Books I read: The Choose Yourself Stories

I am a fan of Altucher (written about that before). I have read Choose Yourself and am a fan. So, I could not resist picking the book up despite my misgivings on Kindle Unlimited :).

What is the book about?

“Choose Yourself Stories” is a series of stories about people who have chosen themselves. You will be right at home and begging for more if you are already familiar with Altucher world.

tl;dr

Laugh. Cry. Learn. (a lot). A definite read.

choose-yourself-stories-review

 

A Short Summary

Get to real stuff quickly

You need the basic structure, and learn how to navigate your way. You don’t need to be an expert at everything and have deep knowledge of everything. You only need to do it better than the customer expected. Always add a bit extra that makes you the magician.

At the end , don’t get burnt by anyone and take things as they come – you and the rest are dead and gone soon.

James is a HBO guy making documentaries, and he has a brush with the shady sort on the bus to Riker’s island. There are all sorts of things happening in dark places, but life moves on. You still get up the next day and get breakfast.

Everyone will die

You, your neighbour’s dog, your worst enemy and the car driver who has pipes coming out of his heart that he acquired after trying a medicine to loose weight fast.

However, what matters is what you are doing today, how well you are living today, what ambitions you are charting out to yourself, and how do you finally plan to go – smiling, crying, fighting, or just being silent?

Know who you are

No matter how famous you become – and how everyone adores you for everything that you know, there is a likely chance that you know nothing. Break free of that ego and be who you are. TV, news, opinions are all hogwash.

Maintain that enthusiasm for life

Today, you are peddling up without any assistance, with the sandstorm in your face, with a wild cat and possibly the creature from tremors behind you. You so want to sacrifice yourself to any of those entities. But, you still persevere – there is fun in the next corner. You just need that little thing that carries you forward in the difficult moment.

There are always situations like Junior High in one’s life. You are treated to a pleasant surprise on the first day – the gut wrenching, shocking suprise that no one wants to have but secretly desires. Junior high and the first day come to pass.

Carve your mantra to strive for success

Altucher went from having 15 M in a bank to $150 and then $0. He struggled to make ends meet and then climbed all the way up by – no, not by waving a magic wand but doing something similar to what you do – living life.

  • Exercise everyday
  • Sleep nine hours a day
  • Be around people who make a positive impact on you

Live now, succeed and then scuceed even more. You may like or dislike the journey, you may absolutely hate your current state of life – but this moment is what you have. And, that is what you have to use to get forward in life.

Don’t get hung up on people and external factors

People can hand over shit to you at any moment. The people whom you fought wars, died for, the people who you loved, and experienced life’s better moments – it does not matter.

Any or all of them can easily turn into total jerks when it comes to a difficult moment. No matter what they do – life moves on and always for the better.

Do not think about all rejections and delve into the negative energy – but think about the positives that happened and will happen. And yes, positives happen even at the darndest of the times. At all those times that you are alive.

Spot the illusion, but always as an audience

It is fun in taking part in a three-card monte. But the sleight of hand can damage you with whatever you are willing to spare. And that happens in all walks of life.

Now imagine yourself as the audience – you will laugh no issue at the entertainment, take it in, and then move on. You are least impacted since you’re there for the laughs, not to make or lose money.

Grief too will pass

You go from a multi-millionaire IT guy to being a bus driver who drives from Queens to Riker Island in the middle of the night. Of course, you will see that all the rules that we have created in the “normal society” do not exist. You are not happy with what has it has come to. There is only much sadness, but the good is always ready to get itself unshackled at any moment now.

“Today may be an ordinary day. But may be I can try to make every moment in it extraordinary”

— James Altucher

Write ideas down

Maybe they click one day. Maybe they interact with each other in strange ways to create weirder ideas that you could use?

Freedom

Enjoy your freedom. Do something new and you may feel as though you are free for life – but a new worry can always come back.

Keep striving for a new freedom. A change will happen anyway, and you embracing that change (or driving it ahead) will make you feel that you are on the top of the world.

Nothing sells like embarrassing stories

Not because people want to laugh at you – only people with something wrong with their mind do that. Normal people wonder what they would have done in your shoes, cry some, laugh some and love the guy telling the embarrassing stories.

In Summary

Go read this book.

If you never knew the author, you will be wondering why the heck will someone write all this sh*t?

Not once do you recognize that Altucher is a multimillionaire with a knack for selling stuff, creates successful companies, is a great negotiator, helps people, and has created a raving community who stand by him (until you read ‘About the Author’ that is).

Books I read: Common Inner Peace..

I was deeply suspicious of books that are free on Kindly Unlimited – yes, incl. Harry Potter series. I have learnt to be suspicious of books that are selling really cheap – think 80-90% off as well. And, yes – this includes my own books :). “Come on Inner Peace .. I don’t have all day” by Sachin Garg reinforced my belief and made me proud of my own narrow-mindedness.

I read “COIPIDHAD”.. or “Come on.. ” about six months back, and took a while to digest it. After all, a lot of things happening in my life too.
Hopefully, not as messed up.

Come on Inner Peace!: I Don't Have All Day! by [Garg, Sachin]

[click on the affiliate link and buy something else. I will pray for you if buy this book]

A short summary

The story is straight from the pictures of yore – the ones your grandfather used to watch and think “deep things” about life. Only it could have been considered “risque”?

  • A man (our hero) catches his beloved with his best friend in a compromising position. Only to be known that it was CPR after an asthmatic attack.
  • Without any explanation, the hero leaves for Goa for a long hiatus (was it after, before or during college?) and ends up in a resort.
  • After working in menial jobs the tragic heroine visits him in the same resort and dies from our old friend – asthma.
  • Some “bestest” friends guide the dejected hero to an ashram. The Guru makes all the pain go away.

If you are at “WTF was that”, hold on to the thought. “Come on..” is about to get way interesting.

  • Enter the second heroine. A girl of nineteen who ran away from a potential career in pharmacy to sell paintings & read/collect literature in Goa, live in a resort, and date bald men.
  • Hero meets heroine no. 2, but is not convinced. He is all caught up with first (though he does not know she’s innocent). No. 2 returns to lowly life.
  • You remember it was an ashram? Swami tells hero to go meet no. 2.
  • He also instructs hero on the best peace-making secret of our lifetimes – “breathe in, breathe out”.

The hero and I are confused at this time. We are through 25% of the book.

  • Now, there’s another female who helps the hero search for no. 2. This lady is another mess-up from another life. But hey, who is counting.
  • In the run-up to find no. 2, hero’s chemical engineering skills are used to make meth, the lady doubles up as a drug pusher
  • Lady’s cough gets aggravated – has 20 days to live (what?). A donation site to help her does not gather much cash. Who cares – the hero can make meth anyway. The two head back to Ashram
  • Lady cannot be saved by surgery
  • No. 2 meanwhile gets reinstated by dad and heads over to Ashram
  • All of this culminates in a PG13 scene of a fake marriage and passionate love – in an ashram that serves “satvik” food.

Ah, the harsh world.

Conclusion

Seriously messed up.

I think “Come on..” is overread by most of the pseudo philosophers. Kindle highlights kept me reading till the end – e.g., 30+ people highlighted “Your mind is like the horse. And you are the one riding it. Nobody is born with excellent riding skills. It is acquired and mastered over time with experience”. Our hero felt overwhelmed by that; I puked a little.

I deleted the book from my Kindle. I also burnt the darn device and spread its ashes in the Kengeri river – just to make sure.

Planning for the good life in comment section

So, it so happens on one day that I develop an itch to know more about why the government bans Haj subsidy. And, what other kinds of pilgrimages can be banned.

You see – although I am quite distant to Godly matters, I tend to develop all kinds of interests.

This quest of mine led me to Google News, and then onwards to an old article by The Logical Indian. This news site evokes extreme reactions from people who care and I could not just resist the urge to gobble up their thoughts about all the burning issues plaguing this world.

The only take away from the article was –

The relationship between man and God is an individual choice. The state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity … Mixing state with religion is not constitutionally permissible.

This is where most of the intelligent and smart people stop, and go about their business. Of course, that does not include me.

I wanted to find out what other super intelligent beings on the planet think about the whole noise around subsidy. These are the guys who give away smart thoughts & ideas for free and get society to think about its own existence – all in the comment section.

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the comments in this particular article. I did what any other lazy person will do – furiously work on my mouse wheel and get to the next article in the constantly scrolling nirvana.

And, ladies and gentleman – this is where I hit the jackpot. I’m fairly certain that TLI does not mind sharing information by smart people, to smart people and for other smart asses like you and me.

The article, if you care (you should), is about harassers against women. The topic is serious – and, in all honesty, I did expect the intelligentsia to be more generous with their comments.

Boy, was I right and wrong at the same time.

First, we start off with Santosh who was insensitive to the problem in the article but was trying to be immensely helpful at the same time.

smart intelligent comments in news sites

Now, I do not know Mr. Santosh from Appolo Hospital. Or, just why he changed his name to Dr. Mark Fox who is Nephrology in the world famous India Surgical Hospital. But, I am determined to chose this conduit to put my kidney to good use at the right time. I have great ideas to spend USD 290K.

There were few other guys willing to “huge amount of money” for various organs – but my vote is for the above. Please save the WhatsApp numbers for future use.

The reason I say “future use” is because there are better options. What if you could get a super loan from a super friendly guy?

idiotic comments

I am now a true believer. Chris O David, the kind lender is not saying this himself. He got Jessica, a widow of three kids, to login with his account and start posting random comments full of praise of the “man of God”. The act will be deemed plain stupid, if not for the miracles here.

I half stopped here – what was the point in proceeding elsewhere when I could get money with low interest rates?

This was not to be.

No sooner I learnt of easy money without getting my kidneys involved, I was enlightened to “programmed blank credit cards”. Why take loans at 3% when I could just have a modern “akshay patra”. I could just say I was getting smarter by the minute.

internet comments spam hilarious

The most difficult decision was now to choose from a list of cards that offered a whole range of spends with corresponding costs per day (a few of them from untraceable, unknown banks).

Fortunately, I was not stupid. I could clearly see that there was a catch. The people with likeness for serious detective stories and crime mysteries will instantly see the major flaw in the process.

How can we get away with withdrawing all this money from the credit card with the damn CCTV looking at us? Even if the bank is not interested, will the CCTV monitor monitor (yes – that is the monitor of the CCTV monitor) also get the same idea?

There is only so much money in this world. “Fear not” – I assured myself as I scrolled to the next comment. Presenting the card that can trick the stupid CCTVs.

internet spam comments funny

The honest offer of a non-free, giver of money card was taken to the next level by a company that combines the best of both worlds – interest rates and blank credit card.

funny comments

Kidneys may join the offer later.

I felt so blessed to have all these people around, and to have the most powerful medium to get their messages across to me. And then, I had my ‘Inception’ moment.

inception moment

Damn you, internet.

 

(Sorry guys, could not resist the temptation to break the “no blogging” streak with an idiotic post).

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish – A good, quick read

I will be honest here.

I don’t read a lot nowadays – Indian authors included. Not that I am free of that habit, it is just a matter of being determined to find enough time in my 14 hours a day spent outside of home. But, fortunately, I did not consider the time aspect when I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited.

How can I?

One gets to be as ambitious as one can be – especially when a good deal is at hand (“so many books!”). As the things came to be – Kindle started recommending these books using the secret sauce that is Kindle recommendation.

It so happened I picked up this book.

stay hungry stay foolish book review

In hindsight, I would not have probably considered “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” if I had not been spending time on Kindle. In all honesty, I am still undecided whether that would be a good or bad thing.

To give all credit to the author, Rashmi Bansal does a good job of meeting a lot of “A-listed” entrepreneurs and getting their life journeys, their version of the story and mixes that well with the facts on the ground. Her passion to outline stories from 25 IIM-A alumni, who did not become a “slave to the corporate” world, shows.

The list includes who’s who of the entrepreneur club including Sanjeev Bikhchandani (naukri.com), Shantanu Prakash (Educomp) and lesser known ventures that a lazy person like me wouldn’t know. I had a ball of the time reading through the first 100 pages or so (my default device was my mobile phone, YMMV). For a few moments there I experienced their thrill of starting new ventures, was awed and captivated at their gritty determination and, in general, enjoyed a virtual entrepreneurial journey.

For a few moments, I experienced their thrill of starting new ventures, was awed and captivated at their gritty determination and, in general, enjoyed a virtual entrepreneurial journey.

The best read for me was the story of Narendra Murkumbi (Shree Renuka Sugars) – it was a old-world business for a new age entrepreneur and the business is huge.

But then, it became sort of repetitive – I marveled more at my feverish turning of pages (or swiping the screen) rather than the story unraveling in front of me. I became less and less patient of the text that went into the nitty-gritty’s and I probably missed a gem or two there.

At the end of the day, reading this book is a fairly good use of your time. “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” does showcase some good entrepreneurial stories and a few of them have indeed transformed themselves and their companies into amazing entities.

My quick recommendation – pick up this book if you are still wondering what kind of crazy people are entrepreneurs. Make it a quick read over a weekend and y’all be a-ok.

Books that are in the Cloud

I have been a technology person all my life.

Well, that does not say a lot more than..

I love to experiment with technology and choose what “just works” at any time.

and..

I adapt to technology as it happens.

At the same time, I accept the fact that this planet is comprised of beings who like to stay behind stick on to things that worked before and they came to love. There always are and will be people who reminisce about the days gone by and try to use the bygone products – people who –

  • use Gramaphone/Vinyl records instead of MP3’s
  • play Contra when they can play Just Cause
  • love taking notes in a notebook and read physical books

I have no qualms with them. We cannot have the world full of intelligent people after all.

A recent product I came by is the bridge that for the people mentioned in the first part of the third kind. What caught my eye during my sojourn on millions of web pages was the marketing.

mod books

The product in question is “Mod Notebooks [dead]”. It comes with a catchy phrase – “A paper notebook that sync to the cloud”. My initial thought after reading the phrase was – “WTH. I am again falling behind in my holy pursuit of technology for the sake of technology”. As you may take note (mentally, not physically or virtually) – that was not to be.

As you may take note (mentally, not physically or virtually) – that was not to be.

I heaved a sigh of relief as I read through what Mod could do. I looked kindly at my loved ones, neighbours and others who are technically challenged and made a note (again, mentally) of the newest enabler that could help them come up in life. Mod was indeed the bridge that could get them the bragging rights of being on “digital bandwagon”.

The way it works is simple –

mod notebook instructions

Mod is not the technology that digitises the content on the go. It is not some new device that provides that oh-so-good feel of putting ink on the virtual paper.

Mod is a “process” by which you take notes in the physical books and get it digitised later. It is cleverly packaged to include that end-to-end process of creating content on paper as you did for millennia and see it ported to the digital world ‘by magic’. Someone “out there” enables you to become a responsible member of the digital world.

I love these innovative business ideas. I admire people with these thoughts of general upliftment. Admit it – you also recognise the genius in all this.

I am not sure how effective Mod is – it is currently enabled for residents of USA (God bless their souls). I am not sure how the OCR works for the handwriting of my friendly neighbourhood doctor (give them back an image of their handwriting? – that is cruel).

I doubt whether I would give it a try if I did have the opportunity.

But, Mod did make an impression on me. It is the way the smart people make money out of the “tech have-not’s”. The bridge that few will take but will be extremely proud of taking the “bridge less taken”.