James Altucher Takes Us From Broke to Choosing Yourself – Episode 13

I first learned about James Altucher nearly half a year ago in an interview he did with Srini on BlogcastFM. Shortly after, I heard him interview with my cousin Chris Brogan. Then, again on another podcast. At the time, I had only been a loyal listener of three podcasts. “What are the odds?” I thought to myself. Let’s just say if I wasn’t already crazy about James, I could respect the fact that he knew how to show up everywhere and, while he was there, he definitely disrupted your thinking.

I knew I eventually wanted to interview James for The Shut Up Show because I find him to be one of the most prolific thought leaders of our time. But I put that idea in my back pocket and didn’t mention anything to Phil because our show was still brand-spanking new. About a week later, Phil nonchalantly texted me with the news that James Altucher had agreed to be on our show. Was I in a little disbelief? Hell yeah. For one, I didn’t know Phil knew of James. Secondly, our show was still in its infancy. This guy is crazy busy and he said yes to us?

The shock wore off after recalling something I read in the first chapter of James’ new book Choose Yourself. He said that everything had changed for him when he realized no one was going to help him succeed and, if he was going to thrive, he’d have to choose himself because the stakes were too high not to. As he later reveals in this episode, “I wouldn’t have said yes to hanging out if i didn’t think I would have fun.” This is yet another inspiring interview and Phil and I feel so blessed we got to be behind the microphone with James this time around. Watch and listen as we discuss massive failures and the genesis of Choosing Yourself.


Watch the show (uncensored & unedited) 

Listen to the podcast

Share Some Shut Up Love –>  If you don’t come up with ideas every day, after 2 weeks your idea muscle will atrophy. @jaltucher via @_theshutupshow

Fun Facts:

  • After graduating, James landed his first job in the IT department at HBO.
  • James co-founded over 20 companies since the early 1990s.
  • James has gone broke more than once, losing millions every time.
  • James has published 11 books.
  • Jame is a frequent contributing writer for Techcrunch, The Huffington Post and Financial Times to name a few.
  • James uses a waiter pad to write up at least 10 ideas a day.
  • James self-published a book he titled Choose Yourself, which hit number one on Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list [at the time of the recording] beating out every publisher that would have rejected him. 

Defining Shut Up Moment:

I used to think that if I was successful, I would feel fulfilled. I wouldn’t feel empty anymore. I’m finished. It’s done. I would then stop doing everything that helped me to improve and be successful. Then, the universe would slap me down and I would lose everything. This would happen again and again. I’d find myself on the floor broke again asking, “Did I not learn anything?” It was always very painful. I realized, then, what I had to do was continue to keep the daily practice. You have to keep the water in the well to never fully experience the emptiness because you never stop being afraid. – James Altucher

Shut Up Tips:

I started hanging out around positive people and became grateful for abundance every day whether or not I saw it. Every time I didn’t follow this, I would fail and go broke again. – James 

Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually I focus on being healthy every day. I try not to focus on anyone else around me and that’s what has helped. Doing so has directly related to financial success for me. – James 

You always want to be preaching to the choir. – James 

I never believe I have to do things. – James 

A goal or purpose implies this mystical “there” where I have to be. I’m here right now. I focus on where I am now and how I can be best for myself right now. – James 

I’ve made most money in life not on any business or investments. I think for most successful people it would be odd if they actually told you where they had most of their financial success. It would be things that were totally unexpected. – James 

We’re all capable of coming up with great ideas to change the world, but the most important thing is to change yourself. – James 

I singlehandedly saved the global economy because my chocolates helped NYSE traders take more risks. It’s not bragging if it’s true. – James 

Being anxious about finding your purpose has never worked for anybody. No one person has ever found one purpose and died with that one purpose. – James 

People are afraid of things that are external to them from global warming or war to going broke or your health not being good. My advice is always the same. Build your foundation. You can’t build a house until the foundation is built first. – James

A beacon guides ships on a cloudy night safely to its shores. The beacon has no idea what ships it’s helping. Its only job is to make sure the light turns on and the windows are clean so the light shines freely. That’s really the way you get through fear. You build the beacon inside yourself because then you’re the first person you’re helping and then the beacon shines out to everybody else. – James

James Recommends:

James holds a weekly Q&A session on twitter every Thursday from 3:30pm to 4:30pm Eastern Time.

James will pay you back if you buy his new book Choose Yourself.

Find James:

JamesAltucher.com – The Altucher Confidential blog

Tweet with James