300: James Altucher | Choose Yourself & 50 Alternatives to College


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"The best indicator of a successful tomorrow is having a successful day today, that's the only thing." - James Altucher

The Cheat Sheet:
  • Why starting a business is better than going to college.
  • Anyone can take the bar exam in California: true or false?
  • US economics in 3 minutes.
  • Where is the money in today's economy and is there enough?
  • James' "Choose Yourself Message": what it is, how and why to apply it to your life.
  • The story of how he thwarted a $30 million financial fraud.
  • And so much more...

Could you get more education from starting and failing at a business than from going to college? If someone said to you sending an 18 year old to college is like sending an 18 year old to Vietnam, would you agree? That's James Altucher believes and he's our guest for episode 300.

Having founded over 20 companies along with creating and publishing 11 books, James Altucher knows a few things about how the world works and he doesn't see the necessity of college for most people.

Today James and I talk about alternatives to college and why they are important to thriving in today's economy, how the American Dream has gone through a death and a rebirth, how to choose yourself everyday and how James stopped a $30 million financial fraud...accidentally.

More About This Show:

Although he is not in favor of college for the average person, James did attend undergraduate and graduate school. He's an alum of Cornell for his undergrad degree in computer science and he earned his graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon, also in computer science.

Despite this stellar education, James' programming skills were so limited his first employer sent him to a remedial school to get up to speed. Although his programming skills were eventually brought up to par, James went the entrepreneurial route.

In fact, it's a route he considers to be far more valuable than a college degree for most people. If you start and fail at a business, you will learn just as much or MORE than if you would have gone to school for a college degree, according to James.

He believes starting a business is the best alternative to spending thousands, even hundreds of thousands dollars in debt for a degree you may not use later on life.

Another alternative he offers is to actually work in the field you want to go into. Want to be a doctor? Go work in a hospital changing bedpans for six months. If you still want to heal the sick and be in medicine, go to school for it. Think you want to be a lawyer? Go work in a law firm and see if you still like it at the end of summer. If you don't, at least you didn't waste your time and a lot of money on a legal degree.

You need to do this before investing your time and money into a degree that you hate is because America's economy has shifted. No longer are there a plethora of middle management jobs. According to James that entire layer of the US economy has fallen to the wayside.

While that may raise some eyebrows and some concerns, he says there is still plenty of money and innovation in our country. It would benefit everyone to explore other options instead of trying to hang on to work that is no longer there.

And that's where self-care can be such a powerful tool. Instead of fretting over things you can't control and worrying about how to network your way to the top as the old mindset teaches, James believes in focusing on four areas of life every day to ensure you're healthy and happy on the inside. Everything external comes from your internal state so take care of the internal and the external will get taken care of too.

Our conversation on the topic of skipping college and alternatives to higher education may be a controversial one but it's a discussion worth having. As always, we don't leave you hanging! We point out alternatives and options if you decide not to go or not to send your kids to college. Check the resources section for a complementary copy of James' 50 Alternatives To College for even more suggestions.

There's plenty more Ted and I talk about, I hope you'll listen and digest all the great takeaways...and then start applying them to your life for self-mastery.

Resources from this episode:

James' web site James on TwitterJames' books

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