Episodes

  • Ep. 266 - Amanda Cerny: The Secrets of Becoming a Social Media Influencer

    · The James Altucher Show

    Playboy wasn't part of the plan. "It wasn’t on my list of things to do in life," Amanda said. "What did you want to do?" I said. "Acting." But everyone told her "no." They told her "You're branded as a playmate, so that's what you are." She could've given up. She didn't. "One person says "no," then another person says "no"... but eventually, there’s that one person who believes in you and that can be yourself.” In this interview, Amanda tells me her secrets to becoming a social media influencer and the actor she's always wanted to be. She taught me how you can choose yourself.   

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  • Ep. 265 - Mr. X: I Interview An Anonymous Guest on Hacking, Government, Bitcoin and Terrorism

    · 01:35:27 · The James Altucher Show

    The FBI went to his high school when the 15-year-old Mr. X hacked into the largest Internet company in the world and stole 90 million credit card numbers.  "You are going to jail for a long time," they told him.  The day after he stole them he sent them back to the company and explained what their cybersecurity flaws were.  He thought they would thank him.  The FBI came to arrest him. "I was scared to death," he told me when we first met.  The head of the school, a three-star general, told them, "You guys better get out of here if you aren't writing this boy a check and saying thank you."  They left.  Then.  Two years later when Mr. X graduated he got "the call". The call that meant he wouldn't go to college.  The call that meant he would parachute into enemy fire, hack foreign governments, hack our own computers. "I've done so many things," he once told me. "You can't imagine."  The call from a three initial agency. More than one.  We met at a dinner. We were both obsessed with hacking and the latest flaws in computer security. We ignored every else and spoke for three hours.  And we haven't stopped talking since.  I don't mean this to be a conspiracy theory. There's already been rumors about "fake news", election hacking, etc.  There are bot armies. There are hackers taking down electric grids every day. Every company in the Fortune 500 is completely hacked. Your computer is hacked.  I've spent many years talking to people in the security space.  The reality is: the war is on.  And it's being fought with data. And it's being fought all over the world. And it's being fought every day.  Not just on election systems. Or at big companies. But on your computer. And the war is not always being fought by the people you expect. The enemies we were always trained to believe.  Mr. X spent time in special forces. Was in every overseas battle. Has been involved in more news stories than he likes to admit.  He's also built and sold two companies using his hacking abilities. He lives a good life now and doesn't want his voice e or identity to be revealed. So we distorted it for the podcast.  I asked him, "Do you still work for 'them' ".  He turned away and said, "You never stop working for them."  The goal of this isn't to scare people. Information is power.  And this is some of what I've learned from Mr. X.  1. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A VOICE, YOU HAVE TO SPEAK “In the past, to go up against an institution, you need to be an institution.” Mr. X said. “Now more than ever, we need to stand up for what we believe in. We have these powerful, engaging tools to influence others, but we still leave it up to the powers that control us to influence us. If you believe something, share it. In other words, don't let the media "program" what you believe in. Don't let the online word "hack" into your brain. They already know more about you than you know about yourself. And they use that knowledge against you 24 hours a day.  If you want to have a voice, YOU HAVE TO SPEAK. 2. POLICE YOURSELF We were talking about computer security. He told me all the ways you could be hacked… that you would never think of.  “Let me ask yo, when’s the last time you updated your firmware on your router?”  I had no idea. “If I'm going in, I'm going through the router,” he said. “The majority of the fortune 500 use the same router… So you either trust the government to police data OR you need to be that person.” And that was just one weakness. Next time you are on your phone check out how many apps on your phone have permission to turn on your video camera and start recording and transmitting what they record without you being aware.  Don't think they aren't doing it.  3. HOW DID OSAMA BIN LADEN REALLY DIE? Was Osama Bin Laden really casually sleeping on the third floor of a building with no access out? Or was he a prisoner and we had lost our use for him?  Mr. X: "he was our prisoner for years. Then we had no use for him."  Always question everything the media and the government tells us. Always be a skeptic in a world where it's not in anyone's benefit to tell you the truth.  This is not conspiracy theory. The only truth is to trust the people you love. The people who love you.  This doesn't mean be irrational or paranoid or come up with crazy theories.  This means practice being a skeptic every day on every issue.  Practice skepticism. Not paranoia.  4. BE VULNERABLE TO GETTING SHUT DOWN I knew there were millions of questions I wanted to ask… but couldn’t. I asked anyway. “Are you still involved in the government?”  “I can’t say that,” he said. “Well, which agency were you in?” “I can’t say.” “Do people know it?” “Yes, let’s just say it’s a well-known 3 letter agency.” Ask. Get shut down. Ask again. When I do an interview, I don't want to harass people for an answer. But sometimes if you poke and prod from various directions while you build rapport, you can get the answer.  Not this time.  5. KNOW WHAT DRIVES YOU Mr. X started hacking when he was in military school.  Everything was regimented:  wake up first mess solute the flag go to class second mess second class change 15 minutes go to sports third mess after third mess, 2 hours of study hall, one hour of free time go to sleep do it all over again The school is isolated. And the students can’t leave campus.  The only way Mr. X could talk to girls was if he found them online. “We were heavily confined,” he said. But he kept hitting firewalls. So he started hacking. He learned everything he could. Not because he wanted to "attack" websites. But because he didn't want to be alone.  Always let the prison walls around you create your opportunities.  Censorship created his curiosity.  What frustrates you that can kickstart your curiosity.  6. LEARN YOUR PATTERNS Mr. X helped find one of the most well known serial killers in recent years and put him behind bars for life.  Mr. X was paid to find patterns. He watched terrorists. The example: “a burn phone.” This is what criminals use to cover their call history. They buy a cheap phone. Call a few people, throw it away and buy a new one.  So Mr. X wrote software.  Someone calls you, then you call 3-4 people. Those 3-4 people call 3-4 more people. It’s a tree of calling. And if they follow the branches then can find the roots. He analyzed the trees of one billion phone calls a day. He had access to all of our calls.  “Eventually, you realize that if a bunch of random numbers keep calling the same person that all those random numbers are the same guy,” Mr. X said.  People are patterns. Those patterns become your fingerprint.  He used that fingerprint to identify a notorious serial killer. Used GPS to track him down. Now the guy is in jail.  He used those fingerprints to track terrorists. "There were a lot of attacks stopped." 7. INTERESTS PRECEDE EDUCATION He wasn't educated about hacking or even computers. But he was passionate about it and learned everything he could.  “I found something I was interested in… and that was the best education I ever received.”  Find an interest. List every day the things you were interested in as a kid. It's never too late to learn now.  The one who loves what he does will always learn faster and better than the person who doesn't love it.  The one in love will compete better against the one who doesn't.  The one in love will be...happier.  8. TRUST THE INVISIBLE “You were saving lives,” I said.  “No, I wouldn’t say that.”  But I insisted. Because I feel we all have invisible threads of impact. We help and hurt people in ways we don’t know.  We all have our special abilities. And abilities to help and hurt without realizing. Always be healthy enough to know the difference.  Mr. X got married. Loves his family. Loves his work. "Some of my ex partners never escaped the mindset wer were programmed with." Reach for the positive when trapped in a negative. Love someone.  9. CHOOSE YOUR OWN NETWORTH Mr. X measures his net worth not by dollars, not by accomplishments or promotions. “My net worth is now in data," he said. He comes from hacker culture where the core belief is that information should be free.  Too often, we accept what's been given to us. "The rules" we were told to live by. The standards were set for us... But Mr. X proved you can set your own standards. You can choose the measurement of your net worth. Rich in relationships, rich in people, rich in joy, rich in knowledge... 10. LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN Mr. X found a pattern in his own life. He realized he loved hacking. And he loved detecting patterns. He got the same joy from both.  So he started reading books… and learned everything he could about computers, code, internet, backdoors and so on.  He used those abilities to fight wars. Then to help law enforcement track down criminals. And then to build massive companies that he sold.  I met Mr. X with his wife and daughters recently. I had never seen him so happy.  Sometimes the best pattern is the smile of your daughter. At least I think so.

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  • Ep. 263 - Naval Ravikant: The Largest Transfer of Wealth in Human History

    · 01:17:36 · The James Altucher Show

    "Bitcoin is just the realization that code is speech and money is just code, so money is just speech," Naval tells me.  Translation: When I give you money, I'm really saying I'm taking credit for work I'd done in the past and I'm passing you that credit. Example: X bakes bread, so X did good for the world. X sold that bread and got money and the money is basically the world saying 'hey, we owe you something for baking this bread'. And then when X gives Y money for something X says 'hey, for Ys advice and help X is giving Y the money'. Now the debt the world had to X, X now gives to Y, so now the world owes Y that value or money. "Fundamentally, money is just a story we tell each other," Naval says.  Bitcoin is essentially electronic gold. It can't be inflated. And it is the best store of value. Naval explains in the podcast why this would be an amazing achievement for society. No one can devalue the credit any one person has.  "Bitcoin is basically replacing the role of money being created by institutions, like the governments. Instead money can be created by markets. And by people. And by computers," Naval said. "If bitcoin works it will be the largest transfer of wealth in human history." Money is being redefined. And there's potentially a huge upside. And potentially a huge downside.  "There are a lot of bubbles and a lot of scams," Naval said. "But if you figure it out you can invest in the safe stuff." So we talked about that. What's safe? What's not? How do I get smart about this? Read more at jamesaltucher.com!

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  • Ep. 262 - Bonnie McFarlane: Getting The Persistence to Do What You Love

    · 01:23:11 · The James Altucher Show

    Comedy is brutal. If the audience doesn't know you, they WILL judge you. That's true for most things (you can't walk down the sidewalk in New York City without being judged at least a hundred times). Bonnie said you have to know your audience. I wondered "how though?" I gave an example, "Okay so do you try to figure out how old the audience is, what gender they are, sexual orientation, race, how much they drank or didn't drink, etc.?" "No, I usually just think, 'Okay, blue collar, I'll do my marriage stuff." It was that easy. That's professionalism. That's professional judgement. That's comedy. And the path to likeability. Bonnie has a joke about using the GPS. "In Brooklyn I'm not going to do driving material. I have a really funny GPS joke that I can't do in the city because nobody drives. "I'm so immature about it," she said. She makes fun of the audience... They didn't ALWAYS live in the city. "Sometimes it irritates me. I'm like I know you understand what GPS is, if you saw this in a movie you'd get it, so don't just sit there like 'oh not my experience'." I learned you can lose likeability as quickly as you gain it, though. And that scared me. But Bonnie doesn't care. "I like when the audience is scared for you. If they don't laugh at something I think is funny, I lash out. Sometimes we start in a love fest, then I insult them and them maybe we still end in a love fest." Her process is her art. She has hundred of jokes. "The premises just come," she said. She takes from life. The premises are there all the time," she said. "I just write whatever happens to be in front of me." Right now she's working on a joke: "what if your therapist was a Syrian refugee?" I think I did more laughing than questioning in this interview. I hope you do too.   Read more at jamesaltucher.com!

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  • Ep. 260 - Gary Vaynerchuk: Set a Flag on YOUR Thing

    · 01:10:21 · The James Altucher Show

    "If you do not do what you love, that’s on you," Gary said. Years ago, no one believed you could choose yourself. You needed gatekeepers. Now we have YouTube, Instagram. “Now it’s the standard,” Gary said. If you cut out all the reason why you can't do something, then you cut out all the infrastructural and financial problems stopping you. "The only thing left is your f-cking head." Gary set up this example (and this podcast is full of them):   Pokemon. Imagine this is your passion. First, you blog. Then it becomes a video blog. Then a podcast. “Let's say you become the foremost Pokemon gal, 'Sally the Pokemon Gal.' You’re owning it. You go to Comic-Con, you get random sponsorships on your blog. You’re getting by. And then, Pokemon-GO comes out. Now you're on CNN and FOX. You’re getting paid $5,000 to give a talk. The world has just walked in to you." That's key. "Everybody who’s listening right now is looking for trends. They’re trying to walk to where the world is now and by the time they get there, the world moved on. If you go to your thing and set a f-cking flag on your thing, the world comes to you."    Read the full article (and top 10 lessons I Learned from Gary Vaynerchuk:  https://jamesaltucher.com/2017/10/gary-vaynerchuck/        

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  • Ep. 259 - Amy Morin: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

    · 01:37:06 · The James Altucher Show

    “Life is inherently risky. We make up all of these rules in life about what’s gonna keep us safe," Amy Morin told me. She's the author "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do." It was originally just a list she wrote for herself. Her husband died suddenly. Just after the three-year anniversary of her mom's death. “I thought my mission in life was to teach people how to be mentally strong, and I didn’t realize how much I was going to need mental strength," she said. This podcast teaches you the skills ot become mentally strong. To practice every day. 

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  • Ep. 258 - Nancy Cartwright: Becoming Bart Simpson... How to Find The Artist Inside of Yourself

    · 01:24:07 · The James Altucher Show

    To me, Nancy Cartwright is the most unknown famous person. She's the voice of Bart Simpson. "When I went in for "The Simpsons", the audition pieces of Bart and Lisa were sitting right next to each other. Hers said 8-year-old middle child. His a ten-year-old, school-hating underachiever, and proud of it." Nancy's instict kicked in. "I’m like ‘Oh bam bam that’s it.’” She tried out for Bart. And got it. Her whole career is based off of instinct. "I read this book about writing and producing," she said. "It was an awesome book written a number of years ago. It said, 'Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going.'" Her career as a voice actor became real acting and she landed roles in "Cheers," "Richie Rich," "Twilight Zone." Now she has her own production company, "Spotted Cow." ANd just released "In Search of Fellini," a beautiful film about her search for the most influential artist in her heart. "This film was probably 75-85 percent true," she said. "It's mostly true." In this podcast, Nancy tells us how she traveled alone to Italy in her mid 20's. And followed her heart and instincts ever since. We speak about how this film really comes full circle for her and gives meaning to her life. This is the journey to find your authentic self.   Also thank you to Audible for supporting today’s show. Audible content includes an unmatched selection of audiobooks, original audio shows, news, comedy, and more from the leading publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, and business information providers.

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  • Ep. 257 - Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins: TLC - The Biggest Girl Band in American History

    · 01:09:03 · The James Altucher Show

    “Life is tough…and it’s also miraculous.” T-Boz and TLC sold 70 million albums, becoming the bestselling girl band ever in America. Along the way they declared bankruptcy, she battled sickle-cell anemia, the death of one of their bandmates and best friends, a brain tumor, everything. She’s 47 today and beat two life sentences the doctors declared on her. People say, “Well, she sold 70 million albums! That’s success!” When you do your absolute best today, even though you know tomorrow everything can change – that’s success. I had T-Boz on the podcast to celebrate the release of her new memoir, “A Sick Life” which I highly recommend. REINVENTION IS EVERY DAY TLC sold 70 million albums and is the #1 selling girl band in America. But to stay creative, T-Boz and her bandmates, Left-eye, and Chili had to constantly develop music that stayed fresh and relevant. 15 years after they started, they released their 5th album REMEMBERING THE ABOVE I always say “Reinvention is every day” ever since my book, “Reinvent Yourself” came out. But I’ll be honest, just as hard is remembering every day that “reinvention every day”. The straight and narrow and supposedly easy path is constantly whispering to me to follow it. But don’t. IDEA SEX Other groups were R&B, other groups were rap, other groups were funk. How do you be the best? T-Boz (funk) + Left-Eye (Rap) + Chili (R&B) = TLC = 70 million albums PERSISTENCE Sickle-cell anemia is debilitating. You’re not supposed to live. The blood cells don’t want to deliver oxygen to the rest of your body. The pain is incredible. T-Boz’s brain tumor took three years to recover from. The death of her best friend and band-mate took 2 years to recover from. Going bankrupt after selling tens of millions of albums forced her to start from scratch. Reinventing in a constantly changing music business is the downfall of many artists. For their last album, TLC even used Kickstarted to fund it as opposed to a record label. Success is about reinvention and persistent every day. IF YOU’RE AN ARTIST, KNOW THE BUSINESS A lot of creatives don’t want to read the contracts or fine print. TLC didn’t read it as well and ended up making almost no money on their first 30 million albums. At one point they even held up music legend, Clive Davis, at gun point, asking, “Where’s our money”. They went bankrupt and had to start from scratch. Don’t outsource your financial well-being and the security of your family to others. SICKNESS AND PAIN No matter who you are, life is going to happen. “Life is tough”. T-Boz had painful sickle-cell anemia since birth and often had to be hospitalized mid-album, mid-tour, mid-whatever. “When I was seven they told me I wouldn’t live past 30. I’m 47 now.” “They told me I couldn’t have kids. I have two now.” “When they did brain surgery, they told me I might never sing again. I’m on tour now with our latest album.” Then she lost her best friend and band-mate, Left-eye, to a car crash. She was depressed for two years. Then she had a brain tumor that required surgery and three years of physical therapy to recover from. “I still can’t whistle,” she told me. “Try,” I said. So she did. She couldn’t whistle. “I can’t move the muscles on the left side of my mouth.” But throughout the podcast she laughed. “And I’m going back on tour tomorrow.” CREATIVITY HAS MANY OUTLETS T-Boz has written songs, performed them, did the choreography for TLC’s videos, conceived of the videos, written a book of poems, written movies, and now this memoir. People sometimes say, “I can’t be creative”. Or, “I don’t have the talent”. Or “I can do X, but not Y”. Not true. Creativity is a muscle. Find some small way to be creative every day and the muscle gets developed. For me, today is the first day I’m going to try to do standup in the same day at two different clubs. I’m scared. Find one thing scary and challenging and creative every day. What happens then? Everything. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN A lot of pop music today is created by people who have reverse engineered “the hit”. There’s even a book about it, “The Hit Factory”, about a group of kids in Sweden who have basically written most hits you’ve heard in the past year. But the key to TLC’s success was that they were always writing the songs that were important to them: “Unpretty” – about staying true to your looks and not trying to change them to fit another person’s desires. “Waterfalls” – about staying true to your dreams but not caving in to the shortcuts that destroy many lives. Hit after hit. “That’s the point of being an artist, right? You feel something and you have to get it out.” List today what your real values are. What do you believe in? What’s important to you? What’s scary to you? It’s a hard process to figure out who you are and what you stand for. But this unlocks the creative well and supercharges all of your relationships. Honesty with others begins with honesty to yourself. LIVE YOUR FULL LIFE TODAY The best way to live a full life tomorrow is to live the fullest life you can today. T-BOZ: “Life is tough. And for many years I’ve felt like I’ve worked to get sick and worked to get better, just to get sick again. I’m learning to find a balance and just live. You lose people and you fall ill and bad things can happen. “But it’s also really miraculous. You can have babies you were told you’d never have. You can bring joy to millions of people with your music. You can feel love and happiness and faith. “You can decide that you’re stronger than any obstacle and you can empower your- self to survive. Iknow things can get really dark, but you’ll always feel better if you hold on. The light always returns.”

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  • Ep. 256 - Ken Follett: I Want to Write a Bestseller

    · 01:05:50 · The James Altucher Show

    Ken Follett is a well-known Welsh novelist who specializes in writing spy thrillers novels and has sold over 160 million copies worldwide. Before he became a novelist he was a reporter for the London Evening News and was a Deputy Managing Director for a small publishing house, Everest Books. In his spare time he wrote novels, but he wrote a dozen before finding success. Eye of the Needle, his eleventh book, was his first successful novel published in 1978. His novel The Pillars of the Earth was on The New York Times bestsellers list for 18 weeks in 1989. This novel has been so incredibly popular all over the world for many years. In 2007 it became the #1 most popular choice on the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and returned to The New York Times bestsellers list at #1. Follett’s newest novel, Edge of Eternity, is the final novel of his Century Trilogy and available today!

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  • Ep. 255 - Marcus Lemonis: The (Real) Key to A Profitable Business: People

    · 01:21:02 · The James Altucher Show

    Marcus Lemonis is a self-made millionaire, serial entrepreneur and the front man of CNBC’s popular series, “The Profit”. Since an early age Marcus has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and passion. When he was twelve he started his own lawn mowing business to generate enough money to open a candy store. After he graduated college, he started in automotive sales and managerial positions which ultimately led him to get involved in the camping and RV business. Today he is the CEO of Camping World, a company specializing in products and services for RV owners. On “The Profit” Marcus lends his expertise and experience to help struggling businesses get back on their feet. Since the show premiered in 2013, he’s invested $50 million of his own money into the businesses featured on the show. On each and every episode Marcus uses his 3P formula, People/Process/Product, to analyze the pitfalls and how to improve the product and process. Marcus’ charm, results driven attitude and passion for people has left an impression on the entrepreneurial industry that can’t be matched. Start watching “The Profit”, today!

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  • Ep. 254 - Jim Kwik: Train Your Brain to Maximize Memory and Motivation

    · 02:08:51 · The James Altucher Show

    Jim Kwik is a leading expert in memory improvement, brain performance, speed reading and learning. But before he became the expert, he suffered a brain injury. And that made it really hard for him to learn. "If knowledge is power than learning is a superpower," he said in this conversation. He's figured out how to increase his brain power and memory. And now, you can learn the tricks that he's taught to high profile clients like Elon Musk, Nike, Virgin, Will Smith, and more. His online courses have helped students in over 100 countries. He’s the founder of Kwik Learning and host of "Kwik Brain" podcast. Unlock your brain's power NOW. And enjoy this episode.

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  • Ep. 253 - Paul Shaffer: David Letterman's Legendary Band Leader on Making Music & Taking Your Shot

    · 01:15:25 · The James Altucher Show

    Paul Shaffer has lived through five decades of music. He got his first big break was he was hired on the spot by Stephen Schwartz to be the musical director in Toronto’s production of “Godspell”. The cast included Martin Short, Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Victor Garber. The show was a huge hit and launched Paul’s career. Paul was a featured performer and a musical composer for the first five years of Saturday Night Live. But he’s best known for being David Letterman’s sidekick and musical director on _The David Letterman Show_ for over thirty years. He got to play with some of the most popular musicians of our generation including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and Ringo Starr. You can read his memoir _We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives_ or listen to his newest album “Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band”.

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  • Ep. 252 - Brandon Webb: Getting Focussed (Lessons from a Sniper turned CEO)

    · 01:51:39 · The James Altucher Show

    Brandon Webb served as a Navy Seal for almost ten years. He decided to leave. He was burnt out and he wanted to watch his kids grow up. And he’s had a philosophy since he was thirteen, if he’s not enjoying what he’s doing he’s going to find something different. When he left the military he got into real estate, then he got four years into a business that failed and then after all that he got divorced. He had hit the bottom. But he learned how to pull himself back up. He started a blog as a passion project and turned it into a very profitable media company. Today, he is the CEO of the media and E-commerce business, Hurricane Group, Inc. which focuses on military news and entertainment and outdoor products and clubs. He is a New York Times bestselling author of The Killing School and The Red Circle. Look for his newest book, Total Focus that is now available.

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  • Ep. 251 - Geno Bisconte: Comedy as the Cure... Let Yourself Laugh

    · 01:53:09 · The James Altucher Show

    Geno Bisconte is the most hilarious, high energy person I’ve ever met. He finds humor in almost every single sentence and he’s always in a good mood. He’s been a stand up comedian for more than fifteen years, headlining and hosting some of the most popular comedy clubs in New York City. He’s written for the Comedy Central Roasts, featured on multiple radio shows and was a cameo in HBO’s series Crashing. Every week he hosts his own podcast, In Hot Water with Aaron Berg on compoundmedia.com and his newest album, Uncle Geno Is Amazing is available to buy now on iTunes.

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  • Ep. 250 - Alex Blumberg: The Shape of a Story: Building a Podcasting Empire

    · 01:38:59 · The James Altucher Show

    Alex Blumberg is the founder and CEO of Gimlet Media. Before this, he was an incredibly successful radio journalist. He won multiple awards in the industry. Alex hosted and produced popular NPR shows, "Planet Money" and "This American Life". When he saw the new industry of podcasting booming, he risked it all and reinvented himself. He started his own company. Today Gimlet Media oversees and produces multiple podcasts at one time. Visit gimletmedia.com to discover a variety of new podcasts you can start listening to today!

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  • Ep. 249 - Chris Anderson: TED - Tricks to Mastering Public Speaking and Storytelling

    · 01:28:26 · The James Altucher Show

    After a long journalism career, Chris Anderson became the curator of the TED Conference in 2002. Since then he has expanded the conference to cover all topics including science, business and global issues. He introduced the TEDx initiative, giving licenses free of charge to local organizers who want to put together their own live event. In 2016, Chris published his book, “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking”. It’s an insider’s guide to creating an unforgettable talk. Listen to thousands of free TED Talks on ted.com and follow Chris on twitter @TEDchris.

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  • Ep. 248 - Noah Kagan: Stop Fighting What You Are Good At

    · 01:20:05 · The James Altucher Show

    Noah Kagan was fired from Facebook. He was employee #30. “I think they made the right decision to fire me," he said. "One of the big realizations I’ve had in the past few years is that people need to stop fighting their natural skill. My sweet spot is getting things going. My sweet spot is promoting products I love. That was the lesson learned. What I was strong at was not what Facebook needed anymore.” He wrote about it in his free ebook “How I Lost 170 Million Dollars: My Time as #30 at Facebook”. I asked him "how does the average person know what their strong at?" That's what we talk about in this interview. Today, Noah is the CEO of sumo.com, appsumo.com and kingsumo.com. I use these sites to grow and market my business. He also hosts a great podcast, “Noah Kagan Presents” and writes for his blog, okdork.com. 3 min - Noah first came on my podcast 2 years ago. He gave me a challenge: go to a coffee shop and ask for 10% off. The cashier was confused. “You want what?” “10% off,” I said. And I didn't give a reason either. My face was emotionless. She asked her Dad. “We don't do that,” he said. I could feel myself about to throw up. I was going against the normal social protocol. And endangering my life. Any time you step out of your comfort zone and risk being thrown out of the tribe, it signals a reaction in your brain: fear. But now it's much easier. I do challengers almost everyday. Noah does too. And he shared them on his podcast “Noah Kagan Presents.” We talk about more challenges you can do in this interview. 6 min - “I've been experimenting with habits and figuring out how to focus on the essentials,” Noah said. “That's where I'm really starting to explore.” He gave me an example. “Look at your phone right now. What apps have you not used in the last 6 months? Delete them.” He does this with relationships, business, everything. “It helps me realize what really matters,” he said. And appreciate more of the people and places and things he interacts with. I did a similar thing about a year ago, but in a much more macro level. I got rid of everything I owned. Except 15 items. Noah asked me what I miss. “Nothing,” I said. I lied (by accident). A few special things came to mind. But, more importantly, it’s been a year and I haven't replaced it rebought anything I threw away.   9 min - After I got rid of 40 years worth of stuff, I had nowhere to live, so I started another experiment. I threw myself at the mercy of my friends… 10 min - Noah says he doesn't want to hate his week so he did a week of nothing. “I had no meetings, I had no one to be around and I was alone for a week.” He started at point zero. And added back the essentials. “What things really matter in my life? What places? What people?” 11 min - I told Noah what I learned from getting rid of all my belongings… 13 min - “People think of dieting only in health, but can you have a diet in friendships? Look at all the things that are weighing on you,” Noah said, “and start having a diet.” 16 min - Noah was the 30th employee at Facebook. “Why were you fired?” I asked. He told me about the guy who fired him. “He's rich,” he said. “But I think they made the right decision to fire me. One of the big realizations I’ve had in the past few years is people need to stop fighting their natural skill. I call it their sweet spot and my sweet spot is starting out.” Facebook didn't need that skill anymore. So they got rid of him. I wanted to know how the average person finds out what their sweet spot is... 19 min - Noah recommends trying these two strategies to find what you’re really good at. 24 min - I tell Noah one of my signature jokes from my stand up comedy… 27 min - Noah told me about his mentor, Jonathan Coon. He founded 1-800-Contacts and funded the movie Napoleon Dynamite. He has a strategy to “reduce friction in his life.” He goes to the same restaurants and overtips the waiters. They know to seat him at the same table and give him the same meal every time. 29 min - We talk about tipping. Noah said that if he’s ever feeling down, he just tips someone well. It makes him feel good. I take it one step further… 30 min - Noah’s mentor got an Uber. “I want your house,” the Uber driver said. “I’ll tell you exactly how you can get a house like this,” Jonathan said. He was even willing to give the driver the money to start a business that day. Here’s what happened… 35 min - We talked about podcasting. When Noah first started his show, “Noah Kagan Presents” he was recording on his iPhone. Then he asked for feedback and found out his audio quality sucked. “I think anyone can do a podcast,” he said. “But number one: can they do it for 4 years? Probably not. Number two: can they get feedback? Candid, honest feedback from the right people. You can get the wrong feedback from the wrong people, which is not helpful. And then three: can you actually improve it?” He said the key is to always ask for feedback. 37 min - Why EVERYONE should start a podcast. 42 min - Noah put himself out there. “Everyone should get their prostate checked,” he said. “Are you okay?” I asked. He’s fine. We kept talking about health. And how you can A/B test to see what’s really working for you. 47 min - Noah said he tried the 5am challenge. Now he gets up at 6 or 7am. But the challenge is what got him to move the day up earlier. Don’t set goals. Set challenges. 50 min - Noah told me about his no apologies, “choose yourself” challenge. He said, “Don't apologize for who you are.” 52 min - How to say, “no.” 53 min - I started wondering how people can get back on track, because again, a lot of people veer away from what they really want in life. And they recognize this. They veered away early. But want to be happy again. It’s hard because they feel this obligation as part of their day. I know it. I used to feel it too. Sometimes, I still do. But it’s rare. And I think the key to choosing yourself is closing the gap between what you want to do and have to do. Little by little. Day by day. So I asked Noah, “How do you get back on track?”   58 min - We discuss “the elements of a good day.” 1 hour - Noah talks about how he built his business. "If someone told me how long it took to get successful, I may not have ever started,” he said. But that’s why it’s good to be ignorant sometimes. And to just focus on what’s in front of you. "I like to work on problems I have in my life and create things I want to see exist in the world,” Noah said. We unpack this and how it relates to other areas of our lives. 1 hour 2 min - Noah’s tried to learn a bunch of new skills: chess, Hebrew, podcasting. He hired a coach or found a mentor for each one. So I asked him what he’s learned about learning... 1 hour 5 min - We talked about “beginner’s mind.” The feeling you get when something’s new. Or when you’re starting over. Noah moved to Israel after we did this podcast. “Changing relationships or jobs or locations, generally improves life,” Noah said. “For me, what I’ve noticed is that when I live in foreign countries or different cities and do work there, my curiosity is elevated.” 1 hour 7 min - We talk about uncertainty. Noah said that if you’re uncertain about what you should be working on, look to your past. And remember what made you happy. 1 hour 8 min - Noah and I discuss the benefits to hiring a coach or teacher when you’re learning something new. 1 hour 11 min - I explain how I personally use Noah’s business, KingSumo, and how it’s helped my businesses grow exponentially. 1 hour 15 min - Before I ended the podcast I needed new challenges from Noah. He gave me three he’s working on right now and he explains how I can incorporate each into my life.

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  • Ep. 247 - Ramit Sethi: Challenge: Start Living Your Ideas NOW

    · 02:11:30 · The James Altucher Show

    Ramit Sethi is a bestselling author, personal finance advisor, entrepreneur and author of "New York Times" bestselling book, "I Will Teach You to be Rich". He’s taught thousands to manage their personal finances and how to become rich on his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. He’s been featured in ABC News, CNN and the WSJ.

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