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James Altucher


What I Do on a Typical Day - 10 things I did yesterday.

This was yesterday. I try to make sure with each thing I do that I A) enjoy it. B) learn from it. C) have a higher purpose with it (i.e. I'm moving in a direction that is beyond the specific activity.

I don't try to make money from each activity. I haven't always maximized my money because I tend to not do things I don't enjoy doing. But I find that sooner or later, if you love what you do, then that will translate to some career /financial improvement.

    1. 7-8am: Reading for podcast later in the day. The book was "The Adventures of Herbie Cohen: World's Greatest Negotiator.

    I start the book well before the podcast but on the day of the podcast I like to finish it so it's fully in my memory.

    I've done a lot of podcasts about negotiation and have read most books on the subject. Even wrote the foreword to a book on negotiation ("The Power Bible" by William Beteet and Brandon Lemon).

    This book was excellent. MANY many tips and insights into negotiation. The book was by his son, Rich Cohen, who has been on the podcast before and is a great writer.

    Most important negotiation philosophy: "Care, but don't care too much".

    2. 8-9am: Chess Endgames:

    On Lichess I had 15 endgame positions set up from Kalinichenko's "Encyclopedia of Chess Endgames" given to me by GM Jesse Kraai who was scheduled to give me a lesson at 9.

    I played the computer with each position and tried to master the concepts. They were rook endgames from standard positions with some nuances on each position.

    Most of my games that I have been losing lately have been in the endgame (when there are fewer pieces on board). I figure my 80/20 here (what 20% can I study to get 80% of my improvement) has to be in the endgames.

    3. 9-10am: Chess lesson

    We went over the endgames. Somehow I kept messing it all up even though I had just studied them. Hopefully I started to grasp the concepts.

    Then we went over a game I had lost. "Don't tell me you lost this game!" Jesse said in the middle because I was doing so well.

    "Yeah," I said, "in the endgame."

    For anyone who cares: here's the game: https://lichess.org/study/4FSM5e1B (I am playing black).

    My goal in all of this is to write a book about the experience of attempting to be an older person trying to improve after a 25 year break when the game is now dominated by young people.

    4. 10-11am Business meeting: a friend of mine stopped by. He is working on a "rollup" idea. Buying a bunch of businesses in the same industry.

    When you do a rollup several things happen:
    A) as you buy more businesses in the same industry, you create back end synergies that help you save costs (increase profits).

    For instance, if you are a single laundromat, you pay retail for washing machines. If you are 100 laundromats, you get a bulk discountl

    B) The public values a bigger company more than a small company. So , using the laundromat example, you might pay 4 times earnings to buy a single laundromat.

    But if you own a hundred laundromats, even if you don't improve profits at all, you can sell the whole business for 10 times earnings and make a lot of money. And, additionally, if you get the benefits of "A" above then this is an enormous type of model.

    You can do a rollup in almost every industry and my friend is thinking of an idea in the tech industry

    5. Noon to 2

    Oil company. Because of Russia / Ukraine, the entire world is going to suffer from higher oil prices.

    There are areas of the world where there is oil but we are starting to see regulations go away because of the situation in Ukraine. I've been involved in one specific oil company for years and have never made money off of it. But now we are looking at options given the increased interest in the industry.

    6. 2-4pm Podcast with Rich Cohen

    I described his book above. It's always fun to have a guest on for the second or third time. The conversation flows easily. Plus it helps that I learned a lot from his book and then learned more in the podcast.

    One concept that comes up: People will pay to resolve ambiguity. Everyone hates ambiguity.

    Also, "time", "information", and "power" can be converted into money in a negotiation.

    More in the podcast!

    7. 4-6pm: Met with @paolo about Notepd.

    Discussed all sorts of new features with @paolo . He also described many features he'd already implemented to improve performance and UI.

    It's always a discussion: do we add the BIG, EXCITING new features or do we keep improving the user experience. We always opt to improve the user experience here but try to move the needle a bit each time on new features.

    Expect some great community features coming soon.

    8. 7-8pm, Writing my idea list on NotePD!

    Wrote it on weird things you can invest in. Like sneakers, wine, toys, etc.

    9. Memory Homework

    Taking lessons from former World Memory Champion Simon Reinhard to help me memorize chess variations better.

    It's going great but it's difficult! More on this later.

    10. "Inventing Anna"

    Robyn and I watching this on Netflix. About a woman who pretends to be a rich heiress and swindles a bunch of people.

    She clearly did some things illegal but what is most revealing is how everyone in the show is basically a scumbag who is trying to hustle everyone around them. Everyone is swindling someone in the show although Anna is the one who specifically breaks the law.

    When I first moved to NYC as an adult in 1994 someone told me: "Everyone in NYC wants something and if you can't give it to them, they won't have any interest in you."

    I guess after 25 or so years I realized this was true.

    11. Reading before sleep: "The Puzzler" for the next day's podcast.

    AJ Jacobs about to release his newest book. He spent a year traveling the world to find the best puzzle solvers in Sudoku, crosswords, anagrams, riddles, mazes, and on and on. It's a fascinating book and his experiences in it are his usual hilarious and interesting.

    Finished the book this morning before the podcast with AJ.

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