The Ten Commandments of James-Ism (or insert your own name)

I just published a brand new book and I’m really pleased with it.

The book has original material (not just blog posts), had a professional designer work on it, solves a problem we all face in life, and I think I do it with a good amount of storytelling. In another post I will list the differences between this book and the one before it (and my blog posts). Here’s an image of the cover and if you click on it it takes you to the book page on Amazon. Right now it’s a paperback. It takes Amazon 2-4 weeks to make it kindle-ready: (Here’s also a link to the book)

The idea behind the book will be made clear in the excerpt but in a nutshell: we’ve all been brainwashed, here’s how, here’s how to overcome it and, in doing so, get what we want  – whether it’s happiness, success, or just some peace and quiet. In America we’ve lost sight of the frontier because we fooled ourselves (as a society) into thinking we conquered it all. But we lost track of the frontier inside of ourselves.


(click on image to get to the book)

Excerpt from the book (I made slight changes to fit the blog):

The Ten Commandments of [Insert your name here]-ISM:

A)    Acknowledge that every day of your life the Zombie Recruitment Machine is trying to brainwash you.  Just like when we were kids we believed in Santa Claus and how George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, now as adults we’ve been trained to believe in much more dangerous and insidious ideas. Being aware that you need to question everything is commandment number one, including, by the way, questioning what I’m saying to you right now.

And then on top of the brainwashing we suffered in schools, from our parents, from our friends, from society, there’s the 10,000 ad impressions each day that hit the periphery of our eyes and further tries to tell us what little intricacies of life will deliver goodness and happiness to us. We can’t even begin to be happy until we at least acknowledge that SOME brainwashing has occurred.

B)    Who brainwashed you? Parents, friends, teachers, government, media, entertainment, advertising, the education system, the banking system, and organized religion. In that order although they are all interrelated.

It’s not their fault. And there’s no reason to be angry at them. They were brainwashed also. Everyone is just trying to survive the best way they know how. And there’s been generations of mental programming combined with now trillions of dollars of advertising dollars that keep everyone in line. It’s a massive recruiting machine that tries to keep us from our true happiness by redefining happiness in various ways that are inaccurate and even harmful.

C)    What can you do about it? Take one belief at a time, turn it upside down. Learn how to break down your beliefs. Be your own rebel. Take, for instance, the belief that “going to college leads to a better life”. Try to understand why you believe that. Who told you that was true? What happens if someone told you the opposite “that NOT going to college would lead to a better life?” Does that thought disturb you? Why does it disturb you?

Some of these beliefs are so sacred inside of us that it really feels like punishable blasphemy to believe the opposite. I know this because I’ve had death threats and angry emails over almost every belief I’ve ever challenged on my blog (examples will follow later).

The goal is not necessarily to believe the opposite of all the things we’ve been programmed to believe, but to separate out who we are from our beliefs, so that we can truly examine them, scrutinize their roots, and be able to look at them from all 360 degrees instead of just the acute sharp angles that have been shoved at us almost since birth.

Let’s shed our labels. People want to be “environmentalists” or “democrats” or “republicans” or “a homeowner” or a “graduate”. Let’s shed all labels for a little bit while we inspect them. Maybe they are all good labels to have. But there’s nothing wrong with re-examining them under a new lens.

It’s understandable that we want to be part of the pack, the herd. The flock feels protective. But we’ve learned now that it is most likely a bag full of false protections.

D)    Happiness is the ONLY goal. We don’t have to know what happiness is yet. But we know this: we don’t want to be sad or fearful anymore. We don’t want to be anxious. We don’t want to do things that cause us to feel guilt. That’s a start.

Think about it, when you say you want to have more money, why is that? You may answer that you want it so that you would be able to travel some more, or have more time for your children. And why is that? You may say because then you would see the world and write that novel you always wanted to write, or teach your kid to throw ball.  And why is that? And you may say, because then I will be happy.  So why not go for “happy” in the first place?   Why the long route when there is a shortcut? Certainly money buys some degree of freedom. So getting more money is a reasonable goal. And we’ll get it. But let’s cut out as many intermediaries to happiness as possible.

E)     The obstacles of Happiness are sickness, inertia, doubts, laziness, carelessness, vacillating, lack of progress, delusions, and falling backwards. Each of those allows us to fall back into our brainwashing and stop ourselves from challenging the world around us so we can break down our thoughts and see things as they truly are.

F)     The path to happiness involves being as healthy as we can: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

G)    Physically: We can exercise, we can try to eat healthy, we can sleep eight hours, we can avoid alcohol and other foods or liquids that are either hard to digest or will later inhibit the brain cells we desperately need to enjoy quality of life in our elder years. This is hard. I’m not advocating being a vegan, or a weight lifter, or a yogi. Just being aware. When I was younger I could eat five Big Macs a day. Now if I eat more than two meals a day it becomes much harder for me to digest and clean my system. I’m 43. It’s important for me to make sure when I’m 83 I’m still healthy and able to explore the things that make me really happy. The root of almost all physical ailments as we age is what we put into our intestines (and lungs). Throughout this section and the following I provide modifications to the Daily Practice I introduce in my prior book.

H)    Emotionally. I’m a pretty angry guy. I feel a lot of people have wronged me and, it’s not just a feeling – a lot of people have wronged me. I also have a lot of regrets. A lot of things have happened to me that are my fault that still make me sad. But dwelling on this does neither me nor them any good. You can’t be healthy if you obsess on the crappy people or events in your life. You can’t achieve The Force if you are constantly anxious and upset.

I)       Mentally. Your mind needs to be as sharp and creative as possible. You need this for two reasons. One is so you are creative enough to achieve the success and money that will allow you to pursue and purchase your freedom away from slavery. Two so that you can train the analytical parts of your mind to break down all the myths that we hold true every day. I have several chapters on this.

J)       Spiritually. This word has a bad connotation. It sort of smells “new age-y”. Or like organized religion, which many people despise and have rebelled against. But what I really mean is “Surrender”. If you wanted the Earth to move out of it’s orbit from the Sun, you would give up. You can’t do it. You would try (somehow, I don’t even know how you would try) and then finally you’d say, “I give up. I can’t do it.” In general, life is like that. We have dreams, most of them don’t work out, and we can either continue to force those dreams into place, or we can give up. Giving up doesn’t have to be a sad thing. It’s a transition. It’s a little death (a term often used to describe an orgasm).

Sometimes you’re just on the floor, failure has slashed you again, and all you can do is look up at the sky and say, “You win. I give up. Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” And you hand yourself over.

To who? Not to God. Not to an old man with a beard living up in the sky. But deep inside you there is a creative force that desperately wants you to succeed, wants you to make a lot of money, wants you to fall in love and be happy, wants you to do these things not so you can live in exotic mansions and travel the world fifty times over, but so that you are free from the constraints of a normal job and can pursue the real exploration of what and where is the happiness around you.

Follow these ten ideas with discipline (described more throughout the book) and you will make more money than you know what to do with. This world is filled with money. The global economy is over $50 trillion dollars. You only need a tiny speck of that to have the freedom to quit your nine to five job where you are totally exploited, so that you can then take a breather, live a long healthy life, and pursue the things that really make you happy.

If you are just a little more creative, emotionally healthy, and physically healthy, than your competition and you avoid the nine obstacles, then that freedom is eventually yours. It stems from the fabric of your core beliefs. Smart and strong subtle beliefs lead to the clarity and efficiency that can make riches manifest.

Follow these ten ideas and you will start to have the relationships that bring you up instead of down. You will have the creativity to bounce from idea to idea to explore what’s real in your brainwashing and what isn’t. Ultimately, you’ll change from being robot to a human, from a zombie to truly alive.

[Excerpt over]

The rest of the book translates my own personal experiences into how I used these principles. You don’t have to believe me. You can try them for yourselves. In fact, I insist you don’t believe me. I hate all the self-help guys who have never experienced life who are just full of -it. Don’t believe anyone with their miracle cures. You are your religion first. You are your own teacher more than anyone else. Try things. Did it work out better or worse for you? Then trust yourself.


  • Anonymous

    Awesome. waiting for the kindle edition..

  • Steve

    Alright James, I’ll bite. I’m going to buy your book! You may have inspired me to write my own blog. Time will tell though. It is hard to find the motivation to write most of the time. I’m also going to try and implement some of your daily routine to flex that idea muscle. I’m my own boss but need to figure out how to take my business to next level and make some real money.

    keep it up!

    • Thanks James

      Great post… I would say that there is someone we have to submit to….and its Our Creator…and He doenst reside inside of us…and no …This Creator is nothing like we can ever imagine…he isnt human…doesnt have a beard and certainly isnt white

      But anyways…we will leave that discussion for another time..

      Great post…And a note to Steve….

      I am currently reading David Burns “The feeling good handbook” and he says most of us have it backwards…we wait for motivation and then take action…when in fact…we should take action, which begets more motivation to take more action

      because if we only wait until “we feel like it’ then we may never get into that state and it may never get done

      • Steve

        Thanks John. Those are wise words to live by. And it is 100% true. That is why I’m forcing myself to write a post now. I’ve blogged before, but never took it too serious. I hope to change that now.

        • I wish you success Steve,

          All human beings have these 2 basic needs:

          1) To avoid more pain
          2) To get more joy

          Alot of our procrastination issues has less to do with out being lazy or not being motivated. It has to do more with underlying reasons that we avoid certain tasks because deep down we feel they will give us more pain.

          Do read the book….be the best you can be.

  • Ordered the book couple days ago.  Glad that you added original material.  Looking forward to reading it!

  • D S

    With every post, you’re getting closer to the heart of the matter. It’s illuminating, yet risky. Somewhat like walking on the the edge of a cliff on a windy day. Closer, and yet closer you are coming to the core of the matter.

  • D S

    With every post, you’re getting closer to the heart of the matter. It’s illuminating, yet risky. Somewhat like walking on the the edge of a cliff on a windy day. Closer, and yet closer you are coming to the core of the matter.

  • Anonymous

    James — I hope you’re not working on starting your own cult. LOL. If so, I want in on the ground floor. 

    BTW, I’ve been saying “it’s all a trap” to anybody who will listen for about 5 years now. Mortgages, marriage, kids, health insurance, jobs, car payments, the whole enchilada. You definitely get some strong reactions (What are you, some kinda commie!)

    Will definitely check out the book.

    • Crusader79

      Admiral Akbar agrees! :-)

  • Nice stuff!, Have you read Idries Shah?   There are a lot of parallels in your advice. I had slipped out of practice for a while, and you have been a pleasant reminder to pick it back up.

  • Man, I’ve gotta get this book.

  • Christopher Faille

    I love your avatar of emotional health, if that’s what she is.  Can I get her phone number?

  • I was reading your blog post this evening and thinking about the comments about being an angry guy.

    Just then, I looked up at the TV screen, tuned into the Sunday Night NFL Game (because Animation Domination was done for the evening) and I see the back of the jersey of some Indianapolis player #51, named “Angerer”.

    More angry? More coincidental? Maybe.At least he gets to physically respond to anyone that he perceives as having wronged him in front of a large viewing audience. And he gets paid.

    I always used to tell my kids that instead of getting angry at people that may have wronged them, just be as successful as you can be. Sometimes that means getting an “A” on the exam in a class that the teacher seems to have it out for you. Proving them wrong is the best way to get back at people that have intentionally wronged you in any aspect of your life.

    It seems that you may have done pretty well in that regard.

    Appropriate Behavior is a Moving Target. As I look back at my own life, I think that my sarcasm may have been a cover for the anger, but there’s no chance in hell that I’m going to pay a Ph.D to tell me that.

    There’s a time to get even and then there’s a time to lay the framework for a life that looks beyond the evil that some people seem to delight in.

    You’re well into that latter phase. If you weren’t, you’d be writing with a harsh tone and no one would want to be reading The Altucher Confidential for very long.

    Anger is tiresome and draining for everyone involved.

    • I don’t even know what “getting even” would look like(?)   
      I don’t think it exists.

      • I think “getting even” is whatever makes you “whole” again and gives you some sense of closure. Sometimes just being able to get on with your life is all that it takes. Don’t let the negatives in your past own you.

        P.S. The views represented here are wholly those of the world’s most highly regarded psychotherapists. They do not represent my personal views, which usually include an ice pick and paprika.

        • an ice pick is one of the greatest tools out there….


  • hi James-
    Happiness is the Golden Rule.
    where I learned this>>
    looking forward to your new age book.

  • Greg

    Wow, this is going to be a great book just from the hints, James.  I’m sure many will be enlightened by it and many will be angered by it.  It looks to touch on quite a few psychological points of interest, and I hope it elaborates well.  Knowing you, it does just that.  Good luck.  It could be life changing for many and I really hope it is.

  • Joeb

    The thoughts and issues you explore here are so similar to those that many Buddhists are pursuing. Not the Buddhism with the priests and the hierarchy and the smiling statues, but in the Nichiren Buddhism style. It’s contained in the phrase nam myoho renge kyo, the law of simultaneous cause and effect. We all have potential, we all have good and evil, we all have buddha nature within us. It’s so important to focus on our own selves, and still work to understand and help those around us (no navel gazing allowed)… and eventually I think we come to the realization of what happiness can be. I’m a poor explainer, but the path is out there.

    It all starts with a human revolution. One person at a time.

  • Solid post but am I was completely thrown off by the last part. The piece is all about freedom and happiness as a fulfilling goal unto itself until you end with “Follow these ten ideas with discipline (described more throughout the book) and you will make more money than you know what to do with.”

  • Anonymous

    Love so much of what you do James, but could you occasionally mention that service to others is perhaps the surest way to contentment which is an ongoing mood, not bursts of happiness. Of course, you have to serve without expectaion of reward, but knowing it is its own reward.  Stay strong, do good, get content. 

    •  HI KG, I wrote two posts about exactly this on my posts on charity. I do believe, though, that ongoing happiness comes from inside, and that even external evidence of this happiness (like giving /helping others) must first come from real changes on the inside.

      • Anonymous

        Glad to read, ty for responding; coming from inside to me means, know the best mission and living that mission in every way you can. Keeps my generally happy, but almost always content.

      • Anonymous

        Glad to read, ty for responding; coming from inside to me means, know the best mission and living that mission in every way you can. Keeps my generally happy, but almost always content.

      • Anonymous

        Glad to read, ty for responding; coming from inside to me means, know the best mission and living that mission in every way you can. Keeps my generally happy, but almost always content.

      • Anonymous

        Glad to read, ty for responding; coming from inside to me means, know the best mission and living that mission in every way you can. Keeps my generally happy, but almost always content.

  • Ceh32607

    will you release this book on google ebooks?

  • Anonymous

    I love it and its how I’ve felt for my whole life…

    I’ve always felt that life is fake and/or pretend. Money is simply credits and debits. What I have is in my mind and I can find happiness anywhere and at any time.

    My 9 year old grandson summeds it up by saying, “Do you think this is all pretend, and we are all in some big giants dream right now?”

  • Werm

    I just want to let you know how truly grateful I am for having the chance to read your blog. Time to unwash my dirty brain.

  • Jim Howard

    This is very similar to what Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years.  Insightful.

  • Jim Howard

    This is very similar to what Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years.  Insightful.

  • Jim Howard

    This is very similar to what Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years.  Insightful.

  • Just ordered my copy and it better not sound like Rush.  lol

    • GSL

      Needs more Neil Peart.

  • Bill Sempf

    James, I saw you on CNBC today, and I looked up your book. Very interesting, and I am looking forward to reading it.  I didn’t notice a publisher, but encourage them to make it available as a Nook book with Barnes and Noble. It’s a poular, growing platform, and would make it a lot more likely that I will make the time to read it!

  • Stan

    You kick ass James. You are the only one I trust anymore. I barely trust you at all, but you’re the only one I trust even a little bit. ;) Bought the book! You deserve for a shit-ton of people to buy your book. Keep up the painful honesty, I cannot get enough.

    • Thanks Stan. And yes, its good you barely trust me. But try it out and see what happens. Thanks for getting the book and please keep in touch.

  • Great blog, James! I’ve been reading you for a little while now, and downloaded your first book (Thank you!)

    I just ordered “I Was Blind But Now I See.” I ordered waiter pads along with the book, and plan to give them to my wife and the dual-overhead 8-year-olds as well. 

    I wish Claudia a speedy recovery from her illness. Take care.

    • Daniel

      Daryl can you give me a link to order the waiter pads? I was looking to buy it but didn’t find one i truly like. for now i’m using my organizer for tons of lists i’m working on all the time

  • I can’t wait to read this book. I don’t always agree with you, but you tell great stories that challenge my thinking. And that’s why I come back to your site every day.

    • Thanks Matt. And you bring up an interesting point: some of the ideas are there not for debate (or for agreement) but just to show that there’s an other side often in places where we least expect it. Thanks for checking out my stuff.

  • Eric

    New to your post, discovered you through Great read, inspire me to go back at it. Let me know if you ever pass by Cayman, I’ll pay you a beer.


  • nemo

    knows that he does not know is the highest;

    (pretends to) know what he does not know is sick-minded.

    who recognizes sick-mindedness as sick-mindedness

    not sick-minded.

    Sage is not sick-minded.

    he recognizes sick-mindedness as sick-mindness,

    he is not sick-minded.

  • nemo

    The five colors blind the eyes of man;

    The five musical notes deafen the ears of man;

    The five flavors dull the taste of man;

    Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds

    Of man;

    Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at


    Therefore the Sage:

    Provides for the belly and not for the eye.

    Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.

  • kb

    Added to my AMZ wishlist – look forward to reading it.  I was going to skip it but your post sold it, without trying to sell it by providing little info about it.  I appreciated that.

  • Sefdogsefdog

    It seems that technology has only added to the noise and illusion.

  • James Shannon

    Don’t get mad – get even. Anger is a gift that few appreciate. Happiness is total BS.
    God never existed. Nothing you do will never change the day you die. You’ve totally brainwashed yourself into thinking that you can control your destiny. Not possible can’t happen.
    Blind as a bat and delusional – but if that works for you good for you – you’re still going to die and cease to exist and 100 years from now no one will remember you – unless a bunch of brainwashed sick bastards turn your book into the Summa Theologica and make you a Saint. Cultures feed on frail ignorant humans to weak and too dumb to get even.
    Things are never so bad they can’t get worse – cheer up you’ll soon be dead!

    • I don’t mind the dying part. But anger is only an expression of fear. Not worth it for the toll it takes on the body and mind.

  • James you might enjoy talk show host, author and lecturer Dennis Prager who has written a book on happiness and speaks of it each Friday.  Here’s a video from his “Prager University” – “Key to Happiness and Goodness”

    • James Shannon

      We hold these truths to be self evident….
      “Key to Happiness and Goodness” – there are absolutes in life we are all “entitled” to receive. Being grateful for being lied to and stolen from in a society corrupted by greed and fraud is sick. Telling people they are not entitled to their rights as defined by law is also morally offensive. Don’t worry be happy aka grateful and all will be well.
      This is some major league brainwashing and should be recognized as perpetuating suffering and evil upon mankind.

      • @google-8a6413e8ed704784df7e0f0a7f4fdea2:disqus you have some serious issues!  Lighten up dude! Don’t worry, be happy!  Who brain washed you?  Geez!

      • @google-8a6413e8ed704784df7e0f0a7f4fdea2:disqus you have some serious issues!  Lighten up dude! Don’t worry, be happy!  Who brain washed you?  Geez!

  • “You are your religion first” – I’m sure people who have inflicted much harm on others (I won’t name names but you know who I’m talking about) were thinking along the same lines

  • This is
    the great blog, I’m reading them for a while, thanks for the new posts!

  • martina

    pratete poraka vo motorola
    ve molam ne mi rabo ti telefonot

  • martina

    ajde sto pravite