Incomes Are Going Down, Jobs Are Disappearing…Here’s Your Survival Guide.

 

I got fired…

Security escorted me out. They would send me my box later.

All self-help is bullshit. It’s hard to choose yourself when an iceberg hits the Titanic.

People write books: “How To Not Give A Shit” and it’s supposed to be helpful – to toughen you up, make you stronger.

“The 5 Minute Effective Leader”.

Doesn’t work.

 

Or then there’s the books not in the psychology section but across the aisle in the self-help section: meditate, think positive, picture positive visualizations.

When the boss asks you to leave and security escorts you out and there’s no severance, there’s also no meditation in the world.

Meditation won’t pay the rent. Thinking of nothing won’t put food on the table.

Visualization is a dream. And the universe owes you nothing.

Sure, if you do it, it might help. But who is doing that?

I’m not doing it.

I can’t. I’m stuck.

When you’re depressed you can’t sleep at night and then you can’t wake up in the morning.

I can’t handle thinking of a future where I might be broke. Or lonely. A shaved head, living in a gutter, abandoned.

I’ve seen it happen.

I’ve been broke…worse than broke, more than once. But I keep coming back.

 

The truth is that I always go broke when I stop reading.

Before I started my first business I was obsessed with reading everything I could. Fiction (because I wanted to write novels) and non-fiction (because I loved technology and something called “The Internet” was just starting).

And then I started reading books about business because the Internet and entertainment and my life all seemed to be merging with business.

My first business was creating websites for people. My second business was creating “mobile websites” for people, which really didn’t exist then.

In between the first and second business I played poker for 365 days. Even the day my daughter was born. I couldn’t help myself.

My accountant finally said the worst thing he can ever say to me. He said, “you should be starting another business”. I wish I had just kept playing poker.

I lost everything in that second business. Here’s what happened.


I stopped reading.

I separated from my wife. I had no clue what my business did. I fell in love. I started drinking a lot. I went broke. Lost my house. Lost my family. Blah blah.

I’m sick of “failure porn”. Ok, we get it.

People fail. Then they come back from it and somehow they turn into Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is this generation’s mythical “phoenix”.

So now I get to listen to music on my phone and my teenage daughter probably sends nude pictures to boys on her iphone.

When I was playing poker I read every book ever written about poker. I watched every video. I was still reading a lot.

But something got into my head. Something bad when I started my second business.

I was really unhappy in a lot of ways. I can’t even tell you why I was so unhappy. My dad was always going broke so I thought I was finally going beyond where he went. I thought I was superior to him.

I thought I didn’t need to do what he did.

And since he was a big reader, I no longer needed to read. And since he stayed with his wife, I no longer needed to.


I know now: investing in yourself is the best investment you can make.

Incomes are going down for young people for the first time in forever…

Jobs (a TON of jobs) are being lost to robots, to artificial intelligence

Student loan debt is out of control, nearly impossible to pay back…

And housing keeps getting more expensive…

But forget about failure porn. You don’t have to lose.

Do what I did. Read.

 

I picked out 20 books to help you. 20 books that will make you smarter (and maybe richer).

Remember I always go broke when I stop reading. So I choose these books as the cure for fear about money.

And I want you to have them.

All 20. I will pay for them and ship them to you.

Some books in this giveaway are the sort of books I call “IQ books”. I read them and I feel like my IQ is going up. “Sapiens”, “Bold”, “Wonderland” are like that and several others.

Other books are about amazingly intelligent people who are sharing their lives and I am just blown away by not only their experiences and their intelligence but also how their playfulness often inspired them to greatness. “A Man for All Markets” and “Moneyball” fall into those categories.

And there’s a third category on this list which includes books I personally used to get myself to be a better investor.

The investing world is constantly changing. But to get good you have to know the foundation and many of these books are foundational, even the one fiction book (a financial thriller from  the 1970s) that snuck it’s way onto this list.

I can’t give all 20 books to all the people who read this, but I can give them to some people. See the bottom of this post.

 

Here are the books I’m giving away:

  1. Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferris’s
  2. Bold” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  3. Abundance” by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  4. Unshakeable” by Tony Robbins
  5. Damn Right!” (biography of Charlie Munger) by Janet Lowe
  6. Wonderland” by Steven Johnson
  7. Payoff” by Dan Ariely
  8. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing” by Paul Erdman
  9. Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari
  10. Moneyball” by Michael Lewis
  11. The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis
  12. Stealing Fire” by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
  13. Essays of Warren Buffett” by Warren Buffett and Lawrence  Cunningham
  14. The Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb
  15. Fooled By Randomness” by Nassim Taleb
  16. A Man For All Markets” by Edward O. Thorp and Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  17. Too Big To Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin
  18. Elon Musk” by Ashlee Vance
  19. Hedge Fund Market Wizards” by Jack D. Schwager and Ed Seykota
  20. Reinvent Yourself” by James Altucher

 

Here’s the link if you want to sign up for my giveaway. I think it’s about $400-500 in value, but I haven’t added it up. Maybe it’s more.

There are also ways to increase the chances of getting all of the books. I describe them in this link: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/giveaways/book-giveaway-2017/

I charge nothing. I want nothing.

I just want to run into you and we can say, “We both loved these books…and here’s how they changed our lives”

  • WWKMD

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  • Felix

    Thank you, James!
    When I need guidance and direction, I look to you!

  • Erja Mononen

    There’s a difference in reading a book and understanding and taking in the message. I’ve read hundreds of books but a lot of them have been crap (why did I bother God only knows!). So how to know which ones are worth MY while, please tell me. I could have used my time better ….

  • Brendan M

    Excellent advice, and exactly right. (I’ve been a solo entrepreneur for 7 years now.) Especially the part about taking two skills and combining them. I tell my son that he’s way ahead by becoming an engineer, but if he were to also learn to speak Chinese his market value would go up 10x.

    “Choose Yourself” is great. Loved it! And one book that would go nicely on your list is “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

  • Martina

    Not sure the link to enter is working properly (unless Bieber is the donor) – after submitting an entry I get “incorrect answer value.” Probably a bug? Just FYI. Do I get extra entries for reporting it :-)?

  • JasonRH

    I love this post, but why does everybody recommend the same books? Classic case of groupthink. Believe it or not, the book section does have authors other than Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins and Michael Lewis.

  • David Raphael

    This is one of the me most honest and realistic descriptions of how any human relates to self-help books. Thank you for that. Hopefully I’ll win!

  • Move2wtqueen

    cool.

  • Mark Farragher

    Nice campaign! But please do add a Kindle option too. Lugging 20 hardcopy books around doesn’t help those of us who are into minimalism.

    • Anyone who wins can choose Kindle if they would like

      • I would love having those physical hard bound books in my library! ?????? all signed by the authors!

  • Awesome giveaway, James. Thanks for putting it together.

    I’d also add Chet Holmes “Ultimate Sales Machine” and Jay Abraham’s “How to Get Everything You Can Out of All You Got” to that list covering tactical implementation that can work across any vertical or niche.

    These books definitely changed my life.

  • Risa R.

    I look forward to getting and reading your inspiring emails. They always show up when I need em’ most. I’ve read a few of these books. This is an excellent list!

  • Abhishek Agrawal

    highest entries till now ?

  • All those success business books should be required reading at the k-12 and college level. ???

  • Clion

    I can’t believe you included “Sapiens” on this list! Only one other person in my life mentioned this book to me was when I was a young girl. I went to a fancy lunch with my grandmother and a her rich male gentleman friend, and he told me I must read “Sapiens,” so I did. I tell everyone about it, and you are the first one who reciprocates! Now I think I should read the other 19 you suggested. Thanks for the great post.

  • Buddy Ryan

    I like your honest writing style but to be honest… I feel like many of these self help practices are meant to reset stress levels. When you lower cortisol you perform more effectively mentally and creatively. They are not meant to make you rich or wealthy by themselves. But if you are functioning at even 5-20% higher than normal your odds because you are more focused or less stressed your odds will slightly increase. I saved all the books and will be reading them