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Ten Interesting Things from James Altucher’s “Skip the Line”.

Here are a few points I noted from James’ Altucher’s “Skip the Line”.

    1. 1. Success is ...

    Success is found where no one else is. Don’t be the best, be the only.

    2. Many skills are ...

    Many skills are in fact collections of micro-skills. For example, a successful businessman would need to master leadership, marketing, budgeting, organisation, communication, social skills, and problem solving. Identify the micro-skills and develop each one.

    3. The 10,000 hours rule is appropriate ...

    The 10,000 hours rule is appropriate – in certain situations, for example, for motor skills. Michael Jordan’s daily practice sessions for mastering basketball, or a musician achieving excellence.

    4. But in other situations...

    But in other situations, the 10,000 experiments rule is more appropriate, for example, in testing new ideas, or mastering complex skills.

    5. A good experiment is ...

    A good experiment is easy to set up, cheap, quick, either succeeds or fails. A good experiment is one where, if it fails, it doesn’t matter too much, but if it succeeds may result in significant gains.

    6. We can extend our knowledge first by ...

    We can extend our knowledge first by seeking a mentor, but if no mentor is available, then read – books can be our virtual mentor. Secondly, learn through collaboration. aim to work alongside people who want to learn and do a good job. The idea of a solitary genius beavering away to make some great breakthrough is a myth. Most of the great advances in science have come from collaboration. Thirdly, by teaching. It has often been observed that we can’t claim to properly understand something unless we can explain it. Explaining something forces us to clarify and consolidate our thinking.

    7. Aim to improve every day by 1%.

    Aim to improve every day by 1%. If we don’t do this, then we will decile every day by 1%. But how do I know if I have become a 1% better father or businessman, or writer today? It’s subjective – but it is the process of asking yourself, what did I do today to improve in this area – that is enough to cause you to think and to look for opportunities to improve.

    8. Focus on progress, not on perfection.

    The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

    9. Be aware of the “conspiracy number”....

    Be aware of the “conspiracy number”. This is the number of things that have to go right for a plan to succeed. Prefer the plan with the lowest “conspiracy number”.

    10. Use the “10 ideas to…” technique...

    Use the “10 ideas to…” technique. Every day, write a list of anything you want. It could be “10 ways to improve a [insert random noun]”, or “10 ways to improve at [insert skill]”, or “10 ways to combine a [x] with a [y]”. Eisenhower wrote about the Normandy landings, that it wasn’t the plan that mattered so much as the planning process. The same applies here – it’s not the list that matters, but the thinking that we need to do to generate a list.

    11. Use “ideas maths”.

    Use “ideas maths”. Addition is taking two or more ideas and combining them. Subtraction is taking an impossible idea, and removing the impossible part to see what remains. Multiplication is taking a working idea and applying it to a new domain. And division is taking a working idea, and applying it to a smaller, more focused domain.

    12. Look for the “bottom third”.

    Look for the “bottom third”. These are shops too small for credit cards, or writers who can’t find a publisher. They are individuals or businesses that are too small for big businesses to be interested in.

    13. Finally, “Skip the line” can be translated to ...

    “Skip the line” can be translated to “Jump the queue” in the King’s English.

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