aka the clear plastic piece  wrapped around the end of your shoelace .  I sure hope your enjoying the readings of Lew Rockwell, thats is how i found James.  Have a good week oakeshott :)

    • Happy2bhere

      Lol. I love your commitment to first instincts. Very well written. Quite the observation to recognize n call bs n stick to it being difficult. Those with this abiity are often accused of being cold n hard. With learned skills like this there is not much need for could have should have would haves. The only thing i question is why we allow it to b defined as disobedience. Time for a sniglet….. we need a new way to describe ourselves. Igot it these are acts of wait for it………. Indeintelligence!!! Yes thats it. We are not disobedient we r indetelligent.

    • Fubar

      a bunch of nonconformists stop on a railroad trestle to argue about the need to jump off the trestle to avoid being run over by an oncoming high speed train.

      the survivors just escape disaster by forcing themselves to conform to conventional wisdom, which is to jump off before the train gets to them.

  • Gavin Griffiths

    i love your blog.  that simple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002063980585 Anna Marie

    The Seen and The Unseen by Jerry Crosley?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002063980585 Anna Marie

    The Seen and The Unseen by Jerry Crosley?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002063980585 Anna Marie

    Crossley***

  • http://www.adanlerma.com adan

    thanks! some of the best, natural, entertaining, believable writing i’ve come across –

    no examples to give as suggested though, sorry, i refuse! ;-)

    like: 

    “Sometimes when you disobey the rules, the consequences are unpleasant. But even then…

    “Mediocrity follows the rules. Unfortunately, both success and failure disobey them…

    ” (but always following the rule: do no harm) ….”

    ***

    this is reasonable balancing of where a line of thought goes, i think…

    even of a radical one ;-)

  • Sussan

    “Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.”
    -Walt Whitman

  • Sussan

    “Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.”
    -Walt Whitman

  • http://kashkawan.squarespace.com Luisa Perkins

    Great post. I love the cover–very classy.

  • http://kashkawan.squarespace.com Luisa Perkins

    Great post. I love the cover–very classy.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m disgusted with myself. I believed Colin Powell when he said Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” … and then used that to justify a war. I was for the war in Iraq when it was first proposed.”

    So: why? There’s a column i look forward to.

    • http://www.susan28.com susan 28

      And if “possession of weapons of mass destruction” is reason to overthrow a regime, then what’s up with the plank-in-eye syndrome?

      Humans are alpha predators. Dangerous enough when power is balanced, just freaking barbaric when not no matter what colours they’re flying. Keep up with the Joneses or the Joneses will keep you down, loves.. it’s what they (we as humans) do. 

      Problem with membership in the *non* nuclear club is you’ve no control over the dues.. 

  • Adam

    Love the point about honesty.. probably the number 1 reason I read this blog, and absolutely the reason I like Ron Paul – only guy who speaks the truth, unfortunately a lot of us don’t want to hear it. 

  • http://twitter.com/fzeng96 Feng Z

    I like that you mention do no harm as a rule to follow.

  • Jsinger

    its stolen from an eye exam test?

    • http://www.susan28.com susan 28

      lol that was my first guess Js.. glad to know i’m not the only illiterate geek around here :)

    • http://www.susan28.com susan 28

      lol that was my first guess Js.. glad to know i’m not the only illiterate geek around here :)

  • Dave

    Speaking of Edison, it is funny how he designed an very energy inefficient light bulb, and then started a power distribution company.

    • Anonymous

      more efficient then whale oil lamps :P

  • cindyluwho

    It is hard enough being honest with myself….let alone others. I think that honesty is difficult for most. It all goes back to the fear thing.  We are scared of the consequences of our honesty. I often think about the things I would say and do if could just be honest all the time. However, I do not think people who have no money are allowed to be honest. Like everything else in life…if you have no money you really dont get to play. The more money you have the more “freedom” our society allows you.

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

      Hi Cindyluwho, I respect your comment but I feel exactly the opposite about the money and honesty thing.  I think the less you have the more free you are to be honest. You have nothing to lose. 

      If we ever make money again, I swear, no one will know. 

  • xico007

    Another great post.  Inspiring as always. Something else I like about your blog are your images.  I want to STEAL them, but instead I think I will DO THE OPPOSITE and ask where you get them. 

  • Anonymous

    Unbelievable blog.

  • Moshkosh

    Never believe anything until it is officially denied.

  • Mike Periboob

    As usual James, very interesting. But I think you owe your considerable audience a follow-on article. It is easy to read this article as a recommendation to generally and casually disregard many or all the rules, and I am sure you did not mean this. Excessive, casual rule breakage is a good way to get removed from the gene pool. There are many rules which everyone should obey, or we will want them filtered out: e.g. “Dont drive while intoxicated”. There are also perfectly fine and necessary professions where deviations from the rules are almost always bad: Pilot. Surgeon. Soldier. Police Officer…

    So how about for your next act an analysis of how to select which rules you can safely ignore? You just flip a coin? Personally, I would want to start with a thoughtful look at the source of the rule to decide how closely to follow it–from people who care about you, most likely follow; those from old books, may need to question the rationale.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

      In Groundhog Day Rick Ducamin’s character says that rule about don’t drive on the railroad tracks I always liked that one.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7W7BRK25PMITFB4LQFXLFJOWU JohnL

      In Groundhog Day Rick Ducamin’s character says that rule about don’t drive on the railroad tracks I always liked that one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572545922 Claudia Azula Altucher

      I think at the end where it says always do no harm, pretty munch covers that. DUI does cause harm

      • susan 28

        No collision no harm..  Judge by (individual, not “statistical”) result and don’t sweat the “near occasions of sin”. “Science-based government” was the brain-fart of 19th-century religionists, don’t succumb. 

    • Fubar

       Up until recently, the military was always interested in pilots that broke the rules during times of war. as soon as the war was over, the rule breaking pilots were kicked out.

  • Mike Periboob

    No kidding! You believed the BS about WMD in Iraq?!? I am surprised. My immediate thought was that if SH had WMD, he would never give them to fundamentalists, because they hated him more than they hated us. Also, SH was a despot, and he was better able to protect any weapons from fundamentalists than we would be. I had a lot of respect for Colin Powell, as a soldier. But you should never expect an old soldier to think for himself. We get trained pretty hard into the chain-of-command mind-set, and many of us never outgrow it.

  • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

    I love this post. I remember my father asking me what I was going to do when I quit my job. How would I survive? I was going to wind up on the streets homeless and hungry. 

    And maybe I will. But I think that it’s unlikely. I’ve never starved to death before so I feel like it probably isn’t going to happen now. Plus, I’m resourceful and have people in my life that wouldn’t allow it to happen. 

    And I’ve been without a job for over nine months now. Nine amazing months in which I make my own rules and schedule and decisions. 

  • Jascheng

    james, disobedience + persistence make me jobless. guess something is wrong.

    • Fubar

      to exploit the system for a higher good, you must understand it and its weaknesses.

      this is the genius of james altucher.

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

    Great post and I like your book title and cover. 
    ____
    Persistence <—–key!  Especially if you are creating your own path.  For the longest time I thought I wasn't patient enough, I was expecting too much too soon, but then I realized I wasn't being persistent.

  • mickeyray

    James-

    A couple of people I’ve been reading (re-reading) about recently that fit your paradigm:

    Masanobu Fukuoka (cf. The One Straw Revolution)

    Richard Feynman (cf. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!  ; What Do You Care What Other People Think?  ; etc…..

  • Kris
    • Fubar

      Charlie Wilson was an idiot driven by a “feel good” mentality.

  • Cam

    True post, but not everyone is equipped to be successfully disobedient.  I think your recipe needs one more ingredient:
    1. Disobedience 2. Greater awareness than “the obedient”3. Persistence = Enormous successWithout #2 you’re just an annoying delinquet

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnF30 John Flerianos

    So you’re gonna be disobedient for the sake of being disobedient. you’re an immature, childish, kid. TRYING not to be a comformist makes you a comformist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnF30 John Flerianos

    So you’re gonna be disobedient for the sake of being disobedient. you’re an immature, childish, kid. TRYING not to be a comformist makes you a comformist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnF30 John Flerianos

    So you’re gonna be disobedient for the sake of being disobedient. you’re an immature, childish, kid. TRYING not to be a comformist makes you a comformist.

  • http://twitter.com/ComishTheVictor Shaun Jourdan

    I was going to post about how great your article is but now I’ve decided not to.?

  • http://twitter.com/ComishTheVictor Shaun Jourdan

    I was going to post about how great your article is but now I’ve decided not to.?

  • http://twitter.com/ComishTheVictor Shaun Jourdan

    I was going to post about how great your article is but now I’ve decided not to.?

  • http://twitter.com/dwbain6652 David Bain

    I enjoyed your post.  Another disobedient artist is Willie Nelson who also sings the best version of Amazing Grace.

    • Fubar

      Willie singing with Ray Charles: priceless, soul.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOUHNCBKYDX2MOAM7S2BREGEC4 TroubleB

    Brilliant write up Altucher. I own a business, pushed my wife to homeschool our kids, and have lived my life as one big act of disobedience. I almost didn’t graduate from high school too. I consistently do the opposite of conventional wisdom and especially opposite of what my family “tells” me to do.

    I can’t telly you how much I enjoyed your write-up, especially as I’ve lived it and continue to live it daily.

  • http://twitter.com/Meredithbead Meredith Laskow

    As a life-long self-described “unrepentant iconoclast,” I love this article!  After reading the comments, I wonder if that thought process is a common thread among your readers.  (Raise your hand if you’re an iconoclast!!!  Or don’t…)

    As a highly analytical child, I never lied because I couldn’t see the logic of it.  (And social pressure wasn’t a factor in my behavior because I couldn’t see the logic of that, either.)  I was always honest.  Brutally honest. In-your-face fuck-you-if-you-don’t-like-it honest.  I was in my twenties (thirties?) before I began to understand the concept of tact.

  • Jurgis Rudkus

    If you are taking requests, I’d like to hear your thoughts on intellectual property rights. Your commentary about “stealing” is interesting.

  • pjc

    Great post James!

    I know this sounds racist and elitist, but rich, white guys don’t end up in the back of police cars unless they’ve been very disobedient. American society is more or less engineered to prevent sucessful Caucasians from ending up in the rumble seat of a black-and-white. You were more then disobedient there … you must have plain out f*cked up.

    _I was blind but now I see_ … GREAT TITLE. Love it. My Kindle can’t wait. 

  • http://statspotting.com Statspotting

    Why are most of your posts done in the form of lists? 

    • Michael3223

      If you look at all the most read websites, they dumb down the content by posting it as lists for the brain ADDL-ed which is now everybody on the planet. James is just following a formula that works right now.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2G6L6LFHAZOSWWTIDOX2DCOP4 Russell Taylor

    Nikola Tesla was a pretty serious badass as well.

  • Big John H

    You copied your book cover from an eye chart.

    • Ndac85

      No kidding! ; )

      • alreadyrich

        No impulse control, that’s my problem!

  • Anonymous

    James, I’ve been your silent reader from afar for a few weeks now. Your blog’s a discovery that shines light into dark places. Or to put it in cliche’d corporate-speak, adds value to my life. And I’m just one person of many. I got minus 68, or 86 – or something like that, anyway a LOT – on “rules adherence” in a psychometic test I did recently. I was actually pretty proud of that. Who wants to join the ranks of mediocrity? Perhaps that’s why I bubble over with alternative ideas all day long until my skull aches; why I dream manic dreams all night long and wake up exhausted; why I’m chatty, open, and  love people – but sometimes I hate them disturbing my thought processes so much I can be nasty and antisocial even to those closest to me. I’m teaching my 7 and 5 year-old to be creative thinkers while they understand just how to obey enough rules to make life easier to be creative thinkers undisturbed! (if that makes sense). Anyway. Look. You’re brilliant, human, interesting and I always look forward to reading your posts and feel good when I do so. You are alive and, I, for one, think you’re a cool dude (as my 7 year old would say). Keep it up and ignore the f*ckers who try to keep you in line. P.S.  Women find intellect sexy. Men feel threatened by other men with intellect. You’re one of the most intelligent guys I’ve read. Quit undervaluing yourself. This is from an attractive happily-married woman who got a place at Oxford University after High School (but never went). I know what I’m talking about. James, you rock!

  • Anonymous

    James, I’ve been your silent reader from afar for a few weeks now. Your blog’s a discovery that shines light into dark places. Or to put it in cliche’d corporate-speak, adds value to my life. And I’m just one person of many. I got minus 68, or 86 – or something like that, anyway a LOT – on “rules adherence” in a psychometic test I did recently. I was actually pretty proud of that. Who wants to join the ranks of mediocrity? Perhaps that’s why I bubble over with alternative ideas all day long until my skull aches; why I dream manic dreams all night long and wake up exhausted; why I’m chatty, open, and  love people – but sometimes I hate them disturbing my thought processes so much I can be nasty and antisocial even to those closest to me. I’m teaching my 7 and 5 year-old to be creative thinkers while they understand just how to obey enough rules to make life easier to be creative thinkers undisturbed! (if that makes sense). Anyway. Look. You’re brilliant, human, interesting and I always look forward to reading your posts and feel good when I do so. You are alive and, I, for one, think you’re a cool dude (as my 7 year old would say). Keep it up and ignore the f*ckers who try to keep you in line. P.S.  Women find intellect sexy. Men feel threatened by other men with intellect. You’re one of the most intelligent guys I’ve read. Quit undervaluing yourself. This is from (very attractive but happily-married woman just to put it into perspective!) someone who got a place at Oxford University after High School (but I never went, which pretty much is the epitome of rocking the establishment after 3 generations of oxbridge grads and illustrious names on both sides of my family!). Oh, ‘already rich’ means non-monetary stuff by the way. As you are, too: a great wife, healthy kids, intellect, curiosity, and the ability to be on the minus chart in rules adherence!  James, you rock!

  • alreadyrich

    The Seen and the Unseen: Devotionals Based on 2 Corinthians 4:18 by
    Jerry Crossley. I’m not the first person to point this out, but maybe you’ll break your own promises and send me a signed paperback too?! ; )

    • alreadyrich

      Right: now I read down a little more I can see you already revealed the cover that inspired you (not the one I thought above). Just shows that inspirational and interesting design is everywhere – do people plagiarise or just adapt ideas to their own purposes?! Everything was once an idea in someone else’s head. Except maybe the i-pad! he he!!!    

  • Maxnpops

    Contumacious folks here…love it!

  • Bill Walker

    Then there are those who PRETEND to follow the rules, but are actually the biggest criminals of all:
    http://lewrockwell.com/walker/walker44.1.html

    • Fubar

      The biggest criminals are plutocrats/corporatists that depend on the abuse of state powers to maintain their criminal business enterprises:
       
      http://exiledonline.com/a-peoples-history-of-koch-industries-how-stalin-funded-the-tea-party-movement/

      excerpts:

      What few realize is that the secretive oil billionaires of the Koch
      family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated
      the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their
      favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made
      working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building
      refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation
      of Soviet oil infrastructure.

      The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown
      into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual
      revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first
      place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the
      company being split roughly between right-wing brothers Charles and
      David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as
      the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of
      free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups.
      Reason magazine, Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute are just a few
      of Koch-backed free-market operations. Greenpeace estimates that the
      Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the
      “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three
      to one.

      I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when Mark Ames and I
      were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party
      movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing organizations and think tanks directly tied to the Kochs.
      We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party
      movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed
      astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups
      ,,,

      The story of how the Koch family amassed its socialist wealth starts
      at the turn of the 20th century with the birth of Fredrick C. Koch.
      Fred was born in a tiny town in north Texas town to a Dutch immigrant
      and newspaper publisher. The historical record is not clear about the
      family’s wealth, but it appears that great-granddaddy Koch was not
      hurting for cash, because Fred Koch turned out to be a smart kid and was
      able to study at MIT and graduate with chemical engineering degree. A
      few years later, in 1925, Fred started up the Winkler-Koch Engineering
      Company with a former classmate, quickly developing and patenting a
      novel process to refine gasoline from crude oil that had a highe-yield
      than anything on the market. It was shaping up to be an American success
      story, where anything was possible with a bit of elbow grease and good
      ol’ ingenuity.

      The sky was the limit—until the free market rained on Fred’s parade.

      See, Fred was living through the Roaring Twenties, a time of big
      business, heavy speculation and zero government regulation. Much like
      today, cartels were free to form and free to fix—and so they did.
      Sensing a threat to their royalty-revenue stream from Winkler-Koch’s
      superior refining technology, the reigning oil cartel moved in to teach
      the young Koch how the laissez-faire business model worked in the real
      world.

      “[W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies
      sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits
      (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract
      many US customers,” according to Hoover’s Company Records service. Just
      like that, Winkler-Koch Engineering found itself squeezed out of the
      American market. They had a superior product at a cheaper price, but no
      one to sell it to.

      Luckily, there was one market where opportunity beckoned—and innovation was rewarded: the Soviet Union.
      ,,,

  • Derrick

    You could have just said watch the “opposite George” episode of  Seinfeld.

    • doug graves

      Yeah.  Awesome Derrick.

  • Anonymous

    ….baby-boomers should be considered “experts” on rebellion, revolution and disobedience…..
    …not only were we boomers raised in the aftermath of global war and atomic revolution, but we were borne into a world that for the first time exploited television among the masses…..

    …we are one effed-up generation…and have been internally rebelling since we walked into a bar or disco in the 70’s,….

    ….if you want to know more about the issue of revolt,….you should read my memoir,….

         …Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family Living in the Perfect American Suburb…..

    …you will clearly understand that the fuel of hypocrisy that drove our parents to lives of anger and regret,…and why America exists now on prozac, paxil & pot….

    Regards,

    RJ O’Guillory
    Author-
    Webster Groves-The Life of an Insane Family

    • Fubar

      RJ,

      Thanks for the excellent observations.

      There was a very good documentary on PBS about the “baby boomers” a while ago that made a “seemingly mundane” but key point that I had (stupidly) overlooked in decades of examining counterculture ideas: the underlying force driving postmodern culture was the shift from farm and factory work to office work.

      Just as the industrial revolution caused a paradigm shift away from the forms of culture associated with agrarian life, the information revolution (office jobs, more people going to college) would cause a paradigm shift away from industrial culture toward postmodern values (the source of chaos). In ancient greece, the god of information and transformation, Hermes, was also the god of deception and cleverness.

      (Apollo was the god of reason, Prometheus the god of industry.)

      There are people that believe that “something better” might come out of the chaos and disintegration that you accurately describe.

      That “something better” includes an idea called “spiritual capitalism”. Spiritual capitalism is one expression of a holistic paradigm that I have commented on elsewhere in this thread.

  • http://twitter.com/rishil Rishi Lakhani

    As usual, you break the monotony of safe advice that we get everywhere
    about conforming and following the rules. High Risk=High Reward – a well
    played cliche, but a useful one nonetheless.

  • Scott_cowie

    When I was a small child there was a sign in my grade school that said ” QUESTION EVERYTHING” I made a girl cry in confusion by saying WHY ?

    Why should I question everything ? Quit telling me what to do.

  • Keith Snyder

    Best piece of yours I’ve read to date and I’ve read quite a few. LRC was the conduit. I’m glad they picked you up or I might not have come across the site.
    Best of luck with the book.

  • Keith Snyder

    Best piece of yours I’ve read to date and I’ve read quite a few. LRC was the conduit. I’m glad they picked you up or I might not have come across the site.
    Best of luck with the book.

  • Keith Snyder

    Best piece of yours I’ve read to date and I’ve read quite a few. LRC was the conduit. I’m glad they picked you up or I might not have come across the site.
    Best of luck with the book.

  • Keith Snyder

    Best piece of yours I’ve read to date and I’ve read quite a few. LRC was the conduit. I’m glad they picked you up or I might not have come across the site.
    Best of luck with the book.

  • Keith Snyder

    Best piece of yours I’ve read to date and I’ve read quite a few. LRC was the conduit. I’m glad they picked you up or I might not have come across the site.
    Best of luck with the book.

  • Anonymous

    Wish I could have your version of Eve as a poster.

  • Anonymous

    “A slug crawls slowly along it’s own secretions and is happy with that meager existence.” 

    Who are you to disobey the rules of apostrophe usage? Its people like you who ruin “it” for everyone.

  • Arnold

    Good article.

    The cover is a copy from:  The Party.  The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.  Do you need my address?

  • Tick

    What a classic bit of thinking. I felt like this guy was watching my life, and commenting on it as I read this piece! Good and bad, win and lose, but you LIVE, nuff said.

  • Tick

    One more thing, He talks about Ron Paul. Without a doubt one of the finest men ever to inter the ugly world of USA politics! Here is a man who ONLY speaks what he knows to be the truth! Talk about not being a common man! Of course we will treat him as we have the other Greats, like jesus, budda, and all the rest of the excptional people who scare us by being true to themselves!!!
    By the way, I like to think that I “Walk to the beat of a missing drummer!”

    • Fubar

      The future is transpartisan?

      Anglo-american political culture has always been a mix of tendencies, going back to the English Civil War, 1640s. John Locke wrote his famous philosophical essays on libertarian principles at that time (property rights, etc.). It was a time of dynamism, ferment and ripe possibilities for emerging paradigms that would overthrow old, static system and beliefs.

      By the 1700s, a paradigm shift toward liberty (and democracy, industrialization, scientific rationalism, etc.) was well underway, and the downfall of imperialism (aristocracy, high church, mythic conformism) as a grand scheme of western civilization was beginning.

      —excerpt—

      http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/intro.cfm

      This
      shift from … traditional values to modern values, was
      presaged in the salons or “small gatherings of moderns” (the word
      salon
      is French, but these gatherings were also occurring in England, Scotland, and
      Germany, among others), where the
      social
      practice
      of
      dialoging
      according to [modern] values was carefully exercised. That is, the practice of
      dialogue geared toward mutual understanding, reciprocal exchange,
      postconventional equality and freedom was practiced by small groups of
      leading-edge elites. This was a collective, communal, intersubjective,
      dialogical discourse at the [modern] wave of consciousness–a social
      practice, paradigm, or injunction of dialogical discourse within an elite
      subculture whose center of gravity was [modern] or higher.

           This
      new exemplar or social practice gave rise to a set of novel experiences,
      insights, data, illuminations, and interpersonal understandings, which new
      political
      theories
      then sought to capture. Most of these new theories of liberal democracy shared
      the idea that the only way to integrate individual and social is to have the
      individual feel that he or she is
      participating
      in the laws that govern his or her behavior.

      —end excerpt—

      America has always been both for liberty and for empire. It is a strange mix, and one that appears to ultimately be too toxic for the survival of democracy and liberty.

      http://inthearena.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/07/daniel-ellsberg-all-the-crimes-richard-nixon-committed-against-me-are-now-legal/

      ******************************
      Alexis de Toqueville predicted, in 1840, that american democracy would fail, and produce a “weak and servile” people, who are tragically dependent on a central government that they hate.
      ******************************

      Ron Paul represents the ideals of liberty very well, and he freely critiques the system of state-capitalism that is the main cause of the current “weakness and servility” of the american people.

      State-capitalism combines the police, judicial and legislative powers of the state with the economic powers of predatory corporatism. It is the worst of both worlds: big business in bed with big government.

      The support that the state provides to business is vast, pervasive, deeply corrupt, evil and designed to provide a *minimum of opportunity* of access to the “free enterprise” system to those not already at the top of the system (or willing to perpetuate it).

      http://attackthesystem.com/free-enterprise-the-antidote-to-corporate-plutocracy/

      http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn112.pdf

      After the american “hidden civil war” from the 1890s to 1920s (a war between corporate monopolists/plutocrats on one side and labor activists on the other – see Anthony Lukas, “Big Trouble”), a “social contract” was established that attempted to calm the conflict by stabilizing the system of middle class wealth accumulation. This culminated in what was called the “New Deal” (President Roosevelt – FDR).

      The paradigm shift from a feudal to industrial society was accomplished, from a culture of “dependency” (mythic conformism) to “independence” – a system of capitalist achievement that contained both libertarian “free market” tendencies and imperial tendencies.

      *** The root of all imperial systems is slavery and war. ***

      In modern america, a weird mix of liberty and “slavery” came about.

      Such mixes are explained by systems theorists:

      —excerpt—
      http://www.panarchy.org/koestler/holon.1969.html

       Arthur Koestler
       Some general properties of
       self-regulating open hierarchic order (SOHO)
       (1969)…1. The holon
      1.1 The organism in its structural aspect is not an aggregation
      of elementary parts, and in its functional aspects not a chain of
      elementary units of behaviour.
      1.2 The organism is to be regarded as a multi-levelled hierarchy
      of semi-autonomous sub-wholes, branching into sub-wholes of a lower
      order, and so on. Sub-wholes on any level of the hierarchy are referred
      to as holons.
      1.3 Parts and wholes in an absolute sense do not exist in the
      domains of life. The concept of the holon is intended to reconcile the
      atomistic and holistic approaches.
      1.4 Biological holons are self-regulating open systems which
      display both the autonomous properties of wholes and the dependent
      properties of parts. This dichotomy is present on every level of every
      type of hierarchic organization, and is referred to as the “Janus
      phenomenon”.
      1.5 More generally, the term “holon” may be applied to any stable
      biological or social sub-whole which displays rule-governed behaviour
      and/or structural Gestalt-constancy. Thus organelles and homologous
      organs are evolutionary holons; morphogenetic fields are ontogenetic
      holons; the ethologist’s “fixed action-patterns” and the sub-routines of
      acquired skills are behavioural holons; phonemes, morphemes, words,
      phrases are linguistic holons; individuals, families, tribes, nations
      are social holons.—end excerpt—

      In some theories about paradigm shifts, a great deal of evidence (artifacts of culture) is presented that points to a vexing problem: paradigm regression. (Jean Gebser “Ursprung und Gegenwart” – “The Ever Present Origin”)

      Gebser examined the rise of Fascism/Nazism, and concluded that the paradigm of modernity, scientific rationalism, etc., had played itself out.

      A new paradigm of postmodernism was being established.

      Postmodernism showed up as skepticism about the absolutisms of modernist systems. Postmodernism produced pluralism, relativism, multiculturalism, radical feminism, the “beatnik” and “hippy” countercultures, etc.

      Just as the medieval/aristocratic ideal was based on “dependence”, and the modernist/democratic/capitalist ideal was based on “independence”, the postmodernist ideal is based on “interdependence” (including globalism).

      Unfortunately, postmodernism quickly regressed, and was “infected” by narcissism, nihilism, political correctness, thought policing, and so forth (“liberals” or “progressives” are just as capable of forcing their views on others as anyone).

      So, one of the few futurist theories in existence proposes that a new set of arrangements is coming about in the world, overcoming the problems of postmodernism. The paradigm that is “beyond postmodernism” claims to offer the possibility of “healthy” forms of political culture based on “interdependence” and an integral/holistic paradigm.

      One experiment in integral/holistic politics is the transpartisan movement. The transpartisan movement honors the truths in all previous paradigms, including libertarianism, without being enslaved to the outmoded aspects of any particular paradigm.

      Ron Paul participated in the transpartisan movement several years ago.

      It may be that if libertarians and independents (as well as populists, progressives, and conservatives seeking the “common good”) clamor for Ron Paul to revive the possibilities of the transpartisan movement, that Ron Paul could create a significant reform movement that could restore the integrity of the original ideals of america, while embracing a healthy form of holistic interdependence.

  • http://ashleyscwalls.com Ashleyscwalls

    I had fun reading this post and learned a lot as well. THANKS! This was right on time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000282971860 Chandral Thakor

    “But I have a hearing problem in my right ear where I can’t hear the letter “T” very well…”
    Man that’s really got me laughing

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134330266 James Ryder

    Not sure if someone ever got the cover design question, but it’s a homage to Charles Bukowski’s South of No North.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susie-Notley-Bautista/1366966559 Susie Notley Bautista

     “I’m scared to death of slowly dying throughout life. Of living a life of complacency until death” …Thank you for the connection; I don’t feel so alone anymore.   I’m more afraid of complacency than the consequences.

  • http://www.disneyeveryday.com Amanda Tinney

    Hot Damn James! Stir that pot up and give everyone a slap to the face. We need it! One of my favorite posts yet!

  • Karenorsi

    Easter egg hunt, 1968. I ask my mom, “What are we supposed to do?” She says, “Find the golden egg.” The pop gun goes off. Kids are running everywhere. There is candy all over the ground, which is confusing to me because I’m looking for the golden egg. I scour every inch of the area, even leaving the pack and looking in the bushes near the back of the field. The whistle blows and I come back empty handed. Mom says, “What’s wrong with you?” I say “I was looking for the golden egg.” My basket was empty, while everyone else had a basket full of candy. They were “thinking outside of the box.” I can’t see the fucking box. This has caused me a lifetime of trouble. 

  • http://twitter.com/neo92803 Kevin Moore

    Aaaah screw it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Goff/100000028732477 Steve Goff

    “Disobedience + Persistence = Enormous success.”

    concur……….