Choose Yourself by James Altucher was written shortly after the recession and it shows. The impact of that economic event is seen as the point where the middle class start to die out, technology begins replacing you and it becomes obvious your employer never wanted you anyway. Essentially he is saying that a job is about keeping you Just Over Broke. Nothing new there.
Choose Yourself is about giving yourself permission to do something other than work for someone. Strike out, be creative and don’t look to be a small part of a cog in a vast corporate machine. The tools are now available to create products or provide service without the need of a vast corporate structure. Altucher goes into some detail about self publishing, but there is not much practical advice for those looking to start their own business.
Altucher appears brutally honest about his many failures and successes. This makes his advice more valuable. You get the impression he’s come by it the hard way and while he’s not positioning himself as an infallible life coach, he is probably more successful than most of us. It gives his advice more credence and makes it more authentic.
There are plenty of examples of others’s successes too. His analysis of Braintree (which was sold to Paypal for $800 million a couple of years ago) is interesting, especially if you are trying to come up with a business idea.
On a more immediately practical level the author suggest adopting daily habits that should be applied to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. Some are hardly eye-opening (get enough sleep), some you may have heard before (come up with 10 new ideas everyday to build your ‘idea muscle’), while others are a little more controversial (you don’t have to have a purpose in life – in fact searching for one can be damaging).
Other advice includes staying focused by working in the early hours before the world can interrupt you. Ignore wasteful thoughts like regret and resentment. Live in the now because the past and future don’t exist.
Altucher says the fear of rejection is one of the greatest impediments to taking the steps that can lead to our progress. Choosing yourself means you don’t need someone to validate your success. You shouldn’t allow the decision of any one person to affect your life. It’s better to spread the possibilities so if one person lets you down you have others to turn to.
There were many ideas that appealed to the contrarian in me, but then I haven’t worked for someone for over a decade now. My current circumstances mean it’s also a good time to be reading that I should not be bound by past failures, nor rely on any one person. A lesson I learned the hard way a couple of times last year.
The underlying message is if you are being rejected by companies (whether you are applying for a job or already in work) or by people, choose yourself. Take some measure of control. Give life a chance and choose yourself.
If you find yourself in such a situation and it sounds like this book could be useful Choose Yourself is available on Amazon.