In Bed with James Altucher

James Altucher will likely become legendary for his grammatical errors and I’m not exaggerating here. On page 43 of The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth he ends a paragraph with a comma. Then on page 52 he ends one with nothing, no punctuation whatsoever. And he takes the idea of writing the way you talk to an entirely new level. Seriously, listen to one of his podcasts then imagine it transcribed verbatim and there you have his latest book. And The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth is the one he says was professionally edited.

It’s like a waking nightmare for grammar and presentation police slash wannabe authors like myself and yet he is the one on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Because the truth is none of my nitpicking actually matters. I can stress about it. I can force my frustration to be important to me but I can’t make it matter to anyone else. I can brush James off as a hack but then I’ll lose the prize at the end of the grammarbow: his wisdom.

So much of life is like this. We subconsciously block out what doesn’t fit our preconceived mold. We judge quickly and harshly then move on without a care for what we may have missed. Stupid brains gettin’ in the way of our learnin’ and growin’.

I have to say I’m learning a lot from the simple process of reading his book without allowing myself to go crazy when he writes “The people   They”. He just doesn’t care and he’s obviously made it apparent to his editors that they shouldn’t either. He wants to get his ideas across, not his ability to properly structure sentences and he can’t get bogged down by the time and attention it would take to fix mistakes he doesn’t deem worthy of time or attention.

It’s kinda brilliant and not the sort of thing just anyone could get away with.

I guess my big important point here is that James has individual style and I find myself particularly loving his. I am refreshed and fascinated by his devil may care approach to writing. It is bad. Like really really bad. And furthermore he admits that it’s bad. And then he moves on because he doesn’t care. He loves to write and people love to read his writing. Case closed.

Because of this I have fallen in love (in the far removed respectful way, not the pining romantic way) with this crazy haired mess of a human being who is giving us all a living breathing example of how to not start great but to turn out great anyway.

It makes me very thankful to live in an age where I can listen to writers whenever I want. I can see them and hear them. I can interact with them. Seeing our idols as real people is vital to believing that we can become successful ourselves. The higher you place someone on a pedestal the more impossible it is to reach her/his level. If it’s truly impossible then what’s the point of trying, right?

The biggest thing Altucher advocates for is that ideas are the new currency. And he backs everything he says up with a very Robbins / Oprah / Bernstein-esque approach of gratitude first, gratitude second, gratitude last. He’s open and honest about his faults while being transparent about what has worked for him and how.

He is, hands down, one of the most generous people out there. Sure I was happy to pay a few bucks for one of his books but I didn’t need to. Everything he has to offer (which is quite a lot) is on the web at no cost. And yet… James Altucher is a multi-millionaire.

Also, he’s self deprecating, kind of an asshole sometimes and genuinely funny.

Perhaps most importantly, for the sake of this blog post anyway, James Altucher is the only writer I can read at night without falling asleep. I always thought it was me, that I just couldn’t read after dark without immediately drifting off into Snoozeville, but maybe that’s not true. Maybe I just hadn’t found the right author. Until now…

And so it is that I find myself happily laying in bed with James very much not falling asleep, instead drinking up his awkward grammatically profane wisdom juice.

If you choose to read any of his books I strongly suggest listening to a bunch of his podcasts first. There is something so inexplicably soothing about his classically nasal New Yorker voice, fraught with all the expected self-doubt repetition and Woody Allen-ness (minus the skeezeball) that comes with that stereotype. Like you can hear him shrugging. I can’t tell you why but I freaking love it.

Oh! And guess who doesn’t drink alcohol? Yah. James. Totes sober. Mwah!


Ode to Godin

Does everyone know who Seth Godin is? If you answered “No” please open a new tab and Google him immediately because he’s awesome and he will bring excitement and drive into your life! You can meet him HERE or HERE or HERE.

Seth Godin is an important guy to know. He’s out there in the big big world pulling for us every single day. He says things like, “I’m going out on a limb. Want to come?” And he writes books that tell us exactly why and how we should abandon worry and embrace change, explaining what it means to unleash ideaviruses, celebrating that we’re all weird while encouraging us to find our niche.

Seth asks, “What will you create? Who will you help? What connection will you make? What will you dare to care about?” Then follows it up with, “Choose to matter in a way that aligns with who you want to be.”

He is a beautiful force that I feel lucky and grateful to have recently discovered. In fact I’m so inspired by his latest book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn), that I’m modeling this year’s blog after it. Each post I write will come from an idea in the book. I can’t wait to see what sparks!

Thank you Seth for rockin’ life! This one’s for you.

Nobody Doubts Scott Jurek!

Scott Jurek is the man. As of yesterday he is half way through the Appalachian Trail, on track to beat the speed record and make it almost 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine in a mere forty two days.

Forty two days!! That means he’s averaging over 50 miles a day. On foot.

I was talking to Timmy O’Neill on the phone today. He’s a climber out of Boulder hoping to join Scott at some point on his trek once he gets up into New England if he stays on track.

I couldn’t believe he said it that way. If he stays on track… IF?!!

This is Scott. Fucking. Jurek.

This is the man who won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Race seven years in a row. This is the man who ran on the white lines of the highway so the soles of his sneakers wouldn’t melt on the pavement of Death Valley and soaked in coffin sized coolers full of ice on his way to dominating Badwater (twice) – a 135-mile race usually held in mid-July when temperatures soar above 120º with no shade. This is the only American to win the 153-mile Spartathlon, which he did three times in a row! And for a while he held the record for most miles run in 24 hours (166!). And he’s decent and good and determined and kind.

You don’t doubt Scott Jurek!

Yet the uncertainty in Timmy’s voice continued. Because you never know what surprises you’ll face he said… and some useless rant about unexpected injuries.

I’ve never met Scott but there’s one thing I know for sure even so. He is not the kind of person you doubt. He is the kind of person you believe in and then he just comes through. At no point does it get complicated. Believe in him and he will come through.

Questioning someone like Jurek’s ability to conquer a seemingly impossible task is the epitome of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings about worrying – it’s a complete waste of time. What is the benefit of casting a shadow?

Who cares about the possibilities of negative outcomes? What in the world could be the point of focusing on them? The only things we need are loud heartfelt cheers of joy and wonder! Run Jurker Run!

In Scott’s words this is going to be his masterpiece. I don’t have even the tiniest trace of doubt of his impending success. Here’s to 20 more days on the trail! I wish I could be at Katahdin to see him finish.

Scott Jurek you are a rock star and an inspiration!

Track his journey on Instragram here.


Inspiration Overload

My goodness.

Friday night I finished reading Misty Copeland’s book Life in Motion about her unlikely rise to the top of the ballet world, making history as the only African American soloist dancing with American Ballet Theatre. She is a beautiful rock star of a woman. You can witness some of her magic and inspiration here.

On Saturday my sister and I took the dogs for a walk in Chautauqua Park where the Flatirons are in Boulder and Anton Krupicka ran right past us. Yah. The ultrarunner I wrote about when I was preparing for the Honolulu Marathon… three years to the day actually. I wrote about him on April 11th, 2012 and saw him at the flatirons on April 11th, 2015.

There is something so ethereal about his running. Talk about being born to run, he floats across the earth effortlessly just like Misty Copeland spinning across the stage. It was like catching a glimpse of an elusive wild animal.

Then Sunday I read Amy Purdy’s book, On My Own Two Feet, in a single afternoon. After contracting bacterial meningitis at age 19, she not only endured full kidney failure and beat her 2% chance of survival, but went on to win bronze in snowboarding at the Paralympic games in Sochi… without feet. She had to have them both amputated because her body had sacrificed them to septic shock in order to save her organs.

Two days after returning from Russia Amy joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars and of course, because she’s ridiculously amazing, she and her partner Derek Hough ended up in second place. You can witness her magic and inspiration here.

So I’m feeling pretty rejuvenated and inspired. Knowing these people exist and seeing the amazing things they accomplish amp me up to get out there and bring on the happy.

This move to Colorado has not been easy. For the last six weeks I’ve been quietly binge eating junk food and drinking a ton of beer – there’s a microbrewery on every corner for goodness sake. I’m confident I made the right choice to come here, but I’ve been stuck in a wave of moods regardless.

Now I’m ready to put the discomfort and frustration behind me and find whatever groove this next chapter of life will bring.

Thank you Misty, Anton and Amy for arousing me from my snooze. It is much appreciated!