James Altucher (@altucher) is a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, chess master and prolific writer. He has started and run more than 20 companies and is currently invested in over 30.
His writing has appeared in major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Observer, Techcrunch, The Financial Times, Yahoo Finance and others. His blog, JamesAltucher.com, has attracted more than 20 million readers since its launch in 2010.
He hosts a successful podcast, The James Altucher Show, with guests of the caliber of Tony Robbins, Mark Cuban, Pieter Thiel, Arianna Huffington, Coolio, etc. His podcasts have had over 30 million downloads.
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Get James’s free copy of the Ultimate Guid to Self Publishing (this is the only reason I knew how to publish a book) at https://jamesaltucher.com/publish/.
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[0:00] My guest today made $15,000,000 after selling his business and lost it all. In a few short months.
He made another 10,000,000 Four times over Oh Wow! I was going to say you made another $10,000,000 but lost it all again, but it happened a couple two more times.
He started 20. Business business is 17 of them failed. He’s been a hedge fund manager, a venture capitalist.
He’s written 21 books, including Choose Yourself Right Here, which sold over 1,000,000 copies and was self published.
He’s written thousands of articles, including many for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times Business Insider and scores More.
He’s a board member for several companies he claims to have single handedly saved the U. S stock market in 2009. He thinks college is a waste of time, as do I.
I think this is gonna be common knowledge in let in less than a decade, and he believes buying a home is financial suicide. We’re gonna talk about all of that today, and for good measure, he’s a chess master and a stand up comic.
Please welcome the one and only James out teacher for the first live edition of Growth Mindset University. Give it up.
[1:21] Jordan. Thanks for having me on the podcast. I’m really honored. I know you have a lot of people you could choose from to have his guests on this podcast. Can I ask you a question?
[1:29] No, go ahead.
[1:30] So you were you, you know, Ah, intern and studied with this kind of celebrity trainer and worked with him.
Did you meet a lot of the people? He was, uh, he was training.
[1:41] I met a few. Nothing. Nothing crazy. None of like you know, his clients are Fiji, you know, like Fiji water, right?
So he goes to their house all the time. I I was not I did not get to go.
Um, but, uh, but I got to meet a lot of quality individuals.
[1:58] What do you think he thought distinguished some of these successful people that he was training from other people he was training like, Was there an extra discipline, or were they extra lazy because they were, you know, already were successful and maybe felt like they could,
in some ways mentally splurges That success by not trying this hard anymore, was there?
Were there any qualities that made you know his celebrities that he was training different?
[2:24] That’s a great question. I am not 100% sure that’s it.
[2:27] Did they have a growth mindset? Come on.
[2:27] I bet. I bet they did. But I mean, something I think about all the time is you know, you have to have the courage to say I don’t know sometimes, uh and I’m not afraid to say I I truthfully do not know the answer.
[2:42] All right, fair enough. You know, a lot of times, you know, going on, like,
sometimes, you know, television networks, you see people talking like it’s a panel of people talking about oh, Trump trade, war or taxes or the college admissions can. And they have a bunch of pundits.
You’re really not allowed to say, I don’t know on TV, they will penalize you. They won’t invite you back if you say I don’t know.
[3:05] Really? Yeah. Did you ever do it?
[3:05] Yeah, and Oh, yeah, all the time. And then I want to get invited back for a while and then But But TV’s memory is fast, so they forget.
[3:15] You’re on TV a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Preventive.
[3:16] Yeah, for better for worse. Because a lot of times, those TV segments there, like, three minutes And as soon as you feel like, oh, we’re starting to make some sense here is the segment’s over.
And now our next guest is going to talk about these extra large orange is being found in Brazil or whatever.
[3:31] Right? Yeah. I was, uh, way had Dan lock on the show, and I watched his segment on Fox, and it was like, two minutes in 45 seconds. And and, uh, you know, Dan said you probably don’t even a two minutes, 35 seconds.
You probably don’t even like me anymore by now. After saying that or something like that, he’s like what he’s like. Well, you’ve only got the host was like, we’ve only got 10 seconds left, and I was like, Oh, my gosh. So quick.
[3:55] Sometimes, sometimes you’re on.
[3:57] You can’t You can’t get the truth out. And like you can’t get everything out in two minutes. 45 seconds, like it was a wrong word. Wrong where? But like you can’t tell the full story.
[4:01] What? What do you mean, truth? Like what? That What’s that? I’m just kidding. But like, what’s that.
[4:09] Right. But I’m interested in the word truth because you can’t. That word has no meaning.
Like for instance, Ah, you have something in your ear and they’ll say, Oh, no, whispers. You okay, James? Jump in now and like argue and, uh, yeah, that happens in every news show.
[4:26] Huh? Agent So.
[4:28] Another time I was on one show. I’ll even say the name? Ah, John Stossel show. I think it was on Fox then or ABC. I forget.
And before they started the segment, um, this woman came out of nowhere.
I’m we’re all miked up. We’re already and she gave me a brush and told me to go to the bathroom and brush my hair before going on the John Stossel show.
[4:48] Okay. You know, you know, I was thinking about you’ve had a similar hairstyle for quite some time.
[4:49] That’s the truth. That’s how important the truth is.
[4:57] What would happen if he just shaved it all off?
[5:00] I think I’ll be even uglier than I already am. Like I would stake out even worse.
[5:04] No, it’s I I dig it like I would if you shaved it off.
This is This is so you like. It’s just iconic.
[5:13] Ah, yeah, I don’t know. I It’s people just I know I could never It’s always a mess. So it’s just I just grew it out longer and it stayed even worse. So.
[5:26] So you single handedly saved the U. S. Stock market in 2009 Supposedly in your book. Tell me about that. What’s the story there?
[5:33] Well, I was living on, um, the corner of Broad Street and Wall Street.
So I don’t know if you know that corner on one side of the corner was my building on another side of the corners, the New York Stock Exchange and across the street from both of us, was for the New York Stock Exchange.
In my building was the building where George Washington got inaugurated president, and there’s a statue of George Washington.
So I would walk out of my house each morning, and I just felt like this is this is history. It’s like, what a historic place.
[6:03] My kids would even make fun of me like we walk out of the building together and they would like, imitate me, sing.
It is such a historic place in like, uh, uh, making fun of me, but, um ah around You know, the time of the financial crisis.
And in 2009 stock market was just It was just so down, you know, and not even like it didn’t even make sense any more for a lot of reasons.
But, you know, we don’t have to go into those. But just and then every I noticed everybody walking into the New York Stock Exchange, they were always like looking at the ground.
There were always depressed, you know, It was it was winter still, and they were sad.
And the market was like at I don’t know the worst, you know, the worst market fall since the Great Depression.
And so one time I went out and I bought, like, three bags of chocolates, like the kind of chocolates you hand out out on Halloween and chocolate triggers oxytocin in the brain.
And it triggers all these neurochemicals that not only make you happy, but encourage ah, little bit more risk taking.
[7:14] So I just stood outside of the New York Stock Exchange one morning and I handed out chocolates.
I will go up to people who are walking in and again they were they were looking at the ground. They were depressed and everybody 100% of people would look up first. Confused like What do you Why you in my space?
And then I would just be offering, like, here’s free chocolate and you know, you know, with that advice, don’t take candy from strangers.
All of them took candy from a stranger, and, um, they took him in like a smile on their next eight banks, and they would unravel and be like Hershey’s Kisses and they would eat the chocolate.
That was March 9th 2009. It was the exact bottom of the market in it since then, so I don’t know. I have to take some credit like that was the bottom of the market.
I basically got everybody who was the major traders of the market to be happier and more in cars to take risks.
So it’s not lying if it’s true.
So, uh, you know where it’s not bragging? If it’s true, I I did it.
[8:17] It sounds like you could argue, You know? I mean, as people laugh, but I buy it. I totally buy that. This, like the little things, and I do believe it made a difference.
[8:27] Yeah, because at that time and now I get a little more wonky about at that time.
There’s no reason for the market to have been down that much. Then the housing crisis was over. All the banks had been bailed out.
So even if you thought that was bad or not, at least right then all the banks had a lot of money.
And, you know, there was like, there was, like, bank stocks that were giving dividends of, like, 15 or 16%.
So it was ridiculous. Apple was trading for five times earnings, like it was just kind of ridiculous. I remember there was one day where, um, swine swine flu was in the news like, Oh, no, there was, like, one outbreak of swine flu.
And so there was a stock with the symbol H O G s, which was down 20% that day. It had nothing to do a swine flu.
Yeah, maybe they sold as part of their product pork.
But I had nothing to do with you. Wouldn’t get swine flu from eating their bacon.
And ah, it’s just everybody was irrational in the market like I almost wish the market was like that again because ah, you sort of you.
You realize how have deeply fear of creates opportunities in the market. So of course, hogs was a great buy that day, and the market and bank stocks were great by on March 9th.
But they also could have been a great buy in March sent it just so happens on that day that I handed out chocolates does randomly that was the bottom of the market forever.
[9:56] So you mean we’ll talk about a low in the market? You’ve had many lows. You talk about four times. You kind of lost the money and made it back.
There’s a low point. I believe in the nineties. That right that you write about and choose yourself. You try to check into a homeless shelter to find, but to find love. But they didn’t let you tell me. Tell me the reasoning.
[10:14] Yes. So I was, um I was working.
I was Ah, ah ah Software guy back then and this is like a long time ago is 19 1991 summer of 1991 and so is a really long time ago.
I had just gotten thrown out of school and I was working for the summer for this place, and the job was fun.
It was basically taking English documents and trend and and figure taking, taking dot news articles and figuring out what the news articles were about and categorizing them.
So technology like that later became useful in search engines.
[10:55] But in the in the first search, engines that were created and, ah, but I would sit out at lunchtime every day, and I see all these women going in and out of this one building.
And I was single at the time and very insecure. It unconfident myself similar to now.
And, um, I was one. What’s that building? And it was a homeless shelter, so I figured, Oh, this is great.
I’ll be the ah, this is definitely a place.
This is like this was like the tender of 1991 for May And so I went to meet. I remember his name. Bruce was the guy running the homeless shelter.
And I said, Can I move in here? I’ll be like a good influence on the homeless people here.
I could maybe teach courses on something, and I really thought like this was gonna be some kind of, like love story. I’d meet some, you know, desperate homeless woman, and she’d fall in love with me. And life will be great after that.
And so he called. He’s like, that’s a really odd request. Like, are you homeless? And I’m like, No, no, no. But I want to live close to my work. I work right across the street. So he called my boss.
[12:01] My boss calls later, calls me into his office and says, Do you wanna live in the homeless shelter across the street?
And I said, Yeah, and, um, he said, Well, how do you know you’re going to be continuing working here and,
I’m like, Well, just going to tell me And he said, Yeah, well, you know, you’re not gonna be continuing to work here after next week, you know, your thing is over and we’re not going to re,
hire you and ah And so he told the homeless shelter, not busy, told the homeless shelter.
I was crazy. Not not. And and don’t let me live there. And then he fired me.
[12:37] That it.
[12:38] So and and and I never met any women from homeless shelter. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don’t know.
[12:43] Uh what was Ah, so you talk about a couple of your downfalls? A very well documented, you know, You made the 15 lost as I mentioned the intro 10 and lost it.
What were two other ones? I’m not actually familiar with dozens.
[13:00] Yeah. I mean, one time one time I got a letter.
This is in 2004. Ah, it just made a bunch of money.
I sold, uh, or help sell a mental health facility company that I was involved with Not as a member, but not as a, uh, what do you call it?
That is a patient, but as an owner, and, um ah, I had made some money.
And then suddenly I got this letter from the IRS, and they said you didn’t file taxes.
You you didn’t file your taxes last year for the 17th year in a row.
And during that time, I had, you know, built and sold companies, and, you know, But I was, you know, not the amount that I would have owed.
Like I thought in my head was so much more like, probably 20 times more than I actually had in the bank.
And so I was just scared to death. I remember.
[14:04] Ah, that night I was googling like, every case ever with the I rs.
And I thought, man, um, I’m definitely going to jail.
And ah, And then I started figuring out I started googling like, Well, maybe I should kill myself because I’m gonna go broke again, and I just can’t.
I just can’t bear the pain of that again.
And I can’t bear the pain of going to jail.
And but I didn’t wantto kill myself and hurt myself.
So cause, like, you could kill yourself in painless ways when most people if I were to say like, like, how? If you were to try to kill yourself, how would you do it?
[14:42] I said I’m such a dork. Only we know how that’s like. Ah, that’s a great question. Uh, I would I wouldn’t be able to figure out howto hang myself for the life of me. Uh.
[14:51] Well, first off, hanging yourself would be the worst idea because you were just, like, hang there either.
And you’d break your neck and just sort of hanging there until you die. Or you would suffocate for a few minutes until you die. So both ways are very painful.
[15:04] I I think what I would ever d’oh So sounds here to talk about I don’t even know howto get my hands on a gun But I guess I’d shoot myself Yeah.
[15:15] Yeah, but you did it this way. You you sort of describe doing it this way.
[15:17] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
[15:19] If you do it that way, you’re very likely, toe, um, just blow out one of your eyes and maybe go deaf, and so it wouldn’t be pleasant and ah ah.
So it was a lot of research, and ultimately I couldn’t really figure out of a good, safe way to kill yourself. It’s very ugly business so I didn’t do that.
And ah, I went to the IRS and basically worked out a deal with them and gave him all my money and was broke again.
So now I Now I stay on top of it. Now they don’t let now they write me a letter like on April 15th. Did you weak?
We need to hear from you like that. I’m on their radar.
[15:58] Well, now you stay on top of it. I was really wondering because you’ve been up and down so many times. Who’s to say you’re not going down again? Like, do you anticipate being down again? If not like, are you taking precautions like.
[16:10] No, I don’t. So there’s three skills, so I feel now we’re getting We’re getting into it so there’s three skills tow, tow about money.
There’s making it, There’s keeping it, and there’s growing it, and they’re completely different skills.
If you think about it like you know, making it involves all the sorts of things you read about in every business self help book or you read about online like here. Some strategies to use. Do this do this?
Keeping it is totally a different skill. Here’s you know how you should allocate your money.
Here’s how you protected And here’s what you should spend on here is how you should protect yourself and then growing it.
[16:50] That’s a whole other thing. Um, where it’s like, Okay, here’s how you properly invest when you have a lot a large amount of money and so on. That’s completely different skill.
So I was good at the making It I wasn’t good yet at the keeping it growing, and I say yet because I’ve gone broke enough times that I was sort of able to look back and see each time what Mr Steaks I made,
to go broke and it was very clear to me what mistakes I made to go broke.
Ah, on a personal level, I would sort of like, think after I made money each time sort of thing to myself. You That’s it.
That was that whole era of my life where I grew up, or I was I paid for everything. I was poor all along.
And now I’m done with all the hard work of being a human.
I could just start living large, living expensive, doing whatever I wanted and enjoy myself.
[17:43] So it was like, You know, you go to the gym every day for a year or a couple of years, and you’re like, Oh, I’m fit for life. That’s not the case. You flabby again.
[17:52] Right. Your your your muscles will atrophy pretty quickly, right? Like like if you let’s say you Bill, let’s say I’m actually serious about this.
Let’s say you haven’t an accident and you’re in a hospital bed.
Ah, because the accident and they’re not letting you walk. How long will it be before your leg muscles atrophy enough that in order for you to properly walk and you’d probably need physical therapy two weeks? That’s what I thought.
And, ah, because I think Stephen King mentioned that he like after two weeks, he had he had trouble when he was in a bike accident, and and the same thing’s true for even mental muscles. So I’ll quote Stephen King again after he was in bed for two weeks.
He tried writing again.
And this is Stephen King, whose were in probably more best sellers than anyone in history and sold more copies of his books than just about anyone else.
After two weeks of not writing, he said, I couldn’t even put a sentence together.
I couldn’t put two words together like he couldn’t write like his writing muscles had atrophied, and it’s the same thing, like you know, that discipline that that that kind of.
[18:54] Um you know, I don’t want to use the word hustle, but that eagerness to deliver value in to solve problems and to make money and to do all that make all the right decisions with the people around you and in customers and and products and execution.
Those Those are muscles, too. And they atrophy almost instantly after you stop using them and you know so on a personal level, I think, you know, I talk about this and choose yourself.
[19:20] You know, physically, I stopped staying healthy like I’ll never be in like, great shape.
I just not a workout type of person. But I just stopped, like, caring about myself. Like I would not sleep properly, not move around properly, not eat properly. Emotionally.
I wouldn’t be around Good people is much like to make money. You have to be around other people who are focused on delivering value and helping you and so on creatively. I wasn’t coming with ideas anymore.
Spiritually, I wasn’t kind of surrendering to the things I couldn’t control, and so that’s on a personal level.
But then on the money level, I would just start thinking I was smarter than I was like, Well, I made 15,000,000 years, so that must mean I’m smart.
So I would make these huge, enormous investments in really bad companies and just.
[20:09] Go broke like you can’t You can’t invest in 20 or 30% of your net worth in some company that you think is good, but nobody else does.
Ah, you can’t do that seven times because then you’ll go broke because most of those companies will be that you’ll go broke and you’re starting, mate. You’re starting to make other big money decisions like, Oh, I’m gonna buy a house now.
Well, that might go broke. Ah, you know, house is great when you have the money. But one thing about a house is you can’t get the money when you need it, So oh, all of a sudden, it’s the financial crisis.
But I wanted, but I wanted to sell my house.
Forget it. You’re not selling the house for three more years, so you know, suddenly you find yourself You’re making all these bad financial, big and bad financial decisions. And then when you need money, you can’t get it.
So that’s how I went broke every single time.
And so what I do now?
You know, other than those personal things I mentioned. Like I try to be creative every day I try to surround myself.
Yeah, I always write down ideas every single day on this, my waiters pad.
[21:13] Oh, I started doing it to look. 10 ideas, 10 ideas, 10 ideas.
[21:15] Yeah, it works. And that builds your idea. Muscle your idea muscle within six months.
It’s like you’re, uh you’ve got, like, a jacked idea.
Muscle really makes a difference. Like, suddenly start having ideas all the time. And it’s great, but I stopped doing it, and during these moments when I would get brought here, I don’t need I don’t need to have ideas anymore. I’m just smart now and ah ah.
You know, I would make these these huge investments in the worst companies.
Okay, so but it but yeah. So I stopped by my own personal stuff and then financial, I would just make every bad decision by making all these big investments.
Now I have all these rules. One is I stick to that personal daily practice of physical, emotional, creative, spiritually health every single day.
And I’m always trying to challenge myself in new ways that are, you know, trying to always get out of your comfort zone. So you’re never you’re always a little bit hungry. You’re always challenging yourself in scaring yourself a little bit like a dare of the day type of thing.
And then financially, let’s say you are to present me with the absolute best company in the world like you’re sure this is the best company in the world?
[22:23] I have two rules. One is people a lot smarter than may have to be going into the investment at the same level I’m going in.
So so like, if you told me Warren Buffetts also investing and you can invest you with the same level Warren Buffett’s investing, I’ll be okay.
What am I gonna do, run in tow, Warren buffet at a cocktail party and say, Warren, Warren, how could you have invested in Jordan’s company? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
I would never argue with Warren Buffet at a cocktail party, so cause I’m the one drunk and he doesn’t drink.
And the second thing is, I always keep my position sizes toe no more than 2% of my net worth, so I would use to do like 20 or 30 would be greedy.
Oh my gosh, if I do 20% of my net worth and this goes up 100 times that my network just went up 10 10 times like if I had 15,000,000 it’s gonna be worth over 100,000,000.
So I would never do that 2% of my net worth at the most.
And I never add to the investment, whether it’s going down or whether it’s going up.
I never add to the investment because if it’s a great investment, I won’t care. I’ll make a lot of money, and it was horrible. Investment only invested 2% of my net worth.
I know I could sleep at night and then I diversify heavily.
So, you know, over time now, over the past 10 years of investing in private companies.
[23:42] I’m invested in, um, companies in, you know, tech companies in the energy space companies in the food space companies in other countries s o I’m invested.
I’m heavily diversified. So no matter what happens to the stock market, um, fine and, uh ah, yeah, And then also, I have income stream, so I don’t rely on my investments.
I also start businesses, and I take very little risk. I only like to start businesses that are profitable on the very first day, which again, Not everyone is like that. Some people like to start businesses.
Oh, I’m gonna raise venture capital money and we’re gonna lose money until we go public. And that whole thing, I don’t take that kind of rest cause most of those companies fail.
You only hear the stories but uber that were Google that succeed, most of those companies fell. If you’re profiting from Day one, though, it’s really hard to fail, so.
[24:35] So maybe this is the difference between the short game and the long game.
You’re investing 20% of your net worth into one thing you’re like, it’s this really sexy idea to think. Wow, it could go up.
You’re right. I’m gonna go this much in such a short amount of time.
It could be it could be, You know, only a number of years before you make that big money. And it goes up a lot if you invest 20%. But if you diversify, I mean, it’s a much longer game, right?
You’re playing the long game now on your investments, Not not looking for the quick win.
[25:10] Absolutely, Like I have investments that I’m in now that I’ve been in since 2009 for instance.
So that’s 10 years, and I don’t even want them.
You know, First off, it takes a few years for a company to hit its stride.
So let’s say, took them 556 years before I realized, OK, there, over the hump, they’re going to succeed one way or the other. I’m going to make money on this investment.
Takes five or six years for me to even realize that.
Otherwise you don’t really know. Are they gonna succeed or they gonna fail? They’re not mature yet. As a company, it’s just like children at the age of four, not mature yet. You can’t let them walk across the street on their own. They need adult guidance.
So it takes five or six years to see Okay, there, beyond the need for adult guidance, they’re going to do well.
But then that’s when they start their biggest pace of growth. So now they’re going 100% a year.
So now, 10 years in some of these companies, they’re still growing 100% a year.
If I took got my money out now. It would be horrible because, ah, where am I gonna put it?
[26:10] I don’t really like putting it into something that’s only gonna grow five or 6% a year.
I wouldn’t know what to do. So I prefer not getting the money from these successful companies.
I hope they keep growing 100% a year.
Eventually, that’ll slow, and then they should probably sell the company.
Or sometimes they’re sort of bubbles and certain sectors, and then you want them to sell to take advantage of that bubble behavior.
So I’ve benefited from bubble behavior many times, but then you have to make sure you don’t believe the bubble yourself and and you make sure to get get cash instead of staying in stock.
[26:44] Do you think you can time the market like I don’t I don’t buy that. People like waiting for, like, the perfect time to get in and out, right? It’s like it’s like it’s like a bias like, Oh, I don’t know exactly when, like, I know, like I know people that are that are just waiting.
[26:50] I don’t think you got time to market. No.
[26:57] No. I think the important most important thing for investors toe heat every day when they wake up is I am not smart.
I am the stupidest person around.
I don’t know anything. And by the way, every new source knows less than you.
So don’t get any information from the news because that’s old news. Once it’s in the news, Does the everybody knew the news 20 weeks before? It’s actually in the newspaper and and you know you can’t.
Yeah, sure, you could say in 2009 Oh, apples, only trading of five times earnings. That’s ridiculous.
[27:33] I can’t say that. I I didn’t say I didn’t said only say, Oh, March 9th, 2000 and I’m gonna throw all my money into the market.
I was fully invested all throughout the downturn.
I didn’t I didn’t even though I knew the downturn was coming. I remember one of the guys, the in the big short, the book, not the movie.
He pitched me his hedge fund and he said, Look, he showed me every reason why I was in 2006.
He showed me the entire US economy is going to collapse, and this is John Paulson who made like billions of dollars, a shorting, betting against housing, he said.
My only worry is that I don’t get my cash out before all the banks collapsed. Like that’s what he said was his only worry.
And if not for the ballot, he probably would have had that problem. But I didn’t invest with him.
I just was always kind of somewhat optimistic, and the optimism pays off in the long run.
Like right now, the market is what within one or 2% of all time highs, despite everything that’s happened in the past 100 years. World War One, World War two, the Cold War.
Ah, you know, the the Depression, the financial crisis, the bailouts and what happens?
[28:41] Oh, we’re within 1% of all time highs on the market and in every part of the U.
S. Economy seems to be, you know, working pretty well right now so he can’t time. You can’t time the market, but sometimes when you when you’re down like people will say, Oh, that guy’s an idiot.
So, like, you know, I would go on every financial news show I was writing for every financial column all through those. Then financial crisis happens.
[29:08] 2009 happens. And then even in 2010 there was Ah, you is either 2010 or 2011.
There was a 20% market dip and I went on TV.
I was arguing against Nouriel Roubini, who was called Dr Doom, because he’s always predicting, um, bear markets and there was me versus him was like July 5th, even either 2010 or 2011 and I remember I was driving home.
I got two phone calls, Ah, one from my mom and she said, Maybe you shouldn’t smile so much when the market’s down so much and you’re on TV and I’m like, What? The market should be up like It always eventually does.
And Nouriel Roubini had just said to me all I was gonna go down another 20% more and then another person quality ins from a hedge fund. And he’s like everybody here thinks you’re like the most stupid idiot in the world, and that was the bottom of the market.
Even since then, and Nouriel Roubini has trashed me ever since.
Like I remember a year later, someone from some hedge fund wrote to him and said, Ah, when are you gonna invite James to one of your famous parties? He beat you in that in that debate.
And Nouriel Roubini wrote back on the email chain. And he said, Ah, only when the next recession starts and this is eight years later he still has not invited me toe any of his parties.
So and actually he’s blocked me on Twitter for some reason. Like who thought I have never once a you know, even communicated with him on Twitter. He blocked me.
[30:25] Well, speaking of.
[30:33] Well, we’re speaking of investments. Had a run in with the man Bernie Bernie made off himself. It’s how that story that’s the best story of.
[30:42] It was. It was sort of ah, bad and a good experience for me. So I was running, Ah, hedge funds.
And my next door neighbor said Always, you come in and meet my boss, and maybe he’ll help you. Maybe he’ll allocate will allocate money to your hedge fund. He does that.
And so I said, OK, so we drive in, we go and meet his boss and his boss gives me the tour, and his boss is really showing me all sorts of stuff.
He said, you know, he look at all these traders out here, they’re all gonna be replaced by computers within the next few years.
Which that prediction was was very correct. And I said, Any said so?
So James, What? What What do you hear for? What do you want? And I said, Ah, I’d really you know, I invest in a different strategy than you use, And maybe, you know, would be great for you to diversify by investing in my strategy. And here’s my returns and so on.
And he’s like, Well, a my returns are better than yours and be, Ah, I don’t give you money. I don’t really know.
I’m sort of just hearing what you do you do with the money. But I don’t really know. That’s what you’re doing with the money. For all I know, you seem like a good guy.
You could He’s living that you could have a job here if you want. Like, I like you and you seem smart, but I don’t really know what you’re doing.
Once I give you that money and the last thing we need to see here at Bernard Madoff Securities is our name on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
[32:08] And so I left and I was so depressed, like, gosh, he’s right. Like he he’s the man and he he his returns are better than mine. Like, you know, uh, I can’t compete.
And so literally about a month or so later, I shut down my fund and tried Thio or began shutting it down. It takes a long time to shut down.
And ah, I started another business which I sold stock picker, which I sold the st dot com for 10,000,000.
But thanks to Bernie made off, I I made my next dispatch of of wealth, which I probably lost a few years after that.
[32:46] But here’s the funny thing. As I was leaving Bernie Madoff’s offices and and really depressed all these other hedge fund friends of mine were calling me, and he’s like and they were like, Did you figure out how he makes all his money?
Do you think he would let us invest in his fund?
Ah, and I didn’t know the answer. And I reminded them several years later that they all called and they were like, No, we knew all the time. He was a scam.
And like, you know, I’m pretty sure I remember you calling me and saying We really want to invest with him and like, That’s impossible.
We knew all along he was a scam and like, Why would I make that up like that? I remember incorrectly. They, like you must have remembered incorrectly just everybody.
Everybody has really weird experiences and memories about money. It’s like such a powerful energy that I’m the one hand we try to ignore it like we try to act like, Oh, I don’t care about the money.
I care about other things or, um, you know, But money is takes up. Such mental real estate that people forget things they’ll never admit they were wrong.
They know there’s a lot of, like, sort of psychological skills you could learn by learning about your attitudes, being aware about your attitudes towards money.
So I know for me that it’s it’s it’s better for me to not to plan in advance strategy, so I don’t have to think about money.
So if you have a great company, I have to wait for you to tell me.
[34:10] Such and such great investor is personally putting money in before I even consider it.
And then I will only consider maximum, you know, 1 to 2% 3% tops, but really not Ah, unless there’s huge rest taken out of the equation.
2% of my money no more will go into that investment, and then I’ll invest. By the way, I don’t even have to know what your company does.
If you tell me Peter Thiel, for instance, or Warren Buffet or Mark Andrews and is investing in your company and I’m allowed and it’s a low valuation and I’m allowed to invest just,
one or 2% of my net worth, then I’ll write the check. I don’t even have to know where your company does.
But ah, and that’s my That’s my 100% of my investment strategy for private companies.
[34:54] Right. It makes a lot of sense. We’re gonna shift to talk about one of my favorite favorite things to talk about education to start off. I mean, you were thrown out of grad school. Why? Why were thrown on the ground?
[35:05] I just wanna graduate school. I was one of a really good graduate school for computer science, and I loved Cornell undergrad computer science.
[35:10] You graduated from Cornell undergrad.
[35:13] And then ah, and I barely graduate because I graduated in.
I had to skip a year because I couldn’t afford the fourth year.
And to skip a year, you needed a 3.0 g p. A.
I like a the last day. I had, like, a 2.999 g p a. And they weren’t going to give me the diploma.
And I had to go to one of my professors who was giving me a D minus that semester.
And I said, Listen, can you just I have no reason for this.
Can you just give me a D plus instead of a D minus?
[35:42] And he said, Okay. And so I graduated, and then I was going to one of the best graduate schools in the country for computer science.
There was basically Stanford M I t. Than Carnegie Mellon, and, uh uh, and I barely got in there.
I think the only reason I got in there was I realized after they put me in my office there, you know every student gets in office of the shares with two or three people, and my office mate was, Ah, it was called chip test.
At the time it was a computer chip test.
Eventually became, um eventually they renamed a deep thought and eventually IBM, uh, kind of hired the guy who made it. And he brought that computer and they named a deep blue.
And then deep blue ended up beating Garry Kasparov to be the first computer that beep beat a world chess champion. So it was the sort of iconic Aye aye, you know, artificial intelligence moment.
But they’re Carnegie Mellon had just given a phD to its on Lee student that was a chess master.
So there was nobody left to play against Chip test, and so they thought I was a chess master. And so they they said, Okay, we’ll accept you.
[36:51] Every other graduate school, by the way, rejected me and Carnegie Mellon was the best.
I thought, if all these other schools are rejecting me, certainly the one school that was the best by far that I apply to was gonna reject me.
Even Cornell. My undergrad school rejected me and ah Ah, and it wasn’t as good as Carnegie Mellon for computer science, but they accepted me in my office, mate was the guy who made this chest computer.
And that’s what I had to do all day long was play this chess computer.
[37:20] So and then and then I got thrown out because I got interested in writing and I wanted to write.
I totally lost interest in computer science, like in the first Met first semester.
For whatever reason, I got really obsessed things you should get obsessed with. In first grade, I got obsessed with my first great of graduate school, which is, ah, reading and writing.
So I just started writing 88889 10 hours a day and hour.
That’s all I would do. I would use I would skip every class s. So I I failed every single class I took in graduate school, but they were give giving me this really nice fellowship.
And so maybe probably unethical.
But I stayed for two whole years, failing every single class.
And then finally they wrote me a letter saying, Sorry, James, you know, you’re you know you’re not really mature enough for grad school when you feel you have enough maturity would be happy to take you back.
But for now you have to leave. And so they they cut me off.
And the guy who wrote that letter, Ah, was the dean of students and he became my one and only chest student right after I was thrown out of graduate school.
And so he was my student. And we’ve been best friends ever since.
[38:38] Did you ever plan on going back?
[38:40] He asked me every single year, and now he’s like the dean at Georgia Tech, and he’s like, Look, just come here for a few months, write a paper and we’ll give you the phD and I’m like, No, I’m not.
I’m not mature enough yet, so I can’t go back.
Ah, well, I feel so. I know you’re I know your stance on education. I’ve seen you write about it many times.
When did your when did you start to your beliefs about education and the system as a whole Start to become what they are now.
[39:13] Well, it started off as a financial thing.
What are the things people spend the most money on in life? They spend most their most money on a house and on college.
And then I don’t know what’s after that. Like maybe a couple of cars. Or maybe, Ah, I don’t Nothing even comes close to a house in college.
So if you’re kind of, you know, upwardly mobile, you’re buying expensive more and more expensive houses and spending more and more money, and you want to send your kids,
to a pretty good college. And even like middle middle tier colleges, like not even in the top 100,
their tuitions now are as high as like Harvard, like over 60,000 year. And so I started.
So for me, my biggest mistakes were always not only just making huge financial decisions with investments, what making other huge financial decisions like buying a house or going to college, you know,
and and I started looking into this, you know, tuition has gone up 10 times faster than inflation.
[40:17] Every single year since 1977.
In fact, in fact, tuition is up more than inflation since then, by a factor of 10 healthcare, which people usually go broke because of health care costs.
Health care costs are only a factor of three over inflation, but tuitions up a factor of 10.
And it’s because the government will let 18 year olds take out $250,000 in loans and say, Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.
[40:44] No questions asked.
[40:45] Yeah, no questions asked. And then Oh, by the way, this is the one type alone you cannot not pay or we will get you in every pot. We’ll take it from your salary. We’ll take it from your home. We’ll take it from everything.
Like so we s O now. Student loan debts gone from $200,000,000,000 in 2002.
Tow 1.6 trillion. Now, 22,000,000 adults have student loan debt and and the debt.
They’re never going to pay it back like the somebody wrote me two days ago.
She is $363,000 in student loan debt. And you think, Oh, my God. Well, she didn’t have to go to Harvard.
No, she went to some random school. She did a year or two of law school and she’s stuck now because she doesn’t want to be a lawyer.
So which happens to many people. But it used to be a generation ago.
[41:35] You didn’t have $363,000 in debt yet maybe $40,000 in that $20,000 in debt.
And and you can still start a company and you participate in the American frontier, which is entrepreneurship and innovation and helping people on delivering value.
Now I literally know people who get great degrees, and they have to get like a job as a sales person in an eyeglass store because you have to immediately start paying down that debt.
There’s and what happens is is that rich people send their rich kids to college without debt.
Those rich kids marry other rich kids who are also not in debt and going to those best schools.
And the people in debt, you know, are going to not as good schools they were getting.
Ah, they’re taking on this huge student loan debt. They marry people in huge that, And so it goes another generation. And so that’s really how income.
It’s not even an education thing. It’s It’s a huge societal income inequality thing where income inequality is getting greater and greater.
Ah, people can’t. Those 22,000,000 Americans can’t go off and start companies anymore.
So So you know, in China with, you know, something like 500,000,000 people Ah, with college degrees or whatever, they’re starting companies. They’re improving on their technology.
[42:56] You know, the world’s shifting and in part it’s because young kids are so straddled by debt.
Now on the educational side does not take four years to learn a skill, and employers even are looking more and more skills than degrees.
So it takes maybe a year toe. Learn a skill well enough a CZ.
If you had gone to a four year college and you could learn it online for free, any any important skill that will help you in your job instead of the,
you know, 80% of of American students are like involved in something for their majoring in some kind of grief studies.
And you know, nobody’s, you know, learning real skills because you could learn those all online easily and I don’t know, even from an educational perspective over. Then people say, Then they put people say, Oh, but you know, it’s a good way to socialize. They’re gonna be social.
I don’t have to pay my kid $250,000 to make friends from the ages of 0 $250,000 to 18 to 22.
She’s going to do that like with with her without Leave Hangar to do it.
[43:56] Well, what’s like the alternative, then? Like so you’re an 18 year old. What’s the socialization, then? The socialization equivalent.
[44:04] Well, that’s a great question because 18 year olds are so brainwashed by their school system into thinking there’s only one way to live in society.
[44:14] Isn’t that right?
[44:14] And that s O So I have 18 year old.
I’ve have to 17 year olds, an 18 year old and 2 20 year olds and everybody, they’re all five of them are convinced they need to go to college to have a good life, no matter what.
I have read all my stuff, no matter what I say.
Ah, my daughter who’s in college? I said to her.
I will pay you exactly Tell me the tuition amount.
I will just give you cash and you can have it and just do what you love to D’oh!
So she wants to be an actress, which is really hard to do. Obviously, majoring in acting is not going to make you a successful actor.
So I said, Why don’t you spend a year at least learning auditioning, which is not taught in college?
And that’s a big part of the lifestyle of being a successful actress. See if you could psychologically handle it.
[45:05] Bartend or be a waitress, because you’re gonna have to do that if you want to be a successful actor, ah, do the things that actually will give you a four year head start and we’ll teach you more quickly.
The skills. Now you ask the socialization.
Do you think if she’s a waitress and also spending half our time auditioning, she’s not going to meet other kids her age or or of similar age, who are doing something similar by the way? They don’t have to be her age.
[45:31] I have no friends who are my age. I have friends who are upto 20 years older and up to 30 years younger like you.
As you get older and older, your friends are not your age anymore. We’re not in the same grade like that’s a school thing.
Like where I have friends all over the age map. I don’t know if anyone is exactly my age that I’m friends with, nor do I ask, nor do I know if anybody has a degree that I’m friends with.
So these things start to disappear in importance. All the things that kids think are important, and I tried to tell my 18 year old I stopped arguing I would do more questioning and like, Well, what do you think the degree is gonna help you with?
Uh oh. Getting a job. Well, what about the fact that Google, Ernst and Young and these other 50 schools say they no longer look, look at degrees, even just read an article today? Some big company no longer is even allowed to look at degrees. They tell their people don’t look at degrees at all.
And they showed real high executives who have no degrees.
And but my kids won’t believe it. They say, Oh, no, it’s just for safety.
I’ll get a job if I have a degree and, you know, Ah, I don’t know how to convince my kids.
Now I swallowed What could have convinced them would have been to say, Well, I’m gonna force you to take out loans, But I didn’t do that, Which is maybe a mistake. I don’t know.
[46:47] Well, it’s Yeah, it’s interesting. Were sold this default path.
We’re, like, sold in American Dream and I don’t want to give off the wrong connotation there, but I think you know what I’m saying.
I mean, you talk about the default path where it’s like, go, you know, get good grades.
You can get into a good school graduate with good grades so you can get a good job and working this job for 40 years until you’re 65 years old, then retire,
and depend on a non existent Social Security check for the next three years until you die and save everything, including travel for those three years.
Why are we so stuck on that path?
Because I don’t want to participate. I’m not participate.
[47:27] I think I mean, just think of yourself and think of every parent here or every parent listening to this.
You know, up to the age of 13 kids sort of latch onto their parents when they’re 12 or 11. They’re still latching on to you when you cross the street like help me cross the street.
By the age of 13 we all know teenagers start to get a little bit more aggressive with the parents, and they start to hang out with their friends more, Which is fine, because 70,000 years ago.
[47:54] Somebody my age would have been dead and they couldn’t rely on help of a 15 year old 70,000 years ago.
Couldn’t rely on help from their week old parents, they could only rely on forming strong bonds with their peers.
And Ah, and our DNA is not different. Just go. Society is different than it was 70,000 years. There were no longer running from lions and other tribes, and whatever society is very different.
But the DNA is the same, so they start to latch onto their peers, and all of their peers think that college, you know, America has spent trillions of dollars.
Think training kids to think college is the only way to go. I mean, the American government makes a lot of money on the interest from student loans.
American government makes a lot of money on the interest from housing loans.
So So everything in the educational system, which is essentially run by the government.
[48:50] Trains kids to thinking on Lee one way, and the kids then compete with each other and they’re in their their peer group says, Oh, no, If you don’t get in tow this school or that school or you don’t have this on your s a t, I mean, the S A T is like,
the stupidest test ever the stupidest way to measure aptitude ever.
And now they’re adding like an adversity score. So it gets complicated and well regarded, like everything has good intentions like, Yes, it’s good intentions, like take into account the differences in people. It’s good intentions.
Everybody should have, Ah, higher education. These are all good intentions, but they’re not the only way, and and at some point people decide this is the only way, and then they spend trillions of dollars trying to convince everyone else so that’s very convinced.
[49:28] And there are other ways. And I do think eventually the debt will get so high that people just like Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous. You’re killing society, but I hope it’s not too late when we get that realization.
[49:41] Yeah, well, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate for a second. I mean, I to meet For me to play Devil’s Advocate on Education is is interesting and unheard of because I just post up post like and people know this year I will post on Lincoln.
Formal education is a huge scam and just take all the flak.
Some flak, but mostly, mostly people are on board, which is interesting. More and more people are agreeing now, and I’ve even seen it shift over the past six months.
[50:07] Yeah, I was when I first heard about this in 2000. I’m sorry to interrupt. I first heard about this in 2005. No one agreed with me. I lost friends everything. But now I think it’s at least a discussion, although my kids don’t agree, but it’s at least a discussion among people.
[50:07] But yeah, yes, is it?
[50:21] You know, it’s interesting. Somebody even commented on one of the most. I mean, I kind of I kind of go off about it every two weeks.
But it was like a month or two ago, and one of the comments was, Yep, one of those subjects that everyone seems to agree upon.
And I was like, Wow, things have really changed in the talk.
It was just six months ago, 667 months ago, that I was getting viciously attacked for her. All of this it was it was like is like 80% good, agreeing 20% hatred.
But now it’s like 95 agreeing 5% like, Well, it’s not even like hatred anymore. It’s like they’re on the defense.
[51:04] I think it’s because candidates for president now have realizes the problem.
So they’re talking about student loan debt relief. I don’t know if that’s the solution. Actually, I don’t know.
Well, I think I think I think the solution is first increase.
You know, price is a function of supply and demand, so we’ve drastically increased the demand.
There’s a fixed amount of college accredited college seats, but we’ve drastically increase the demand by essentially making it free for 18 year olds.
They think it’s free because they don’t understand the depth of their taking on. They don’t understand what risk is the the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
You human typically finishes growing that at the age of 25 that’s the part of your brain that assesses risk.
So by definition, 18 year olds are mentally ill like their brains are deformed from the brains of adults, and they don’t know how to assess risk. So for them and there’s no risk it all in going to college.
So so that’s why they don’t agree.
But, um, you know, so you can’t I don’t know if it s so They’re always gonna have demand if you give. Make it free for them.
[52:15] The way you could increase supply, though, to reduce price is let’s just make all online colleges accredited and those have infinite seats to make or Sarah or Khan Academy or Code academy, which teach actual skills.
They’ve been around for a decade. You know, people have learned lots of skills and got in lots of jobs because they say they’re clearly providing a good education.
Let’s make them accredited, then boom supply goes way up.
Ah, demand remains the same now, and price goes way down.
So that at least solves the price problem in terms of ah, debt relief.
I don’t know, you know, Sure, it would be great to forgive everyone’s that. And maybe it should come from the private sector like that.
The billionaire Robert Smith is paying back all the loans of from Morehouse.
I thought that was a really good thing. I think more steps like that come from the private sector, like they benefit from the educational system.
So help the people who are now in debt from going to the same college is that you did that’s that seems good rather than you know, the government it seems to complicate everything.
And it’s not like that. I’m such a libertarian. But I’d rather individuals help, you know. Then then a big institution helps.
[53:28] Well, it’s not even the financial side of things that that I look at when it comes to education. That’s half the problem. That’s only half the other half of the problem is that I don’t even know that we’re getting an education in there.
We’re learning some of the things we’re learning. Our mean the Silla by and material are decades outdated.
[53:49] Yeah, and even they say, Oh, well, not enough. Only 7% of kids in college now are doing some stem. You know, science, technology, engineering, math.
And yeah, which is 33% in China, 7% here. And ah, I don’t even know if that helps. Like I majored in computer science. Then I went to graduate school in computer science.
And then after I was done under graduate school, I stayed around the grad school enough like I had various jobs doing programming at the grad school.
So it took It took another three years before I got a real job. I got a job at HBO during computer programming, and, uh, here I had already.
You know, I got this undergrad degree at a good school for computers I had programmed for years and years and years. I had studied it for years and years and years.
I couldn’t do anything. I was the lowest level programmer at my job, and I was completely incompetent. I was so incompetent.
[54:43] The people at HBO, they said to me like, Look, we don’t want to fire you, but we have to send you tow remedial computer programming classes I’m and I’m like I went to grad. I got accepted.
I can’t say I would, but I got accepted to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon for computer science. Have been programming for years. I got my undergrad and computer science with my computer Science classes were almost all A’s.
And, uh, I was an idiot. A computer programming. I had to take two months of remedial classes at A T and t Ah, and then but But then I got really into and I got better.
You could only really got good at things you’re passionate about, somehow or other. I got passionate again about programming, and I was good for a short while more.
[55:24] Well, now I think it’s compounded because here’s what’s going on in the universities and I’ll give you the inside scoop because unfortunately I call it prison. You know, I gradually get out of prison in a year.
I am still in prison. I’m still in school.
Ah, and here’s what’s going on it, especially in the business school.
The homework assignments, the homework and quizzes are McGraw Hill.
There you just click through them and you can still get in a just by clicking through them.
The the tests are auto generated by McGraw Hill’s test bank of questions.
You just click learning outcomes, and out comes a test. We bubble it into a scantron, and then that scan John comes out with a number that somehow defines his grades are an illusion, by the way, uh, and,
I own The teachers are reading from McGraw Hill Power points that are just the same there cookie cutter classes and we’re not actually learning anything, and the system can be gamed. Cheating is rampant.
System can be gained if it can be gained.
Most likely, a lot of the time will be gamed eso more and more. This problem is compounding and people are coming out with no education. Really.
We’re not learning anything that’s relevant to the world today. We’re not.
So I say we seek outside. Resource is we have to There’s responsible.
[56:44] You know, use the word used word prison colleges come from. They started in the Renaissance, and there used to be you’d have a college.
You’d send all your 18 year old men to it.
And there was guards circling the college. But the guards were not facing outwards keeping out, you know, roving bands of barbarians or whatever the colleges.
The guards were facing inwards to make sure the students wouldn’t escape.
Because this was right. After that. Used to be, everyone knew violent crimes were most likely to be committed by men ages 18 to 22.
So in the medieval period, kings would send the 18 year old man off to the Crusades like Go, go toe Jerusalem, Get out of here! And those were over. So now it’s like, OK, go. We’ll call it a college. But it’s really a prison.
Like you say this. This is how they avoided, like violent crimes in their various kingdoms.
[57:39] I mean, I’ll tell you what I mean. I guess I refer to his prison because, like, the only thing or one of the only things it gets me down nowadays.
I mean, I like I’ve done so much to just build good around my life like there’s so many tools in my tool.
Belts like make you feel good all the time, like reading everyday non negotiables, like reading 10 pages. I wake up, we choose yourself, I read, Ah, you know, I read some Mark Manson and I read Tony Robbins.
Um, you know, I’ll exercise and I’ll eat right? No grains and that there’s my tools in my tool belt, but school school gets me down.
Like it It just yeah, the the fact that like I’m there, it’s like crushing the crushing, my creativity, my uniqueness on. And it’s just like it’s a guy.
Gigantic and tragic criminal waste of time and energy and resource is.
[58:34] Yeah, cause look, you’re doing this podcast. So you’re obviously this is not like a school thing.
So you’re learning an important skill by doing this. You’re you’re talking toe not counting me. You’re talkinto interesting people all the time, probably.
[58:48] Yeah, Mark. Mark Manson was on it.
[58:48] And Oh, yeah, Mark Man’s is a great guy. Ah, he’s been on my podcast as well and ah ah, so you’re learning really things and then you go back to school. It’s probably like a different, different world.
This is Mme or the real world where you’re like when I was in graduate school, but I started writing all the time.
Then I was Oh, this is like what it’s like to build a really difficult skill and get good at it.
It’s very hard to do. It’s not like getting an A.
You’re going to get thousands of efs before you get one.
See, before you get one A, like that’s a really skill that you’re gonna learn in life. And you never learn that.
Like if my one of my daughters gets an a minor, she starts crying, and I I one time I was teaching my daughter when she was much younger. I was teaching her to play tennis, and she would start crying if she hit the serve into the net.
And I said, Look, you need thio. Learn how to sit.
Ah, good serve. You’re gonna have to hit take enough risks to hit the ball into the net many times. But they don’t teach you this in school cause you’re supposed to get a all the time, which is a completely wrong philosophy of life. It’s like the reverse philosophy of life.
[59:58] Well, fittingly enough, you know that on season in school this podcast is about all about learning the lessons we should have learned in school, but,
did not and learning them from the people that we should have learned that from cause I mean most often to the professors, you know, on top of them not being particularly particularly dialed in haven’t actually done the thing that they’re talking about.
[1:00:18] Really. What if there’s a class that told you Hey, right down, 10 ideas a day And by the way, okay, tomorrow’s class right down. 10 ideas that are improvement on yesterday’s 10 ideas.
Okay, now right down. 10 ideas for that Amazon could do to improve themselves.
Now take two of your idealists and combine them and see what the combination of ideas looks like.
Like nobody there’s not a single class that actually teaches may be the most important skill for building ah, business in a life skill, which is howto have ideas and be creative, there’s no there’s no classes on that.
[1:00:51] Have a jack dihn diem. Also like we were talking about earlier. I mean, that’s so important.
I mean, I showed you. I mean, I’ve just seen I can see.
I mean, I’ve only been doing this past week or two, but I can see how it’s gonna change my life. I mean, the idea is not to have 3650 good ideas per year like it’s not possible, right?
But it’s just to exercise. That idea must have become really good at that.
[1:01:14] Right. The whole purpose is just to have idea muscle. So you could have you could have ideas about anything stupid ideas like I had on idealist the other day.
10 things like really wrong with recent superhero movies.
So, for instance, I’m not going to give the spoiler for Avengers endgame. Do you see Avengers endgame?
[1:01:31] I didn’t. I I’m I’m very sheltered in the movie world. I yeah.
[1:01:34] Okay, I’m not gonna have any spoilers anyway. But the bad guy, if you watch the first scenes, is the very first scene.
He’s on a planet in a T shirt picking fruits like he. His whole philosophy was basically a weird way of destroying the universe in order to prevent climate change.
And the superheroes are all trying to kill him. And he just wants to, like, pick fruits after everything’s all said and done.
So I just came up with, like, a list of again, maybe bad ideas, but they’re not even really ideas at all for anything. But it’s just like a list of ways to stretch myself. Like, uh, in what ways is the Black Panther movie actually the most racist movie? In what ways?
Why? Why did nobody on Star Wars ever read a single book?
Ah, it’s just all these weird things with all the movies we love. So I just wanted to come up with a weird list.
[1:02:23] I’ll share with you. My last three ideas from May 19th.
The 1st 1 is drop out of school and don’t give a fuck. Uh, because there’s a lot of social and parental pressure there.
Never drink alcohol again and then drink 200 ounces of water and a I think those are good ideas.
[1:02:43] Those are good ideas. Yeah, I should do the water thing. I don’t do the water thing.
[1:02:44] I really would. I don’t know that 200 might be too much. I don’t know. You could die from drinking too much water.
[1:02:52] I think the right amount is like, eight of these a day, but I don’t do that.
[1:02:54] Yeah, I think I heard, like, twice.
Twice your body weight or no half. Your What is it? What? I think maybe it’s half your body weight. So?
So for me, I guess the, uh, police be seven years.
[1:03:09] Well, I I What I do is when I wake up, I make sure I drink a whole one of these first thing because you’re after for me.
After 13 hours of sleeping, I need t o D Hide after eight hours of after eight hours of sleeping, usually dehydrated. So you gotta drink water and a lot of people don’t.
[1:03:18] 13. I mean, I love sleep, but it’s too late.
[1:03:26] That’s right. Yeah. I mean, to circle back from, like, you know, you. We mentioned Steve Jordan and the mentor, the u U turn the tables on me. And that’s a question.
One of his golden rules is 16 ounces of water, right when you wake up. Sorry.
[1:03:39] That’s good. 60. This is What is this?
[1:03:41] It’s like 16.9. I don’t know where they got the 0.9 from, but that’s how water bottles are.
Maybe a 16.7 now. 16.9. I was right.
So we want to talk a little bit more about education. We’re gonna start to put a bow on it.
And if you were, what question would you ask parents to consider if they are wondering if college is the right thing for they’re children?
[1:04:09] Well, I mean, just picture What have you just had this money that you were gonna put aside for college? Whether its debt or your money?
Imagine the kid, uh, exploring interests. But having this money in their bank account that they can’t spend need your approval on everything.
You know, I don’t know who knows the right methodology there. But just imagine what they can do in those four years if they didn’t go to college.
Like I mentioned my daughter, who is interested in acting, she could go through four years of auditioning.
Four years of taking improv classes, four years of taking, maybe singing classes.
Ah, and then learn also all the skills that actors need. Like being a good waiter in a big city. You can actually make a lot of money.
Ah, and then you She can also learn all of the interest that all the other people she meets are starting to explore and come up with ways toe maybe succeed.
So right now, she’s in an opinion ghetto where everybody believes the exact same thing.
[1:05:12] Opinion. Get out!
[1:05:12] No one’s actually learning real world skills that they can use. So when she graduates at 22 she’ll have essentially no money and no skills and starting from scratch at a point where she could have started four years earlier.
So I don’t know what questions to ask parents with his parents usually also wanna send, like, Look at all these parents who were rich and famous, who they paid, like, hundreds of $1000 to get there.
Kids into mediocre schools is crazy. And then you have, like, Dr Dre saying, Oh, my kid didn’t cheat. She got in tow.
Whatever school, you know, the right way. Oh, what about the $70,000,000 donation you made for their new library?
Like it’s just all kind of this weird scam, By the way, I don’t blame him. He did. He did what he felt he had to do. But I don’t know if parents are the right people to convince.
[1:05:56] Well, yeah, it’s a scam.
[1:06:02] I think the kids will be convinced when they realize how much pain they’re in.
The parents are not in paying. The kids are.
[1:06:09] Well, back to Devil’s Advocate from, like, 30 minutes ago before I lost that.
I don’t know that. The answer a cz muchas. I despise what’s going on in the education system, and I think it’s criminal.
I don’t think the answer is to not go to school. It’s just too incorporate the relevant learning outcomes and sort of and maybe maybe not, have it be as outrageously expensive and inflated.
I mean, it’s it’s you, me. As you were mentioning, It’s and it’s inflated, much like disproportionately compared to other things, way just gonna prevent a system that’s it’s not.
It’s a terrible unfixable problem.
[1:06:44] Right. So that’s why there’s several solutions. One is to increase the supply of seats so price goes down.
The other is to maybe reduce demand by showing people that owe big companies don’t require degrees.
Ah, and also showing kids you can get skills in other ways now, particularly with YouTube and all these online courses and everything, then the actual equation of price is a function of supplying. The man might be accurate right now, it’s not accurate, and that’s part of the problem.
And then, you know, I don’t know just to show kids that there’s alternatives to it. Then if you decide to go to school, power to you, go to school.
Ah, I don’t even think it should go to high school, to be honest. But that’s another.
[1:07:24] Huh? Uh, yeah.
[1:07:24] That’s another discussion. I mean, I see now kids go to high school because they’re afraid they’re not gonna get into college.
So there are but like 12 in the morning, preparing for these stupid AP exams literally like they’ll be crying at one in the morning while finishing their homework and tears dropping on their homework. It’s like the worst thing we’re putting these 16 and 17 year olds throw.
[1:07:44] There were a couple of good things I was thinking about in high school. Uh, the other day, as faras learning goes, the overall experience was just piss poor for me. But that’s another story.
Uh, yeah. I was introduced to The Great Gatsby in English class. Ah, and A to kill a mockingbird.
Even just the vocabulary that we that we did in that class and in ninth grade, I felt benefited me.
[1:08:11] That’s great that you learn from those. I had those books also. Then I didn’t learn from them. Then I had to re read them at age 25. And then I’m like, Oh, OK, now I get it.
So for me and for everybody, I think it’s just different. The age when you realize, Oh, there’s art and beauty here I would never I because I was interested in other things in ninth grade, I would not have appreciated. I did not appreciate Old Man and the Sea.
Great Gatsby, old man. See Now is a book I re read every single year.
I hated it in ninth grade. I just read one chapter and let’s forget it. I’m just gonna use the Cliffs notes, which was then the equivalent of cheating. I don’t know if that even exists anymore, and yeah, now you can just buy your essays online.
[1:08:47] Well, that’s even.
[1:08:52] That you could go to. So every single answer to these quizzes that we have to take online and I kid you every single one. It’s on a website called quisling dot com.
Everyone, everyone just copy paste, and it shows up verbatim Word for word and inquisitive.
And it’s ah, so, like, you could just, you know, again. You don’t have to pay attention. You just get naked.
You just you just have the answers. They’re where they They’re all there. Yeah.
[1:09:20] Yeah. So I I believe it. So I go to high school. Even, I think Junior high school probably.
I know Junior high school was the worst. I wouldn’t even think it home schools like the only thing either I remember like when I want elementary school was fine like that. Then why we switched to, like, middle school.
And I remember the first time the bus rolled up to middle school and I was like, in this kind of, like, lower class Jewish neighborhood, And we’re all like these tiny Jewish people. Yeah.
[1:09:45] You’re Jewish, right? I am a swell.
[1:09:46] And And we we rolled up the middle school and there’s, like, these kids eight foot tall kids with beards, and they were just like, beating each other up and then beating us up.
And it was just like, that was the beginning of the end of school for May.
[1:10:02] Ah. So do you think formal education is a huge scale?
[1:10:08] Uh, yeah, completely. For all the reasons. Yeah, mostly because of the good intentions of let’s give everybody an education that got twisted.
I mean, why does the president of some of the tiniest schools in the world I don’t even want to calling me out, actually, but I go President one, like, really bad, Tiny school,
makes three and 1/2 $1,000,000 a year, and you just Google that you could see which one. But they all kind of make millions year.
Why are they making so much money, like the president of the school?
Because they know they can charge more and more and the government will take care of it.
[1:10:40] And so a couple of couple of more topics here, Uh, you know about saying no, you have a really good philosophy around saying, like, how do you?
Because why? First of all, why do you say no to certain things? And second, how do you do it?
[1:10:58] Well, I think it’s I think it’s really hard because it’s a confusing thing.
Um, like often it’s the case that you should say yes to a lot of things.
Like when you’re young, you should say Yes, toa new opportunities and experiencing new things.
And, you know, even when you’re older, you shouldn’t want to just sit in your house all day and watch TV.
You need to say yes, like Okay, I’ll do this. I’ll go out to this event. I’ll go out to this museum or meet these friends or, you know in often on my instinct is to say no, like, I don’t really wanna What am I gonna say to them? I don’t really want to go out at all.
And But if if you kind of judge something in your mind and you know either, like super excited about something like a as they say, it’s either like a hell, yeah, or it’s a no.
And so sometimes I say yes to things like I said yes to something recently that was me doing a bunch of live podcasts around the country, and I realized.
[1:11:57] Oh, yeah, I see the tour. Yeah.
[1:12:00] Uh oh, if I say no to this right now it’s not too late.
And I feel like this enormous wave of relief. So that told me, OK, I need to say no. And then you just say no as honestly as possible.
You’re right, Everybody and you say, Look, uh, I’m being really honest.
Ah, this doesn’t really seem to be right right now for me or for my audience. And I have too many things going on, so I can’t really devote my full resources to this.
Let’s, um, I apologized about this. If you never want to talk to me again, that’s fine. But let’s potentially revisit this at a future date.
That’s one way of saying no, you know another way. How do you say no in a relationship like let’s say you’re with somebody for a long time, but it’s not working out and you want to end it.
That’s another kind of signal, and that’s very difficult. It’s usually very difficult to decide to say no, But,
again, if you feel like if you wake up in the morning and you feel like you know, my life would be better if nobody was sleeping right next to me right now, then you probably should say no to that relation of you consistently Think that.
And you know that’s another type of no, you kind of need strategies for each type of No, you wanna you wanna do nowhere?
It inflicts the least amount of hurt on anyone. And, you know, you take responsibility for the things you might have done wrong to get to this point.
And, you know, we have to have you have to really think of a strategy that works for each now.
[1:13:23] Well, you know what I took from you the other day? I was like, So I got this question. I get these questions all the time. It’s like Jordan.
Hey, Jordan is the first time I’ve ever heard from this guy for some ever seen his name?
No prior relationship. Hey, Jordan, can you introduce me to Dan Lock?
I was like, Yeah, let me just risk risk My highest value connection.
Uh, s so so I So I get in the shower and I’m like, God, how am I going like I do? I ignore it. I I have a problem with ignoring things.
I’ve gotten better at it recently, but and then I like I as I’m preparing for our interview, I put I put you on a podcast and you talk about saying no and just literally just saying no with no explanation,
and because if you give an explanation than you give room for them to come back with Oh, well, that’s okay. We can just do this instead.
So I just I got back and I said, I said, Can’t And he goes no problems, mate. And I said, Thanks for understanding.
[1:14:29] I think that being really drug about you’re right. You can’t. You can’t.
Um there’s no reason why suddenly you have to defend yourself like they’re the ones who are asking. And then suddenly you have to defend yourself.
You know, sometimes and people always say to me, Well, it didn’t hurt to ask.
Actually, it did hurt that toe. Ask me because you’re not valuing the time and effort I put in to build that connection.
Um, so now I don’t value my connection with you as much because you asked me that.
So sometimes it does hurt to ask, you know, I have one friend who says, Ah, you know, if if you never asked the answer’s always know which is good advice, too.
But on something that’s like high stakes, where it’s like I’m asking a personal connection of mine for a favor.
I’m very I don’t even just like I’ll say no a lot.
I won’t ask a lot, depending on the strength of my connection with that person.
Now, if I were to give an answer to someone like that, I would have to say, Look, I do what’s called permission networking, so I need to know all the reasons you need to talk to him.
Then I need to talk to him and go through all of your reasons.
And if he and then I need to make sure everyone’s in agreement, then I make the intro.
And usually by then peoples are People are like, OK, don’t don’t bother because they understand. Then the effort I have to dio And then they’re asking me for a lot of effort.
Now some people will say, Um okay, I want to ask him this this this, this this and I realized the person’s going to say no and I don’t want to ask him anyway and then I write no so.
[1:15:56] Well, yeah, I am. I agree on all the all the above not the above, but, uh, all mention there.
[1:16:06] But but But again, like it also made puts into light the times you ask other people for favors.
You got to be really selective of that. Like you can’t you can’t. You can’t. You can’t waste.
You can’t risk a no from them. If they’re a strong connection that you trust now, I get by right. Barack Obama was not a strong connection of mine. And I say, Hey, you want to call on my podcast?
That’s actually a valid question because chances are he’s going to say no, It puts my name in front of his PR people like I’ll give a reason. I’ll say, Look, Barack Obama supporting these 18 causes will talk about them. I’m really interested in them.
I have an audience of this and they’re all influencers, and it will be, You know, it’ll make a small dent in his thing, so I’ll give good reasons why I’m You have to always ask with their agenda in mind.
And so then I’m willing tohave a no.
And they’re aware that I’m willing to have a no. But I’m at least showing them that I’m thinking of their agenda instead of mine, like oh, be great to have Barack Obama on my podcast.
That’s ah horrible way to ask it. You have to know howto I had a book of power of No. And then I was going to do a book.
I had a deal to do a book, The Power of Ask which is showing people how to properly ask which is hard for me to ask.
And, um, I only write books about things that are hard for me personally. This way I have to learn how to do them.
But I ended up never doing. I ended up saying no to that book deal once I got it.
[1:17:27] Yeah. Where does your chess master like? Where? We’ve talked about so many things. They were just chess fit into all of this.
[1:17:34] Well, chess is great because a it’s a good way.
Um, it’s a good activity to do while I’m on the phone with people.
So just log on online somewhere and like Okay, yeah, How’s it going? And I’m just playing chess while talking to people.
Um, but it’s also been good for its good.
[1:17:52] It was good for me to learn. I learned it relatively late, meaning I was like, 17 when I started taking it seriously, and But I got very good, very fast, and it was a good thing. Toe learn how to learn.
So I learned all the skills needed to quickly become like a very strong player at a skill that was important to me.
And so now I use those meta scales toe, learn other skills that are important to me, whether it’s investing or selling or negotiating or stand up comedy or public speaking or computer programming.
Or, you know, I’ve been ableto I always view it as I’m able to quickly skip the so called 10,000 our role because of the way I learned chess. I break it down and and learned all these meta skills about learning, and so that was very valuable.
It’s also value to me in this kind of B s way in that, um, people think people think chess and intelligence are correlated, but they’re totally not.
And but I’ve been able to take advantage of that repeatedly in my life.
Ah, that has been such an amazing gift that just society views chess is related to intelligence.
And so I’ve gotten jobs. I’ve raised money.
I’ve made friends all because I’ve gotten in places that normally I would never be able to get into all because I was good at chess.
[1:19:16] Fantastic. So, you know, throughout all the ups and downs in your career, in your life, in all of your businesses and ventures, what have you You know, we’re back here, but you’re doing very well.
Um seem like a happy guy, huh? What’s next? Really?
How do you envision your career painting out over the next?
[1:19:37] I don’t know. I never think about that.
I just think what would be you know, of all the things I’m interested in, let’s say those five things I’m interested in.
What’s the highest priority thing for me to do today to keep moving forward? One of the five things I’m interested in.
So, for instance, Ah, I’m a year ago I or six months ago I had an idea on my list of ideas.
I had an idea for a TV show, and it was one of those things where it was stuck in my mind. So I figured, You know what? This might be a good idea.
So I wrote a new agent. The idea, and I’ve written him ideas many times over the past three years. Usually never response to me or whole right back simply no.
Ah, but this time he wrote back within three seconds, call me and I called him.
And then he got the president of a big production company on the phone, and they all agree, let’s go forward.
And then they made appointments with a bunch of networks.
I went, and so moving forward, I really fleshed out the idea.
Ah, because it was only a one line. When I send it to him, I had to really flush it out.
And then, um, I had to prepare and think about how I was gonna pitch it to network. So that took some work and more, many more idealists.
[1:20:53] Then I went and pitched it to all the networks with all of them. And then a couple of network said Yes, we’ve picked a network to work with.
And now where in what’s called development with a network on this show, and if we do well in development, then they green light.
Ah ah, Siri’s. So each day I say I need to do anything.
I still want to do this. I wake up and I decided I still want to do this.
I still want to do this. What can I do to move forward?
[1:21:18] I’ll do that. A little bit of that. And that’s how I do each day.
So I know by doing that, I’m never doing things I don’t like.
You never wanna do more of the of the thing.
You never want to do less of the things you love to do more of the things you hate, and sometimes I get out of balance and I do do more of the things I hate. But then I remind myself of that line and cut back on the things I hate to do. More of the things I love.
[1:21:47] Love it. We’re gonna play a game. I’m gonna say a word or phrase and you’re gonna tell me the first thing that comes to mind is very important that you say the first thing that comes to mind.
[1:21:58] Guys are for me, cause usually I riff, um, lots of things.
[1:22:00] Yeah. People get really frustrated. They’re like, I should’ve sent me this events.
So 1st 1 American dream.
[1:22:10] I think of housing. And I think it’s a foul, that dream.
[1:22:14] Dream Money.
[1:22:16] Money I think of I get really anxious and stress and I think of all the times I’ve gone broke and I think of PTSD on money and I think Thank God, knock on wood.
I I’ve hopefully learned my lesson lessons.
[1:22:32] I think I’m not a nerd, and everyone calls me one. I’m not a nerd.
[1:22:36] I was talking to some community other day, like, Okay, here’s how Joe could work with, like, a nerdy guy like you. I’m not a nerd.
Just cause I look like one curly hair and glasses not doesn’t make me a nerd.
[1:22:45] Uh, yeah, My my one of my friends was, uh I was talking about him, you know, about my upcoming interviews.
And he’s like, I say, you know, I mentioned your name in passing and and he goes, Oh, that nerdy guy. And I’m like, I think.
[1:23:02] I’m not I’m not. I’m not a nerdy guy. What was the definition of a nerdy guy? Like, I think someone who has, like, very few social skills and Lykken rattle off like the cube root of, like, very high numbers. Really quickly.
[1:23:14] But I don’t even I can’t. I’m not that good at math. And ah, I think I have some social skills.
I’m shy, but I have some social skills.
[1:23:23] Next word success.
[1:23:25] She says. I think always doing what you love to d’oh!
The ratio of love to hate during your day should be a high as possible,
love. Well, I love my wife was sitting over there and and I love my kids and I think I don’t know, there’s more new age type things, but that’s the first thing I think,
at home. Schooling. You’re You learn everything by yourself.
Yeah, that doesn’t mean not with mentors and people to teach you. But you have to drive that.
[1:24:01] Absolutely. Uh, yeah.
[1:24:02] No mentor will choose you. You have to choose them.
[1:24:05] Mm hmm. Well, there’s a gosh.
[1:24:08] You were Steve Jordan. He didn’t reach in you. He Dennis didn’t reach to you and pull you out of the masses. You were already doing something that attracted him to you and so he can start showing you.
[1:24:10] And dentist right there. They used my He’s my mentor. Yeah.
[1:24:22] You know, this is for in your order. Let’s say you’re starting a business. You have to employees. Let’s say one’s here and one’s here. So one’s better than the other, and people are thinking of firing the worst one.
You have to ask this question. Is this one coachable, or is this one coachable?
If this wasn’t coachable, you keep this one and you fire this one because that this guy’s gonna go here. This person is going to stay here.
So coach ability and and and his sense that you were coachable or Steve Jordan senses were coachable.
That is what it leads to mentors and teachers and success and so on.
[1:24:55] Absolute, James. My final word.
[1:25:01] Ah, nothing. That’s my That’s my first my gut response.
[1:25:02] Nothing. Are you or are you afraid of saying the wrong thing?
[1:25:07] No, no, that’s my gut, You say? What’s the first word that comes to mind and nothing comes to mind.
[1:25:09] Yeah, I got you. So I highly highly recommend.
I mean, choose yourself right here. This book is a must read. I I highly recommend if you if you don’t have it. I mean, ah, lot of people have this book. You must get it.
James. Out toucher dot com. Right. People can learn more about you there.
I’ve been a longtime subscriber Multiyear subscriber to the outside. Your confidential?
[1:25:33] I really appreciate what you’re You’re very young and people sometimes say, Oh, what’s your demographic like?
Everybody’s supposed to have a demographic and like a morning demographic, not just anybody from the age of, like, 60 there, maybe recently retired.
And they want to figure out what to do with their lives. Toe 18. And they want to figure out what they want to do with their lives. And they want to be happier and had not conform to the usual rules of happiness and success in society. And so on.
[1:25:58] Absolutely. And then, Ah, the James out. Such a show. A great show. It’s Ah, it’s one of my top top two top three favorite podcasts up there with Joe Rogan. And then, of course I mean, I love the show was great.
[1:26:10] Was Just listen to Joe Rogan on the way over here.
[1:26:13] Amazing. Is there anywhere else you’d like to point?
[1:26:16] No, I don’t like to really promote stuff.
[1:26:19] Yeah. Yeah, Feel that? So I have to acknowledge you, and I know you don’t know this, but the only reason that I was able to publish that book right there because of your self publishing guide.
[1:26:30] Oh, really? Great.
[1:26:31] Of otherwise I would have had no clue how to do it. But it’s actually shockingly simple.
And you showed me how to do that, and I know you should so many other people how to do the same.
You’ve empowered people to dispel their truce in a book format, and I think it’s.
[1:26:47] Yeah. You know, it’s hard to get a book published by mainstream publishers because there’s only, like, four or five of them.
That s o you depended on four or five people who don’t know You don’t know your book. Don’t know your audience. You depended on these four or five people to say yes.
When the reality is, you could write the book.
You could You could upload it to Amazon. You could design the cover. Hopefully you do a good job on all these different things.
And by the way, self published books on average sell more than traditionally published books.
And they’re actually well, people say. But self published books were not good.
No, if you actually look at all the star reviews that the ranking self published books have, on average a higher Star review than traditionally published books.
Not to say I would never traditionally published again. But self publishing I really love doing.
[1:27:33] What’s the I really want to show people this of, you know, if people are wanting to write a book, it’s James out. Twitter dot com slash get published for the self publishing guy. What is it you don’t remember? Well, it’s somewhere on the website. Is there a search? But I don’t know. I think.
[1:27:42] I I don’t even know. Yeah.
Ah, I don’t even know if there is. But if you just just go out of her and self publishing, you’ll probably get there.
[1:27:52] It Yeah, it’ll come up. I mean, I found it by complete accident without even.
[1:27:57] And if you can’t spell my name if you Google in quotes, I want to die.
I’m usually the 2nd 3rd or fourth result, and that’s how you can find out my name out of 17,000,000 results.
[1:28:08] James, James has been a fantastic conversation. My final question for you is, if you could teach a course at a university course of your creation or otherwise.
What would that be? Talked about many things today for the packaging. So of course. What is it?
[1:28:23] Uh, course, it would even be like howto How have I have ideas, which is sort of like you know, course and creativity.
But that seems cliche. So would be howto have ideas or, um, how to learn how to learn how to how to beat the 10,000 our role, which is basically been like a straitjacket for many people trying to learn things.
[1:28:43] Absolutely. James out. Teacher, you’re the man. Thank you very much.
[1:28:46] Thanks for having me on the podcast. Wearing This is great. You’re a good interviewer.
[1:28:49] Thank you.
[1:28:53] We’re going Thio, open it up to questions. No. Sure, Dad.
[1:28:59] You mentioned that you got into a lot of places you shouldn’t have with your chest knowledge or just expertise. What was one place that you got into like a.
[1:29:09] Okay, So, uh, I was applying for a job, HBO, which and I loved HBO. I love television.
This is in the mid nineties. I loved every single show on HBO.
Ah, and I really like to work at places I love.
And, uh, I I had 412123 at four interviews when I was at HBO.
[1:29:34] My potential boss, his boss, that guy’s boss and that guy’s boss.
I blew every single one of those interviews. They were horrible, cause I didn’t even know it was all about computer programming. And after 10 years of computer programming and a sing every computer science class, I couldn’t answer a single question.
Any of these people asked. I didn’t know how to do this. I didn’t know how to do this. I didn’t know how it is. No, I don’t know how to do this.
Um, so I just blew it all. And so I remember I walked outside and I thought to myself, Well, that was my one chance to move to New York City and, you know, make something of myself.
And I think I love HBO, but I guess it’s just not gonna work out.
So I went out to Bryant Park and I saw there was a bunch of people playing chess there.
And there was, um, a guy Ellen Schwartz, who’s now he’s a massive poker champion.
And, um ah, he was at the time. He was a strong, very strong chess master, and we started playing chess for $5 a game and blitz chess like, you know, you get five minutes aside and or three minutes a side and you lose if you run a time.
[1:30:37] And so we play and I crush him and I see standing next to the table watching was my potential boss’s boss’s boss.
And so he’s like, I never saw anybody beat Ellen before and we started taking a walk around the park just talking about ideas each girl should get into, like, virtual reality.
And there’s this new thing, the World Wide Web and, ah, all this stuff.
And he called. He called me Ah, week later and said, um, we’ll offer you that a job and give you moving costs and it was great and ah, to this day, he learns one of who I play.
Then it’s like 25 years later, is one of my best friends and, um Ah, and that guy robbed the bodies. Was, was he was a chess player, but not as highly ranked as me. Another one more example.
[1:31:27] Cornell. I did not have The guy was a C student in high school, and I didn’t have the grades or the S a T score to get into an Ivy League school.
And, um, my interviewer again was a much lower rank chess player than me. So he was a tournament chess player. So he’s interested enough in chest to play in tournaments to get a rating.
And he had just been going that was set up on his board. He had just been going through a very particular match, played in 1972.
I, of course, was very familiar with that match. He had some questions about it.
I explained what was happening in this position. Bothwell a, um, chest perspective, and also from what was happening at that time that made this game important.
And so here I was a kid talking to a much older person.
Ah, in a language where I was like the roles were reversed. I was teaching him so Of course. My interview went great.
And then I became New Jersey junior chess champion. And so the interview combined with that title, I automatically got in tow.
I probably could’ve gotten into any college, but I got into, you know, the corner Those were two times is probably 50 other times.
[1:32:40] I think it is. I do have to head out quickly. But thank you for the interview. And it’s amazing. Anyone interrupt. Thanks.
[1:32:46] Oh, no, no, you’re welcome. Thanks.
[1:32:52] Do any other.
[1:32:54] Two questions for bulky gentleman. What’s ah?
[1:33:03] Ah, well, I think I I think it’s an awareness on their part.
That and I hate to sound. This is not really like a socialist thing. This is more of just a non observation all thing.
But it’s an awareness on their part that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, not not so immediately, but generation by generation.
And it’s because, particularly now, with tuition so much higher than inflation would ever have predicted 40 years ago was tuition so high.
These people know that their kids are not gonna have all this debt that 22,000,000 other kids have, And so they have a leg up on society.
So they think and again, what happened tends to happen is people marry people like them.
So ah ah, the rich get richer.
The poor get poor. If tuitions keep going up faster 10 times faster than inflation that spread against wider and wider and income inequality is not good for society.
It doesn’t mean the CEO has to make the same as the janitor. It means in general, um, people should have equal opportunities, toe innovate and create companies and deliver value and it shouldn’t be.
One whole major portion of society has to pay back debt, and the other portion doesn’t because then that rooms our ability to innovate.
[1:34:29] You know, it doesn’t. It doesn’t surprise me. Everything that happened, however, I will say that I didn’t read too much into it.
Actually, um, I know my friend Ron Carucci, who, uh, writes her Harvard Business Review.
And Forbes wrote a fantastic, fantastically written article about why the college admissions scandal was inevitable.
Andi can actually find that at, I believe.
Jordan paris dot com slash e p 102 That’s where the show notes read episode are and it’s it’s actually in there.
That article, it’s really Yeah, it’s a really good article. He’s.
[1:35:01] I’m gonna check that out.
[1:35:06] Okay. So, second question for the Jordan of your somewhat anti education and you’ve been so publicly online with a very large following. But yet it’s my understanding. I just learned tonight that you still attend college.
So you’re attending institution that you have identified is broken. What have you recommended to your professor’s indoor? The school?
[1:35:35] Absolutely well, actually, I am invited every now and then. It’s been happening the last couple of semesters where I actually come in and teach actually come in and give a lecture on like, for example on. Was it Tuesday?
[1:35:50] Yeah, it was Tuesday night. It was Tuesday, and I gave a lecture on pretty much what I do on Lincoln and high instructions on howto build a brand.
Grow your business in the land, the job using linked, and I give a 55 minute lecture there on that, and I’ve done a couple of times there at the university. Now what else have I done? I mean, that’s that’s playing my main contribution.
Um, I have with with that professor who keeps inviting me back to speak have voiced you know my opinion.
She’s listen to my podcast titled Why Formal Education Is Huge Cam. It’s like with 40 something.
She thought they were very valid points in there, and she actually in her classes now, um, you know, gives many of the students a chance to come up and, uh, and teach and you talk about literally whatever they want.
And we were doing like when I was originally taking her class. It was insured of marketing and sheet by the end of the semester.
We actually started doing that after she listened to that pockets. Now not a direct result of listen to my pockets, But I guess it were under over time.
Um and, um, she’s a She’s a great teacher, and I guess we all learn from each other now in that class, and it allows me to come in even now, still to this day and teach the lessons that we should learn in school. But didn’t.
[1:37:14] Great answer. And since fantasy something so commented a question first, love this discussion.
[1:37:24] Themselves. Yeah, through one chose not to go to college. One is in college and thinks about being a professor. So, um, and I’m something back to loved school. So it’s kind of interesting love school.
I’m sending kid. Actually, my oldest went to school for two weeks.
[1:37:46] Comment or that’s quite the question is best advice, James. For somebody we see a lot.
[1:37:59] Lost it so they don’t get stuck.
[1:38:05] So they have a base or something, or.
[1:38:06] So they have no no base. But they made money and lost it. That’s interesting.
[1:38:14] Yeah, so? So the critical thing is building that idea muscle while at the same time.
So it’s go all boils down to you. Can’t be.
You can’t have great ideas if you’re sick, so you have to take care of yourself. Physically, you can’t have great ideas.
If you’re arguing with your spouse or friends all the time, you have to make sure you’re around good people and you have to be.
You have to aggressively trim bad people from your list of your top 10 people that you’re around.
Ah, people usually are.
Don’t expect this advice, but this is like the most important thing is, if you’re not around good people.
Like one time I had this astronaut of my podcast, Mike Massimino, and, ah, he he couldn’t get in equal to get past nasty, kept failing the test and so eventually ends up getting a phD at M.
I. T. And robotics and he, he said at one point. Interesting thing, he said.
Four out of the 10 people in his class. I all eventually made it into space, and if he was in a bar, he would not have been able to say that.
[1:39:19] So it’s really, really important. If you want to go into space, you’ve got to be around the other 10 people who want to go into space, and that’s both literal and, you know, an analogy.
But, um, that’s really important. Then writing 10 ideas down, getting really good at string, that idea muscles.
So I started writing ideas down every day, and eventually some of those ideas got good enough that attracted people to me when I started sharing them.
So six months in or three months into writing ideas down, I wrote, Um ah, I was really into finance and investing.
Then Ah, and I wrote a list of articles One of my favorite writers should write, and I said here, you should write these articles and I’ll subscribe to your stuff.
Um, and I didn’t want anything in return, and he wrote back to me and spending said, All these are great ideas. You should write them. I’ll hire you to write them.
[1:40:14] Ah, literally five years later are four years later, almost to the day four and half years later.
Ah, he bought a company mind for $10,000,000. So thank God I sent that list of ideas for him.
Like I asking for nothing in return.
Another list I wrote was to a famous hedge fund manager, and I said, Look, I’ve been programming the markets.
I’ve been playing the markets using this, these 10 pieces of software that I wrote and I know I’ve studied you read your phD thesis that you were 1962.
I know that you’re interested in this style that I d’oh. So here’s 10 pieces of software that you might be interested in, and I’m happy to Justin, install this software in your office for your team.
No, no questions asked. Nothing. I don’t want anything in return.
So he directly invited me over for dinner at his place. I was two hours late cause I got lost and ah ah, he gave me money out of his pocket right rather than of his hedge fund to invest.
And that’s how I started my hedge fund business, which group for the next, like five years.
So just, you know, coming up with ideas.
[1:41:25] It gives you opportunities, and it also shows you you can give up on an idea.
So I once started a business and I could tell it wasn’t working, and I even raised money for it. But I just could tell it wasn’t working.
I wired back everyone’s money and boom, cut my losses there. But then I was able to right away start another business that did work.
So, you know, because I knew ideas were abundant for me, as opposed to like, Well, when am I gonna have another idea like this again?
I know that there’s always an idea tomorrow that might be better than anything I’ve ever thought of before, So I never get attached to anyone idea.
So having, though that idea muscle fully like built, is really important. And then finally, Ah, you can’t dwell on the things you can’t control.
So, for instance, let’s say I’m I really wanna do this TV show, But, um, eventually this network that now I have a deal with rejects it for whatever reason, they they don’t like it. They don’t like me.
They change CEOs. They reject the idea.
A first thing is I have a Plan B and plan C like I know what I’m gonna do with this idea if they rejected it almost to the point where I hope they reject it because my Plan B and Plan C are so good.
And the other thing is, I don’t care that much. Like I’ll just move on to the next thing.
So having a sense that you don’t have to control the things you can’t, you only do the things you can control. You don’t do any of the things you can’t.
And you can’t dwell on them. Not always great at that. But I try.
[1:42:51] James. I love you. You’re obviously a genius. Wordplay, Jess, I was special break.
[1:42:55] Hey, Before I played chess, I was a semi professional break dancer.
So I was trying to get out of this nerd thing, so.
[1:43:00] No way.
[1:43:01] Uh, I believe it.
Obviously a genius. Even though you have a very self deprecating side.
So you have this incredible, fascinating persona that is just very intriguing. Tow watch.
There’s the self dep dep.
Self deprecating side insecure, but a lot of confidence clearly there.
So I’m very intrigued at that mix. But what I’m seeing as a theme here is that you you put yourself in the face of opportunity, right?
Isn’t that everything you’re doing by just lobbing these I ideas over and over, casting this wide net to put yourself in the face of his much opportunity as possible.
And with that, was there a level of fear that waas evident at early part that you had to work through? Or are you just like, eh? Whatever happens, happens.
[1:43:59] You know, I start writing these idealists in mid 2002 and I was dead broke.
I had stopped paying the mortgage on my apartment because I couldn’t afford it anymore.
And so so every every debt collector was circling around.
But somehow, once I started writing down these idealists, I felt really like this surge of, like, I had been depressed for years about there’s just a steady decline in wealth after I felt like I had won the lottery. So I’m never gonna make money again.
And ah, but something when I wrote idea somehow gave me more sense of abundance than than money did.
And I really felt like, no matter what happens, things are gonna be fine.
Just if I keep writing ideas down, and so I just religiously try to stick to that.
[1:44:48] But ah, but partly it helps to issue right list down every day.
Like one time I wrote down this list of 10 things how Amazon could improve their self publishing department.
What happened? I sent to somebody the who worked at Amazon.
The next thing is, Amazon flew me out there to look at all of their, uh, products that were in the works for self publishing.
They’ve certainly helped me out a lot. Then since then, when I need it. When I had special requests on my own books, so it didn’t necessarily. It’s hard to say it benefited they and pay me or anything, but they held me in there. Ah! Ah, good connection for me.
I wrote a list of 10 ideas for Go. I got asked to speak at Google. I wrote 10 ideas for Airbnb. I spoke at the Airbnb open.
I wrote 10 ideas were linked in consulted for them for a while for free. Um, I didn’t get paid anything.
Ah, a lot of places I send to They don’t respond at all.
So I just know I’m always gonna, um and then someone just write this stupid list like the one about the Avengers or whatever.
So I just always know I could, uh, flourish by, you know, focusing my lists on other people, and some will respond in some won’t.
Ah, lot of people coming my podcast, because I give them 10 ideas and 10 reasons why would be good for them to call my podcast and, uh.
[1:46:05] Hit up Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
[1:46:06] Uh, or I think of 10 other ideas for formats for my podcast, like, interviewing is great, but sometimes other things you can do And, um,
I don’t know, I’m always just truck and then the other thing is so that was a party, which is,
it’s easy for me to throw myself out there because I know I’m gonna get rejected most of the time, but I’m gonna keep coming with ideas.
The other thing is, if someone, or if you can think of a challenge for yourself in an area you love to learn, you’ve got to take that challenge.
So stand up comedy. Let’s say this was like, three or four years ago I wanted I knew I will get nervous on stage and everybody I still do. Everybody does.
But, um, I wanted to fight that, And I also wanted to tighten up the time it takes for people to like me, wants to come on stage and for people to laugh once I’m on stage.
[1:46:57] So here’s what I did. I went on the subway and I had someone videotaped me and I was scared to death.
But I was gonna do stand up on each car in the subway. So every stop.
I was gonna leave the car and go into the next car. And I did that, um, from, like, 42nd Street down to Brooklyn.
And, um and it was hard because no one’s they’re not there to laugh on a subway. They’re there to hate me on a subway and which is what most of them did.
And most of my jokes were bad. And but I just did it because I still occasionally do things like that.
Not exactly. I would like that just to kind of keep exercising that muscle.
Or if I’m outta line up and I have a choice, I can either go before the best comedian in the world where that might be, or after one of the best comedians in the world always choose after, because that’s the most difficult spot possible.
Um, and I’m not gonna waste 10,000 hours of my life trying to get good.
I’m going to skip the line as much as possible. Always skip the line is to take. Every single challenge is it comes up, so you have to fling yourself into opportunity to get better, assuming failure each time.
[1:48:10] So you talk about your ideas and you give them away. Aren’t their ideas that you just want to keep for yourself?
[1:48:20] Yeah, it isn’t a question. I get asked that a lot. And the answer is no.
Ah, like I I I don’t mind giving away any of my ideas, because if anyone if I’m really good at this idea that I love, then it shouldn’t matter that someone competes with me like I will destroy them.
If they do compete with me successfully, then it probably wasn’t a good idea for me anyway, and I never would have succeeded at it.
So giving away my ideas is a faster way for me to learn.
If this is it for me to cut the court on this idea, if I’m gonna fail at it or not, be as good as someone else at it.
[1:48:55] Like one time I had this idea and I started doing it. This was the business I sold to the streets. I comfort for 10,000,000 was called stock picker.
Halfway through developing it, I suddenly realized I had four major competitors doing the exact same thing.
And at first I was scared. And then I was like I looked at them and all, and I realized, Oh, no, these were there just doing it because they think it’s like a high idea. I actually had real passion for the idea and I knew what I was doing, and I I destroyed them all.
Another time. I an idea where I cut the cord because there was competitors and I see I didn’t really have the passion they did. It’s not good.
Um, I’ll tell you the idea for the TV show I’m working on you could go. Anybody in this room can steal it.
And everyone problem, Probably something in the room have the skills to steal it.
So the idea is called, I will make you a millionaire. And I take six random people off the street and I give them, you know, I interview them and follow them for a little while.
And then I give them highly personalized strategies so that they could make $1,000,000 within six months.
And, ah, they have to follow the advice exactly where they get cut out and ah ah, that’s the idea. Go ahead and steal it.
Nobody. I know nobody will do this or I think nobody will do this is as well as me.
[1:50:10] But certainly everybody could try it. But ah, I know, I I know I’m good at this sort of thing because I will give them tons of ideas and won’t.
And I know how to value ideas, and we’ll settle on the right ones.
And I have been studying for decades. Had a quickly make money because I’ve always wanted shortcuts and ah s Oh, that’s that. Go ahead, steal my TV show.
[1:50:32] Hasn’t it? Won’t. It won’t be. Even if everything works out, it won’t be on the air for years. You have plenty of time to make it a YouTube Siri’s wherever you want to. D’oh!
[1:50:41] Fantastic. Well, think, uh, it’s around, All right.
[1:50:45] All right, well, thanks so much everybody for coming and thanks, Jordan, for having me on here.
Thanks for coming to the club to cause this is Ah, I don’t like to move very far. So this is, uh.
[1:50:53] I love this place.
Big. Thank you. To stand up New York. And, of course, James for.