Ask Altucher






January 2015
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Casey Neistat is an American film director, producer, and creator of popular YouTube videos.

While he has worked in almost every aspect of video making, he tells James that YouTube is his absolute passion.

He chose to leave mainstream media for YouTube, which is the opposite of most YouTubers' aspirations.

They talk about creative "ideas." Casey tells James that ideas matter very little – it's execution that matters.

They talk about risk, too, and Casey has a great take on it. He tells James, "The most dangerous lifestyle anyone can live is the lifestyle where you play it safe."


Casey probably disagrees with James more than anyone else James has ever interviewed.

Direct download: AA20Ep2020220Final.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT

Does the self-help industry help?

James says they're 99% useless but Claudia disagrees. They do both agree that you need to take time to focus on yourself before anything else.


It's a very important discussion, I promise it will make you think.

Direct download: AA20EP20201.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

As an entrepreneur, you're going to make more bad decisions than good ones.

Even the smartest entrepreneurs constantly make decisions they have to undo.

There's an extremely small difference between a bad entrepreneur and a really great one.

Today, James shares with us some of the good and some of the bad decisions he's made.


As he says, don't ever stop trying.

Direct download: AA20EP20200.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

You've been asked to give a speech, so how can you capitalize on this to be asked back?

First, nix the Power Point.

Second, always be a storyteller. Tell a story that relates to your talk. People will relate to you if you tell a great story.

Third, watch stand-up comedy.

And don't forget to entertain.

If you want to ask James a question, just go to...


Ask a question at

Direct download: AA20EP20199.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:30am EDT

How can I build a media empire?

James says, first you have to realize it takes years.

Find a writing voice, write constantly, and put that article everywhere you can. People will write back to you and eventually you'll get those all-important testimonials.

James recommends reading "The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself," a post he wrote for his blog.

If you want to ask James a question, just go to...


Ask a question at

Direct download: AA20Ep20198.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:09am EDT

Nicole Lapin, known for being the youngest anchor ever at CNN and then going on to claim the same title at CNBC where she anchored "Worldwide Exchange" and contributed to "Morning Joe" and "The Today Show" joins James on today's special edition of Ask Altucher.

Nobody handed Nicole anything. She's worked her butt off since she was 15.

She started in Kentucky, then South Dakota and on to Palm Springs while still finishing her college degree.

She finally got a 4 a.m. time slot on CNBC and immediately fell in love with it.

In Nicole's new book Rich Bitch, she lays out a 12-step plan in which she shares her experiences – mistakes and all – of getting her own finances in order. Money is typically an "off limits" conversation, but nothing is off limits here.

Nicole rethinks every piece of financial "wisdom" you've ever heard and puts her own fresh, modern, sassy spin on it. Sure, there are some hard-and-fast rules about finance, but when it comes to your money, the only person who can tell you how to spend it is you. Should you invest in a 401(k)? Maybe not. Should you splurge on that morning latte? Likely yes.

It's a bit different format today.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: AA20Ep2019720.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

Today we're going to do something a little bit different.

Hi, my name is David Newman and I'm the Executive Producer for all of James' podcasts.

Yesterday, while Claudia and James were having lunch, she turned on her phone and recorded their conversation.

And while James knew she was recording him, he had no idea she was going to send it to me.

After listening to it, I decided to release it to you today.

As I said, it's a bit different.

I hope you enjoy it. So here goes…


Ask a question at

Direct download: AA20EP2019620Final.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:08pm EDT

Building connections and building relationships are how you bring real value to the world around you.

Jayson Gaignard is a super-connector. He's two degrees of separation from anyone you want to meet.

Broke and $250,000 in debt, Jayson thought about an idea that nobody else was doing after getting a free ticket to hear Seth Godin speak, connecting entrepreneurs over an intimate dinner.

He paid for this himself by going even further into debt with no expectations of ever making money on these. Mastermind Dinners launched and Jayson’s new venture was off and running.

Entrepreneurship often takes an unyielding belief in yourself, and Jayson definitely believes.

Listen today to hear the story of someone who bet everything he had on an idea.

His new book, Mastermind Dinners Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers and Linchpins is a fantastic read and he hosts a podcast, Mastermind Talks you really need to subscribe to.


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Direct download: AA20Ep20195.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:02am EDT

Claudia and I threw out everything we owned this weekend. We threw out 98% of everything.

There are about 30 garbage bags and another 20 boxes filled with stuff. "Stuff."

We had just spent six weeks traveling around and except for the stuff we were traveling with we realized we didn't need anything else.

No papers, books, extra sheets, clothes, extra plates, tables, lights, etc. I didn't even miss these things once.

25 years' worth of memories in some cases.

Part of this is an experiment. I'm interviewing Marie Kondo in a few weeks. Author of the 2-million-copies bestseller The Art of Tidying Up.

I wanted to try her suggestions. She said before you "organize," you "discard." But once we started discarding, we couldn't stop. We discarded everything. All of our rooms are now pretty empty.

And it's not like we are going to replace anything. If anything, having less leaves room in your life for more, for other things.

That is the trick.

Marie Kondo suggests you lay everything out side by side.

Then you touch each object.

If it gives you joy, you keep it. If it doesn't give you joy, or if you haven't used it in a long time, throw it out. No holding back.

If it's paper, you throw it. I threw out my photos, books, art, furniture, all my clothes except 3 outfits. I thanked everything for its dutiful service to me.

It feels almost like a new toy. "Nothing" was the toy I wanted to play with, instead of the latest "this" or "that."

If you want to try it, try this: take all the books from one bookshelf. Lay them on the floor side by side.

Touch each one. If it doesn't make you happy or if you haven't looked at the book in over six months, give it away. Don't say, "well I might need this as a reference later." You won't. There's Google for that.

Don't say, "it was a great book, though". Ok, it was great. Give it to someone else. Say "thank you" to it. Then throw it out.

"But we might have a guests over some day." Buy new sheets then. Four years from now, when you actually have a guest. "But Sheila gave me this shirt." Have you worn it in the past six months?

Claudia thought we would only get rid of enough things to get rid of one bookshelf. She thought our closets would still be full.

But we got rid of everything. We have nothing left. There's nothing in my office.

Nothing in my desk. Our closets... empty.

I want nothing in between us. In between you and me.

If you have a question that you would like to ask you can either:


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Direct download: AA20EP20194.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Should you buy a home?

No... Almost never.

Time is always more valuable than money and you're going to spend a huge amount of your time repairing your home.

Things constantly break and they're expensive in both your time and your money to get fixed.

Listen today as James debunks the usual myths like: you'll miss out on the appreciation... you get a tax deduction... or you'll never establish "roots."

If you want to ask James a question, you can contact him...

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.

Direct download: AA20Ep20193.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

How do you transform your life?

The answer is simple. Come up with 10 ideas a day. Every day. It doesn't matter if they are good or bad; the point is to exercise your idea muscle, to make it sweat.

Today James talks with Claudia about her brand new book,Become an Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are the Currency of the 21st Century.

People say ideas are cheap and execution is everything, but that is NOT true. Execution is a consequence, a subset of good, brilliant idea. And good ideas require daily work.

As Claudia explains, coming up with 10 ideas a day is very important.

Ideas may be easy if you are only coming up with one or two, but if you try to produce more than three, you will feel a burn, scratch your head, and you will be sweating and working hard. There is a turning point when you reach idea number six for the day, when you still have four to go, and your mind muscle is getting a workout. By the time you list those last ideas to make it to ten, you will see for yourself what "sweating the idea muscle" means.

When you practice every day your life will transform...

Life changes for the better when we become the source of positive, insightful, and helpful ideas.

Challenge yourself to try it for 180 days and see your life transform, in magical ways, in front of your very eyes.


When you exercise your idea muscle every day, you become an idea machine, you are unstoppable.

Direct download: AA20Ep20192.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 1:57pm EDT

Branden Hampton's a master of making money on social media and today James and Claudia ask him to help them understand it.

First off, James asks him what his top four social media sites are today.

Hands down, Instagram is number one today, followed by Snapchat, Twitter, and then in fourth place, everyone's "necessary evil" – Facebook.

They dig into what it takes to make a living off of social media.

For all Branden's best ideas, listen here. He's extremely open and willing to share his best secrets.

Follow Branden on Twitter - @CEO

If you want to ask James a question, just go to...

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.

Direct download: AA20Ep2019120Branden20Hampton.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:49pm EDT

Can you really travel the world if you don’t have a bunch of money? 

The simple answer is yes…

Today James and Claudia call their new friend Matt Kepnes who just wrote the new book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day 

He shares with us many of the secrets he’s learned over his many years of travel. Such as a way you can stay with people with in countries around the world for free called couch surfing

Or a car sharing website that puts you in touch with people driving between cities and is looking for someone to share the cost of gas. 

For all these tricks and a bunch more just listen here. 

If you want to ask James a question just go to…

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.


Direct download: AA20Ep2019020final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:52pm EDT

James is a big fan of Apple products, but he says he's going to pay for an iPhone's older technology.

He's using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. He likes the larger screen and calls it the best phone out there.

Listen here and let us know what you think.

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.

Direct download: AA20Ep20189.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 2:01pm EDT

"How do I make money if I just got thrown out of graduate school?"

Easy, you get a job...

Get your feet on the ground and get to work. You'll begin to get a feeling for what people really want and you should start thinking about how you can solve their needs.

James' philosophy about choosing yourself fits perfectly here.

While you're working for someone else, start a part-time business, write a blog, help a friend.

Stay active...

You don't need a graduate degree to be successful. You just need to work hard and work smart.

Listen here to find out how.

If you have a question that you would like to ask James, you can either:

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.

Direct download: AA20Ep20188.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

James and Claudia call Vani Hani, author of The Food Babe, to talk about her inspiration for living a healthy life and to investigate what is really in our food, how it's grown, and what chemicals are used in its production.

Do you know what's really in the food you eat… and do you care?

James talks with Vani about what the best fish to eat right now are, what's up with the paleo diet, and the "not milks."

She tells James and Claudia she's not a fan...

She says the FDA is completely asleep at the wheel and you have to take control of what you eat, yourself.

They cover GMOs… always a hot-button subject. And they talk about if we'll be able to feed a world population that's growing fast.

Vani is passionate about this subject and she scares the hell out of James and Claudia.


Listen here to find out why.

Direct download: AA20Ep20187.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

“I lost my job and I’ve piled up a huge amount of credit card debt. I just got a new job but I’m only making $11/hr.  What should I do?”

James says – Stop making any payments on your credit cards. You can’t afford to pay.

I know this goes against what everyone else is telling you but James explains today why this individual shouldn’t pay.

He can’t…

Get prepared for the calls and the harassment but don’t worry.

Listen here today as James explains why.

If you have a question that you would like to ask James, you can either: 

Ask a question at

E-mail it to


Or, text James at 203-512-2161.

Direct download: AA20Ep20186.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:58am EDT

You don't have to go to college to find your passion.

College doesn't make you smarter. You make yourself smarter by studying what you're passionate about.

Find a mentor and model yourself after them.


You have to find your passion and college is definitely not the place to find it.

Direct download: AA20Ep20185.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:37am EDT

Today's question is a great one. "Should I take a promotion if it means I'll have to work longer hours and sacrifice my Choose Yourself projects?"

James suggests you take a good look at what this promotion really means...

It means a lot more work for the privilege of being able to buy another dinner out per week, or another pair of shoes or a nicer car.

The incremental money will not bring you happiness.

So, say yes but spend every free minute you can scrape together to invest in yourself.


Put together a plan to control your own destiny and plan you life and never forget to always Choose Yourself.

Direct download: AA20Ep20184.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

"Online dating doesn't seem to be working. Is there anything wrong with me?" 

James says there's nothing wrong with the woman who asks this question. Online dating has reduced the value of a relationship just due to the sheer volume and the unlimited supply.

Claudia mentions how you have to be clear and set a few parameters and preferences, but you also have to be flexible.

Don't only rely on online dating to meet your match. Take dance lessons, go to entrepreneur meet-ups or whatever interests you 

But don't rely solely on online dating clubs    

Direct download: AA20Ep20183.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

James and Claudia tell their New Year celebration stories and talk about whether any of the holidays we celebrate really make sense.

Halloween, Hanukkah, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving... James debunks the ways we celebrate all of them.

Listen here and text James if you disagree.

If you have a question that you would like to ask James, you can either:

Ask a question at

E-mail it to

Or, text James at 203-512-2161.


Happy New Year (or not)

Direct download: AA20Ep20182.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 11:03am EDT

The world around us is changing rapidly and what's old is new again.

James' daughter Mollie asks James why he gives away his real phone number for people to text him questions for this show.

We used to contact each other via telephone, then it was email, and now it's via a text message.

Listen here to today's episode

If you have a question that you would like to ask James, you can either:

Ask a question at

E-mail it to

Or, text James at 203-512-2161.


Here's to a happy and prosperous New Year from all of us at The James Altucher Show.

Direct download: AA20Ep20181.mp3
Category:business -- posted at: 9:52am EDT