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  • Ep. 275 - John C. McGinley: The Root of REAL Reinvention: Having The Right Attitude

    · 01:08:30 · The James Altucher Show

    He was trying out a role built for him. The screenwriter wrote the script with John in mind. He wrote his name in the margin. "A John McGinley type." "Did that give you high confidence?" I asked him. "No, they made me audition 5 times for a John McGinley type!” So I wanted to know how he landed so many incredible roles. He told me the secret. We either poison ourselves. Or we thrive. It's our choice. We make it every day. And usually one is our habit. “Actors usually bring one of two things with them into a room," he said. "They usually either bring in 'pigpen,' which is this cloud of dust." He gave me an example: You walk into an audition or an interview. You say, ‘My aunt died in Philadelphia last night so I had to take the train down there and I never got a chance to look at your script/proposal/offer.”
That's pigpen. And you’re out before you gave anyone the chance to give you a chance. 
 I asked John why people do that. Why do we pick poison?
 “Fear. We’re afraid. We’re afraid of our own shadows. Sometimes we come in and we impose our problems into the room. And that’s pigpen. And you’re dead." And it happens in every situation in life really. You can probably think of a friend who does this to themselves all the time. So what's the other choice? Elvis dust. “Elvis dust is when you come in with this strange combination of self-esteem meets homework meets right for the part meets the room. And when people bring in Elvis dust all we wanna do is get it on us." Al Pacino had Elvis Dust. So did Paul Newman. John worked with both of them. 
 “What would you see in Al Pacino’s acting that was really above and beyond? What did you learn from him?” I asked.
 “He’s a magician," John asked him why he wanted to be an actor in the first place. Al Pacino said, “Johnny, see, I just want to be a storyteller.’" I asked John what he wanted to be growing up... his answer was the same as Al's. "I didn’t know what it would look like. But I knew I loved participating in any kind of storytelling process." Maybe that's what Elvis Dust is made of... 

  • Ep. 274 - Bill Cartwright: How to Gain the Confidence of an NBA All-Star

    · 01:26:22 · The James Altucher Show

    Bill Cartwright and I have nothing in common. He’s from the west coast and I’m from the east coast. He’s 7’1” and I’m not. When Bill got drafted to the NBA, they called him “Moses”. He held every important basketball title in high school AND college. But being tall and having talent are two very different things. I wanted to know the evolution of becoming a peak performer. So I asked him, “What made you want to be good?” It was obvious he was working really hard from a young age. So what was that driving force that pushed him over the edge? “Everybody wants to be good at something,” he said, "In sports everybody wants to be a good shooter. Or a great player. There are thousands of people who want to do that. So what’s going to separate them?  Time.  The time you’re willing to put in. It’s the sacrifices you’re willing to make.” Then he told me his WHY.  “I liked it,” he said.

  • Ep. 273 - Sheila Nevins: The HBO Producer Who Dawned the Era of the Human Experience

    · 01:47:57 · The James Altucher Show

    Before Sheila Nevins, no one cared about our human stories. “I felt that there could be performance in every man, that every man could perform his life or his situation or his trauma or his successes or his failure,” Sheila said. She's a 26 Academy Award winning HBO producer. She birthed the modern documentary. 1,700 of them in total. "I think everyone has something to offer," Sheila said. But not everyone realizes it. "Sometimes you're so embittered by life that you never can tell your story," she said. “I think in the best of all worlds everybody would respect their own story. They would feel that their life was worthy... that they had done the best they could... that they were the victim either of circumstance or the recipient of good luck." She sees people as picture. To Sheila, all life is either film uncaptured or captured. "I walked home last night," she said. "There were a lot of bag people out. Madison Avenue... pretty ritzy block. Fancy stores and a guy collecting cans. No one who threw that can in that garbage thought that someone could get five cents for it." Sheila made documentaries. But this podcast isn't only about that process. It's also about the lens she used. And how she inspired us to fall in love with ourselves, with human stories, and with the darkness of the human experience.

  • Ep. 272 - Lewis Howes: "The Masks of Masculinity": Why Men Wear Masks and How to Remove them to Live Your Best Life

    · 01:06:07 · The James Altucher Show

    Was Lewis Howes a bully? Is it possible? He set up the situation: When you’re young, you’re told to be kind, open, loving, helpful and generous. When you stand up to the bullies for treating someone badly, what happens? They shove you in a locker. Your mindset changes. And then you realize… maybe it doesn’t feel good to be open, kind and generous. So we put on these masks. We try to fit in. We try to protect ourselves. Lewis walked me through the masks: The athletic mask The material mask The sexual mask The know it all mask (and so on.) He writes about each one in his new book, “The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives.” And he gives a real-life example for each mask. I’m in the book. He put me in as the example for the “know it all mask.” So I asked him, “Why did include me in your book?” “Well, as I was writing it, I was trying to think of examples of men in my life who are a good representation of these masks," he said. "For example, the sexual mask was Tucker Max and Neil Strauss. For the material mask, I talk about Ty Lopez. I’m not trying to make any man wrong," he said. “They're just examples of men who have lead with these masks and got amazing results but also struggled."   But I was still curious why he included me. I push. "I think to me, you’re just a brilliant guy who always knew how to build up businesses. You had the answers, you were smart in chess. You read a ton of books. You just had a lot of information," he said. But he also reveals my failures. And how I exposed myself through writing. I put my fear and the stories behind my fear out in the open. And that's what Lewis calls "the vulnerability hiding beneath the mask."  It's what we lost when we were shoved in the locker, humiliated and afraid. We have to return to what was once lost. But be careful not to put a new mask on at the same time. I made this mistake. And I think I still make it. After losing everything and writing about it, I put on a new mask. “I think that became an addiction for me,” I told Lewis. I replaced the “know it all mask” or the “Wall Street” mask with a new, “self-deprecating mask.” I felt if I didn’t write a new self-deprecating story about myself every day, I’d disappear. And it goes back to Lewis’s point. Masks help us protect ourselves. But they also help us lose our sense of self. “Most of us don’t feel like people will still like us or love us if we’re not producing one of these masks…” he said. It’s scary to remove the protected mask layer. But Lewis says that’s part of growing into your true self. “Try to think, ‘How can I take off the masks that aren’t supporting my vision or the masks that are maybe hurting other people in the process?’” I’ve known Lewis a long time. And I wanted to learn from his new strengths. Not just the ones he’s mastered. I wanted to learn from the lessons he’s still trying to learn. So I asked him, “What if this book doesn’t do well? And you get the worst reviews?” Because he said winning was one of his old masks. “Here’s the thing, I’ve come to peace with it,” Lewis said. “I’ve thought about this. ‘If I didn’t get on the bestseller list how would I feel?’ My ego would be hurt. I’d be sad and frustrated because I worked so hard. But I’m focused on the vision, the process, and the message more than the result. I’m not defining my self-worth based on the result anymore. If I don’t hit the ‘New York Times’ list, it’s okay. It’s more important for me to get the message out than to get the result.” I believe in Lewis's message, too. It's helpful for men to understand themselves and for women to understand the men in their lives. Enjoy. And if you like this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review (it helps other people find the show, too). Thanks.

  • Ep. 271- Dan Lyons: "Disrupted" Author on Loving Your Job, Losing it & Starting Over

    · 01:46:28 · The James Altucher Show

    Dan Lyons is kind of infamous. He was a journalist who loved his job and got fired when he was 52. “I loved what I did,” he said. And that’s rare. “I loved meeting people, talking to them, interviewing them, trying to figure out what’s a good story.”   And then it was taken away from him. I feel like 52 would be the worst time to get fired. He moved to San Francisco and got a job at Hubspot, which lead to his book, “Disrupted.” He exposes the company. And exposes Silicon Valley.   And then the TV writers for “Silicon Valley” invited him to write for their show. I wanted to know all about it. What’s it like on set? How much input did you give? And did they take? And then what happened when you went back to your job at Hubspot?   That’s sort of where Dan’s story begins. Because as he shares in his book, “Disrupted” they started to push him out. Like high school kids bullying a kid out of their clique.   I wanted to know how he survived. How he coped… And how he got back with his bestselling book.

  • Ep. 270 - David Litt: Obama’s Former Speechwriter: How to Write Speeches for the People of America

    · 01:04:55 · The James Altucher Show

    “[President Obama] knew who I was, but he knew who a lot of people were,” David Litt, a former speechwriter for the president, told me in this podcast. He wrote speeches for the president. Now he writes for “Funny or Die”. And before the White House, David wrote for “The Onion”. His style is satirical, humorous and self-deprecating. When Obama made you laugh, there’s a chance it was really David Litt. So I asked him, “What’s the funniest thing you wrote that you were happy the president said?” “Oh man, it doesn’t sound that funny when I say it, but, it got at a truth about politics that we probably could have expressed otherwise,” he said. The joke was told at the 2013 Correspondents dinner. Obama said, ‘I know Republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012, but one thing they all agree on is they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities. And look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they could start with." Humor helps us tell the truth. And it helps us remember the truth. And sometimes it just gives us a break from the chaos. Like the time Reagan needed surgery after getting shot. He said to the surgeon, “I hope you’re a Republican.” And everyone remembers that. “You don’t have to be the president’s right-hand man or woman to contribute to your country,” David said. “I mean, you certainly can be and those are important stories, but I wanted to write a book about this other side of public service.” So I wondered, could I do it? Could I write for a president? And how did he transition from “The Onion” to the Oval? “In America, your place in history isn’t determined for you,” David said. It’s not determined by where you’re born or who your parents are. “You make your own place in history as an American.” When Obama first became a senator, a reporter asked him, "What will be your mark in history?" The young Barack Obama laughed and said, "I haven't even sat at my desk yet." Then he repeated this story at a commencement speech in 2005. (I'm paraphrasing.) But he told the students, "You haven't sat at your desk yet… but you still have a choice." I wondered how he did that… how he connected this small part of his personal history to this larger idea of making your mark. “It’s called the ladder of meaning,” David told me. “I forget who coined the phrase, but at the bottom of the ladder are basic details and at the top of the ladder are big values.” “One of my favorite speeches is the speech Martin Luther King delivered the night before he was shot. He talks about surviving an assassination attempt. A deranged woman, stabbed him with a letter opener. It almost got to his heart. Doctors told him that if he sneezed, he would die. This got out in the press and he got a letter from a nine year old, white girl who said, ‘I just wanted to let you know I’m glad you didn’t sneeze.’” Then Martin Luther King gives his speech about the progress of civil rights. “He prefaces everything with saying, ‘I too am glad I didn’t sneeze because If I had sneezed I wouldn’t have been able to tell you all about a dream that I had.’” “He’s connecting this very meaningless moment (a sneeze) with these incredibly important national events.” It was beautiful. He used imagery. “I’ve been to the mountain top.” He used passion and love. He used the top of the ladder and the bottom. This episode isn’t about politics. It’s about how words make history. And with every new word, you can make your own history, too.

  • Ep. 269 - Sir Richard Branson: How He Found a Gap in The Market and Became The Billionaire Founder of Virgin

    · 00:47:17 · The James Altucher Show

    Sir Richard Branson. End of notes. Enjoy. Just kidding. The advice from Richard is priceless. He's a self-made billionaire (BILLION!) who windsurfed across the English Channel with his kids, biked from Northern Italy to Southern italy with his whole family (they rode 100 miles a day). He's active everyday. Active in life, active in fatherhood, active in business. “My slogan is 'Screw it, just do it.' Why not just try these things? You may fall flat on your face," he said, "but you’ll have fun." That's part of "find your virginity." (The slogan based on his new book "Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography") Then he told me how he applies this to Virgin, the multi-billion dollar empire he started on a whim... “A business is simply coming up with an idea that’s going to make people’s lives better," he said. That's why he's been in business for over 50 years. "If I hadn’t reinvented myself I wouldn’t be in business,” he said. "And if I see a situation where people’s lives are not as good as they could be, we’ll jump in. We'll try to improve people’s lives." I don't have an easy time saying "screw it." I usually overthink. And second guess myself. I want to change that. So I called Richard. And he told me how to change... he told me how to find my virginity.

  • Ep. 268 - Kellan Lutz: The Actor’s Guide to Building a Personal Blueprint and Following Your Spirit

    · 01:16:37 · The James Altucher Show

    I've never been a vampire. But Kellan has. He got his big break in "Twilight." This was an epic. Five movies back to back. It was a supernatural role in this made up fantasy world. And that's where he found his freedom. "With Sci-Fi, you have this freedom to create whatever world, whatever rules, you want. There’s nothing tell you what you can and cannot do," he said. "We’re playing these vampires that don’t breathe, don’t eat, so trying to portray human qualities was interesting." But now he's done with that series. He's taking on more challenging characters. And contributing his fame to charities he cares about deeply. He came to New York to support the Geoffrey Beene Foundation. (He's the brand ambassador for them). They had an event in New York, "Frame This Revelation." It's aimed "to uncovers the truth of cancer's ruthless and vicious assault by showcasing the work of artists who are battling this insidious disease – either for themselves or their loved ones." The campaign is raising awareness for new cancer research. And I felt lucky to learn about it directly from Kellan.  "Children and animals just always get my heart beating. And when my good friend, Kim Biddle, created "Save the Innocence" an organization that deals with children being trafficked for sex out in LA..." I had to interject. Because I'm totally naive. 
“How big is this problem? Because on a day to day basis, you hear the words "sex trafficking," but you never see it." He told me about the problem. He told me how it's all around us in everyday life. And how we miss the signs. Because we're not educated. "When you’re educated, you see it first hand," he said. He told me how hard it is for girls to escape. And why they get trapped repeatedly. And he told me the solution to... building a case, getting law enforcement involved... "A lot of times, women don’t feel worthy... we have to give them hope," he said. And so I listened and I learned how we can give hope.   You can learn more about the Geoffrey Been Foundation at www.geoffreybeene.com

  • Ep. 267 - Mike Posner: A One Hit Wonder's Comeback Story - How to Tap Into Your Own Authenticity

    · 01:21:56 · The James Altucher Show

    He thought he was going to be one of the lucky ones. "I knew statistically... and intellectually that every once in awhile an artist has a hit song. And they’re lucky... they’re even luckier if they get two. I felt like, I was different. My first song was a hit," he said. "So I thought all all of mine will be hits..." But he was wrong. “Each song I put out after that was progressively less and less popular. And I became progressively less and less popular, until I was left alone in a million dollar house in LA with an empty schedule and nothing to do,” Mike told me. He felt pathetic. And need to escape. He realized fame wasn't the "magic bullet." So he set out to find it. And his comeback story began... This podcast is that story.

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

    · 00:47:35 · 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.   

  • 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.

  • Ep. 264 - Erika Ender: "Despacito" Songwriter on Connecting With The World to Find Your Talent

    · 00:35:48 · The James Altucher Show

    "Everyone has their own talent," Erika said. "And my talent is expressing through writing songs and from singing them." She wrote “Despacito" - the fastest song to hit 3 billion downloads in the history of music. Now it’s past 4 billion. That’s half the planet.  I asked how she did it. “Let’s say I want to write a song that gets 4 billion views," I said. "What should my first few steps be?” "You know what…" she said. “I don’t think about the numbers. I think the main thing is for you to connect with the world." She has a beautiful way of thinking. And it bleeds into her art. Often, my mind is full of fears and it clouds my creativity. So I asked if she’s afraid of losing. Or not topping herself. What if “Despacito” was it? Her peak?  "Everyone asks me that," she said. "People are always asking, ‘Do you feel pressure? What are you going to do next?’ And I say, "You know what... this is such a gift. I’m not putting any pressure on myself because I think doing that is seeing life from the ego eyes. I'm not thinking I'm going to top this. I’m just going to keep doing quality work. I'm trying to evolve." That's the key to having an "abundance mentality." And the key to pursuing your talent.

  • 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!

  • 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 likability. 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 likability 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!

  • Ep. 261 - A.J. Jacobs: The Intersection Between Discomfort and Curiosity

    · 01:34:23 · The James Altucher Show

    AJ’s about to launch a TV show. A few months ago he started a podcast. He’s 49 years old. And it all started because he decided to write a book on a weird idea he had. “I wonder what it would be like to live the Bible.” It’s especially weird if you consider the fact that he’s Jewish. AJ is a living example that anyone at age 49 could've decided to do this idea. Anyone at ANY age could’ve done this idea. He told me to be curious about everything. "Even things you're not curious about." That didn't make sense to me. How do you do that?  "Read books you don’t think are interesting," he said. Explore new podcasts, watch old movies. Then observe yourself. One of the original Saturday Night Live writers, Alan Zweibel, said you need to have two heads. "The head that's having an experience and the head that's observing.” That's how you find your next big idea or small step forward in your life. You peel back the layers crusted on top of yourself. You dig into fresh layers and discover something new. AJ calls is "Fun-comfortable" (it's the intersection between discomfort and curiosity).  This episode teaches you how to find that intersection. 

  • 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/        

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.”