Gini Dietrich

Join James Altucher for a Special Author Q&A Today

By: Gini Dietrich | June 17, 2015 | 

James AltucherBy Gini Dietrich

It is finally here! The day you have all been waiting for (or, at least, the day I have been waiting for). We have the one and only James Altucher for a full hour all to ourselves!

James is a hedge fund manager, trader, writer, podcaster, and entrepreneur.

He is one of the most raw and honest writers I read.

He is a serial entrepreneur who has started at least 20 companies (and claims to have failed at 17 of them).

He has written a gazillion books (something close to 20) and two of them are New York Times bestsellers (Choose Yourself and The Power of No).

He has interviewed real celebrities (not just Internet famous people) on his podcast and he covers what they discuss on his blog, which is never the same old stuff you hear about these people.

I am a huge, huge fan, read every one of his blog posts, and am very excited to have him here today!

What You Will Learn

James is a pretty big deal. The fact that he’s spending time with us and not, oh I don’t know, Snoop Dogg is a pretty big deal. Take full advantage.

Though he has a huge repertoire of expertise, I imagine you’ll learn things such as:

  • How to say no and not come across like a jerk.
  • Why failing is probably the best thing you can do.
  • What it’s like to be a serial entrepreneur.
  • His philosophy on just asking…or you’ll never get what you want.
  • Who his favorite podcast guest has been, so far.
  • How honesty in your writing is the best thing for your reader.
  • How the heck he’s written so many books (two was hard enough!).
  • And so much more…we could have hours with him and not cover everything he could teach us.

So, get your questions ready, and grab some Gatorade (you’ll need the sustenance). Our author Q&As go at a fast and furious pace and you won’t want to miss a second.

Today’s Author Q&A with James Altucher

At noon ET (that’s 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, and 9:00 PT for those of you who can’t do time zones), James Altucher will be here to answer any and all of your questions.

In order to participate, all you have to do is:

  • Make sure you have a Livefyre account or be ready to sign in with one of your social networks.
  • Set a reminder for noon ET today.
  • Order one of James’s books. Choose Yourself is available for $0.99 on the Kindle so you’d be silly not to grab it.
  • Create a list of questions.
  • Come back here, scroll to the bottom, and write a comment in the form of a question. As soon as you hit “post comment,” James will see it and reply to you. You can even join the conversation around questions others are asking, if you like.

We’ll be here for an hour so you can join us the entire time or step in and out during the hour. It’s entirely up to you; just make sure you’re here before 12:59.

Win a Copy

Those of you who participate in today’s author Q&A with James Altucher (even if you’re late to the party, but not if you’re an Arment Dietrich employee) will be entered into a random draw for a free hard copy of the book.

Don’t forget—you have to actually leave a comment, ask a question, or participate in the chat to be entered in the draw. Otherwise we won’t know you were here.

Get ready with your questions and join the conversation. And don’t fear! If you missed the live portion of this, we’ll keep the drawing open until midnight PT so you still have time to get in your questions.

Former Guests

For former guests, check out Margie ClaymanSarah RobinsonMark StoryBeth HaydenSarah EvansStanford SmithChris BroganC.C. ChapmanMitch JoelDanny BrownChuck HemannMichael BritoDJ WaldowTom MartinAhava LeibtagJay BaerShel IsraelMark SchaeferGini DietrichRob BiesenbachSteve McKeeNeal SchafferEd Zitron, Ann Handley,Tim FrickTom Martin, Paul Roetzer, Diana KanderJeremy MillerHessie JonesMaddie GrantRyan Hanley, and Jim Mitchem.

Who’s Next?

  • July 15: Fred Cook, CEO of GolinHarris and author of Improvise
  • August 19: Robert Phillips, Trust Me, PR is Dead
  • September 16: TBD
  • October 21: TBD
  • November 18: TBD
  • December 16: TBD

Clearly we have some work to do to line up the guests for the rest of the year.

But save the dates…we’ll announce who we have soon!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I’ll hope to pop in between kid-related errands! And is the hashtag for this q&a #NotSnoopDogg?

  • biggreenpen It’s #WeBeatSnoopDogg

  • I can´t wait! Already got the book, let´s see when I find time to read it! 🙂

  • Wow Hugo Chavez, Snoop Dogg, Ted Nugent, the heads of ISIS, Sheryl Sandberg, Katy Perry, Dennis Rodman, Vanilla Ice, Kim Il Jung……best line up of interviews since Charlie Rose was on PBS and hadn’t sold out yet.

  • Corina Manea I like to wait a few hundred years and then I read only those Tomes that stand the test of time. Like Hamlet and the Art of War. Where will be Power of No wind up years from now? Will the Force of Yes outsell it long term? Will the Triumph of Maybe possibly steal the day at the end? Only ginidietrich knows.

  • Can I use this as an excuse to get out of my dentist appointment? I’m so upset I won’t be here for this one…I’m a huge fan of James. Someone who has the (ahem) cojones to say what most people are afraid to think out loud.

  • Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Oh man, I still haven´t read the Art of War, it´s on my list for about 6 months!

    Thanks Howie for reminding me! Now what am I going to do? I´m freaking out here. :)))))

  • This is so exciting!

  • Eleanor Pierce I agree!

  • rosemaryoneill I totally think your dentist would understand!

  • Corina Manea It’s a fairly easy read…and you’ll get a lot out of it.

  • Howie Goldfarb Oh, Howie. I’ve missed you this week.

  • KateNolan

    TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD… What are you? A cable provider? 😉

  • KateNolan Yes.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce test

  • jaltucher

    rosemaryoneill Yes, chances are he’s just going to try to pull one of your teeth and charge you a lot of money. So, of course, this is a much more fun thing to do.

  • EXCITED!!!

  • jaltucher You got it!

  • Have I mentioned how excited I am?!

  • jaltucher rosemaryoneill ginidietrich You know how the saying goes Rosemary, “A chat with James Altucher a day, keeps the dentist away!” It’s like flouride for your brain.

  • Tuning In: This should be fun.

  • YAY!

  • OK! Here we go! James! Hi! I have been a big, big fan for a long time and I religiously read pretty much everything you write. I love your honesty and transparency. When I started my business, it was nearly impossible to find anything about what it’s really like to run—and grow—a business. Everyone just talks about unicorns and rainbows.

    Why did you decide to lay it out there straight?

  • Michelle Hals

    Made it!

  • handythinks Yay! Twice in one day!

  • Michelle Hals Woo hoo!

  • ginidietrich Howie Goldfarb I’m pretty sure Snoop Dogg will soon be CEO of Twitter (as nominated by today’s guest jaltucher ), so he will be occupied for a bit. We’ve reschedule him for September.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich I don’t think anyone is qualified to give advice. The human mind and emotions and “what we should do” and “what we shouldn’t do” is too individual. 

    But I wanted to have meaning in my life. More than just “make money” or whatever. 

    So I spoke about bad things that happened to me, and rather than give advice, I spoke about what I DID to try and overcome these bad things. And then I just keep doing that. I’m not afraid to talk about anything that has happened to me.

  • Hi everyone!

  • jaltucher It’s making a huge difference. I love the approach.

  • biggreenpen <3

  • jaltucher

    Corina Manea Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Btw, I recommend not only The Art of War, but perhaps even more relevant is “The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield.

  • I’ve noticed James has been blogging more frequently the past few weeks and was wondering if there’s a particular reason or strategy behind that?

  • One of the things you talk about is just asking for what you want. You wrote a blog post earlier this week (I think earlier this week) about when you asked Dick Costello to write the forward to your book. You said you write the three lines 20 times.

    What is your philosophy on just going for it?

  • You’ve interviewed so many fascinating people on your podcast. Has there been anyone in particular (or a few) who really left a lasting impression?

  • jaltucher ginidietrich Sharing experience is the most powerful form of education. It’s why we teach History in school

  • ginidietrich I loved that post! The Snoop Dogg for CEO!

  • You’ve written a lot about gratitude. Is it really a daily practice for you? What tip do you have for someone who wants to get into the gratitude habit?

  • LauraPetrolino ginidietrich I loved that one, too! 
    Snoop really is fantastic in so many ways.

  • jaltucher

    RobBiesenbach More things have been interesting to me lately. I get a lot of questions for my “Ask Altucher” podcast. Sometimes I answer more in a post than a podcast. 

    Like so many kids are worried about what their “special purpose” is. Or so many people are stressed about the “economy”, which I put in quotes because I don’t believe any theories about money effect us as much as we think. 

    Plus I am getting inspired by a lot of the people on my podcasts and so have been more actively seeking out experiences and meeting people so I get to write about them and what I learned from them.

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino ginidietrich It’s amazing some of the anger I also got from that one. 

    If something doesn’t fit a person’s perfect worldview they have this weird tendency to lash out. 

    Believe me, in 600 trillion trillion years it won’t matter. And while that is not an excuse to never express yourself or try new things, it is an excuse to not care so much about any one person’s opinion.

  • jaltucher RobBiesenbach Ok, now I’m curious. What do you mean by “I don’t believe any theories about money effect us as much as we think.” Are you talking about things like personal finance recommendations? Or the economy at large?

  • I’m very interested in your writing process. The angles you take to lead a reader into a story (and it’s associated lesson) are always unique and and fascinating. Where do you normally draw your idea inspiration?

  • jaltucher Thank you! I figured it wasn’t because you were counseled to hit a certain frequency by some SEO Ninja/Guru/Wizard.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino ginidietrich People got angry about that? So strange

  • Eleanor Pierce jaltucher LauraPetrolino ginidietrich As we say around here…oh, people.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino ginidietrich I love that! Perspective is always a difficult thing to keep in check.

  • handythinks Michelle Hals biggreenpen Ask some questions! Don’t be scared.

  • KateNolan

    Eleanor Pierce jaltucher LauraPetrolino ginidietrich I’m certain it challenges their worldview a bit too much, he’s not a “Businessman” to them. If Trump can run for president, Snoop can be CEO of Twitter. Well, actually I think I’d prefer Snoop run for president…

  • I seriously want to know: How have you written so many books? I’ve written two and the marketing and promotion of them sucked the life out of me.

  • KateNolan I’d rather Snoop do more things than Trump

  • jaltucher Corina Manea Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich Already read it. Great book. Thank you.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich Also, to add to what I just wrote, I was asked to do a TEDX talk once. I didn’t want to do it. I was very scared. But every week or so I try to do something that scares me. I know when I break out of my comfort zone in various and different ways then it will add to who I am as a human and help me have more meaning and well-being in my life.

  • jaltucher I have the same experience when I step out of my comfort zone. And TEDX would scare me, too!

  • jaltucher I have the same experience when I step out of my comfort zone. And TEDX would scare me, too!

  • ginidietrich KateNolan If I could replace every mention of Trump in my newsfeed with Snoop, I’d be so, so happy.

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino The good thing is: I don’t ask someone to come onto my podcast unless they have ALREADY left a lasting impression on me.  I’ve rejected, actually, incredibly well-known people simply because I couldn’t “feel the vibe” for myself. 

    So everyone on there has made an impression on me, even if the interviews themselves were good or bad. 

    Perhaps there are more themes than people that have left an impression on me. The amount of failure + persistence it takes when you love something and you want to be good at it. 

    The amount of times people get GREAT at something by combining ideas from different fields. 

    The amount of generosity truly great people have in sharing what they’ve learned. 

    The ability to understand, for each person, that there is no one purpose they are put here to do but many different things. 

    The ability to not dwell on misfortune but to process it and transform it into energy that can be used for later successes, even in completely different fields. 

    I’ve certainly been very happy when each person said, “Yes” to coming on my podcast.

  • Michelle Hals

    ginidietrich It seems LauraPetrolino and I have the Vulcan mind meld thing going on. She’s asking the questions I would!

  • Michelle Hals LauraPetrolino Laura! Stop asking questions!

  • I read somewhere recently (not sure if it was in one of your blogs or somewhere else …) that you think now is a great time to be an entrepreneur. I’m curious if you think there’s a certain type of person for whom this is a good idea, or if you think some sort of entrepreneurship is right for everyone

  • ginidietrich Michelle Hals LauraPetrolino LOL! It is my honor to be in Vulcan mind meld with you Michelle!

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce Gratitude is the most important thing because it takes whatever situation you are in and allows you to shed all the bad things that will slow you down (anxiety , regret, etc) and allow you to retain the energy it takes to move above and beyond. 

    Every morning here is what I do: before I even open my eyes (or as soon as I wake up), I think of 3 new things that I am grateful for. Like, I’m grateful Gini asked me to do this, I thought this morning. I’m grateful my kids want to spend time with me on Father’s day, etc. 

    I feel then in my chest and head and stomach how this makes my body feel. Then I let that feeling just soak through me, almost like an inner bath. I lie like that for 5-10 minutes. Then I begin my day. 

    Another thing I do is: whenever I catch myself upset saying, “I have to do X” where X is something I don’t want to do, I replace it with “I get to do X” and I come up with reasons why it’s wonderful I get to do X. 

    This works

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce I love this

  • If you had to look back on the past 20 years and sum it up in one sentence, what would it be?

  • Michelle Hals

    jaltucher Eleanor Pierce I love this. The shift in mindset between “get to” and “have to” is huge.

  • ginidietrich Ohhh that’s a good quesiton

  • LauraPetrolino <curtsy>

  • You’ve talked before about generating and sharing multiple ideas per day. In the past, when I have seen someone doing something in business and had an idea to improve on it that I know will help them, my advice is often met with silence. I do not feel like I have been anything other than humble and generous with them. When I put great thought and care into sharing the idea with them, they didn’t place any value on unsolicited advice. Should I just keep giving it? Is there a way to give advice in a way that makes the recipient understand better where it is coming from?

  • Michelle Hals jaltucher Eleanor Pierce I think I need to print this answer and pin it up somewhere I’ll see it all the time …

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino I see something in the outside that I can relate to. I can relate to it because there might have been some extreme pain point in my life that it makes me think of. 

    I write about the pain point. Everyone can relate because we all have these pain points, then I might write about the external situation. Then I write how I personally overcame it. 

    This starts to morph into a blog post or article or chapter. 

    We all have things we are afraid to admit: financial, parenting, spousal, sexual, illegal, whatever. 

    But since we know ALL of us have these things, its not as bad as we think to admit them and discuss them. 

    In fact, it’s actually proven to be very healing and to contribute to general well-being.

  • I LOVE your “Daily Practice.” What part of it is the most difficult for you to consistently commit to?

  • handythinks Ug! Now you’re making me feel guilty because both Corina Manea and biggreenpen have sent me great advice that I haven’t yet responded to. Not because I don’t want to or don’t care, but they both made my brain itch so I want to be thoughtful in my response. So maybe that’s part of it?

  • I understand that this new world offers incredible freedom and opportunity for people, but if I was a recent college grad I think I’d be terrified. When I got out of school, everything seemed easier. There were steps to follow. I run into lots of young people looking for direction and reassurance. What do YOU tell them? (So I can just quote you!)

  • RobBiesenbach LOL

  • jaltucher LauraPetrolino I need to start doing that.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich After I wrote “Choose Yourself!” I went all out on the marketing. I said, “I’m never going to do this again”. Of course I’ve now done it 2 or 3 times more. 

    I don’t like to put word count before quality: but lets say you just write 500 words a day (a few paragraphs). That’s 180,000 words a year. That’s 3 books a year. Do that for 10 years and that’s 30 books. 

    So I’m behind really (i write close to 2000 words a day but throw most of them out). 

    And now my “social media” platform is big enough the marketing has become a little easier. 

    But still its hard for me to ask someone, Hey can I talk about this on your podcast. So I rely on posts, etc that link back to my book.

  • RobBiesenbach jaltucher LauraPetrolino It’s actually fascinating that you say that because one of my questions was going to be about how honest you are in your writing about your failures and mistakes. So that makes a lot of sense.

  • KateNolan

    So, you read a lot, you write a lot, and you talk/podcast a lot. Where does all that time come from? Are you one of those folks who sleeps two hours a night??
    Do you schedule yourself or just let your curiosity/desire/intuition/etc lead the way?

  • You share really personal stories all the time. Those pain points you mentioned come up a lot. Has there been a time you’ve regretted “over-sharing”?

  • jaltucher LauraPetrolino How do you write about the “pain points” in a way that is honest and understandable to the reader but respects the privacy of others who were involved in your situation?

  • Michelle Hals

    ginidietrich handythinks Corina Manea biggreenpen Personally, I appreciate it when someone takes a little more time to get back to me so they can be thoughtful in their response rather than immediately dismissive.

  • Michelle Hals

    ginidietrich handythinks Corina Manea biggreenpen Personally, I appreciate it when someone takes a little more time to get back to me so they can be thoughtful in their response rather than immediately dismissive.

  • jaltucher So what you’re saying is I easily have three books this year from all the content I write? Fine. FINE!

  • jaltucher So what you’re saying is I easily have three books this year from all the content I write? Fine. FINE!

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce some sort of entrepreneurship is right for everyone. EVEN IF you are an employee. 

    Employees should work at jobs where their “success” (financial or psychological or other reasons) is tied directly to the success of their work at their job. This is being an entrepreneur also. 

    Don’t always start a company. That’s not for everyone. But always think entrepreneurially. How to be more creative, how to help others, how to over deliver, how to come up with multiple solutions or multiple sources of income, etc. 

    This compounds into massive success in the long run. Even if it seems frustrating at first.

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce some sort of entrepreneurship is right for everyone. EVEN IF you are an employee. 

    Employees should work at jobs where their “success” (financial or psychological or other reasons) is tied directly to the success of their work at their job. This is being an entrepreneur also. 

    Don’t always start a company. That’s not for everyone. But always think entrepreneurially. How to be more creative, how to help others, how to over deliver, how to come up with multiple solutions or multiple sources of income, etc. 

    This compounds into massive success in the long run. Even if it seems frustrating at first.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich Up Up Down Down Down Up Down Up Down Up Down DOWN DOWN OW UGH Up Down Up UP!!

  • ginidietrich Slacker.

  • jaltucher ginidietrich That sounds about right.

  • RobBiesenbach Seriously. BTW, clever Biesenbaby image on Facebook. I saw that and thought, “Now that’s clever!”

  • jaltucher Ha!

  • Eleanor Pierce jaltucher ginidietrich Remarkably, that’s the strumming pattern for Magic Carpet Ride.

  • Hi James! This morning I read your blog post about leadership and was completely blown away. I feel like it was a session in church +/- an MBA. Any thoughts on what led you write that post or where your thoughts came from? Do you have any tips for those who are not yet managers? Thoughts for people working with less-than-great leaders?
    for reference:

  • jaltucher ginidietrich I thought for a second that this was the NES contra cheat code. ( Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, then Start.)

  • ginidietrich RobBiesenbach Oh, now I need to go look.

  • ginidietrich RobBiesenbach I missed a Biesenbaby image?!

  • jaltucher

    handythinks the key first is to exercise the idea muscle. So even if you don’t come up with ideas for ANYONE, write 10 ideas down every day. 

    This makes sure that when you do send ideas to someone else, you have a better chance of sending good ideas (since 99% of the ideas Anyone writes will be bad ideas). 

    Then its a quantity game. 

    I had a call scheduled with Amazon to share ideas about one of their divisions the other day. The call, I think, went great. I didn’t get paid for it. I offered to come up with ideas. They wrote me a nice note at the end. 

    What will come of the call and my 10 ideas? I have no idea. I “give it up”. But today I’m thinking of ideas for Facebook. 

    Will anything come of anything? Eventually , yes. But who knows how long it takes. It’s a practice more than a goal-driven exercise. But it works. My life changes every six months at least because of this practice. EVERY SIX MONTHS. It’s amazing what happens.

  • I am concerned about your itchy brain @ginidietrich …

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino :

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino Awwwwwwwwwn

  • biggreenpen It just means you’ve made me think. Really hard!

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino Biesenbaby!?! Yay!

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino Probably the Physical part even though this is one of the most important. 

    I can think of the physical as: 

    – Did I sleep well (i usually do this but even 2 days in a row of not doing this is catastrophe)

    – Did I eat well (I’m getting a lot better at this, particularly after having so many nutritionists on my podcast. 

    – Did I move well (need to exercise more). 

    Because if you’re sick, you won’t have great relationships, its harder to feel grateful, and its harder to come up with 10 ideas.

  • AndreaKempfer

    I think the fear of failure holds a lot of people back, myself included. I’ve read a lot lately about how failure is a good thing, and I know you’re an advocate of this point. But often, in the moment, it’s hard to see anything good coming from it. Of course I can tell myself, “I wouldn’t do it this way again”, but what are some other ways to think about failure, so that it turns into a beneficial experience?

  • jaltucher LauraPetrolino “even 2 days in a row of not doing this is catastrophe” << I heard that. 
    And so will RobBiesenbach, soon! 😀

  • KateNolan

    jaltucher handythinks I started the 10 idea (sometimes 20 ideas) habit and then dropped it. I have to get back to it. I love the idea of having changes every six months!

  • KateNolan Let’s discuss this when I see you. I’m intrigued.

  • jaltucher

    RobBiesenbach I just got this email: I’m 22 and I’m depressed because I don’t know what my purpose is in life. 

    My answer was: Good! There is no one purpose in life. Basically, everything you’re interested in, give ourself permission to explore and try out. 

    Everything that you know is bad for you, try to stop doing, even if slowly. 

    For instance, reading about Kim Kardashian really doesn’t help anyone. So try to not do it. Or eating donuts all day. You can’t stop in a day, but over time. 

    But, if I’m interested in “shoes”, maybe I can design a better shoe, or work for Nike, or help arrange sponsorships of shoes (a “shoe exchange” of celebrities on one side and brands on the other). 

    The main thing is: don’t put yourself in a box. You don’t have to be a lawyer and own a house and rise through the ranks. 

    The average person will have 14 careers in their life. 
    The average multi-millionaire will have 7 different sources of income at least. 

    How do you get there? 

    Physical emotional mental spiritual health.1% improvement every day. 

    Also, most college grads never read a book again. 

    Think of a book as a way to mind-meld with someone who has put in a 40 year career and summarized it perfectly so you can absorb the whole thing in five hours. 

    Reading alone separates out the winners from the losers, particularly at a young age.

  • ginidietrich KateNolan I need to start that habit. I tend to be more execution minded than idea minded.

  • Eleanor Pierce I’ve “heard” that’s catastrophic, as well.

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino We’re naming the baby Nappy, so investing heavily in the power of suggestion.

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich Oh, yes! I have the notebook with me at almost all times, I just haven’t made myself stop (at some point in the day) to do it. It gets really hard!

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce I could  have even said “I HEARD DAT” I think.

  • RobBiesenbach Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino That will not go over well in the UK.

  • I am not scared of asking questions. I am scared of the fact that I am multitasking and participating in this q and a while being driven by my 15 year old.

  • AndreaKempfer Hiiii!

  • jaltucher Wonderful, thank you.

  • jaltucher

    KateNolan There’s sort of this “sleep porn” in business where people brag how little sleep they need. 

    I slept 11 hours last night. I try to do about 9 per night. 

    The key is: just don’t do things that are useless. I don’t watch that much TV (although I did watch “Veep” the other day). 

    I don’t read newspapers (they all lie). 

    I don’t read junk stuff. I don’t get on calls with people I don’t like. I don’t go to meetings that are useless. I even blow off important calls because, in the grand scheme of things, they are not more important to me than reading and writing and delivering value. 

    I had one friend who commuted to work every day. He always saw people reading the nY Post on the train and he decided, “I don’t want to be like that”. 

    So every day he wrote a page of a novel while on his commute. 

    Now 4 novels and bestsellers later he’s very happy with the outcome of the time he spent on his commute. David Levien. “Signature Kill” is his latest book and it’s an excellent thriller.

  • biggreenpen Being driven by a 15 year old is terrifying!

  • jaltucher handythinks Thanks James!

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino Oops! Yeah, we definitely don’t want to encourage THAT any more than necessary …

  • biggreenpen A friend of mine just posted that her son got his permit and now wants to drive everywhere. So the rule is that he has to help her make dinner and then they can go for a drive. She said, “By the end of the summer, he’ll have learned to cook AND drive.”

  • jaltucher so, you do a lot of things (hedge fund manager, trader, writer, podcaster, and entrepreneur) but if you had to boil down all the work at it’s core and you could only use one word to describe it, what would it be?

  • RobBiesenbach Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino LOL

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen Smart!

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce I’ve never regretted over-sharing. Primarily because one thing is: I make sure i never hurt anyone. It’s ok for me to hurt myself but not others. 

    One time I wrote something pretty extreme. Everyone was like: “Whoah!” but then privately they would write to me: “the same thing happened to me also. Don’t tell anyone”. 

    So there’s no such thing really as over-sharing. At a certain point, we’ve all “been there” or been somewhere similar.

  • AndreaKempfer

    ginidietrich AndreaKempfer Hi, I’m here!! I’ve been here, just reading, lurking and mulling.

  • Because you’re very open (as Eleanor Pierce pointed out), how does your family feel about it all?

  • AndreaKempfer Lurk and mull away!

  • jaltucher

    DwayneAlicie I keep seeing a lot of articles titled “the 6 great qualities of great leaders” or some BS like that. 

    Then I look at the bios of the writers and I see they’ve never lead anything. Nor do I see any actual stories. It’s just stuff like “have a vision”. Or “don’t micromanage”. 

    So decided, Ok, I’m going to take this topic, find where my pain points are here and write about them. Because if I had a point where leadership was a big issue for me, it means I’ve thought about it a lot. Because I needed to figure it out, I really put my all into thinking about it. 

    This gives me material then to write about it. As opposed to just the leadership gurus looking for page views.

  • KateNolan

    jaltucher Ah, the sleep porn! I’m a sleeper, too. I view the sleep “debate” like I do the messy/clean desk debate: Do what works best for you, but stop trying to say it makes you better than anyone else, you just look like you’re trying to convince yourself of it. I definitely need to do some purging of extraneous “stuff” and commit to daily practice of, well, anything really. How often do I really need to check facebook and twitter and instagram?

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce are you sure it’s ok to hurt yourself?

  • jaltucher DwayneAlicie “Then I look at the bios of the writers and I see they’ve never led anything.” This drives me crazy about people who give themselves titles that make no sense. You can’t be the CEO of one. You’re not an entrepreneur if you’re not evolving (and doing some of the things you listed below). You’re not a leader if you’ve never led.

  • KateNolan jaltucher To be fair, though…if I only had to sleep two hours a night (I need 8-9), imagine how much more I could get done!

  • jaltucher

    AndreaKempfer There’s always a good reason and a real reason. 

    For instance, I love comedy but I’ve never done standup-comedy myself. 

    How come? I tell myself, I would have to stay up too late. 

    That’s the “Good reason”. But perhaps the real reason is I’m afraid to put a lot of time in and then totally bomb. 

    That’s ok. I’m not going to force myself to do something. So I try to redefine the problem. 

    I give a lot of talks. How about, I say to myself, I own the fact that I want to be funny, and make the talks funny. Instead of being obsessed with one goal, I can widen it (like opening an umbrella) and come up with other ways of doing what I want that might be cloaked in fear otherwise. 

    And then I do them, see how I feel, and then maybe take the next steps. Fear of failure might be just a compass and not a stop sign.

  • jaltucher

    JoeyGiangola jaltucher I can’t boil it down. There’s never one word for anyone. 

    I’ve definitely been a greedy (then broke) hedge fund guy. I’ve been a bad writer and a good writer. 

    I’ve destroyed lots of value and now I try to give a lot of value. 

    We’re all just doing our best. Just today there’s a few things I feel I could’ve done better on. So now there’s nothing I can do. It gives me energy to figure out how to do better on the next things I do. Or have more ideas of things I can do. 

    I never know where I will end up six months from now. So I always just assume the best predictor of a successful tomorrow is a successful today. 

    And how to be a success today? Trying to improve 1% on physical emotional mental spiritual growth.

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich jaltucher Totally true! Just not likely. Or, you could force it, but it’d be poor quality, so no point in that!

  • KateNolan Exactly. Or figure out the cloning thing. That would work, too.

  • KateNolan ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino Yeah, but the first question when I announced it was, “Wait, you’re having a stuffed bear?”

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce My mother and 2 sisters don’t speak to me. 

    My daughters mostly don’t read me.

    But for the first time, last week they went to a talk I gave. 

    At first I think they were shocked. But then the greatest pleasure hit me – over the laughter of everyone else in the audience (about 200) I heard their laughter the loudest. 

    What a pleasure. 

    Btw, if they EVER asked me to take something down because it was embarrassing to them, I would take it down. 

    BUT, if they ever asked me to not write about something I’d probably ignore them because they don’t really care that much.

  • AndreaKempfer

    Thank you jaltucher. Great perspective and one that I hadn’t considered before.

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich Everytime someone talks about cloning themselves, I think of this movie:

  • This is going ridiculously fast! We have only 15 minutes left. Ask your questions!

  • ginidietrich I’m pretty sure jaltucher is going to win the author Q&A award for most detailed answers.

  • JoeyGiangola For sure!

  • RobBiesenbach KateNolan ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino Oh, people.

  • KateNolan

    ginidietrich JoeyGiangola I love it!

  • ginidietrich I know! I keep falling down rabbit holes of awesome for each question thread!

  • ginidietrich So much to think about. I think I have that itchy brain you were talking about earlier

  • One of the things that I really love about you is your honesty about falling in love with women, even if you’ve never spoken to them. I don’t really have a question in that, but it’s awfully refreshing.

  • jaltucher

    JoeyGiangola jaltucher Eleanor Pierce One time I was raising money for something. It was a done deal. 

    Then the guy said to me, “Hey, I just read something you wrote where you say you lose all this money”. 

    And I said, “yeah”. 

    And he said, “You can’t do that. Nobody will give you money”. 

    And I was like, “Lenny, 5 years ago you lost my fund $15 million. How can you say that?” 

    And he stuttered and had no answer. 

    So yes, I failed to raise money from him (perhaps that hurt me). 

    But then I would not have wanted to do business with him anyway. Which sounds like a lame excuse but it’s really true. 

    Only do business and interact with people who love and support the real you, not the mask of you. Else the mask becomes permanent.

  • KateNolan Ha!

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich KateNolan jaltucher It might not be true. 

    If you wake up at 6am, then from 8-10am your brain is 100x more productive than it is at 8pm. But if you only slept 2 hours, then your brain will never be at that level of productivity. 

    So ironically, the less you sleep, the less productive you will be in the long run.

  • jaltucher what is one idea or core principle you’re questioning right now that you never thought you would?

  • JoeyGiangola 🙂

  • It seems like you always have something new coming up. Can you give us a preview of what’s next for you? Do you know?

  • JoeyGiangola jaltucher Oh, good one!

  • Michelle Hals

    ginidietrich I’m learning so much and feeling so inspired from this chat!

  • It’s an epidemic – BIG – Brain Itchiness Gigantus.

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce I’m writing a book: “The Rich Employee”. About how one can find abundance even within the context of having a job. 

    I’m also starting a new podcast with Stephen Dubner, who wrote Freakonomics. It will be fun.

  • My final question and I’m going to be very blunt. A few months ago, you launched something big and, as part of it, you did what I’ll call a sales letter. The “there’s more! if you order now, you’ll get…” letter. I know they work or people wouldn’t use them, but it seemed very uncharacteristic of you. Why did you decide to go that route and not use your typical voice in marketing that?

  • Do you still practice breakdancing? Made any recent progress? New tricks?

  • jaltucher

    JoeyGiangola jaltucher I don’t really have any core ideas. I don’t like to have opinions I feel strongly about. 

    Like, I’m against all wars. And people try to say to me, “What about WWII, you’re Jewish.” 

    I know I’m Jewish. But there’s no way I would want my daughter to ever be given a gun at the age of 18 and sent somewhere where she has to shoot other 18 year old girls. 

    That said, I’ve stopped arguing with the people who argue with me about opinions. 

    I change my mind about things all the time. For instance, I’m for self-publishing. But if someone wants to publish traditionally, go for it and see what happens. It’s not always bad. Nothing is always good or always bad.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce am I allowed to hate you a little bit for the cool things you can legitimately say?

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich I can walk down the street and fall in love five times. But , that said, I love my kids and my wife in different ways and those are deeper loves.

  • We know you don’t read newspapers, are there any blogs you read on a consistent basis?

  • ginidietrich it’s always more fun when the gloves come off.

  • jaltucher I love that about you.

  • JoeyGiangola jaltucher Eleanor Pierce HA!

  • What’s one thing people get wrong about you?

  • jaltucher well that’s not entirely true, you’ve dropped the “Try to improve 1% on physical emotional mental spiritual growth.” a couple times in this thread. So there has to be a few things firmly pinned on your wall… Right?

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino I’m reading two great books right. One by Judd Apatow that just came out yesterday or the day before. Its about 500 pages and he interviews all his favorite comedians. 

    What’s interesting are the interviews but also how he used them to become one of the funniest writers and directors of all time. 

    So would I rather read that book or the latest stupid article about Greece or the Ukraine. 

    If I were a Ukrainian border guard I would rather read the news about the Ukraine. But I’m not and there’s nothing I can do for him (try to quit your job, is all I can say). 

    I’m also reading a new book by Tom Rath who StrengthFinder 2.0. In fact, I’m also reading that book. 

    It’s an interesting book about how maybe we should cater more to our stengths and delegate our weaknesses. I’m preparing for a podcast with him. 

    These books take a lot of time to read and think about and learn from. 

    Would I rather do that or read news that will only be entertainment for me for a few minutes. 

    I like to read things that have already withstood the test of time (e.g. Judd Apatow has been making movies for decades) than read things that will never withstand the test of time (not becausee it’s bad bbut because almost nothing can withstand that test).

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino I do. Every day. My kids hate it. No new tricks. It’s just fun for me. Like exercise but without the exercise part.

  • jaltucher LauraPetrolino YAY! That’s so fun! I’m very impressed, it’s no easy skill for sure!

  • jaltucher LauraPetrolino Is it odd that I’m kind of looking forward to embarrassing my daughter?

  • James, you are my hero! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this and for hanging out with us for an hour. I owe you forever and ever!

    Thanks to everyone who attended live! We will do a drawing of everyone who comments here and give away two books (even if it’s past the live portion). Stay tuned for that!

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich I wanted to deliver a lot more value and build a business around content that I do extra research around. 

    So I hired people to help me market. I begged them. I said, “this won’t work.” They said, “trust us” and so I did. 

    Then afterwards, a lot of people seemed unhappy. I was unhappy. And I told them. 

    So they said, “Fine! Do a test and write it in your own voice and we’ll see the % different.” 

    They said, “I willl guarantee you will get 90% less conversions than we got.” 

    I did it. Wrote copy in my own voice. Sent out to a segment of my list and…

    got 90% less conversions. 

    I don’t understand the psychology behind copywriting but it works and since my core value for this business is “message first” and I want as many people to get my message as possible I now listen to them on  all marketing. Clearly not one of my strengths.

  • jaltucher

    ginidietrich I will add, that some people wrote me actual hate mail after that initial sales message went out. Maybe those are not quite the people who I want as customers anyway although it was painful to read.

  • jaltucher

    JoeyGiangola jaltucher Eleanor Pierce Haha. I say a lot of uncool things to Claudia so it all balances out.

  • ginidietrich What an awesome hour!!! Thank you so much jaltucher !!

  • Really enjoyed this – sorry my participation was so sporadic!

  • jaltucher

    JoeyGiangola jaltucher Ok, you’re right. I have one thing pinned on my wall. 

    “Remove myself from the equation”. 

    I think there are about 40 “Choose Yourself” groups around the world that do metopes, etc. 

    I don’t go to any of them because I want people to not focus on me at all at those but to focus on the best parts of the meeting: meeting other people who want to focus on this daily practice, networking, etc and now have me there to distract from that. 

    So I do believe more strongly in this message than I believe I should be in the center of it.

  • I was just listening to an interview with Apatow about that book! It is now on my list!

  • Well jaltucher your experience and sincerity shine through and make it one of the most impactful pieces about “leadership” I have read, James. Bookmarked for repeated reading! ginidietrich

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce I think sometimes people think I’m selfish because of the phrase “Choose Yourself” and they mistakenly think that is somehow tied to a mistaken believe that I once worked on Wall Street (I never did). 

    They think “Choose yourself” means “Selfish”. 

    But as Gandhi said, “the best way to change the world is to change yourself first”. 

    Maybe it wasn’t Gandhi but it sounds pretty good to say he said it. And I believe it anyway. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

  • jaltucher

    LauraPetrolino ginidietrich jaltucher Hey, thank you guys. Great great questions. And thanks Gini for thinking of me to do this. I really appreciate it and I’m glad people enjoyed it.

  • jaltucher

    biggreenpen I’m about 1/3 the way through now. It’s brilliant. Heck, I was reading it right before I jumped on this.

  • jaltucher WOW! I’m surprised at the numbers, but they don’t lie. Good for you for trying both.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce I relate it to the “put your own mask on first” rule on airplanes. Can’t help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.

  • jaltucher

    Eleanor Pierce jaltucher LauraPetrolino One time my daughters had a play. They were really afraid I was going to wear my lab coat. 

    As I was walking down the stairs they were yelling, “Please Dad, don’t wear your lab coat to our performance.” 

    When I got to the bottom of the stairs they saw what I was wearing: a tuxedo. When everyone else would be in t-shirts and shorts. 

    They started screaming. 

    I said, “Hey, I’m not wearing the lab coat.” 

    I stuck to it and they just avoided me afterwards. And so did all the other parents. So not sure if the experiment worked for me. But it was fun for a moment.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino HAHAHAHA! That’s amazing!

  • jaltucher so basically, you’re Batman? Does chrisbrogan know?

    Final question then, will that ever stop being true? 

    Does the opportunity to meet you (once) have a more concentrated impact compared to countless “message focused” meet-ups?

    Are you downplaying your ability to catalyze the group and message forever?

  • Michelle Hals

    Thanks for hosting, ginidietrich, and for the great hour, jaltucher. I got inspired to take action on some things today.

    A power outage meant I missed the last few minutes.

  • jaltucher Eleanor Pierce I have been astounded when writing about something personal at how many people send private “me too” messages.

  • jaltucher KateNolan and it’s narrated by Scott Brick, a fave narrator!

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen It is.

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen brilliant

  • Michelle Hals Better get to watching House of Cards now!

  • danielschiller

    Jeepers, I missed this. Did someone say win a book?!