on 2 November 2011
"I Was Blind But Now I See" is Altucher's second venture into the self-help genre. It's full of many anecdotes from his life experience, punctuated by the occasional useful instruction and many over-the-top viewpoints (e.g. "I'd rather shoot myself in the head than own a home"). The book very easy and entertaining to read, with even the odd laugh-out-loud moment.
However, for someone such as myself, who reads all of his blog posts, it was disappointing at the lack of new content in the book. Most of its content is rehashed from blog posts, with few new concepts or ideas. So great if you've read one or two of his posts and want to know more. Not so great if you've already read his previous book and been following him for a while; you won't gain nearly as much.
on 3 November 2011
It's refreshingly honest. It is simple in its tone and content. It's a self-help book and a bit `new-agey' but has gravitas because the guy has failed. A lot of success manuals are by people that have either not achieved anything themselves - apart from writing self-help books! Or they don't talk about their failures. This book feels real. I like the fact that he's willing to constantly re-invent himself. I'd like to be that brave. I like the fact that he doesn't own a house (ignoring all the financial reasons he states) to keep himself mobile, fluid. I can see how owning a house can be limiting but it's not just about the mortgage. I, like a lot of other people, are tied to where they live by family, jobs other family members may have, where your kids are at school and college etc.
There are the occasional beautiful nuggets in the form of perfectly formed sentences - simple one-liners that you can store for use later. These are the lines, or quotes, that we all come out with when someone asks for advice. I'm sure they've been said before but time will probably attribute them to JA. He's no Steven Covey or Antony Robbins and that's a good thing. There's none of their fluffy positive thinking, just honesty. The guy looks like a geek so I can relate to that ;)
I have a small problem with the Spirituality component of The Daily Practice because I'm an atheist. There's a small amount of text mentioning God but not too much. He's pretty clear that Spirituality doesn't have to be about religion so I suppose I'll have to explore how I find my spirituality - an interesting intellectual challenge if nothing else. Research has shown that Praying does no good for the person you're praying for but it does do good for the person doing the praying... All this makes you think and that, to me, is a successful book.
A work colleague pointed me in the direction of Seth Godin when I mentioned JA and I'm currently reading his free PDF entitled Brainwash. The tenet is the same as JAs - we've been led to believe that we need to fit in with the life that's been prescribed to us. We go to college, get a job, get a huge mortgage, work for 50 years in a boring job and then retire. This system we were brainwashed into believing has failed. In a way its failure is our opportunity: An opportunity to re-invent ourselves.
He rants about the American system A LOT. Some of it is relevant to the wider western capitalist world but a lot isn't. I don't care if America has a President or not. I think the UK shouldn't have a queen but that's a different argument ;)
Like another reviewer pointed out: you can read everything on his blog but I'm still glad I got the book.