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!