Ask James: LOVE, SEX, BUSINESS, DATING, and GREED

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I used to religiously
read “Dear Abby’s column” as a kid. Then I would
buy the collected columns (since she had decades worth of material)
when they came out in book form. She had been doing it since 1956
and her daughter continues the tradition. And then there was “Ask
Ann Landers” which was every bit as good and done by her twin
sister. Of course they couldn’t use their real names. “Ann
Landers” real name was “Eppie Lederer”. I fantasized
they were related to me (my great grandfather’s last name was
“Lederer”).

People would
ask them anything. I remember one in particular. A woman followed
her husband late at night to a strip club. The man went in the back
with a woman. Later, under interrogation from the woman, he claimed
that “all I got were sexual favors”. In other words, he
was trying to say, no big deal. This girl wanted to know (from Abby,
or Ann, I forget which) if this was ok.

I forget their
response. Who cares. I wanted questions like that. I’d lay
down the line for that poor woman and tell her what goes on in the
real world.

The other day
I tweeted I would answer any and all questions on twitter from 4
to 4:30 (making it easy for people who trade the markets since at
4 most markets are closed. The questions started coming in at 3:45.
I loved it. It was a way to help people in short bursts. I tried
to get as many answers in as possible before 4:30. I think I finished
around 4:40. Below are the questions and my answers. In some cases
I expand a little. I plan on doing this every week.

I don’t
know if this works in column format (i.e. this blog post) but we’ll
see. This is an experiment.

ONLINE DATING

@jaltucher
What are your feelings concerning online dating? Would you
treat it like a new business, considering the interactions?

@jeehtoven
i treat online dating EXACTLY how i treated starting a business.
And don’t forget to cut losses quickly!.

Expanded
answer
: I was online dating before I met Claudia. I tried every
service. Heck, I
even created a service
! I was online 3-4 hours a night (when
I wasn’t on a date) sending out messages to profiles I liked.
I spent an hour filling out the eHarmony form and only at the end
they told me I wasn’t qualified (“Our research shows that
people who are separated ususally do not have relationships that
work out.

I cut losses
very quickly. If a conversation started (some services allow for
instant messaging) that I felt was going nowhere I stopped it. If
a date happened and I sensed it wasn’t going to work out, I
cut it short and that was that. Even if I felt like things could
move forward, if I didn’t think it would end in long-term relationship,
I stopped it.

I had very
clear goals. I wanted to fall in love. I wanted someone to fall
in love with me. I didn’t want any games where we had to pretend
to not love each other while we slowly eased into it. I work pretty
fast.

But it was
work. Every day sending messages. Every day trying different services.
And then the actual dates. If you just try haphazardly you will
never get anywhere.

And
for me, it worked.

ADVENTURE
OR INERTIA

kaisdavis:
how do you take that next step towards living and adventure when
life is full of inertia to stay silent and still?

Answer:
@kaisdavis
do both. have adventure. give yourself time to stay
silent and still.

Expanded
answer
: I realize my answer now is not necessarily answering
his question.

On any given
day, the general tendency is to just do your normal routine. The
“Normal Routine” is a jealous beast. It doesn’t want
us to do anything new. So it basically has us in the routines that
keeps us trapped into continuing its follies: We eat heavy, greasy
food which weighs us down and keeps us sluggish. We drink –
which further removes the methods by which we can escape out of
the box we’ve carved out for ourself. We go to our shit jobs
so we can pay back our student loan debts . We hang out with our
friends. I would like to hang out more with friends. But it’s
hard to do that and plan for the exciting future which we can rightfully
claim to be ours.

The key ultimately
is to first figure out how to get rid of the inertia and then the
real LIVING will come.

I’ve had
periods of real inertia. Where all I could so was sit around and
be depressed. The only way I’ve ever been able to come out
of it was by following the ideas in this post:

How
To Be the Luckiest Guy on the Planet in 4 Easy Steps

IS GREED
GOOD?

@tradefast
is greed good?

@tradefast
greed is good because w money u can help people, help your descendants,
and buy freedom to pursue spiritual pursuits. $$

Expanded
answer:

The phrase
“greed is good” has become a cliché for periods
of excess like the 80s or the mid 00s. Where real characters like
Ivan Boesky or fictional characters like Gordon Gekko use it as
an excuse for their own illegal activities.

However, don’t
believe the hype. Don’t just watch TV or read the newspaper
headlines and nod your head with everyone else: “They are all
out to get me with their stupid greed.”

I have greed
to make money. I want to feed my family. I want them to have shelter.
I want to be able to afford if they get sick. Furthermore, I might
want to start new companies, or create new jobs, or work on other
ideas and innovations instead of working as a salesclerk in the
Verizon store (as the guy who caught Derek Jeter’s ball did,
and he then handed the ball back for free instead of taking the
potential $250,000 offered).

Greed is good
if you are good.

IS THE WORLD
ENDING?

@ginger_gal
(I can’t find her exact question) asked something to the effect:
with Europe about to default, high employment, gold (the ultimate
fear metal) on the rise, why should anyone still be bullish?

My answers:

@ginger_gal
lowest yields in 50 years, highest profits ever, lowest P/E ratio
versus yields, cheap large-cap stocks

@ginger_gal
Gold is just as fiat as paper. The global economy is bigger
than gold. I bet on innovation and not a rock

@ginger_gal
dont forget in 1981 all South Amer defaulted (and we had HUGE exposure)
and inflation was double digits and cold war

@ginger_gal
none of those things have anything to do with wealth creation in
this innovation world we live in.

Expanded
answer:

The last two
are the most important.

Fact: right
now the top 5 banks in the US have 3% exposure to European debt.
(How can this be? Becausee China is buying up all the European debt
in their attempt to take over the financial planet).

In 1981 all
of South America was in default. The top 5 banks in the US had 263%
exposure to their debt. We had 17% inflation/bond yields. Millions
of jobs were being lost because of the high rates and inflation.
And we had the Soviet Union with thousands of hydrogen bombs pointed
at your home. Not to mention the revolution in Iran, unrest in India
/ Pakistan / Israel, etc.

And yet what
happened: a two decade boom?

Ignore world
politics, ignore the government statistics, ignore the headlines
which try to make you scared, ignore the pundits who sell newsleltters
based on fear and greed.

They are all
out to SCAM you. If you are putting your hopes and future happiness
on the thought that the world is going to end you’re going
to be dead wrong.

Here’s
a link to my Dow 20,000 prediction.

Someone then
asked me a related question:

IS
IT POSSIBLE TO START A BUSINESS IN THIS WORLDWIDE DEPRESSION?

I couldn’t
find who asked it but someone asked if its possible to start a business
in this world Depression period we are going through. My answer:

jaltucher
James Altucher

i forget who;
someone asked if 1 can start a biz in this world depression. Groupon
started in November 2008! Don’t let media fear stop you!

Expanded
answer:

MANY people
were critical of this answer. How come? Because of all the media
hype pulling Groupon’s numbers apart and saying this is a horrible
business.

FACT: Groupon
is the fastest growing revenues business in history. They started
less than three years ago and have 1.5 billion in revenues this
year. The founders have already cashed out probably close to a billion
dollars.

Someone said,
“but they don’t make money”.

Read
the rest of the article

September
26, 2011

The
Best of James Altucher

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