Every Thursday on Twitter I do a Q&A from 3:30-4:30 EST.  Some of the answers I take and expand further into a blog post over the weekend. Some answers I will expand even further, plus combine with some answers I’ve been doing via emails instead of Twitter and include in my future book: “FAQ U”



mrcptrsn Marc Petersen Asks: You have written about sleeping two times 4 hours a day. Have you ever tried different sleep patterns,

ANSWER: I’ve written before that it’s important to get eight hours of sleep a day. You feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and your mind is ready to start pumping out ideas.

However, the eight hours doesn’t necessarily have to be in a row! Depending on your lifestyle I’ve tried at least these two other ideas:

A)    4-8am and 4-8pm. This way from 8pm-midnight you can hang out with friends and then from midnight to 4am you can work without any distractions. Great for any programmer or writer (I was both and neither during the time when I was trying this). Then you wake up at 8am and have a full day of work, eating, playing until 4pm.

I was insanely productive doing that sleep schedule. Not recommended if you have a 9-5 job and I don’t currently do it

B)    The 25 hour day. You sleep eight hours, but you go to sleep an hour later each day. So day 1: 8pm, day 2, 9pm, etc. You give yourself a full extra hour of being productive. The problem: there is a period in the 25 days when you’re asleep all day and up all night.

When I tried this it had a weird effect on both my social life and my hygiene. I don’t think I’ll ever repeat that experiment again unless I live in the woods. Which is not happening anytime soon.

The questioner pointed to an interesting wiki page about alternative sleep styles.



@bdemyttenaere Bart Demyttenaer Asks:what’s your take on (excessive) CEO-compensation ? Is Blankfein really worth 20 mio/y ?


A very wise man once told me “I won’t look in what is your pocket and you don’t look at what is in my pocket.”

He said this because a company he represented had made my company an offer in stock. And then there stock kept going up before the deal closed so I was worried they were going to back out. Their offer was getting more and more expensive to them every day.

The most stressful period in a business (for me) is that period after you get an offer to buy your company and the day you close the deal. IN this particular case it was almost six months. I would literally call my mom and dad up and cry on the phone when another week had gone by and the lawyers hadn’t closed the deal.

Can you imagine? A grown man crying on the phone to his mommy and daddy because his company hadn’t sold yet.

So finally I called up my friend in the middle and told him my stress. And with that single sentence, he wiped out my anxiety about the situation.

Ok, but that said, does that mean Lloyd Blankfein should make $20 million. Or anyone should? Particularly if they were bailed out by the government with taxpayer dollars? Of course not.

But, I’m still more worried about what’s in my wallet than what’s in Lloyd Blankfein’s and that’s where I’ll put my focus. Everyone else goes on and on about how great voting is and yet we elected guys who approved all of this CEO compensation. So not my problem. I’m more worried about whether or not the ipad 10 will be edible.


@BenNesvig Ben Nesvig Asks:Is there any reason to look for a book publisher instead of self-publishing?


Ahh, my favorite question of the moment. It’s almost like you were planted in the audience!

Let’s break this down for a second: the two most important parties that create the “value” of a book are: the writer, and then the reader.

In World 2.0 they become the only parties. Let’s look at everyone in the middle:

Agent, editors, book publisher, distribution channels, bookstores.

All of those are the walking dead. Bookstores are already gone. Notice that unlike American Airlines which gets to go bankrupt and then happily continues to do business without paying  it debts – Borders actually got liquidated. Their business was so bad that no banks would lend to them, no hedge funds would support them (anymore) and even book publishers refused to send them books. Barnes & Noble is next (their college stores keep them in business). I was surprised a few weeks ago when I was in San Francisco and realized there wasn’t a single Barnes & Noble in the city. I know people read there. They just read with their kindles.

So there’s two reasons to go for a book publisher: and both reasons are declining in value:

–          The advance. But advances are declining. I don’t have proof of this. Only what agents and publishers tell me (or maybe they are just telling me thatbecause they don’t want to pay ME an advance. Who knows. One quick story: I was at a dinner where perhaps the greatest literary agent in history was on one side and a well known magazine publisher who is setting up her own imprint of books was on the other side. Within a 30 second period the agent told me that advances are doing great: “more 7 figure advances in the past six months than ever before”. And the publisher on the other side told me: “the publishing business is dead. Don’t listen to her.”

Meanwhile, the high advances are only being given if you already are well known or have a huge “platform” as they call it. Meaning, a big email list, twitter following, etc. If you already have that list, then much better to self-publish anyway because you’ll get a 70% or higher royalty versus a 10% royalty. And 100% of foreign rights versus 30-50% of foreign rights.

–          Validation. Somehow, there’s a psychology at work. If a 23 year old editor at, let’s say, Little Brown, picks out your book and says it’s good enough to be published you feel validated.

Well, screw that! Validate yourself. I’ve now self-published two books. And because I wrote them for myself (and  not a publisher) and published without any lag  time (as opposed to a year lag time) and marketed them myself (so they are selling better than ANY of my prior books) I can safely say these are my two best books ever. And I have five more coming next year because I’m totally in charge of the process and production.

For more, “Why and How I Self-Published a book” And “Why “I Was Blind But Now I See” Is My Best Book Ever”




@ScottEPowers Scott Powers Asks: what was the best way to build an audience for your blog?


Several ways:

–          It helped that I had a built-in audience from 7 years of writing for more traditional media

–          I guest-posted and syndicated everywhere I could. I syndicate or guest post on about ten different websites right now. And every day I’m looking for new sites to guest post on.

–          I really enjoy engaging with the audience and I’ve met many new friends through the readers.

–          Most important, I bleed. I think there is a new genre of literature that is developing around the blog form and its different from articles, essays, stories, novels, etc. And it’s not just “top 10 ways to get better” or “here is what I did today”.

It’s real story-telling told in a strong voice that delivers value. Check those three boxes on every post you do. Tell a story, Strong Voice (see, “33 Unusual Methods to Becoming a Better Writer”) and deliver value. Make someone’s life better with every sentence if you can. Else, take the sentence out.

My personal goal is to be the first blogger to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. But also I’m mentally ill.



@malcolmpallen Malcolm Allen Asks: what’s the best way to stop reading about doing things and start doing things? i.e. starting a business

ANSWER: This gets back to “the idea muscle”.

If I were to lie in bed for two weeks I would need physical therapy to walk again. Muscles atrophy quickly. Same with the idea muscle.

“But,” you can say, “I come up with ideas all the time. How do I start ACTING on them.”

The problem is, the HAVING the idea and ACTING on the idea are intertwined. When you come up with the idea, also come up with the first step you need to do to act on it. Andmake sure you can do that step today.

For instance, let’s say I want to build a company crowdsourcing ads for big companies. Ok, interesting idea. Here’s what I can do today. I can pick a product (“Crest toothpaste”), I can use wordpress to make a site that says, “I am giving away $1000 to whoever makes the best Crest commercial over the next 30 days and uploads it to YouTube. I’m the judge!” And then I can tweet that I did that. Viola! I had an idea. I did it.

(my idea for crowdsourcing ads)

Don’t come up with ideas you can’t take the next step on. I probably can’t develop an airline that flies from Newburgh, NY to Bangalore, India for instance. I wouldn’t know what the next step is. So that idea is out!

If you have an idea, try these next steps:

  • –          Spec out the idea completely
  • –          Find a developer on or
  • –          Call a few potential distribution partners to see if they will take equity in exchange for getting the word out about your idea.
  • –          Call a few potential customers before you start building to see if they will buy your idea/service/product

For the next 100 ideas you write down (I’m assuming you’re exercising the idea muscle by coming up with 10 ideas (good or bad) a day) make sure you have at least one next step. Pick one of the ten ideas. Do the next step TODAY. See how it feels. If it feels good, then your next ten ideas can be the NEXT steps, and so on.


Unpacktherat Shirley Trevor  Asks: When I eliminate crappy people there are so few people left? Where to find non-crappy people?


Everyone is crappy. My parents. My siblings. My friends. My colleagues. My bosses. They stink. They are the worst. At any point in my life when I had to do “clean up” it was always the case. I’d have to hide in the bathroom to avoid the stink of having so many crappy people in my life.

(Remember: if you get in the mud with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty)

Think about it: if the crappy person in your life was the neighbor down the street then that would be pretty easy, wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t even care. You would say, “Miss Henry down the street is crappy. Oh well, I guess I’ll avoid her today.” That would be too easy. Life doesn’t let you get away with that.

The crappy people are ALWAYS the people closest to you. They are like programmers and you’re a robot made with the only programming language they know. So they program you to do what they want you to do: be as unhappy as they are.

So you have to do two things; change the programming inside of you AND stay away from them as much as you possibly can.

Oh! But that leaves nobody left to program you. Where did all the people go? They were all pretty crappy it turns out.

The good thing is, they get replaced. Every day, a certain number of people randomly enter your life. You don’t evennotice  it because you are too used to being filled to the brim with all the people who upset you. When my coffee cup is filled to the brim, if anything new gets poured in it spills out and I get burned.

But now you have no problem, the coffee cup is empty. And you’re thirsty.

So it starts to naturally get filled without you even noticing. And because you’re now skilled at identifying the crappy people, you don’t let that junk get in the mug. You only let the stuff that tastes good get in the mug.

I know this from my experience. For every one crappy person I let go, a new good person takes his or her place. I’ve seen it happen again and again, most recently in just the past six months.

It’s like a magician sawing a beautiful lady in half when I was a kid. I gasp in delight. Magic in the world really exists. Who knows what the mechanics are underneath. Maybe it’s quantum mechanics. Maybe it was just a trick. Maybe it was real magic. All I know is, six months ago the room was crowded with the crappy people, then it was empty, now its filled again but only with good people.

Important during this process to keep all the muscles healthy: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. The four bodies being aligned attracts the right people. It’s magic.

(See also, “How to Deal with CrappyPeople”)


akashkgarg Akash Garg  Asks: I believe that you can optimize for happiness or minimize for regret. Which do you prefer?


This sounds too scientific. We’re in a laboratory of happiness. Ok, let’s go for it. I’m putting on my lab coat. I, once again, have my coffee in front of me. I can’t go anywhere without it. And nobody has yet to offer a decent explanation of why coffee smells so much better than it tastes. Once I actually taste it, then BLECH! I have to add sugar. Then I have to add half-and half. Its like I’m adding a milkshake to the coffee in order for it taste good. Why didn’t I just make a milkshake instead?

I had a similar question to your  last week and the answer is similar to the question: “how to have more money”. You can either make more or spend less. Correct? Either way you have the same result: more money. But what if you did both?

What if you did only things that make you happy. For instance, today: I’m going to write this post. I’m going to spend time with my kids. I’m going to go to a movie. And then in the evening I’ll probably write more or maybe draw  with my kids.

I’m also going to do things that minimize my regrets: I’m going to avoid the news (even though I have CNBC Monday morning at 5am I’m going to prepare by reading ZERO news). I’m going to avoid lying to people. I’m going to exercise (I put this on the minimizing regrets list because exercise doesn’t particularly make me happy but I do regret when I don’t do it), I’m going to try not to brew up the cauldron of anger I tend to brew up every morning, dropping like tiny spices all the people I’m angry at into it. That would make me regret later, like ate something bad in my brain that is now hard to digest.

So in my laboratory, I’m going to all day long try to do both: this makes me happy so I’ll do it, that causes me regret so I won’t do it, this thought makes me happy so I’ll continue with it, that thought could lead to regret so I’ll stop it.

(See also, “20 Ways to Deal With Regret”)



valuewalk VALUEWALK LLC  Asks:What is the meaning of life?


To answer this question requires some ego. Like I know what the meaning of life is. But I’ll answer it anyway.

The meaning of life is to avoid all quest for meaning.

Some people find meaning in making money. Some in meditation. Some in art. But all of these things entail much suffering also. Making money certainly does. Its hard to do it. It often involves much pain when money is lost or deals are rejected,or whatever. Even meditation – striving for some inner peace, often brings up frustration when you can’t get those lousy thoughts out of your head. Or making art, when you are either disappointed in your final result…or even worse…other people are. Ouch! When you pour your heart into something and the final result is brushed aside by the amateur critic…”this sucks”, is a crushing  feeling, devoid of meaning, of the meaning of life.

Most self-help guys, from Tony Robbins, to John Maxwell, to whoever, say “write down your goals.” This might be good advice for moving towards those goals. But it’s bad advice for the meaning of life. Almost all goals are man-made. Becoming CEO ofa company is a man-made goal. And involves a lot of unpleasantness. Writing a novel is a painful man-made goal.

So today, maybe for a moment or two, try to just find silence. Stop listening to everyone with goals. Stop talking to people about your goals. Stop striving for meaning. Stop watching mindless TV or even mindless books or looking at a sunset. It’s all meaningless. Just be quiet for a bit with no goals.

I wish I could do this. I wish I were strong enough to find the real meaning of life: A life without meaning.


Unpacktherat Shirley Trevor Asks: How would you curb the obesity crisis?


One time I did something that probably wasn’t good parenting. One of my daughters, years ago, told me she thought she was overweight. I said “that’s ridiculous” and I brought her over to the computer (because the computer had my solution to everything) and I googled “obesity” and then showed her the images that came up. Many of the images were of these enormous enormous naked women doing disgusting things. My daughter at the time was six. My goal was to show her the difference between herself and these women.

I think I permanently damaged her.

But whatever.

There’s really two answers to this question: macro and micro

Macro is easy: the obesity crisis, like Darwinistic self-selection, will naturally cure itself through evolution. Being obese is very unhealthy. Lots of science shows this. There’s also linkages between obesity and income,obesity and finding a mate, etc. So it seems reasonable to think that the “obesity gene” will die out eventually. Who knows?

Micro is tricky: there’s a multi-billion industry on dieting. Everyone has the solution. Everyone has a diet that works.

Here’s the trick: Allof the diets work. Every single one of them. All of them have one thing in common: discipline.

Any discipline at all will cause you to lose weight. You don’thave to eat 5 small paleo  style meals throughout the day. You don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to eat only two meals a day (the choice that I do). You just have to find some  discipline and stick with it.

The problem is that people want to break discipline. They want to punish themselves. You would never look at someone and say “you’re fat and ugly and I hate you” but people are perfectly happy to look in the mirror and say that. How come? Everyone has different reasons. So figuring out why discipline eludes you is the key.

Which gets me back to the same thing I always recommend. The Daily Practice will eliminate obesity. If it doesn’t, you can have your money back on this post.



vcarpentier Valery Carpentier Asks:  What’s the best advice you’ve never been given?


I’m very lucky in that I ignored almost every piece of advice I had ever been given. HOWEVER,  I wish  when I first made some money someone sat me down and said exactly this:

“You are actually an idiot. Making money doesn’t mean you’re smart. So from now on you must do exactly what an idiot would do. Hide your money under the mattress, don’t do anything with it, don’t let anyone touch it. Don’t assume your smart enough to double it. Horde it as much as possible. Do you know why? Because you’re an idiot. Again, because you’re such an idiot I have to repeat it again and again, MAKING MONEY DOESN”T MEAN YOU’RE SMART!”

I wish someone had told me that. Instead, all of my suspicions had been confirmed by my bank account whispering to me late at night. I’d go onto the computer and log on and look at the number and the number would whisper soothingly to me, “it’s true, James, you’re a genius at anything you set your mind to. You might be the smartest person ever.” And with those soothing words I hand I went on a stampeding rampage destroying everything in sight – the people around me, the money in the bank, the ideas I kept vomiting onto the world, the people who kept trusting me with more money. What a big nasty vomitorium that was.

Well, now I know. I’m an idiot. And nobody can tell me differently ever again.



perrocontodo David Catanho  Asks: How do I find the time for my projects while balancing family life? Can I clone myself?


Take a pad today. Write down everything you do that doesn’t generate money. For instance, on the train did you spend one minute playing Angry Birds? Did you go to a meeting that was a waste of time? Did you read the newspaper (I have never read a single piece of news that either A . generated money for me. Or B. I had more pleasure reading than a good novel). Did you watch TV (most TV makes me anxious: people cheat, murder, steal, someone solves it, show over, everyone is stressed or dead). Did you have phone calls with people you don’t like that didn’t generate immediate money? If it didin’t generate immediate money then chances are it won’t generate money later. I’m just telling you the hard-core statistics on phone calls.

(you can't clone yourself)

But then go one step further. I woke up today thinking about how annoyed I am at my sisters, at my mother, at some friends, at some acquaintances, at people I barely know who have done me wrong, at people who I know well who should never have done me wrong but did. What a waste of time? I could’ve been up pursuing my projects.

How much time did you waste thinking useless angry thoughts. Write it down in your notebook today!

At the end of the day add it all up. How much time did you waste? I can tell you for me, yesterday, it was probably about two hours. That’s time I could’ve spent on personal projects.



BenNesvig Ben Nesvig Asks: What books have influenced your thinking?

ANSWER: I’m going to do a separate blog post on this. The list is very big. A few months ago I posted a mini-version of the list: “My Summer Reading List and Other Ways I’ve Ruined My Life”



JT_Beck Josh Beck Asks: about to start a career in finance..what’s the one thing nobody is telling me?

ANSWER: In finance there is one crucial thing you need to know that nobody tells you in business school:  EVERYONE is lying to you ALL the time.

There are really no exceptions to this. And the more successful someone is, the more they are lying to you.


pcsurgo Pierce Csurgo Asks: What advice would you give to a soon-to-be graduate on making a dent?


Here’s the real problem: why do you want to make a dent? I have two issues with the question:

A)    You’re very young. You are probably 21 or 22 years old. I probably switched careers 15 times since then. I’ve made so many tiny dents (in my head) that whatever it is I dented is probably all ugly and smashed by now. If you worry too much about making a meaningful dent right now you might go down the completely wrong angle.

You’ve just four years doing basically the same thing you spent the prior 12 years doing. Taking classes with same demographic group, writing papers, reading books, listening to lectures, etc. Maybe the only difference is in these 4 years you probably had a lot more sex than the prior 12. That extra feature might not qualify you for any denting.

B)    Before you think about dents. Focus on how you can maybe do something completely different for a few years. If you’ve never traveled before, travel. If you’re not in shape, get in shape. If you haven’t written a novel, or painted a 100 paintings, then do that.

The way to make a dent is to do something that the other seven billion people on the planet aren’t thinking of doing. The  way to do that is become different from them. So your job the next four years is to just keep trying different things until you stand out. Until you shine.



StealthAviator SK Asks: Boss says I’m am asset, but gave me lowest raise in my career. He said I should be happy working in this economy. What’s UR take?

He’s lying to you:  10 reasons you need to quit your job RIGHT NOW:…

This doesn’t mean, walk into his office and say “you stinking liar – I quit!” but it does mean you need to start setting the stage.

The job market is like any other market. You need to find out what your real value is. Your boss is a jerk. Apply for other jobs. Find out what the true value for your services are.


RobertJCollier Robert James Collier

@jaltucher how often to you review your lists of ideas? Or do you happen to “mate” them w/ new ideas by recollection of old?


Good ideas mate with each other. If you don’t start writing your ideas down then you’ll never generate the best ideas, which will inevitably the child idea of two of your ideas mating. Sometimes I’ll look at an idea from September, combine it with an idea from November, and in December I might actually have a good idea.

Other ideas are like seeds. They take a season or two of care to bloom. But that means you must care for them, review them, keep watering them.

In either case, coming up with consistent ideas, and then persistently reviewing them, results finally in an idea that is different from the ideas of the other seven billion people on the planet.


houckamania houckamania ASKS: top tips for staff to manage their bosses?


Best way for staff to manage their boss, read my post: “Exploit your Employer”…



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  • TheAcsMan

    Two of my recent favorite topics are “self-publication” and building an audience for your blog.

    Self-publication is a no-brainer. It also doesn’t have to cost you anything other than time to write and promote. It’s not like your time has any value.

    There are so many ways to build a blog audience, which in turn can support your book selling pursuits, as well.

    I’ve gone from no Twitter and no Facebook to very active status, not becasue I’m social in any way, but becasue that’s a great way to get out there. As a result, books are actually selling, blog readership increasing from all sources (direct, search, referral) and have been on my first national show (Bloomberg Rewind), while receiving on air mentions (CNBC, Bloomberg) related to Tweets on numerous occasions

    Also, and thank you to James, making comments on well regarded and read blogs and providing links is a “gimme” I receive many blog hits to my financial/humor site from ALtucher Confidential readers (and they linger on the site, going to multiple pages)

    So here’s the shameless plug. TheAcsMan Blog.

    I usually try to place the link so that it flows with the topic at hand and goes to a blog post that is on the same or very similar topic, but this time right for the home page.

    Oh, and buy a book. Funny and money can go together.

    • Mansal

      “It’s not like your time has any value.” – Really? I think this is a bad argument. Opportunity cost is not something one should so lightly ignore…especially for people like you or James (maybe a different story for college students, but still applicable).
      In any case, to self-publish don’t you have to pay for printing the books? That would be somewhat expensive I would imagine..

      • jaltucher

        Hi Mansal, its print-on-demand at Amazon. So it costs me zero to self-publish. 

      • TheAcsMan

        Mansal, buy my book and you’ll see extensive discussions concerning opportunity costs. Every choice in life has to be evaluated on the basis of opportunity cost, whether tangible, emotional or physical. My reference in the comment should perhaps have used the “sartalics” font.

        In any case, no, you don’t have to pay for the cost of publishing the books. Choose the correct publisher and they are done on a print on demand schedule. There is no inventory to bleed anyone dry. As with most everything these days. Amazon is a player. Their CreateSpace affiliate is designed for the self-publisher (books, music, video, etc..), but there are plenty of other choices, as well.

  • Don McAllister

    This is a great list! Being someone trying to build an audience myself, I found this post excellent. I’m planning on guest-posting a ton more come 2012. Also half-way through your latest book and loving it!

  • kara rane
  • Preemptive Placebo

    Obesity would be severely curtailed if we stopped subsidizing it.

    Obesity producing foods are subsidized by the government.   The price of corn, hydrogenated soybean oils, chicken, pork, beef and high-fructose corn syrup are all unnaturally low thanks to government subsidies.  Stop subsidies and the prices of these foods will rise to a natural level, forcing people to shift their eating to less expensive, more nutritious plant-based foods.

    Obesity causes health problems.  It is 100% preventable.  The obese person skews the cost of insurance for everyone – and – everyone else ends up subsidizing the obese person’s costs.  Make health insurance more like car insurance by pooling similar risks.   

    Obese people receive subsidies through lower costs per pound and square centimeter on all forms of public transportation.  At the airport we should put the scale in FRONT of the check-in counter and weigh the human along with their baggage then charge accordingly.  Better yet, put the full-body-scanner there too and take a pin-point measurement to ensure that those passengers sure to encroach on their neighbors be required to upgrade to first class.

    Which reminds me of my favorite Bizarro Cartoon: 


    • ScoopingOprahDotCom

      I do hope you aren’t a husband or a parent.

  • Joshua Holmes

    Self-discipline mostly fails to control weight because it’s a limited quantity.  We each only have so much self-discipline – and some of us more than others.  When we run out, the diet’s over.  What works is identification.  What works is seeing yourself as the kind of person who is fit, who eats right and exercises.  What’s more likely to be successful, beating yourself down every time you see a piece of cake, or identifying as a person who “just doesn’t want that”?  If every bite is a struggle, your diet isn’t going to last long.

    • ScoopingOprahDotCom

      What works is habituating yourself to normal eating. You’ll only need self-discipline for 21 days. No need to struggle or “beat yourself down.”

  • Anonymous

    How do you figure out if you yourself are crappy and that’s why people are avoiding you?

    • Colleen

      This is such an important question.  Congratulations.  More than half the battle is asking the right questions.

      The best way to determine “if your are crappy and that’s why  people are avoiding you” is to draw a line in the sand and DECIDE to be a life-giver and force for good in other people’s lives. Over time, as you achieve some mastery at loving others, you will find that will change the vibe around you.

      I literally have to guard my time because now that I’m middle aged and have learned a few things, I will always attract far more people into my sphere than I can responsibly take on at this time.  This didn’t used to be the case.  Back when I was younger and needier, the opposite thing would occur.  I had less love in my life than I needed to thrive.  

      I really began to learn about the power of love through my faith, and also through loving my husband and sons.  This has been my main laboratory of love.  By putting my heart and soul into these relationships (God, spouse, children) I began to develop some mastery in loving.  When you get good at something, people feel it and they want it for themselves.  As the saying goes, “I can feel you, man.”  = )

      Love is just one of those things that cannot be contained.  The more you give away, the more you have.  The more you vest yourself in the best interests of others, the more peace, joy, contentment you will find.  And the bonus is, the crappiness melts away in increasing measure over time.  

      • jaltucher

        The other way is to decide, “ok, I’m crappy, but I will continue to avoid crappy people”. This will bring more and more inspirational people into your life and that will be contagious to you. 

        • Colleen

          The problem with that approach, “avoiding crappy people” is that everybody is a combo pack of strengths and weaknesses.  When I concern myself primarily with being kind to other people and treating them well regardless of their behavior, then other they tend to put forth the more positive aspects of their own personalities.

          How come some people always get lousy waitresses, service, blah, blah, blah, and other people never have a complaint about others?  The answer is “as a man soweth, so shall he reap,” meaning the energy you put out there invariably comes back to you.  The secret to “avoiding crappy people” is to constantly relate to everyone around you as if they were precious and valuable, which they are!  Each person is a veritable encyclopedia of experiences and wisdom if you just tap into it.  

          I literally never get bad service anywhere because wherever I go I greet people with a smile.  If my waitress is substandard, I encourage HER, I give to HER, I build her up.  It’s a win/win for both of us.  It’s a gas to turn someone’s day around.

          People, in large part, determine their own happiness.  What you give out you have for yourself.

          I have horizontal relationships with people I trust and who consistently relate responsibly with me.  I have vertical relationships with everyone else.  That means I’m willing to constantly give out to people who are suffering more than I am.  It’s a discipline that helps me enjoy my own person and live well with myself.  It’s also a way for me to express my love to God.  When someone acts “crappy” I know they are, at the moment, suffering more than I am.  So I make a positive deposit into their life and move on.  Whatever you give away you have more of, so it definitely increases my peace to treat people the way I want to be treated.  

          The people who I deeply ‘share’ my life with, are folks who operate pretty much the same way I try to.  They feel a duty to be givers and it’s their joy to do so.  When you get two givers together, now you’re having fun.  And you can learn from them.  

          • Colleen

            I jumped the gun James re: your comment above.  I’d like to add my thoughts on the second part of your remark.

            I agree there’s definitely a time to reduce contact with negativity.  This has to be carefully decided because obviously, you can’t kick your spouse or other family members to the curb every they have a bad day.
            One way I minimize “crappy people” in my life is that I don’t pay any attention to celebrities, sports personalities, most of the news, most media.  Today we can exert greater control over who we permit to influence us.  The web can be such a tremendous source of positive input for whatever area you happen to be growing in.  That and the library.

            I agree that as you minimize the negatives more positives will flow in.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  When you reduce negativity, be it in your own thought life or from people you allow to influence you, then that “will bring more inspirational people into your life and that will be contagious to you.”

            And that’s exactly how I found this website.  I got a link from a 
            great alternative news resource I enjoy, and voila.  I might have missed Altucher Confidential altogether if I’d been using my time tracking some dumb celebrity nonsense or whatever.  Just say no to the trash and make more room for LIFE.

  • Colleen

    Best quote from today’s blog:
    “Validation. Somehow, there’s a psychology at work. If a 23 year old editor at, let’s say, Little Brown, picks out your book and says it’s good enough to be published you feel validated. . . Well, screw that! Validate yourself.”
    Correcto, James.
    Reaching for your own happiness?  A meaningful goal?  A unique contribution?  Definitely forget about the crowd.  Consider how dumbed down aspects of our culture are.  If you want to do something valuable and with heart, you must detach from what others think.  Then do it, whatever it is.  When you achieve something by following your get you will be vindicated, both to yourself and the chattering classes.  Fear of others? “Screw that! Validate yourself.” 

  • Colleen

    Meaning of life?   Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Done.

  • Jamespark232323

    –          I guest-posted and syndicated everywhere I could. I syndicate or guest post on about ten different websites right now. And every day I’m looking for new sites to guest post on. 

    Would you be able to guest post on   I heard about you on that site from other members. 

  • D M

    Please write that blog post about books that influenced you James – I really want to get into some great writing but don’t know where to start

  • Josh Haas

    “My personal goal is to be the first blogger to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. But also I’m mentally ill.”
    Awesome :-)   Yay for new mediums!  I want to see someone win a Nobel prize for Literature for writing a graphic novel too.  Has that already happened?  That must have already happened.

  • Priscilla Paredes Wood

    Right on on the sleep patterns, for some reason I keep waking up after only 4 hrs of sleep. I’m going to play with those 8 hours and see if I can spread them out and listen to my body instead of forcing it to do something when it doesn’t feel like it.

  • Jay

    long Althucher!

  • Pritesh Desai

    Another good post!
    Even I am about to complete my graduation. I’ve decided to start my company – Inventika Solutions ( Hope to make dent in the universe, long live Steve Jobs! :D

  • JD

    Re: crappy people, if you’re living your life as a victim, always looking for people to blame for your situation, then you are inviting crappy people into your life.

    If you’re always being victimized, then that means you have problems setting boundaries and you allow people to take advantage of you.  Some people deal with this by avoiding others and creating a safe distance.   Others have the ability to always keep control of their energy and not let people sap their energy.   If your inner energy is always up, if you’re in control of yourself around crappy people, then you should be able to set boundaries and limit their control over you.

    Own who you are.  Don’t let others sap your energy.  Be the boss of yourself everywhere you go. 

  • Feng

    ‘The meaning of life is to avoid all quest for meaning’

    wow, that’s pretty fucking profound! and shall we just call you James Fool from now on?

    • caveman1

      You could, but it wouldn’t mean anything to him.

  • Caveman Doctor

    I think medicine in general can take a lot of the blame for the obesity crisis.  We have been telling people the wrong things for 40 some years.  When they get obese, we tell them they eat too much or are lazy.

    • ScoopingOprahDotCom

      Obese people do eat too much, but this doesn’t mean they’re gluttons. For some people, 25 calories is too much. It simply isn’t true that one must give up 500 calories to lose a pound. Some overweight people don’t eat that much daily. What should they do, stop eating?