Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Rich Employee

The Rich Employee

By James Altucher

One of my best friends from 8th grade invested $25,000 in Uber’s first round. That $25,000 is now worth $50,000,000.

I can say, “I wish that were me!” but I don’t deserve it.

He spent his 20s building his network in Silicon Valley so he would have this opportunity today. He was an employee at many different companies there.

I also was an employee then. It was maybe the best time in my life (until most recently).

Part of my job was interviewing crazy people, hackers gone wild, and runaway children.

Another part of my job was secretly wiring restaurants so I could listen in on dates where one side of the date was aware of what we were up to.

I loved every minute of it. Sometimes I wish I had never left that job. I was living out of a garbage bag, sharing one room with a friend of mine (he had the couch, I had the futon, the shower couldn’t turn off so the water was always running).

I miss it.

My newest book and maybe most important book, The Rich Employee is out.

There are 100,000,000 employees in America.

It was inspired by two friends of mine who are both employees at jobs. Both are worth millions from the way they went from success to success at either their job or moving from one career to the next.

I studied their whole careers. And then I looked at my own career.

I loved my job so much that I kept getting better at all the skills needed: the networking, helping people, managing people, trying to make the company I worked for a success.

Using those skills, I started a company on the side. So I became an employee and then an employer at the same time. For 18 months I stayed that way until I jumped to my startup fulltime.

Then I was miserable. I was happy when we sold the company and I became an employee again.

It allowed me to explore my interests again. It allowed me to be like a child again, and discover what my art was.

It also got me into playing poker every night from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. for 365 straight days but that’s another story.

The average person has 14 different careers after leaving behind their educations. I counted the other day. I had about 15. Depending on how I counted it, it was up to 18 (heck, I made decent money playing poker).

About half the time I was an employer. Half an employee. Many different jobs and companies.

Choose Yourself was a very successful book for me. My best ever. It’s hit over 350,000 copies sold.

But I think some people think that “choose yourself” means “become an entrepreneur”.

This is not true.

“Choosing yourself” means that you build up massive inner strength and energy by every day improving in:

  • Physical Health – Eat, Sleep, Move
  • Emotional Health – Trying to always be with people who love and support you
  • Mental Health – become a Creativity Machine by practicing writing down 10 ideas a day. I will tell you: I do this and everyone around me can see how much my life changes EVERY six months.
  • Spiritual Health – which just means being grateful whenever you can.

If you do those things, even just a tiny tiny bit each day, then the results magnify and compound until you can’t even recognize yourself. Until you move from strength to strength in life.

This inner strength gives you the outer strength to create the world around you.

Life doesn’t care if you are an entrepreneur or an employee or an entre-ployee.

You become content when you are growing in competence at things you love, your relationships are improving (not perfect but improving), and you have the freedom to make the choices you want to make.

Entrepreneurs sometimes have ZERO freedom. And employees sometimes have total freedom.

It’s a mindset. The hardest working entrepreneur I know is a goddess to me. She works from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night. She always over delivers.

But she is stuck. She can’t figure out how to avoid the negative people in her life. She can’t save the money. She’s afraid to charge more. She can’t pay the bills.

And my friend who put $25,000 into Uber? He was an employee at a job. Now he isn’t.

In The Rich Employee I show how one can Choose Yourself to be successful and thriving no matter where you are, no matter who your boss is, no matter what your situation is.

First: I go over the Rich Employee Mindset versus the Poor Employee Mindset.

This is the basis from which the rest of the book flows.

The Rich Employee mindset I have found to be the key to Mastery.

This book is the fifth (and last) of a series of books I started with Choose Yourself.

  • The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth
  • The Choose Yourself Stories
  • Become an Idea Machine (which is by Claudia)
  • and of course, Choose Yourself

and now, The Rich Employee

I have more books to write. But I feel this series and this latest book is the final answer to so many questions I get.

“I’m feeling stuck.” “I’m not motivated.” “I haven’t found my passion.” “I don’t know how to make money.”

Always followed by “What do I do next?”

I get it. I was stuck. I was on the floor. I was crying, not knowing what to do next. I had the bottle of pills in my mouth with my baby calling, “Daddy.”

In these books I describe what I DID DO next. I describe perhaps too specifically.

As Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, told me, “Sometimes I cringe because you get so personal in your writing.”

I love this book. Maybe the most important chapter is “How the Rich Employee” thinks.

But throughout the book I have stories about others and about myself to describe my examples.

I have to tell you something. I set up a company, and I put all my books, podcasts, and some other investments in it.

The first thing I did: I replaced myself as CEO and hired someone better than me. He’s changed my life, as have the people he has hired.

So now I’m an employee. I only write about what I experience. I can’t stand articles that rant from a pedestal where the author has no experience.

Advice is always autobiography. I hope you read my advice. I hope you like me.


What Makes a True Gentleman

By Alex Green

I’ve always enjoyed Oscar Wilde’s comedy An Ideal Husband. But New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is out to help women find the genuine item.

In a column, she shared the wisdom of Father Pat Connor, a Catholic priest with several decades of experience as a marriage counselor.

Too many women marry badly, he says, because infatuation trumps judgment. (I’m sure plenty of men have their own complaints, but today is Ladies’ Day.)

Father Conner advises women not to marry a man who has no friends, who is controlling or irresponsible with money, who is overly attached to his mother, or who has no sense of humor. He lists so many qualities to avoid, in fact, that one woman responded despairingly that he’d “eliminated everyone.”

Not yet…

The column generated a hailstorm of letters to the editor, including one from a Ms. Susan Striker of Easton, Connecticut. The twice-divorced woman insisted that Father Conner had only scratched the surface. She warned women:

Never marry a man who yells at you in front of his friends.

Never marry a man who is more affectionate in public than in private.

Never marry a man who notices all of your faults but never notices his own.

Never marry a man whose first wife had to sue him for child support.

Never marry a man who corrects you in public.

Never marry a man who sends birthday cards to his ex-girlfriends.

Never marry a man who doesn’t treat his dog nicely.

Never marry a man who is rude to waiters.

Never marry a man who doesn’t love music.

Never marry a man whose plants are all dead.

Never marry a man your mother doesn’t like.

Never marry a man your children don’t like.

Never marry a man who hates his job.

And so on…

Reading this laundry list, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

Clearly, this was the voice of experience. And it made me think what, if anything, I could tell my own daughter to keep her from making a big mistake someday.

Of course, Hannah is only 17 now. But I already identify with comedian Bill Engvall. On one episode of his sitcom, he told his teenage daughter – to her utter mortification – that her date honking the horn out front needed to come inside and meet her parents first.

He does. But before the boy leaves, Engvall pulls him into another room and says, “That’s my only daughter right there and she is precious to me. So if you’ve got any ideas about making out or hooking up or whatever you call it these days, I just want you to know… I don’t mind going back to prison.”

I know more than a few fathers who can identify with that sentiment.

But the problem with the “never marry a man…” list is that it approaches the notion of an ideal man from a purely negative context.

Rather than telling my daughter what to beware of, I’ve only recommended that she marry “a gentleman.” But then what, exactly, is a gentleman in this day and age?

British born American writer Oliver Herford once remarked that a gentleman is someone “who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.” (This is always said with an emphasis on the word unintentionally so the listener understands that it’s okay if the recipient is deserving.)

But here’s a bit more specificity from John Walter Wayland, who defined the term in 1899:

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the best thing for single men and women to do would be to cultivate these qualities of character in themselves. This would make them worthy of the affections of their ideal mate, should they have the good fortune to encounter him or her.

One final thought. You may remember Dr. Randy Pausch – the author of The Last Lecture – who succumbed to pancreatic cancer at 47 seven years ago this month.

He, too, struggled with this question and left behind this time capsule of advice for his daughter Chloe, then 2:

“When men are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

Pretty good advice. And not a bad way of sizing up people generally.