Actually, the book didn’t make me a life coach. Making the claim that one book turned me into a life coach would be crazy talk. I wouldn’t do crazy talk at you. If one book could make me a life coach, then it could make anyone a life coach and then we’d all be running around coaching the shit out of lives. No. All the book did was confirm beyond debate that I, myself, have always been a life coach.
It’s true. It seems that my entire life I’ve had the wisdom, the right, and perhaps the obligation to be spitting knowledge in people’s faces. Everything in the book is something I’ve thought or said or explained in great detail to the eye-rolling masses. The whole striving to maintain a positive attitude, the emphasis on eating better and exercising more, everything apart from the networking and running multiple businesses and generating millions of dollars time and again, can be found right up here in the old foggy noggin of yours truly.
The problem is that I just haven’t met anyone willing to listen. The one person I talk to is my wife and good luck with that. I can write this and post it and know she’ll never read it. It’s kind of miraculous. Considering I’ll send her a link.
Okay, so by now you’re either asleep or screaming in rage, demanding to know “Good LORD! What book, man?! Just tell me the title. Holy shit.”
It’s called “Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream.” Written by popular blogger-man, financial wizard, chess-master, and recovering depressive James Altucher. Essentially, the book contains Altucher’s “Daily Practice,” what he does to improve himself and prime himself for success. He comes at you from the perspective of someone who has made fortunes and squandered them. Repeatedly. This book documents his process for picking himself up off the floor and making sure he doesn’t land there again.
He wants you to know that he’s a failure. And the middle class is failing. And that the world is failing. And that you’re failing if you’re not willing to fail.
While I don’t agree with everything he writes (he thinks voting is stupid and Shakespeare is boring) on the substantive things (more substantive than voting), we’re eyeball to eyeball. Those things generally fitting into the category of “Do something, anything, to improve yourself, in every way, as often as possible, paying mind to your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual self.”
He shuns following others to find personal purpose. He encourages people to do what they like, be around people they like, and always look for opportunities to add value. If you read the book, he’ll encourage you to do those exact same things.
Now, if I may be so rude as to interrupt myself (it’s okay, I’m used to it—everyone interrupts me) I’d like to admit something right here: when I stared this review I was more than halfway done with the book. Everything you just read was written at that point. Then I kept reading and my opinion changed, so this review will go a different direction than I had originally planned. I was going to tell you all that Mr. Altucher was someone I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Maybe it’s all his gloom or his anxiety or his trying to be funny but just not being funny (my wife disagrees with me on that last one). But I couldn’t seem to connect with him on a personal level.
Which is bad when you consider that reading a book is like spending private time with the author. Initially, I was going to say that Altucher was someone you could learn a great deal from, build a network with, and gets lots of great feedback from—but he’s not the one you’d want to spend a weekend in a cabin with. If you went to a party and he was there, you’d go over and say a few words, make sure you were seen, be cordial, but then you’d park it next to the lively crowd the rest of the night to enjoy yourself.
Well I don’t know when it happened, it was either the chapter “How to Release the God Hormone” or “How to be less Stupid,” or “Don’t Have Opinions” when I thought Altucher was an all right guy. Even an interesting guy. He became human. And I was glad I finished the book.
SO TO RECAP: In its way, it is informative and inspiring. It gives anyone a good place to start when starting is often the hardest part. Even if you think you know all that he’s written already (like I seem to do) then this is affirmation, validation, and permission to go kick some ass.
Of course, the hang-up I saw in most reviews about this book came from frequent readers of his blog. It seems most of the book was posted on his site before. In fact, go there and check it out.
And I will say, my site is the perfect example of what happens when you follow no one and do only what you want to do. It’s a fucking mess.