Choose Yourself! by James Altucher Summary

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Choose Yourself by James Altucher
Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream

My Thoughts

Choose Yourself is one of my favorite books read in 2017. James is vulnerable in his writing, making him relatable and engaging. Contains several lists of ideas and plans with specific steps you can try. His suggestions to write 10 ideas a day, make a friends circle of influence, and write down every dream you have, had the most impact on me.

At the end of the summary are action steps that I put into practice after reading.

My Favorite Quotes

  • The learned man aims for more, but the wise man decreases and decreases again.
  • You must have inward success before outward success.
  • The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it.
  • If you don’t know your purpose just be you.
  • Being a perfectionist is the enemy of actually completing things.

Key Questions

  • Does one person have control of your life?
  • Who can I help today?
  • What is the lifetime value of the customer?
  • What are the side effect benefits of having this customer?
  • What can I change about my routine?
  • What can I do differently?
  • What can I improve?
  • Who else can I talk to?
  • Where else can I look?
  • What can I learn from this rejection?
  • How can I be better?

Chapter 1: The Economic History of the Choose Yourself Era

The learned man aims for more, but the wise man decreases and decreases again.

Chapter 2: Permanently Temporary

To be successful you must be healthy all around and practice and exercise certain muscles every day.

  • Spiritually healthy
  • Physically healthy
  • Emotionally healthy
  • Mentally healthy

You must have inward success before outward success.

Chapter 3: Does One Person Have Control of Your Life?

I didn’t take any notes on chapter 3.

Chapter 4: How to Choose Yourself

Basics for harnessing freedom:

  1. Only do things you enjoy.

If you do things you don’t enjoy, the following will happen:

  1. You will resent people.
  2. You will do a bad job.
  3. You will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on.
  4. You will make less money.
  5. Yet another small portion of your life will be burned up.

The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. The entire universe will bend to you.

A news producer told James they are just there to fill time between advertisements.

The Daily Practice
Four bodies, physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. You must exercise each of these bodies daily.

Exercising the Physical Body

  • Don’t eat bad food. Do not put junk in your body. Seven years from now all the cells in your body will be replaced.
  • Sleep 7-9 hours a night. Sleep is when your body develops HGH.
  • Bowel movements, eat fiber if needed.

Emotional Body
Be aware you have an emotional body.

  • Try to only be around positive people who inspire you.
  • Avoid people who bring you down, meaning engaging or overly dwelling with people who drain you.
  • You can’t be beautiful unless you get rid of the ugliness on the inside.
  • Try to be quiet, speak less and chose your words carefully.

Mental Body
Your mind desperately wants to be the boss.
Think of all the times when you have been most happy and think about all of the times when you have been most unhappy.
Discipline your mind to work for you.
Write down 10 ideas every day.

  • How the president could improve the country.
  • Books you could write.
  • People you want to meet.
  • Ideas for other people and send to them to network.

After doing this for six months you will be an idea machine and your mind will be acting on a level you have never seen before.
The idea of this is to make your brain work every day.

Spiritual Body

  • Find art and beauty around you.
  • Let go of the past and future, be present.

Chapter 5: The Simple Daily Practice

Do not rely on things that are external.
First become better as an individual.
External changes flow from the inside.
Do one or two of these things every day to start a simple daily practice.

  • Sleep 8 hours.
  • Eat two meal instead of three.
  • No TV (most people watch 3-5 hours a day). Watching TV is a complete waste of time.
  • No junk food.
  • No complaining for one whole day.
  • No gossip.
  • Return an email from 5 years ago that you never answered.
  • Express thanks to a friend.
  • Watch a funny movie or stand up comic.
  • Write down a list of ideas.
  • Read a spiritual text.
  • Say to yourself when you wake up “I am going to save a life today.” Then keep an eye out for that life for the rest of the day.
  • Take up a hobby.
  • Write down your entire schedule and cross out something.
  • Surprise someone.
  • Think of 10 people you are grateful for.
  • Forgive someone. Write it down on a piece of paper and burn it.
  • Take the stairs today instead of the elevator.
  • Don’t say yes when you want to say no.
  • Tell someone you love them every day.
  • Shower, scrub, clean the toxins off your body.
  • Read a chapter in a biography about someone that was an inspiration to you.
  • Make plans to spend time with a friend.
  • Deep breathing.

Chapter 6: What if I am in a Crisis?

You’re knocked out on the floor and can’t even get up to do one item on the simple daily list.

  1. Call some people today and tell them you are grateful for them and why.
  2. Spend one afternoon volunteering.
  3. See a doctor.
  4. Exercise. Even if just a walk. 20 minutes a day.

No news, TV, junk food, etc.

Chapter 7: Choosing Yourself to Live

If you are in pain or experience a painful memory learn to love. Do not struggle. Struggle reinforces pain, instead love.

Chapter 8: Finding Your Purpose in Life

Colonel Sanders didn’t start his franchising of KFC until the age of 65. That is when he found his “purpose.”
You can find the tools to be happy right now. Whether you know your purpose or not.
Dozens of examples of famous men that did not accomplish the great thing they were known for until ages 44-93.

Just be you. If you don’t know your purpose just be you.

Chapter 9: Just Do It!

Being an entrepreneur or employee with an entrepreneur mindset (intrapreneur).
Help people.
Your Family.
Your employees.
Your clients.

  1. Do what they say.
  2. Do it on time.
  3. Do a little extra to surprise them.
  4. Give them ideas for how their jobs can be even better.
  5. Make their lives better.
  6. Listen to them.
  7. Serve them.

Only deal with clients you like.
You can be artistic.
Make a list of every dream you have! Do it now!
Ask yourself “who can I help today?”

Chapter 10: Let’s Get Specific; What should I do?

Ideas to make a million dollars.

  1. Social media agency.
  2. Introducing people to each other. Be a super connector of people.
  3. Research trending search words and topics and write books about them. A friend of his outsources writing 10-20 books a month on trending topics and self-publishes on Amazon.
  4. Write a book on a subject you are an expert on. Creates a lot of other opportunities.
  5. Financial repair. Help people with money issues.

Think of 5 people you are grateful for today.
Label your thoughts future or past.

Chapter 11: Becoming a Master Salesman

Ten keys to selling.

  1. Ask “what is the lifetime value of the customer?” Give away good content.
  2. Ask what are the side effect benefits of having this customer?
  3. Learn the entire history of your client, audience, readership, and platform.
  4. Always give extra features.
  5. Give away the kitchen sink.
  6. Recommend your competition.
  7. Become an idea machine.
  8. Show up.
  9. Knowledge.
  10. Love it. Write only about what you love.

Chapter 12: How to Become an Idea Machine

The idea muscle. Exercise it daily!

  1. Read or skim chapters from books on at least four different topics.
  2. Write down 10 ideas about anything. Make your brain sweat.
  3. Activate another part of your brain.
  4. Collisions. Ideas colliding to create more ideas.
  5. Don’t pressure yourself.
  6. Shake things up. Write down your routine, make it as detailed as possible. Ask what you can change.

Chapter 13: Don’t Have Opinions

  1. Nobody is going to change their minds.
  2. 100 years from now, everyone reading this will be dead.
  3. Us versus them.
  4. Why educate people?
  5. I could be reading a book.
  6. Loneliness.
  7. I am always wrong.
  8. Hold your breath.
  9. Less. Fewer things in my life. Trinkets, people that bother me, regrets, etc.
  10. Bewildered. Change every statement to a question.

Chapter 14: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre People

Aiming for grandiosity is the fastest route to failure.

  1. Procrastination. Back off and think about what you are doing. Try to find out why you are procrastinating.
  2. Zero tasking.
  3. Failure. Learn to deal with the psychology of failure.
  4. Being not original. Take two older ideas and combine them.
  5. Poor networking.
  6. Do anything to get a yes.
  7. Be honest at every level.

Being a perfectionist is the enemy of actually completing things.
Never underestimate the power of a long protracted silence.

Chapter 15: How to be Less Stupid

Let go of useless facts.
Subtraction and not addition makes the brain think more clearly.
Let go of paranoia, resentment, regrets, fear, perfectionism, control, extra talking, excuses, etc.
The gift of imperfection book.
People appreciate honesty, especially about imperfections.
We don’t learn when we are talking, we only learn when we are listening.

Chapter 16: Honesty Makes You More Money

Honesty compounds.

Chapter 17: Two Stories About Choosing Yourself

Alex Day (23-24 years old) uploaded 1000 hours of video by the time he was 23.
Lessons learned from Alex:

  1. Everyone will say you can’t do this.
  2. The power of the community you build.
  3. Communicate directly with your customers.

John Romaniello. Wrote Man 2.0.
Training program Roman Fitness System.

Chapter 18: What I Learned from Superman

We are all shy and awkward.
Hold onto the hidden gems from the stories of your youth.
Acknowledge your secret identity.
Every day wake up and say to yourself “I am a superhero, what can I do to save the world today?”
Super powers are given to you if you try to save a life today.

Chapter 19: Gandhi Choose Himself to Free an Entire Country

Story about telling a child to stop eating sugar.
One hour of meditation.
Nobody can tell you what to do no matter how much they pay you.
Start with discovering yourself.

Chapter 20: Competence and the Beatles Last Concert

The Beatles last concert was on a rooftop. Here is the video James suggests watching:

Every moment is an audition.

Chapter 21: What to do When You are Rejected

The author was totally depressed in 2002.
He started the daily practice.
Wanted to get in finance and wrote letters daily to investors, brokers, etc asking for 20 minutes of time and was completely ignored and rejected.
Instead of just taking he decided to give and thought of 10 ideas for each person and sent them to them. Example: stocks to invest in, suggestions of articles to write, giving code away, etc.

Three basic responses to rejection:

  1. I suck, I can’t do this, I give up. WRONG
  2. They are stupid, I am going to keep pushing forward. WRONG
  3. What can I do differently? What can I learn from this rejection? How can I be better? YES

How to use rejection to move forward.

  • Improve. List 10 things you can do to improve what you are doing.
  • Expand the universe of decision-makers.
  • How can you reach out to people that can make a difference in your life?
  • Reach out to many, not just one. That way it doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t respond.
  • Improve your approach.
  • Offer something.
  • Change up, don’t give up. Example: he was a book writer and changed from fictional writing to business writing.
  • Ask for advice.
  • Acknowledge the process of being rejected.
  • Stay in touch with the people who rejected you.

Chapter 22: The Beginning of the End

You have to help yourself before helping others.
Impact those around you.
Exercise: draw a series of circles of people to impact and encourage.

  1. Yourself
  2. Those closest to you
  3. Those impacted by those closest to you
  4. Those you would like to influence
  5. The world

Help them enhance their lives.

My Action Steps After Reading

  • Did the friends circle of influence exercise suggested in chapter 22.
  • More bold in contacting new people that I admire and respect.
  • Writing more ideas.
  • Sending ideas to people.
  • Made a list of every dream I have, recommended in chapter 9.
  • Started writing more ideas for myself.
  • Started writing ideas for others and sending them as James suggested in chapter 21.

Related Summaries

Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
This is the 59th book read in my 2017 reading list.
Here is a list of my book summaries.

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