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James Altucher


10 Things I Can't look away from

You know how we're supposed to be all cool and not stare at things: like celebrities or car accidents, etc? Well, I am uncool. Here are some things I just can't look away from.

    1. Celebrities.

    If I see a celebrity I'm going to stare. One time I was in an elevator in LA and the door opens and in walks Bono and some of his friends. I of course stare. They were talking and Bono looks at me and says, "can you believe these guys?" And I said, "You're probably just hanging out with the wrong people."

    And then as he was leaving the elevator he turns, comes back to me and gives me a hug and says, "It's all going to be ok."

    2. A couple arguing in public with at least one person crying.

    I want to know what they're arguing about.

    I used to do a project at HBO called “3am.” What people are up to at 3 in the morning in NYC.

    If I saw a couple arguing I would always interview them. What are you arguing about? I am still obsessed, 20 years later, with the reasons couples argue.


    3. Death

    The second day I ever lived in New York City I was walking to work from NYC’s Port Authority.

    I was scared I was going to lose my new job. I wasn't even remotely quaiified for it. And I was dressed in a cheap suit. And I was living with my parents.

    Thousands of us poured out of the bus station and were walking to work.

    The woman walking next to me was about three feet to my right.

    A cab ran up the curb, hit her, and then drove off with a screech as fast as possible.

    The woman three feet from me, was dead. If I had been more polite, I would have walked on the side with the curb. I didn’t know polite walking behavior then.

    I ran to a payphone (!) and called 911 but so did several other people and soon an ambulance was there.

    She was broken in half. The skin was still together but blood was everywhere and you could see that her body was no longer put together.

    I couldn’t stop staring. I was late for work that day.

    4. Someone looking at me

    I often think I am particularly hideous looking.

    Sometimes I see people looking at me. I wonder why.

    I always look back at them. If they are still looking at me, I look away. But then I try to sneak a look again.

    This happened to me yesterday morning.

    5. Heavy heavy plastic surgery

    I mean, wouldn't you look at this?


    6. If I see two people having sex across the street in their apartment.

    Unfortunately, this has never happened to me. But if it did, I WOULD NOT respect their privacy and I would certainly watch.

    7. My daughters interacting with each other.

    I can't believe I had a small role in creating two people who now probably talk on the phone with each other and love each other (I hope). they are adults now and it blows me away. I love them.


    8. And sometimes you see things and you just wonder: what was the story?


    9. An eclipse

    They say you are not supposed to look. "You could go blind!" But I can't help it.


    10. The real world

    There's a lot of sadness and tragedy out there. We stare at it because we want to learn from it. Because we're all basically the same and when you see something tragic there is always the feeling "there but for the grace of god go I". How did these kids end up here? I took this picture and wanted to know more. But I never found out.

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