Partial Transcript: Episode 57 (James Altucher)

James Altucher: Thanks for having me on the show!

Virginia: You have a new book out called, “Choose Yourself.”  It’s done very well.

James Altucher: Thank you.  I’m very proud of it, actually.

Virginia: I’m not going to call you on the whole “refunding the price of the book” bit, since you are on the show with us.  But, I did read every single bit of it, and I did excerpt quite a bit.

James Altucher: And you can call me on that, and see what happens, but I’m happy either way.

Virginia: I feel like you did us a favor being on the podcast, so I think we can call it even.  I find you interesting because I have a degree in business.  For somebody who works with startups and whatnot, you are amazingly, refreshingly honest.

James Altucher: Thank you.  I try to be, which is the opposite of what most people think.  They think you have to cut and slash in order to win in business, but I think it’s the opposite.

Virginia: You’ve been doing this 100% honesty blogging thing since 2010, and I assume that you’re still happy with the results.

James Altucher: I can’t even begin to tell you how many opportunities you have when you start to take off the mask and present to your audience an authentic voice.  That’s the most powerful thing you can do as far as marketing or just in terms of personal health and salvation.

Virginia: Do you think that blogging was the perfect medium or would you have preferred some other way of reaching the masses?

James Altucher: Well, I had been writing for a long time before the blog.  I wrote a column for the Financial Times for a number of years.  I was writing for various websites from Yahoo Finance to Forbes to TheStreet.com.  The blog, although it was a relatively new thing for me, I had been writing for quite some time.  This book that just came out is my 11th book, so I’ve been writing books and been on TV quite a bit.  I found blogging to be really great because nobody could edit me.  Nobody could tell me, “You know what?  We’re not going to publish this.  This is a little bit too much.”  I’ve had that just about everywhere else.  I was glad to be able to write whatever I wanted.  The funny thing is that when I started blogging, people were like, “Woa! This is like watching a train wreck in motion.”  Yet, I don’t know of many train wrecks that have lasted three years and everyone is still alive.

Virginia: Do you know how many views you get on your site every day?

James Altucher: I get on average 15 to 20 thousand views a day.  That varies.  I’ve had up to 100,000 or more in one day.  All together, it’s something about 3 million visitors in the past year, give or take.

Nick: Is that big enough for you or do you want to be bigger?

James Altucher: You know, I don’t know.  I sell any ads or any information products.  I sort of don’t want to think too much about the numbers.  I want to write what I want to say.  Whoever the right number is to get that message, then I’m happy either way.  If that’s one person or ten million, then I’m happy either way.  I would like to think that I’m that way.

Virginia: I was reading your Reddit AMA, and there were several people whom you had helped through difficult times who came out and thanked you.  It seems like that’s your goal with this blog.

James Altucher: Yeah.  That is the main goal.  I guess there’s a vanity aspect: I like to write things that people like to read.  I can’t help that.  At the same time, it’s very comforting to know that when I write something, I’m providing entertainment value and some honesty.  There’s also some educational or other value that people perceive as helping them.  Ultimately, I think I’m not really helping people.  I think people are helping themselves but they needed that little nudge or push to get over the door and help themselves.

Nick: Do you like the title, “Self-Help Guru”?

James Altucher: No.  I don’t like that title so much because I only write about what helps me.  People will ultimately choose to do what helps them.  I have no idea what will help other people besides me.  I know these things have helped me, and I have some circumstantial evidence just from emails that I receive that it’s helped other people.  Ultimately, people have to choose themselves.  I write about what I did to choose myself and what helped me a lot when I was down and out and on the floor.

Thanks for reading our transcript!  Check out iTunes for the full show!