Ask James: Honeymoons, Lots of Sex, Weirdos, Introverts, Money, Money, Money

Every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 I answer questions on twitter. Then I summarize and expand in a post. Then I’ll expand further in a book coming soon: “FAQ ME”. Here are this week’s questions.


@VeryStonemanEsq Todd Stoneman asks where should I go on my honeymoon?


Here’s the problem with a honeymoon (in general): 3 hours in an airport, 3-10 hours flying someplace, 2 hours getting from airport to hotel, checking in, then resting after all of that, then eating too much food, getting sunburned, doing too many planned activities (instead of the most important activity that happens on a honeymoon), and then rushing back to airport and repeating process.

What a drag! Does twenty hours of traveling sound like fun to you? And spending another $10,000 in the  process? And then maybe getting a tour of a lizard garden or whatever else you do on a honeymoon?

People go to get away from the worries of life, the prssures of family and friends, to have privacy, to consummate, etc.

So just do all of that, but without the hassles of all of the above.

Do the staycation, where you stay at home, but plan to do things you would never ever do at home. Don’t make any plans with friends or family. Don’t even tell them what you are doing. Send exotic postcards to them.

Then really make an effort to find new things in the area you think you know well. Worst case, go 20 minutes out and stay at a bed and breakfast or two.

Final result: More time with your new spouse. Less money. Less travel hassles. More energy. Probably better food (did you really think Club Med food was going to be better than the cheapest diner?) And probably more fun.

And, if you hate everything I said and disagree with me totally, do one of these things:

My best vacations were when I had just started working a corporate job and I would take off a week just to explore the city I lived in. So quiet and peaceful. My two worst vacations ever were probably my two honeymoons.


@Elyiggy El yiggy asks Q&A – how should one choose when to retire & where to live??


The simple answer is: never retire. People die within two years of retiring on average. So unless you want to die, why retire.

But transformation is another story. After spending 45 years as a janitor at the pencil factory it might be time to try something new. Presumably the entire world is open to you. Your kids are grown up. You might have some savings, etc.

The key is personal freedom. Being able to do what you want, when you want to. Assuming your health needs don’t require you to be in one specific place, pick a location where cost of living is incredibly low and live out your life doing your fantasy work. What’s your fantasy work? For me it might be scripting comic books. It might be doing these twitter Q&As. I can do these from anywhere. Maybe when I retire I’ll move to India (where I’m going in a week or so) where I can live for about $500 a month at most.

(why not retire here, to India, for almost $0 a month)

Or a friend of mine just told me about rental prices in Savannah, Georgia, which he said, “is the most beautiful place in the country”. And rents and cost of living sound about ½ of that in the NYC area.

Here’s the three step retirement method:

–          Transformation. Sharpen the idea muscle and start brainstorming what else you can do. Play in a jazz band? Open a café? Open a used bookstore? Start a website? Write a novel? What the hell do you really want to do? The world is open to you.

–          The world is open to you, part II. With your current savings plus what you can make in your transformed job (and assume three years of living before you make a single dime at your transformed job), where’s the cheapest place you can go that still fits your minimum needs of comfort and beauty. Explore the world a little. It’s your oyster. You can live anywhere.

–          Do it.



MarktMovr MarktMovr  aks: becoming a fan, James. what are your views on how much charity one should give away, both annually and life


Here’s my simple view. Then I have two posts on my expanded view.

A charity gives money from the interest it makes on the money it has in the bank. Part of that interest goes to administrative costs and salaries. Part of it goes to actually putting the money to work for charitable good.

So if you give $100, and the charity makes 3% interest, then maybe $2 of your money will actually go towards real charity per year. Is that what you intended?

My view is: Be a superhero.

Find situations that right now, directly need your anonymous help. Then save the world. Do it for ego reasons. Do it because you want to help. Do it because lives will be saved.

Put your $100 to work , and your valuable time to work, in situations where you can actually see the lives being saved. You will help many more people that way. Do 10% of your salary that way for the rest of your life. Lives will be saved, people will be grateful, and you will be transformed from mild mannered so-and-so to SUPERMAN from a planet in a far away galaxy.

Here is my post on the topic: 10 Reasons Why I Would Never Donate to a Major Charity (or…how to be a Superhero).



@Andrew_Ferri Andrew asks @jaltucherhow much of being healthy has to do with being independently wealthy enough to not sweat the small shit?


A lot AND a little.

Having money definitely solves your money problems. Which means you don’t have to worry about paying the rent. You don’t have to worry about going broke. You don’t have to work a back breaking or mind breaking job from nine to five. You don’t have to be  scared.

I really hate being scared. I know it effects my health in every way. So it makes a lot harder for me to live to my potential.


No matter what, can you check these four boxes every day?

Physical – do a little something that improves your health physically, no matter what your personal financial condition is? When I was in India doing yoga a year ago, the main teacher, Sharath Jois, said: “rich? Do your practice. Poor? Do your practice. Problems with girlfriend? Do your practice. All will come.”

Emotional – whatcan you do today that will improve your life just slightly on an emotional level. Can you be kind to your fiancée? Can you spend  time with a friend? Can you NOT respond to someone who provokes you?

When Atisa, a Bengala meditation master from 1000 AD, brought the 57 lojong slogans to Tibet to transmit Buddhism to the Tibetans he was very nervous they would fall on deaf ears. How come? He had heard the Tibetans were very peaceful and had no worries. And if they had no worries, they would have no challenges to work through in order to become better people.

Well, it turns out he was wrong and Tibetans, like everyone, have much to work through, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.

I hate having to sweat the money shit. But I also knows once that sweat goes away forever, I’ll never again have the opportunity to practice and sit and really feel what it takes to have the courage to get over these issues in myself.

Mental – can you still come up with ideas every day?

Spiritual – can you still think of the people you are grateful for each day? Can you pray for two minutes a day or sit and try to think of nothing.

You can do these four things each day, with or without money. To mis-quote Sharath; do your Daily Practice and all things will come.


(Sharath Jois, doing his own practice)


@binarymac Mac  best way to meet new ppl? im quite introverted/shy but i do have a (very) tiny circle of (close) friends.


Good! You solved the first problem: having a tiny circle of close friends.

Now, do one of the following:

A)    Organize a dinner club. Everyone in your circle cooks for the others (do this  one day every week or so). You rotate through the circle. The one challenge: everyone has to invite others to the dinner that nobody else knows.

B)    Another technique: guy or girl: take dance lessons. Preferably tango classes. Your bodies close, you rotate through the other people in the class, you talk before and after, and over time you plan tango outings, etc. This works. Ditto for cooking.

C)    What’s your interests? When I first moved to NYC I had one interest: chess. So I went to Washington Square Park and played everyone who sat around there playing all day. Next thing I knew, I was living with them (although not in the homeless shelter where half of them lived at).

D)    12 Step Programs: There’s a 12 step program for everyone. Here’s my experience with them:

You have a room full of people who have hit bottom in one way or the other and need to commune with others to get over it. Many of them have short skirts, pretty faces, dramatic problems. What better way to meet people?


(looks like these two are meeting each other)


@optrader0  For a 30 yr old, no debt, no kid, likes job, has unneeded $100,000 in bank earning 1%. Leave it there long term or into VTI (the broadly diversified stock market)?

ANSWER: Holy shit, I’m jealous of you. 30 years old, no responsibilities, and $100,000 in the bank. Do you know how lucky you are?

So let’s see, you have two choices:

One, put it in the bank and never worry about it.

Two, put it in the stock market where it can either go up 6% on average or some years go down 30%.


Why even consider Two? What would you have earned last year, for instance. Zero. After going 20% down at points. What a roller coaster when you could’ve just slept easy.

Cash is king. I’d stuff it under the mattress if I could if I were you. Don’t even put it in a bank that could go under. Use some non-bank like Fidelity.

“No worries”, should be your slogan. Andwhen the time is right, take $1000-2000 and start your own business. If that doesn’t work, then take another $1000 and start another business. And keep trying.

People get trigger happy when they have a loaded gun. They want to fire it. But the best gun is the one that stays loaded.

But don’t risk our life for an extra ten cents.


(Sergey likes his cash)


BenNesvig Ben Nesvig Do 1 star reviews on Amazon affect your writing? And would you rather get a 1 star review or a 3 star review?

ANSWER: Ben has just self-published an excellent book: 

It’s really funny.

The only problem is: he only has five star reviews.  What’s so bad about that? I, for instance, HATE when I have a one star review. It killsme. It makes me question my entire existence. Someone actually read my book and thought so poorly of it they took the time and effort to log onto Amazon and spend a precious few minutes trashing my whole life in view of anyone.

But that’s what sells books. When people are arguing, that’s controversy. Controversy sells. The #1 book on the Kindle has 81 1 star reviews (and 3000 5 star reviews). But the TOP-RATED  kindle book, with 697 five star reviews and zero reviews of any other sort, is ranked down at #10,000 in the kindle store. So thank your one star-reviewers. They will drive more sales than your five star reviewers.

A few months ago I read the excellent short story colletion “Knockemstiff” by Donald Ray Pollock. Afterwards, I read the reviews. Some were one star reviews and when I read why it showed they had totally missed the point of the book. But I wrote Pollock to cheer him up and told him the one star reviews were almost better advertisements than the five star reviews. All the people offended by the “sex and violence”. Hell! I’m a buyer when I see that.


(according to Amazon, this is the "top-rated" book. But nobody has ever heard of it)


@ajwahls aaron wahls  asks: better to settle with  someone with no integrity that wronged you in a business dispute and pay x or fight it and potentially pay 5x in fees


Always: Settle, forgive, forget, move on. Life is short. We’re a tiny dot in the Universe. Our lifespans on this tiny dot or even tinier. Your interaction with this hateful person is even tinier. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be in your short life on this tiny planet.

Settle,  and move on and get rich and happy. What couldbe a better answer than that?



noahlz Noah Zucker asks: Is being “risk adverse” a pathological character flaw?

ANSWER: The total opposite! Let’s say you hire someone who LOVES every kind of risk. He smokes crack and screws hookers on the weekends. He power skis on his days off. He gambles all his money in Las Vegas on his vacations.

How long will this employee last? How long will he even be alive?

Not very long.

I’ve been involved in startups for the past 17 years or so. The best startups had every risk planned and accounted for before the business even started. The best entrepreneurs avoid risk, are scared of it, plan for it. Nobody wants risks. They want easy money. The way to get easy money is to have the most noble character trait of all: being risk averse.

It’s more risky to stay at the standard corporate job, living out your life afraid of your boss, your mortgage, the economy, stocks, your 401k, and all the other things you are scared of. I hate being scared.



AranDarling Aran  asks: which, if any, economist, money manager, or academic, have you been most impressed with based on accuracy of views since ’08?

ANSWER: This is why I don’t read the news, even when I’m about to go on TV. I just go to the First Trust Portfolios website and read the latest views of Brian Wesbury. He reads the facts, he interprets them, he’s a believer in American innovation, he’s a believer that the Fed has printed up too much money because the US economy is already ready to rock and roll. I like his style. I plagiarize him constantly. He should probably sue me at this point. If he doesn’t sue me then maybe I will sue him. For no reason at all since the judge will laugh in my face I plagiarize him so much.

I won’t even link to his site. I want his content all for myself.



ailon Alan Mendelevich asks: is it possible for you to make a living from your self-published books?


Yes and no. There are all these literary-fab stories of some 17 year old writing zombie novellas making $1mm a year. That’s great if you can do it. It requires persistent writing, blogging, reaching out to audience, being in a hot area at the right time, etc.

BUT, most areas are not like that. Most people are not like that.

The way to make “make a living” money from self-published books is to treat the book like an enhanced business card. You write it, you parlay it into expertise validation, which gets you consulting and speaking gigs.

And you can write more books. You get to pick yourself instead of having some random publisher pick you, edit you, and delay your book coming out for a year where you end up making the same amount of money anyway. I did four books last year. My self-published books made me more money.



Psfs dfdfd asks: In marriage and in keeping with the DP – how often /wk should a man/woman get paid? Paid meaning sex w/ significant other.

ANSWER: First off, you use an interesting phrase: “get paid”. Given the scarcity of characters we have (140) on Twitter, you could’ve just said, how often should one have sex with their spouse. Instead, you had to explain it.

So “get paid” sort of implies one side owes something to the other side (the man or a woman, you are careful enough to point out).

Better, if you both WANT it. How can that happen? Well, keeping the paid analogy. Why don’t you do a little of your wife’s job and she does a little of yours. Try that every day? See how it feels. If it increases the feeling of partnership. Of the feeling of wanting the other in your life.

Then try this: have sex every day for a year.

That seems like a lot of work. Particualrly if your older. How can you have an orgasm every day? Well, who says you have to have that? But have sex every day for a year.

Check out this article on a couple that had sex every day for a year:

It sounds pretty good. I think I’ll try it.


(can you be like this every day with your loved one?)


socialhotchoco Priscilla Wood asks: I’m socially awkward, is there hope for me?


Through our interactions here, on my blog, on facebook, through emails, I’ve gotten to know you a little bit.

I wouldn’t call you socially awkward. You speak your mind. You often are fearless in what you tell people. That makes you socially unique.

We all have layers of personality: our twitter layer, our facebook layer, our work layer, our dating layer, friends, family, closest ones, etc. You cut through all of your layers. That makes you socially unique. I would consider everyone else socially awkward.

For you there is all hope. Everybody else are the people I’m worried about.



lindsaycampbell lindsaycampbellWhat’s more sane, an abundance or scarcity mentality? I give $away bc I think there’ll b more- but I’m not rich- so am I crazy?

ANSWER: You are the OPPOSITE of insane.

After going broke and making it back several times I feel scarred. I have a scarcity complex. It doesn’t how much money I have, I always feel like I’m broke. I feel like I have to hoarde. I feel like the money can go away in a second through either mistakes of my own, mistakes of the universe, or some magical force stealing from me.

But for me to take money, I have to take careful planned risks. I have to overcome my scarcity complex every day and realize that I deserve money. I work hard, I plan for my risks, I try to check every box, I have to trick myself into not thinking the money is automatically gone, that it’s being put to work in engines that will generate more money for me.

A rule of the universe that I’ve written about is: Give and You Will Receive.

Having an abundance mentality, combined with a healthy risk aversion, is the best way to ultimately receive.



@dylanized dylan hassinger  asks: what do you think about Asperger’s Syndrome? Any career advice for fellow weirdos/introverts?

ANSWER: I’mnot an expert on Aspergers and there are many who have more knowledge on this. BUT, I am an expert on weirdos and introverts.

Two things:

A)     Always be kind. Be as kind as possible. People might try to take advantage, but if people every ask you for something physical (money, sex, whatever) then take a step back. But in every case, be as kind as possible. When you be kind, ultimately people will be kind back. It’s a rule.

B)      Watch as many funny movies as you can. Forget about tear-jerking dramas and tragedies. Comedy is funny because it gets right to the point of what we are all thinking and reveals the humor and absurdity of it. You think you’re weird. ALL LIFE is weird. Comedy underlines that. Watch funny movies as much as possible and the next thing you know, it will be hard for you to be as introverted.

I encourage people with Aspberger’s to make suggestions in the comments.



JonasNielsen Jonas Bruun Nielsen What’s your technique for coming up with ideas? watching paint dry doesn’t work..


Let’s say you are an excellent archer. You hit the bullseye every time. But then you stop for five years. You pick up a bow and arrow. Chances are you won’t hit the bullseye. Your muscles have atrophied. Your skills have gotten weaker.

It’s the same thing with the idea muscle. Most people have let their idea muscle atrophy. The key is to start aiming for the target again, whether you miss or hit. But get up early and set up the target and start shooting arrows every day.

Write down ideas every single day. Bad ideas and good ones. Don’t judget them at first. Just brainstorm, even if it’s a shitstorm.

Here’s my post on nine ways to become more creative. This will help in the long-term with idea generation.

I can guarantee this. Idea generation every day, combined with other aspects of the Daily Practice which I talk about it my last book, will change your life completely within six months.


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  • I do a honeymoon of a different kind: I MOVE to another country: – More hassle than staying at home of course, but it’s exciting, the beginning of something new. And I stay in the new country at least 6 months, up to 2 years, getting to know it really well, possibly learning a new language. Makes me feel younger each time.

    • The only problem: My wife didn’t want to give up her job, so I had to move alone. So it’s really only a partial honeymoon. (And it means that I cannot contribute much to the sex part of this article.)

  • About retirement:
    Why wait with the move to India? I just moved from London to Malta (see link in my comment above) and pay less than a third in rent of what I paid in London. Plus, I am next to the sea and life is more laid back. I study via distance education and work as a freelancer online, so I can live anywhere in the world.
    I might actually move to India next. If you will report back positively about it. :-)

  • Art Palette

    Excellent! Our honeymoon 20 years ago, went to st Thomas carribean resort. They tried to enroll us in all these events. We said no, we’re here to fuck, drink, relax, repeat. Maybe that’s why we are still together now. Everything else here is great advice!

  • C.

    FIGHT OR MOVE ON: I have a similar situation but instead of a person, it’s with the government who wronged me. If I go to court (which will be stressful), I could get a new job paying 3x my actual salary, with similar duties and hours. Or I could get nothing and stay at my current job. No fees since I’m an attorney myself. Do you still think the best approach would be no fighting? I mean the gain could be big. But I doubt because of the stress involved in the trial process.

  • Luca Corinaldesi

    WHEN AND WHERE TO RETIRE?”The key is personal freedom.”This concept can be also valid for a twenty-five?I’m 25 years old and have lived in Italy since I was born. I really want to go and live somewhere else. I speak three European languages ​​and I really want to stay in touch with other cultures. I know where I want to go, but I am not saying it to not influence your answer.The choice of the place must be based on what?Any advice you could give me?btw I finished your book and I sent you a personal message on Google +.

    • Hello Luca, I am 36 and from Germany. I have recently moved to Malta after 2 years in London ( ) and I am very happy here. I guess for you as an Italian, it would not be “different” enough. In your case, I would go for a country where you can use your language skills as this highly increases the chances of finding friends. Also, you’ll be able to integrate faster. As a European, I would start with other EU countries. There are plenty to choose from. I personally find Eastern Europe very beautiful, interesting and not too expensive. London is interesting, but you’ll get depressed because of the weather and you will work all month only to pay the rent. Remember: if it doesn’t work out, you can always come back.

      • Luca Corinaldesi

        Hi Andreas, thanks for your reply. I really appreciate. I’m glad to have known you. I’ll subscribe to your blog.
        I totally agree with London and Eastern Europe. Portugal is also a very fascinating and not too expensive country, too.
        I am taking advantage of your kindness, but don’t worry if you don’t have the time to reply to me. Why do you think is better to stay in the EU? What do you think about U.S.? What do you think of these countries that have just gone through a revolution (Egypt)? Warm Regards

  • Doesn’t refusing to link to your favourite economist demonstrate a scarcity complex?

  • Carmen Magdalena Garcia

    You speak about so many things… I never have idea how can I started. 

  • About wealth and health: When I was 33, I quit my job as a lawyer to become a student again ( Obviously I am poor now, but boy, am I healthy! No more sleeping problems, no more (additional) grey hair (which is sad because I find it sexy), I weigh less, I can go for hikes days on end, I got rid of all these stress symptoms.

    • But maybe it’s different here in Europe where we don’t have to worry about paying for health insurance.

  • Dingbat

    Yep, I actually seriously contemplated divorce during my honeymoon. Wife was stressed out from wedding planning, I was freaked out about being married, we would drive to a different location in New Mexico every day pissed off at each other and have obligatory sex every night. Not very romantic. Kinda creepy.

    Still married though. Maybe the whole experience tempered our relationship somehow.

    • Wow, I contemplated divorce during my honeymoon too, long story but that was 10 years ago and divorce finally did come, for us it wasn’t much of “if” but more like “when”. Thank you for writing this, I thought I was the only one feeling this way and was so ashamed that this is the first time I talk about it.

  • Serena

    In regards to the Asperger question, embrace who you are. Appreciate your unique mind and differences. If you think like everyone else, then you act like everyone else. Use your differences to create something special. There is nothing more boring than yet another person who is trying to be just like everyone else. Be you and be proud.

  • Asperger’s is a spectrum … if you know 1 person with it, then all you really know is 1 type of it; so what works for the first person doesn’t necessarily apply to any others.Unfortunately you can disregard most if not all so called ‘Asperger’ characters on TV and movies, since they tend to be hideously over simplified versions and caricatures

    I agree about comedy .. however comedy is a hard one to achieve .. what one finds hilarious, another wont even register as comedy or even might avoid or annoy

    hmm I think there was a typo or missing words in A) Always be kind. paragraph .. “every” was meant to be “always” ?

    as to career advice … not really sure .. but doing something that interests you, that you can focus on and be happy with, will help .. unfortunately if you have Asperger’s, you will probably find that to be so vague to be useless advice. :(

  • RE best way to meet new people: I am also one of these shy guys. At first. Depending on where you live, I can recommend Couchsurfing. It’s a website for travellers who stay at strangers’ places for a night or two, or who hook up for half a day for a tour of the city, or to play chess together. Of course these travellers will be gone again after a while, but Couchsurfing often has meetings in your city where you can then also meet other locals.
    Of all the social networking sites I found it the site with the people who are most willing to leave the internet and meet up in real life.

  • RE what to do with 100,000 $: Remember, if you still have money left when you die, you did something wrong.

    • But then again, you’re dead, so who gives a shit?

    • This guy is crazy to keep it in the bank. I’d invest $50,000 of it in gold and silver if he is just sitting on it. That shiznit is not done. Currency devalues, precious metals go up. It’s fool proof. 

      • Anonymous

        Ever heard of volatility?

    • Jacob

      By the way, the all cash answer is fine, but definitely go for FDIC/NCUA insurance over uninsured non-bank deposits!!!

  • Thanks for the additional comments. That’s a good way of thinking about it. Every successful business, band, and artist has people who hate it. I know a 1 star review is coming at some point. I’m just hoping I don’t let it negatively impact my writing process.

    • Yes, the first one star review is hard to get through. You almost want to respond and comment to them but the challenge is to avoid doing that and just thank them mentally for creating controversy around the book.

  • I had to read your “My name is Jame A. …” again. It’s absolutely one of my most favorite of your writings. I just love it.

  • Anonymous

    I once met a guy in India who was sick of living in shelters, so he saved enough to buy a one way ticket to India…and somehow managed to get his social sec. check transferred to him over there…and he was living like a king!!

    He did get kicked out of one Ashram for trying to have sex with the Guru’s girl!!!!

  • I think we have an Aman down here in Sri Lanka too.

    You can spend a nice vacation down in Sri Lanka, a lot cheaper than most of the places. The cool thing about this Island is that, it’s almost like you traveled the whole world when you see around..

  • 444

    First of all, I want to apologize for pointing out (via email) what was obviously simply a typo.  Now I have to get something off my chest:  I am so tired of hearing about Asperger’s and especially “Aspies.”  I know that autism is real (I witness some of it firsthand every day) but when we start calling eloquent, articulate adults “Aspies,” aren’t we getting into the realm of labeling what should simply be normal personality variations?  And aren’t we doing children a disservice to raise them under such labels? Whoever drew up the template for “standard human being”?  I reject all of that and I believe everyone should boycott self-segregating terms like “Aspie.”  Can you tell I particularly dislike that word?  All right, I will go get less irritable now.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. 

      There are positive attributes as well as negative ones related to these neurological characteristics.  Notice, I did not say disorders.  Nor disabilities or dysfunctions. 

      The Neurodiversity movement acknowledges this fact.  People have different neurological makeups.  We are different from one another.  That’s a good thing.  Nature produces these variations for a reason. 

      When we attach diminishing labels to this natural variation we teach helplessness. 

      • I agree that everyone is over diagnosed and seems to carry a pocket-sized DSM  IV with torn and worn pages in their pockets. Which is why i focused on the weirdos and introverts. The DSM IV castrates any word that looks like an insult. So lets relish them, their uniqueness, their brands that were callously burned on our backs by high school bullies. Relish them and the uniqueness they left us with.

    • You think you dislike the term “Asperger?” I guarantee you that Hans Asperger never would have approved.

      For years I worked very closely with Bob Shprintzen, after whom “Shprintzen Syndrome” is named (uh duh). Once he identified the unique characteristics, suddenly everything made sense to pediatricians and the reporting and prevalence skyrocketed, as kids who didn’t seem to fit into any particular category were suddenly recognized as representing a specific range of disorders.

      Prior to the identification of Shprintzen Syndrome, these kids still had a label.

      They were “odd.”

      Shrintzen hated the name Shprintzen Syndrome and always referred to it as Velo-cardio-facial Syndrome, or VCF, representing the 3 major childhood components.After many years of following these kids, it also became clear that schizophrenia was in their future, as well.

      The prevalence of Asperger Syndrome (disorder) isn’t known. Whatever it is, and there is subjectivity involved in its diagnosis, it is far too infrequent to be considered a “normal personality variation.”

      What makes the case for Aspergers compelling is that while you see totally unrelated people take on odd behaviors in the case of fads or external forces, the same can’t be said for very young children.

      To see and describe a pattern of behavior that is outside the standard realm, yet exhibited by so many children with limited outside contacts, is highly suggestive of an intrinsic pathway. That is, of course, unless you believe that these children somehow have conspired to behave in an incredibly similar pattern.

      The term Asperger may disappear at some point. But the reality is that it will be replaced by another label, as evidence may mount to suggest that it belongs in the autism spectrum. Asperger himself would probably be very happy to know that someday it will be universally referred to as anything but Asperger, but the constellation of behaviors will still exist.

      • My sister was diagnosed with VCFS (AKA Shprintzen Syndrome). I know I’m going on a tangent here, but the syndrome is now identified by it’s genetic marker 22q11, and since it’s the result of deletion syndrome, it’s called 22q11 DS. And sadly, we now see the schizophrenia aspect as well. In fact, 22q11 DS involves a huge and dispiriting constellation of symptoms and maladies and my sister is at the severe end of the spectrum.

        • It was in the early 90’s that Shprintzen and his co-worker, Rosalie Goldberg, started seeing the onset of schizophrenia in early adulthood and subsequently the genetic locus was identified. As with other conditions where there is a high asociation with a secondary illness, such as Down Syndrome and leukemia and a genetic locus has been identified (interestingly, also involving Chromosome 22, but as a translocation), there is lots of hope that research can further hone in on root cause and develop more appropriate and effective pharmacolgic approaches.

          VCF, as you clearly are aware, is a very difficult diagnosis for the entire family and requires so much inter-discoplinary care. It was always very sad seeing paients over the years as they aged. It is obviously also very difficult to know that with the aging procss may come other manifestations of the disease.

          Your use of the word “sadly”, to me, at least indicates that your sister has something that so many other patients are lacking, which is a social support as they do get older.

    • Jquick99

      I agree.  5 years ago I had never heard of Aspergers, and now everybody and their brother claims to have it?

  • Last year we spent a few months in Mysore. 

    Highlights for me:

    1. The evening meditation at the Mystic School in Gokulam.  Shashi leads a different Osho meditation technique each evening.  Perfect for those who have difficulty with the traditional lotus-position-eyes-closed method and are looking to discover a way to incorporate meditation into their lives.  Kind of like a meditation buffet.

    2. Noah McKenna’s anatomy & kinesiology course (also in Gokulam) emphasizes the science behind why yoga is good.  No mystical fluff.  Fabulous insights into the Ashtanga practice.  Noah also does Yoga Therapy sessions that explain specifically what / why / how your body is the way it is, and what you can do to change / fix / improve it.

    Noah also does a Yoga Alliance 200 Hour certification course.  He is an exceptional teacher. 

    3. Running or walking at the Kukaralli Lake in the mornings or evenings.

    4. Lap swimming at the University pool. 

    5. After yoga cocos. 
    Have a wonderful adventure. 

    • Very interesting, Preemptive. I didn’t know you had been there. I will check this stuff out.

  • You and Claudia should do “Daily Practice” seminars! Do presentations on finance, life transformation, yoga, and growing your creativity. Hold them over two days at a great retreat/resort. Have some free time to explore sprinkled in with the sessions, sell your books, travel the country and the world, talk about stuff you love, help people, and have q and a sessions in real time, all the while doing something cool and meaningful with your spouse while making a living. 

    Anyway, just a thought. I’m glad my idea muscle is working, at least.

    • You are reading our minds. In fact, we might do a retreat at Kripalu.

      • Anonymous

        After you perfect your template at Kripalu you should take the program to Esalen –
        I occasionally help out with yoga programs there and it would fit in perfectly with their work shop curriculum – best of luck !

        • Esalen is a great idea as it is so beautiful there and your work could easily flourish. There are many other amazing retreat centers where you could easily host events and help people live more enlightened lives. If you ever decide to branch out you could try the Blooming Lotus Yoga center in Thailand…they have amazing retreats…take a look here to see just how gorgeous their location is :

  • James, another interesting article but I have to slightly disagree on the honeymoon advice. My advice would be to go somewhere nice that’s pretty close and don’t plan a bunch of activities. I recently went to Puerto Vallarta (just on vacation, not a honeymoon). It was a 3.5 hour flight from San Francisco and a 20 minute cab ride to the hotel and was a gorgeous 80 degrees in the middle of December — way better than any staycation I could have dreamed up!

  • Andrew

    It’s interesting that you think getting a “regular” job is riskier than being an entrepreneur, and yet you also think the stock market is full of risk, but holding cash is somehow risk free.  The real value of that 30-yr old guy’s $100k can evaporate via inflation.  It will always have the nice, “safe” denomination of $100k on his bank statement, but over a long period of time he is far more likely to preserve (increase, actually) his spending power by buying a diversified basket of stocks, as long as he ignores the 30% annual swings, which are meaningless if he has no need to spend the money.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not 30 yet but I had a similar situation.  Going back, I would keep it in the bank and try business ideas, as James said.  First of all, your money isn’t going to evaporate in the  next day, year, or even decade.  Second, whatever gains you get isn’t likely to be worth the time investment AND the risk of losing the savings and being dependent on your job.  Your energy needs to focus on your business ideas, which is the real way to get your freedom.  Third, I lost my savings during the challenging trading environments and what losses do to your psychology.  You can say you could ignore the swings, but you haven’t been there.

      Now, I still trade, trying to bounce back after losing it all (almost), but I kept some living expense money aside so I can work my ideas.  In the end, I learned a lot, but I think I could have done more if I just solely focused on business.  Your time is invaluable – until you have a family and a job you’re tied down to.  Then yeah, go ahead and diversify in the market and wait 30 years.  But if you want to be free, then cash at hand is infinitely better.

      • I agree. 30 is very young. He will do many things in his life. He will have many successes. But the easiest way to have those succsses is to sleep easy, eat well, be healthy, not stress, develop ideas, etc.

        Making 6% versus 3% in a bank account won’t help him achieve his successes.

  • Thanks James, your article on ways to become more creative is helpful. I think you should add a link to it from the Daily Practice article.

    I’m a very visual person, so I desperately look around for inspiration when I want to come up with ideas. I thought about creating an app or website to stimulate this, but for know it seems like just closing my eyes is the most effective.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone?

  • Wesbury: “We wanna be the antidote to conventional wisdom.” I like that, thanks for sharing.

    There’s nothing better than to tell anonymous eyes about my own issues and your blog allows me to do that. My new mantra: I’m socially unique!

    “I really hate being scared” LOL. Altucher, how do you come up with these sentences? It cracks me up everytime I read something obvious like this.

    Great weekend for both of you.

  • Tradelalrt

    James, I finally bought your book and reading it now – your gratuitous self promotion worked! Thanks for the interesting writing 

  • Proti2

    People die within two years of retiring on average.”
    Are you implying that retiring causes health failure or that people retire due to failing health?

  • Anonymous

    For Introvert / Socially awkward guys (or so they say): I believe, as my own experience, that practicing meditation can be an AMAZING (really AMAZING) way to get rid of the clutter/inhibitions present in your mind. You might even be surprised to see yourself being better and cnonfident than many of the extroverted/socially good guys you know!!

    You may start with the traditional ‘observing your breath’ technique or you can start with the awesome 60sec techniques are listed in this blog (I remember the post title starts with ‘Naked girls…’ ;) check it out!

    If you have started with the Daily Practice, keep it ON.. If not, then there’s no reason not to start. Really, today is a good day, what say?

    PS: As i say this, i want to make it clear that any meditation done with a certain desire of something, as the end-result, is really of no use. Just get into it as an innocent child, free to anything that you may experience, without any expectations. Then u’ll experience the real Beauty of it.

    Good Luck!

  • James, I think retirement shiuld be everyone’s end goal and the objective should be to reach that goal as soon as possible.

    The factoid regarding years of survival after retirement is really pretty flawed. I’m certain that a study that controls for age of retirement and health status at time of retirement would indicate no additional risk of death to retirement of a healthy individual. That study likely exists, but I’ve also retired from a career in fact checking. At this stage, it’s all opinion

    My wife hates it when I call myself “semi-retired”. I work about 10 days a year and love it.

    I think everyone should do 2 things to prepare themselves for a quick and early retirement.

    Figure out how much money you’ll want to leave your heirs when your dead and then figure out what kind of a rate of return you would need on your investments to get to that point. (Minor detail: you then need to achieve that rate of return)

    2 gratuitous links: Retirement Spreadsheet and Why Raising the Retirement Age is a Bad Idea

  • For a glimpse into the lives of Autistic/Asperger Syndrome people watch this movie

    It is a TV movie….its called Temple Grandin….its based on the true story of a lady named Temple Grandin. You can even watch a TED talk she gave…its on youtube….just search for her 

  • Krista

    Advice for weirdos the socially awkward and those with Asperger’s.  Embrace your skills and strengths and at the same time be honest about your weaknesses.  If you don’t understand social nuance, let the people in your life know.  Alsk them to let you know what they need as you may not excel at reading nonverbal cues.  Honestly, this would make things easier for everyone.  If people clearly state what they need and want it makes any relationship easier to navigate.  Use your weakness as an excuse to have others clarify their intentions.  As far as careers go – go with your passion.  My experience with people on the spectrum is that they are often very passionate about some pursuits.  That’s what they should be doing.  That’s what we all should be doing!

  • Dude, did you really recommend attending 12-step programs to meet women!!! WTF, do you live in a sitcom? Should we start calling you Barney Stinson?

  • James,

       I watched a couple of Brian Wesbury’s video’s and I have to say I’m thoroughly unimpressed. First of all, he uses government published data to make decisions. In his 12/14 video he talks about the unemployment rate using USG published numbers, when everyone now knows that doesn’t include those who have given up looking and the real numbers are much higher. If he’s making decisions based on this fairy tale data, then I put no stock in his ability to truly understand trends and recommend financial direction. 


  • JLe

    No offense your content is always great but I think it’s kinda boring that you expand always the same kinda questions from your Twitter Q&A.
    Get out of your comfort zone ! :)

    • Well, people have to ask me more questions then. But maybe the Q&A has run its course as blog posts.

      • Bill K

        I’m still enjoying it James perhaps being newer to your work
        Someday I hope I can share how I moved to low cost living in the Philippines 6 years ago

  • Anonymous

    I left the corporate world of insanity a couple of years ago, started my own little business and am making my targeted amount of $ (app 20% of the old salary) while living a very simple life with no debt except for a very small mortgage payment – and your following comment has really helped reassure me that i am on the right track and to not be fearful – THANK YOU –

    “It’s more risky to stay at the standard corporate job, living out your
    life afraid of your boss, your mortgage, the economy, stocks, your 401k,
    and all the other things you are scared of. I hate being scared.”

  • I love your practical wisdom, James.  So much good stuff here.  

  • Vikky

    Hi James,

    Where are you visiting in India?

  • T

    Thanks for the advice on the cash. I started investing in mid 06 and luckily put ~80% of my worth in saving accounts in 07 and 08. But I made the classic mistake(of selling near the bottom) on the other 20%.

    I llike your thoughts on charity. I already give a good deal and will start to think of ways to make any additional charity more effective.

  • Tuzo

    James, love the Blog/Book/Hair.  (OK, I’m actually lying about one of those.  ;) )  But I have to disagree about the Honeymoon thing.  I’m more a believer in WHARP: Wedding and Honeymoon at a Reasonable Price.  I personally recommend having destination wedding with family and friends and then take a honeymoon.  Top 10 reasons to have destination wedding/honeymoon:

    1) Money.  It can be quite inexpensive.  Not as cheap as city hall but much cheaper than a traditional wedding/reception.
    2) It’s romantic!
    3) The people who attend will be people who really want to be there for you.
    4) Less stress!  On the morning of the wedding the groom can relax in a hammock by the beach.
    5) People want to help you.  People will go out of their way to make everything work.  E.g. airline personnel, photographers, taxi/limo drivers.
    6) It’s an adventure — why not start the adventure of your life together with an exciting adventure of your own. 
    7) If you take a honeymoon from the wedding destination it might allow you to go somewhere more out of the way than usual (e.g. 6 room Sandcastle hotel in BVI).
    8) If you already have a dream vacation in mind incorporate that before kids.  Seriously.
    9) Awesome wedding photos.
    10) If the honeymoon is close to the wedding location (or maybe the same place) most or all of the travel stress is gone. 

  • You should do a post on motivating yourself! like this one:

    Would really like to see how you motivate yourself.

  • Got my first 1 star review today! Had to come back here to read your advice again.

  • James Bond Bond

    An enormous round of applause, continue the great work.

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