Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review: Choose Yourself

Choose Yourself! is a quick and light read in which author ‘James Altucher’ enforces the idea of choosing yourself to remain happy, make million of dollars and live your dreams.

James is a serial entrepreneur who created 20 companies during the period 1995 to 2010 – 17 of them failed. The others made him millions which he lost in his internet and markets investments. He was broke and even thought of taking his life at one point to leave the insurance money for his family. He shares his unique experiences in the book to make impression on readers that the world is no more the same. None is going to hire you, no one is going to stand by you – word is changing so should you, choose your own path to achieve the success you've always dreamt about.

The first few paras of the book takes you few decades back. This was the period when American Dream was born & kept alive by enticing public to take more & more mortgages and other forms of debts. Credit card debts swelled to unimaginable numbers. This great American dream took a huge beating when 2008 crises struck the markets. Many lost their jobs; a number of corporations were at the brink of bankruptcy.

James believes that new corporations wouldn’t require to employ people full time - temp staffers and robots will replace them. He emphasizes that you may either be a temp staffer or a creative entrepreneur. The reason why not many choose themselves and become entrepreneur is the fear of rejection. You could handle the rejection by being mentally, psychologically & emotionally healthy. He takes a fundamentally contrarian position when he says rejections and failures can never form base for a successful person.

James introduces the concept of daily practice to become physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. He asks you to take a walk for 20 minutes daily to remain in pink of health, to stay with people you love, to think of 10 new ideas every day – make your brain sweat and surrender yourself to the stillness around you.  

Author further suggests some specific actions points for daily practice– return a 5 year old email, take up a hobby, don’t get your life steered anyone, no junk, no TV, sleep for 8 hours a day, take deep breaths etc. He gives a great example to make his argument on doing what you like to do. He says we all are made up of atoms and the actual matter in an atom takes up just a fraction of space. The rest all is empty and we all keep fighting to fill that emptiness, which decays in future. What remains is emptiness. Author wants his readers to have fire in this emptiness to make the difference.

James then scribbles his free flowing thoughts about how it is not necessary to find a purpose in life and how a person like him who can’t negotiate at all made millions. He calls himself a bad negotiator but a good salesman. He differentiates between the two - negotiation forces a ‘No’ while a sales process looks for a ‘Yes’.

Author then suggests some interesting ideas of just disappearing for some time and completely living off the hook. This way would help you to look within yourself. Author talks about the multiple new economic and technology tools that are available which you may leverage to solve some of the basic problems and make some good money.

James ends the book with ‘7 habits of highly effective mediocre people’ - many of the habits are truly opposite to what your parents would have told you! He says you don’t need to do multitasking – that's bad. You certainly don’t have to have original ideas – well you can always mate two original ideas to get a seemingly original idea which would work. He pleads you to procrastinate – it’s good to take a step back sometime and hold to understand what’s happening around. I found this to be the most interesting portion of the book - James signs off on a high!

There are some strong ideas presented in a bit haphazard manner. The flow in the book is not consistent, but does it really matter? This James Altucher beauty will keep you captivated till the end and you would still be left to ask for more.

Read it, devour it and hopefully make some millions of dollars!  

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