James in his words:
Iâ€™m an entrepreneur and angel investor. Iâ€™ve achieved the rank of chess master. And Iâ€™m the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book â€œChoose Yourself.â€
Iâ€™ve started 20 companies, 17 of which have failed. But Iâ€™ve learned a lot along the way.
If youâ€™ve ever been stuckâ€”in a job you hate, in a house you canâ€™t afford, in a life you donâ€™t want, in your own depressed mind, anythingâ€”I want to help you.
Why? Because I get it. Iâ€™ve been there. And I wantto tell you how I freed myself so maybe you can start to free yourself, too.
Four or five years ago, a reader of some of my columns bought the domain name jamesaltucher.com and gave it to me as a birthday gift. It was a total surprise to me. I didnâ€™t even know the reader. I hope one day we meet.
Two years ago a friend of mine, Tim Sykes, insisted I had to have a blog. He set it up for me. He even wrote the â€œAbout Meâ€. I didnâ€™t want a blog. I had nothing to say. But about six or seven months ago I decided I wanted to take this blog seriously.
I kept putting off changing the â€œAbout Meâ€ which was no longer really about me and maybe never was.
A few weeks ago I did a chapter in one of the books in Seth Godinâ€™s â€œThe Domino Projectâ€.Â Mohit Pawar organized it (hereâ€™sÂ Mohitâ€™s blog) and sent me a bunch of questions recently. Itâ€™s intended to be an interview on his blog but I hope Mohit forgives me because I want to use it as my new â€œAbout Meâ€ also.
You are a trader, investor, writer, and entrepreneur. Which of these roles do you enjoy the most and why?
When I first moved to New York City in 1994 I wanted to be everything to everyone. I had spent the six years prior to that writing a bunch of unpublished novels and unpublished short stories. I mustâ€™ve sent out hundreds of stories to literary journals. I got form rejections from every publisher, journal, and agent I sent my novels and stories to.
Now, in 1994, everything was possible. The money was in NYC. Media was here. I lived in my 10Ã—10 room and pulled suits out of a garbage bag every morning but itÂ didnâ€™tÂ matterâ€¦ the internet was revving up and I knew how to build a website. One of the few in the city. My sister warned me though: nobody here is your friend. Everybody wants something.
And I wanted something. I wanted the fleeting feelings of success, for the first time ever, in order to feel better about myself.Â I wanted a girl next to me. I wanted to build and sell companies and finally prove to everyone I was the smartest. I wanted to do aÂ TV show. I wanted toÂ write books.
But everything involved having a master. Clients. Employers. Investors. Publishers. The market (the deadliest master of all). Employees. I was a slave to everyone for so many years. And the more shackles I had on, the lonelier I got.
Much of the time, even when I had those moments of success, I didnâ€™t know how to turn it into a better life. I felt ugly and then later I felt stupid when I would let the success dribble away down the sink.
I love writing because every now and then that ugliness turns into honesty. When I write, Iâ€™m only a slave to myself. When I do all of those other things you ask about, Iâ€™m a slave to everyone else.