James Altucher is one of my favorite authors. he wrote “Choose Yourself,” which was fantastic. If I have not reviewed that book I will. “Skip The Line,” is equally good.
Altucher has lost money and made money as he always reminds readers. We can learn from his mistakes and he is not shy about discussing what he has done wrong in the past.
The 10,000 Experiments Rule
You all have heard or read that you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something to become the best at it or master it. James says you should do 10,000 experiments. He says before you know something is a good idea you need to run an experiment. Enough ideas and enough experiments and some things are going to work.
Plus James points out that experiments, like his idea for a “Going Steady” app can be easy to set up and do, there is little downside, there’s huge potential upside, it’s never been done before, and you are learning something new. So he says, “There are only two possible results: you either learn something…or the experiment succeeds. There is no failure. He goes on to talk about Galileo’s famous experiment that changed the world.
Then he says that “Conducting 10,000 experiments, or even far fewer, can lead to great knowledge and great success, and it’s the quickest way to skip the line to the top of a profession with as little downside as possible.”
Altucher talks a lot abut micro skills. It is all one word in his book. It is one of the tools he says you need to get the idea of doing 10,000 experiments going. Most of the book is about these tools. He says you need to stand out. To be the only one like you. To build your unique perspective ad you need these tools to do that.
An example of micro skills is writing. It isn’t jut one skill. You need to be able to tell a story, understand language play, character development, etc. You get the idea.
Who Are You? Why Are You? Why Now?
This is a chapter in the book that I really liked. One of the things he says is that we all will have more than one purpose in our lifetimes and that “obsession is the first clue toward finding your purpose.” He says to look on your phone and see what pictures you’re taking. I take pictures of mountain scenery! Hmm…
He advises to find out what you are scared of because “fear is a compass.” And he goes on, “Without that fear, you know that you are just repeating what others have done before you. That’s why instinctively, you know it’s safe.” That’s good advice!
Learn Idea Calculus
Again, that is the title of a chapter. James is very big on ideas. He recommends writing down 10 ideas a day, every day. So idea calculus includes idea subtraction, idea multiplication, idea division, idea sex (yes, it is very powerful) and idea subsets. This last one is breaking down ideas into parts within parts.
He says, “Many people don’t understand that execution is a spectrum. You can be bad or good. The way you get good at execution is to having good execution ideas. The way to get good at execution ideas is to exercise your idea muscle. When you have an idea there are many possible ways to execute on that idea. It’s like opening a mystical third eye: you can see all the possible futures and choose the bet one. And how do you know which one I best? You guessed it: by experimenting.”
There is so much more in this book! Please read it. You will be glad you did.