The Worst Boss Ever

braindead

“I think she’s a money hungry slut,” was the answer to my question.

Let me back up twelve hours before that was said.

I had to return my dad’s leased car to the car company because he had just had a stroke. I went to visit him. He was staring at the ceiling. The hospital had lost his glasses and he was blind without them. He was blinking but couldn’t move or communicate. I sat with him for awhile. He tried to move his mouth sometimes but I don’t know if he was trying to communicate anything.

“He’s brain dead,” said the nurse. “There’s nothing there.” But what did she know? A doctor will amputate your leg if you accidentally get wheeled into the wrong room. No offense but “brain dead” is a term that nobody understands.

There’s pockets of neurons that still want to be touched, that still want to be loved. We all have them. They don’t die.

Then I went to the car place. They didn’t understand. But it didn’t matter to me. I said, “You can take this car and re-sell it or re-lease it or do whatever you want or I can drive this car off a cliff and never pay you another dime.” Somehow we worked it out and all the paperwork was torn up.

Then V., the hedge fund manager I worked for, invited me for dinner at the Four Seasons. He knew I was having a hard time because of my dad. In many ways I felt like he was trying to play that role because he knew how hurt I was.

So I took the bus into the Four Seasons. A bus through the heartache of New Jersey is the loneliest form of transit. New Jersey is called “the Garden State” but to go from Central NJ to NYC all you do is pass oil refineries and airports. My daughter Mollie told me the other day that the Amazon jungle (a word always now has to be placed after the word “Amazon” or else one would think I was selling books. As in “Wonder Woman was originally an Amazon woman”) was the “lungs of the Earth”.

Well, the New Jersey corridor leading up to NYC is the “lungs of NJ”. And New Jersey is sick. New Jersey might even have lung cancer. But I’m no doctor.

I get to the Four Seasons and I begin drinking. V had invited about ten of us there including his  girlfriend (V was married), his daughter, G. and about 7 others. I was sitting between the daughter, G. and the girlfriend.

I had nothing to say to anyone. I was depressed about my dad. I was depressed about my mom, who was constantly depressed. I was depressed about the state of my marriage, the state of my trading (that was my one down month out of about 15), and I was tired. It was midnight and I had been drinking. So of course I said the most intelligent thing I could say:

“So G, what do you think of your dad going more public about his relationship with…” and I pointed to the girlfriend, who was listening.

G, who I had always gotten along with and even might have had a small crush on, said, “I think she’s a money hungry slut.”  Then G got up and walked out of the restaurant. Her father, V, was at the other end of the table and had no clue what had just occurred. G. went on to produce several well-known movies.

The next day I called Dan, my business partner and said, “I think something bad happened last night.”

S, V’s wife, wrote me and said, “how dare you ask G that!” And I wrote back, “I’m not getting in the middle here. I have enough worries.” And she wrote back and apologized.

V invited me out to dinner a few nights later. I don’t know what he had heard about anything. Suddenly in the middle of dinner he looked at me, “in all my life I had never heard of something so bad as what I heard about what you did the other night.”

I had to excuse myself. We were at some other fancy restaurant in NYC. At this point I had already stopped trading for V but he didn’t know that yet. I had simply stopped and didn’t tell him. I wanted nothing to do with his situation. I went to the bathroom and actually cried. My dad, V, V’s girlfriend (who was at this dinner also that night and knew I hadn’t meant anything bad at all), and one of V’s other employees.  I cried for about five minutes because that’s the kind of baby I am.

Meanwhile, I knew I needed to reduce dependence on V. Never be dependent on one company or one individual to make your goals succeed. That’s the fastest way to guarantee your goals will fail. I raised money from five other hedge funds. I wrote a book which was about to come out.  [See: “How to Deal With Crappy Bosses“]

When my first book came out, it was outselling the book that V had done with his girlfriend. He wrote to me, “your book is an embarrassment. You are a laughing stock.” Then he wrote to me that I had stolen all of his ideas, which didn’t make sense since I had been trading all of those ideas since before I had even met V and besides, he traded futures and I traded stocks.

Then his girlfriend was having some sort of party. So I figured I’d brave it and go. I still wanted to be associated with V. In the middle of the party V challenged me to a game of checkers. V had been taking checkers lessons from a world champion checkers player for years. It was like in the movie, “Beat Street” when the Rock Steady Crew challenged the NYC Breakers. The floor cleared. The checkers board was brought out.  Everyone was watching because people knew that V was starting to hate me and also knew he was a checkers genius and I was not. I was more into chess.

In any case, the best thing in the world happened – V made a mistake and I won the game. I knew I had been lucky. V was a better player than me. But still, I had spent several years studying the game and wasn’t bad.

A day later, V wrote to me, “I want nothing more to do with you financially”.

I wrote back, “the only thing you have to do with me financially is that you owe me money based on the profit-sharing fee of the money I made you.”

So V sent me a check.

Then V started trashing me on his private message board. On the day my father in law died I sent around a message to everyone I knew, including V, that my father in law died, here’s where to send flowers, etc.

That day V trashed me worse than ever on his message board.

I was very upset. I wrote back to V and said, “you’re a bad person for doing that.”

He may have then repeated to his message board what I had just written him since it included some other ranting (I don’t know this for sure because he had removed me from his mailing list).

My employee, Omid (who later did this video) , wrote V and said, you can’t do this, we have a check showing we actually made you money.

And so V apologized on his mailing list and admitted I had made him money (I think he did this).

After that I never spoke to V again.

But with all the controversy on the book, it actually spiked in sales. People may have actually believed I did steal V’s ideas so they were more than happy to shell out the $60 price that the book cost.

V’s fund blew up two or three years later. Maybe “blew up” is the wrong phrase but after the market volatility of 2006 and 2007 I never heard of his fund again and all his former employees ended up working elsewhere. So something happened and it probably wasn’t good. He also supposedly moved back in with his wife.

I remember visiting his house at a party in late 2002. Someone had painted him and his family. It was a beautiful painting hanging on the wall. I was feeling jealous like, “why can’t I have a picture-perfect life like V does?” Where everyone seemed happy, and his family had supported him and now he was successful and living in this 20,000 square foot house with paintings and successful people everywhere. All I was at that time was scared scared SCARED and I was sick and tired of it. Leaving his party around midnight, I got stopped by the Connecticut police, a very friendly group of people. And consequently I don’t have a driver’s license anymore.

(even he had a driver's license)

 

I don’t know what lessons I learned from this. As long as you want things – for your entire life-  you’re caught somewhere on the spectrum of HOPE and DREAD. Sometimes you have good reasons to Hope for the things you want. Sometimes you Dread you won’t get them. Much happiness in life comes from how you navigate between those twin poles of Hope and Dread. There are two levels of happiness: when reality matches your Hope (and it’s more likely to do that if you stay away from Dread), and #2: if you don’t want anything at all. #2 seems the better form of happiness since it can last for a longer time.

V, at the time, seemed filled with Hope and I wanted to be associated with him so I could parasitically have that same Hope even though all such Hope is false. Now I try to create Hope for myself instead of relying on others.

The world at the moment is filled with Dread. The winners will be the ones who realize that the reality right now is closer to the hope end of the spectrum.

Oh, one other thing I learned: not to drink at a dinner party right after returning your dying father’s car to the dealership and cleaning his desk of all his old papers. I don’t know if that rule will come in handy today, for instance, but it’s a rule I plan on following for the rest of my life.

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  • http://traderhabits.com Eradke

    I like the idea of the flow from dread to hope but it can end when you find what you really want.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Or when you want nothing.

      • http://www.samudranb.com Samudra Neelam Bhuyan

        I dont know about Christianity, but Hinduism has a similar concept. It is encapsulated in the phrase “Moh maya”, which literally means “infatuation illusion”. It talks about how any and all “wants” are illusions, and how permanent happiness, or “nirvana” can be achieved through “moksha” or release from worldly attachments.

        I did not understand however this part – “The world at the moment is filled with Dread. The winners will be the ones who realize that the reality right now is closer to the hope end of the spectrum.” Could you please elaborate?

        I love reading your posts. I have no idea about stock markets, but as an aspiring entrepreneur, the truth in your writing is really touching. Thank you for sharing!

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Samudra, thanks. I think (for hinduism) the contemporary (100 years ago) writings of Ramana Maharshi sums it up when he basically says the only happiness comes from wanting nothing.

          But in terms of today: The world is filled with Dread and Hope and we are all standing in the middle. The Dread is that Europe collapses, China collapses, the US slips into a depression, there are riots, etc. The hope is that America recovers (which it already has actually and that innovation continues. I firmly believe on the side of Hope in this and that its a great time to be an entrepreneur and be on the side of those who see that this recovery is happening.

          • http://www.samudranb.com Samudra Neelam Bhuyan

            How do you connect those two philosophies? That of not-wanting, and wanting to move towards hope? How do those two co-exist?

          • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

            I think with all of these philosophies there’s also the notion of “the householder”. the householder has a responsibility to raise a family and provide and not just renounce everything.

            The key philosophies for a householder is to be physically healthy, emotionally, mentally, and spirtually health, so that when the harvest comes in and you are ready to retire, you have the health you need to spend many years pursuing the more esoteric philosophies.

            So they aren’t contradictory. One leads right into the other.

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

            I like ” The Householder”

            I am fond of the categorization of eastern Philosophies:

            Taoism for the young
            Confucianism for the middle aged
            Buddhism for the old.

          • murali

            I think the house-holder is called ¨Grihastha’ in sanskrit. Brilliant reply, JA!

            Interestingly enough, I am currently reading the first book of V.

  • St

    I love all the stories of yours that are even tangentially related to trading.

  • Anonymous

    Guys like Niederhoffer who are undeniably brilliant are so often undeniably insufferable jerks for whatever reason.  So smart, yet so unaware of the effect of their actions on others and even if they are aware and don’t care, they don’t have the capacity to know why they are wrong in human terms.  It’s weird.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Vikram, I appreciate the correction – and I agree with you. I have another post on this coming up “The diseases billionaires get”. I think sometimes people forget what we are put here for (and who knows the reason but its certainly not to accumulate more yachts because then where do they all go when we die).

      • Anonymous

        Whoever dies with the most toys is still dead.

  • dude50

    a friend of mine who really wanted to become rich and successful made about $300 million from making mortgage loans to people with bad credit and then selling the mortgages to wealthy people who wanted to increase their wealth even more. He seemed like he had everything anyone could ever want and all of his friends envied him. One day he woke up and the market had collapsed and took his company with it. He was still pretty well off, but had lost most of his fortune. A year or so later, he woke up, got out of bed and fell over dead at age 55. I’m pretty sure none of his friends envied anything that happened to him after he got rich. Everyone seems to want to be rich and happy, but I don’t think he two things are correlated at all.

  • Anonymous

    Wow…great story and title. I like that you acknowledge your role (being too dependent) on him. I always wonder about people who openly cheat on their spouses. If they are willing to humiliate a spouse, what would they be willing to do to me? It speaks to their character, their unwillingness to spare another’s feelings.
    Did you do a victory lap when you beat him in checkers?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I honestly felt nervous when I won because I could see he was upset. We played another game after that and I was winning but coasted it to a draw.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I honestly felt nervous when I won because I could see he was upset. We played another game after that and I was winning but coasted it to a draw.

  • Anonymous

    It must have been hard writing the first half of that post.  Thanks for sharing the story – I’m glad we can learn from a situation like that without having to experience it.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks mypaisa. It was.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks mypaisa. It was.

  • http://www.szelhamos.com TheAcsMan

    Most rules have corollaries, I’m sure that that your “take home message” is no exception.
     
    I’m struck by your line “There’s pockets of neurons that still want to be touched, that still want to be loved. We all have them. They don’t die”.

    These days I don’t run across very many things that are worth remembering, but that one’s a keeper. In just a few short words you summed up a few millenia worth of metaphysics.

    On a positive note, at least the Greeks gave us something besided dilapidated buildings and fiscal meltdown

  • http://www.szelhamos.com TheAcsMan

    Most rules have corollaries, I’m sure that that your “take home message” is no exception.
     
    I’m struck by your line “There’s pockets of neurons that still want to be touched, that still want to be loved. We all have them. They don’t die”.

    These days I don’t run across very many things that are worth remembering, but that one’s a keeper. In just a few short words you summed up a few millenia worth of metaphysics.

    On a positive note, at least the Greeks gave us something besided dilapidated buildings and fiscal meltdown

  • Paradigmetc

    I think I know know who you are writing of. Anyways, you wrote a real gem here James. The last bit about hope and dread is one of the best distillations of truth that I’ve read in a long while. True wealth is inner-peace and solace. Nothing can be obtained from looking outward. Only inwards. It is a battle that I am fighting everyday and the worthless stress that seeking outwardly provides can be debilitating.

    Perhaps the Dali Lama said it best. It was one of the best things I have read when I came across it a while back. Most of us are so deluded by illusory goals and don’t even know it.

    Dali Lama:

    Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.Then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present,and as a result he does not live in the present or the future.He lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yes, that is a very good point. I mention on a much lower comment (scroll down) that  it’s ok to “want” things, particularly if you have to raise a family, but the key is to do it in such a way that you keep your health: physical, emotional, mental, so that when you are ready, you still have many years where you can sit up straight and pursue true spiritual health.

      • Paradigmetc

        btw, V’s website is one of the most pretentious group I have ever come across. Smart for sure, but depressingly pretentious. But what do I know compared to them? I am but a simpleton.

  • Anonymous

    Simply awesome. Every time I read your posts I have to smile a little, to know someone has actually gone through basically the same experiences makes me feel better for some odd reason. Along with dealing with depression, suicide in family, divorce and past financial ruin I am still standing…barely at times but still here. Oh yes…I too was pulled over for DUI, in my case it was because of a girl who after a few drinks called her daddy ex chief of police because I wanted to move on in my life and she became irate, luckily for me it was reduced because I tested UNDER the legal limit but it wreaked havoc for me mentally. Keep up the direct and honest writing, I think it is helping a lot of people.

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

    I always hated that message board. Nothing but a a bunch of sycophants writing fatuous articles about how great it was to a be a speculator.  It was like they were constantly trying to convince themselves that they were “doing God’s work” buying and selling a security every 15 minutes.

  • louigo

    James, I love your posts, I hate your posts.

    I started reading a month or so ago and just kept agreeing with your stuff. Even worse, I work in the porn industry and work with crappy people and crappy bosses. Tonight I was sitting there thinking, damn I’m going to quit. I can’t stand the bullshit and everyone on coke just pretending they are inventing the new frontier. So I’m going for the interview on monday with a normal bunch of people and I’ve got my book chapters nailed as well, so I owe you a drink :)

  • Jquick99

    Who takes chess lessons?  What world do you live in?

    V sounds like an ass.  You should use his first name, and let the reader research to try to figure it out, if they want to.  You owe him nothing.

    • http://www.investingwithoptions.com/ steveplace

      if you think about it and know james enough, you can surmise the actual player here

    • http://www.investingwithoptions.com/ steveplace

      if you think about it and know james enough, you can surmise the actual player here

  • Day Trader

    What I never understood about V was why he insisted on blowing up his funds all the time.
    I know high returns = high risk, but you must also question the psychology here.
    Read his first book and in the chapter about trading the yen, his trading sounds like pure gambling (strange for someone so keen on testing everything).
    As for his current website – don;t even get me started…

    • C Pennybrown

      The last pages of his book (“Education of a Speculator”) give the most harrowing description of trading I’ve ever read.  I thought when I read it that it showed keen self-awareness – the kind of knowledge that would have kept V out of tight places.

      What did I know?

      As for V’s fascination with counting – well, you can tell yourself that you are counting everything and yet there are some things (black swans) that can never be counted.

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

        the point of the black swan metaphor is that black swans can be counted, but most people don’t know they exist until it’s too late.

    • C Pennybrown

      The last pages of his book (“Education of a Speculator”) give the most harrowing description of trading I’ve ever read.  I thought when I read it that it showed keen self-awareness – the kind of knowledge that would have kept V out of tight places.

      What did I know?

      As for V’s fascination with counting – well, you can tell yourself that you are counting everything and yet there are some things (black swans) that can never be counted.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s inherent to his trading style, any time you trade with that amout of leverage it’s only a matter of time before it blows up, it happened to Niederhoffer, it happened to LTCM, it happened with morgage backed securities and it will happen again.

      I’m astonished anyone still listens to him, here’s a guy who has blown up not one, but TWO hedge funds, losing billions of investors money and people still think he has valuable trading advice to give. His greatest skill is not trading, but self promotion.

      • guest

        “V” is really obviously Niederhoffer.

    • Aiken

      V.’s style is to take the sort of trade that Jim Grant called, “picking up pennies in front of a steam roller”.  Example: holding the THB/JPY cross for the carry interest.  This trade has a non-trivial risk of ruin given the leverage utilized and the inherent instability of the cross.

  • Anonymous

    Two weeks ago I held my father’s hand as he died of complications of Alzheimers. It was the end of a weeklong ordeal. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try to interact with a boss like V during all that. Something tells me I’d like to meet G. Good post.

    • Anonymous

      Mark, i’m sorry for your loss. I held my mother’s, for years, and right up to her final long slow rattling breath as she let go. And I blessed her doctor who, when the time came, quietly took me aside, away from the “attending” nurse, and asked my permission to help her go painlessly. I walked her right down to the Gates, and kissed her as she stepped through. May your grieving be good.

  • C Pennybrown

    i always thought V’s girlfriend/wife balancing act was a little unfathomable.  Didn’t he travel back and forth between NYC &CT from one woman to another for a few years.

    There’s a french saying that I am mangling along the lines:  “to have 2 women is dangerous; but to have 2 homes leads to insanity.”

    I don’t get this complicated lives.

    All I have ever wanted is a simple, carefree life with plenty of fun doing the silly stuff I enjoy. It turns out harder than I thought. There is always that ONE SPOT of my life that is not working well and it comes to take up 80% of my energy and attention. But I digress…

    If V thought it was terrible wrong of you to make a comment on his personal situation in front of his daughter, then why did he bring his daughter along to the dinner? Sounds to me like everything  was in plain view before you said anything.

    • Jquick99

      you are correct that he travelled back and forth [a few days each place a week].  why did the women, esp his wife put up with it?  i guess i can kinda understand why the gfriend did – who bore him a son [after 6 daughters].

  • bgate

    even though Steve Jobs has died who probably was an OK boss, I remember James saying,  I  might not be as clever or as bright or as rich, but damn, I’m still alive and he isn’t :)

    • http://www.dennisgorelik.com dennisgorelik

      You managed to be the first who delivered that news (Steve Jobs died) to me.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        me too :(

  • http://www.dennisgorelik.com dennisgorelik

    Here’s my takeaway from that story:
    1) V made a huge mistake by hiding his head like an ostrich.
    He should have listened to his daughter (I’m pretty sure she shared his views on V’s girlfriend).
    I don’t mean that he had to dump his girlfriend, but he should have paid attention to his daughter’s opinion. That would allow him to clearly see what he has in his personal relationships and make more informed decisions.
    2) V made a mistake of blaming you for his problems.
    Instead he should have thanked you for giving him yet another opportunity to destroy his personal life. (Again, the fix would necessarily be in dumping the girlfriend, but clear understanding of the situation is the must).
    3) You’ve made a right decision to dump V. He showed early signs of losing his life.
    4) Your decision to ask V’s daughter that question was a very good one. Even though short-term effects were painful.
    The reason why that question is so good is that it had a good potential to help your friend V, and also it was an important diagnostic tool about V’s sanity. You don’t want to to treat insane people like they are sane.

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

    All the horrible things that happened, or that were related to your relationship with V pale in comparison to your words/feelings about your father’s stroke.

  • doug graves

    There is such an undercurrent of nihilism in this post.  The only remotely uplifting part is that Mohamed Atta got out at the top of his game and retired to all those virgins.

  • Halo972

    Your honesty makes you so awesome James.
    From Arafat to other posts on raising money and riding the bus to Rikers, you reveal so much of yourself that it is refreshing and wonderful. Thank you.

  • Damnedchou

    just wow!! but if you could explain this more!!

  • Andrefiker

    Hey James,

    I’d love to hear what you think about my predictions regarding Apple’s future:

    http://kheldron.wordpress.com/

    Kind Regards!

  • Tuzo

    James, a really well written post filled with truth, humor, pathos and interesting stories.  But somehow I feel sure that the Amazon paragraph was written just so you could put up a picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.  And if that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right!  :)

  • Tuzo

    James, a really well written post filled with truth, humor, pathos and interesting stories.  But somehow I feel sure that the Amazon paragraph was written just so you could put up a picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.  And if that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right!  :)

  • Tuzo

    James, a really well written post filled with truth, humor, pathos and interesting stories.  But somehow I feel sure that the Amazon paragraph was written just so you could put up a picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.  And if that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right!  :)

  • http://twitter.com/MarketTechLab Market Tech Lab

    Dear James,

    I think that rather that NOT want anything, it is better to fully appreciate that which we already have. Then try imagining that which we aspire to, hopefully it being a noble and lofty goal, and practice thanksgiving for that despite not even having attained it yet at all. This sense and practice of appreciate is the best way I have found in getting the most out of life – the most happiness, the most humility, and these in turn lead us to make the most progress.

    If you wouldn’t mind giving me some feedback on my blog, I would really appreciate some words from the master (you!). You can find it at http://www.markettechlab.com/blog

    Thanks so much for doing what you do and being who you are. I have truly learned a lot from you over the course of this year.

  • LaLaLaLa

    I’m pretty sure I remember once seeing a post a couple of years ago on his website where V included your book in a list of books he was recommending to someone who had asked what books a beginner should read.

  • Eugene

    His book was something special. I am sure that S was a horrible boss for V, but that is how all the good bosses are. Something doesn’t seem to add up in your story, though, James. I had a feeling that you left some of the stuff that made V mad at you out of the context. In the other post you were talking about Bukowski and one of the things he taught you.
    The other thing I don’t understand is why not to use V actual’s name? Because for a person who read your blog is quite obvious who V, G, S are.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      No, I think I pretty much told it as it is. Anything else might be too personal to V and would rather leave it out. But I made him good money and didn’t need or want to be in the middle of anyone else’s issues. I don’t  know what you mean by “S was a horrible boss”. She wasn’t a boss at all. Not sure also what you mean when you say “that is how all the good bosses are”. That is certainly not true.

      And also, for most people,it’s not clear who these people are. They can be anyone.

      • Eugene

        S meaning the big S whom V had to listen at some point. Imho, boss has to be a pain in the neck, so the employee feels motivated in a way. Works in the military, at least. (one of the most efficient systems I am aware off). In the military (sorry for the off – topic), the soldier is afraid of his general much more that he is afraid of his enemy.

  • http://what-are-my-options.blogspot.com/ the99th

    I think we all know who V is. Should have changed the consonant J!

  • clark

    For the most part, in a sort of Steel Magnolias kind of way, this was a very funny post.

    This was pretty funny:

    “The next day I called Dan, my business partner and said, “I think something bad happened last night.””

    And even more funny:

    “In the middle of the party V challenged me to a game of checkers. V had been taking checkers lessons from a world champion checkers player for years.”

    OMG, and then this:

    “a checkers genius” – HAHAHAHAHA!

    I can’t express all the ways those were funny, but they were, imho, very funny.

    All pain and suffering comes from fear and desire, eh?

  • moshkosh

    The envy you had for V clearly was misplaced.  Nasty, crappy people like that are merely projecting their own rancid, rot from inside out to the world.

    The sexy girlfriend, the big house, the family portrait….he  his “hope” was to cover up all the misery.
    It finally overwhelmed him it seems.

    We dont always get what we want out of life, but we always get what we deserve.

  • BrianBalk

    It seems you tried to hide their identities by using initials.  And yet you used their actual initials, and there’s plenty of contextual information – much of it in your blog – to make it easy to identify them.  A strange contradiction.  I think there are some things you would not write if it might hurt others you care about.  Yet you didn’t really do enough to protect identities in this post, if that was your intent.

  • katelynn

    I was directed to your blog by my brother, specifically the one on “How to Deal with Crappy People.” I have read most of your blogs since then, and found them to be honest, enlightening, and highly entertaining. I have no idea who V, S, or G are… Some of your readers assume your blog has remianed in your circle of “close” friends. I can assure you that is not the case.
    Thanks for all the wonderful insight!   
     

  • Christopher Parker

    James, you dropped something at the end which I think is very important — this being the hope-Dread tension which is tied into economics and where we are as a country.  I would really like to hear you write more about that, both on a personal level and about where we are as a country.

    It occurred to me a month or two ago that since doing the opposite of the consensus is often the way to riches, that now is the time to invest and prepare to be ready when collective economic hope returns.  Which it will.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree with that. I wrote a little more about that in my latest post.

  • Better Yeti

    About the falling-out with V: As a money manager myself (and consequently a dealer in uncomfortable truths, variant perceptions, et cetera) I’ve had similar events — causing radical offense and insult when I was just pointing things out without malice. The straight line I can draw through all my personal-offense-data is this: if your presence or influence reminds people how stupid they’re being, well, they’ll figure out a way to hate you. It may make no sense, but remember the principle at work: you’re causing cognitive dissonance for them, and they resolve it by pushing you away.

    – Better Yeti

  • asxiq

    any reason to go public now at this point of time ?? seems silly to me to go out and revealing all the private matters to public

  • Vivek

    I love this part: “As long as you want things – for your entire life-  you’re caught somewhere on the spectrum of HOPE and DREAD. Sometimes you have good reasons to Hope for the things you want. Sometimes you Dread you won’t get them. Much happiness in life comes from how you navigate between those twin poles of Hope and Dread.” – I think everyone can relate to this.

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

    I feel like I’ve known guys like V. before. Except without the money and 20,000 square foot house. I once had to fire an employee because he threatened my life after being reprimanded. His excuse later was that he was very stressed out because both his wife and girlfriend were pregnant at the same time.

    Sometimes our stress is our own creation. Most times, probably.

  • financialanarchist

    HERE HERE.

    I just visited the home of a guy who’s worth about half a billion dollars. I had never felt so sick with dread entire life. Imagine, puny little me and my $60k/year income. A day later and I’m still recovering my sense of reality since my perception of wealth was so disgustingly altered at that visit.

    This post helps. A lot.

    • financialanarchist

      or is it “HEAR HEAR”?