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Altucher’s Choose Yourself Book Challenge

I was a big fan of James Altucher’s writings on stocks and finance. He doesn’t do much of that anymore unfortunately.

I remember looking forward to his articles in the Financial Times a decade ago. I was at a coffee shop in Pleasant Hill California, drinking coffee, when I read a decisive one: Ideas Often Fail, But It’s Cheap To Try (It is not paywalled as of Dec 2018). I cut it out and carried it around for a long while. It might still be in a vat of memories alongside my childrens’ art.

The suburban idea factory

The prologomena to trying cheap ideas is generating them. Another Altucher recommendation then or shortly thereafter: write out ten ideas a day – don’t worry if they’re good or bad just get them on the page. Do this daily. (first here?)

I didn’t do it daily. I would be well north of 30,000 ideas now if I had. How does one decide what to act on, especially if there are other good things going for you now?

I have not really pursued this strategy of most minimal of minimal viable products. I’ve probably pursued a bad variant: try expensive ideas. Knock wood, Woovit atones for many previous entrepreneurial swings and misses.

But he has thrown down a “challenge” which is to write a book on habits and upload to Amazon. He argues for making it as low as twenty pages. It is amazing how much energy I spend wrestling with whether I should write something like this — arguing with a ghost about the value of a twenty pager, not fifty pager! Could I write a brief summa of all the self-help I’ve been reading and doing…amazing how I’m worried about being embarrassed if I write one.

As he writes:

This “challenge” is not so you write the best book in history.
It’s a challenge to write your first book. Maybe even your second or third.
This is practice.


Maybe doing this would close out the sipping speculations from ten years ago at Latte Da, in a way that Bolo, Roostr, Woovit did not. Should I look at this as the micro-goal before any of the larger books I want to write? A Holiday break project, and promise to myself whatever is done by day X is what I put up?

Published inGoalsSelf-ImprovementWriting

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