Book Reviews · Self-Improvement

Choose Yourself by James Altucher

Choose yourself


About the Book

I distinctly remember the first time I stumbled on Altucher’s work.

It was a few years back and I was reading through this really depressing article. It was dark, it was poignant, but it was also really funny.

Laugh out loud kinda stuff.

I can’t really remember what the article was about. I just remember the feeling it left. It was a celebration of failure almost.

I had to read more of his stuff.

So this was when I first read Choose Yourself – a book all about self-improvement and doing what you want to do. It left an indelible mark and so I recently decided to re-read it to see why I enjoyed it so much the first time.

Here are a few of my favourite picks.


Favourite Passages:

  • “Only think about the people you enjoy. Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human. Only go to the events that actually make you laugh or fall in love. Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.” How to Choose Yourself


  • “Most people obsess on regrets in their past or anxieties in their future. I call this ‘time travelling’.” How to Choose Yourself


  • “If you are in a traffic jam, there is an abundance of cars. Think of the human achievement those cars represent in our short history on this planet. Turn despair on its head.” What if I’m in a Crisis?


  • “Enhance your family, your friends, your colleagues, your clients, potential customers, readers, people who you don’t even know yet but you would like to know. Become a beacon of enhancement, and then when the night is grey, all of the boats will move toward you, bringing their bountiful riches.” Just Do It


  • “You will have nobody to run from. Some people will hate you. Some people will doubt your sincerity. But the people who need someone to call, someone to share with, or someone to give to, these people will know who to call. They will call you.” Honesty Makes You More Money


  • “I’ve been making videos for seven years and never get bored of it, one or two videos a week regularly all that time.” You’re Never Too Young to Choose Yourself…


  • Try this exercise: pretend everyone was sent to this planet to teach you… This will give you a strong feeling of humility.” Nine Things I Learned from Woody Allen


  • “As Allen famously stated, 80 percent of success is ‘showing up.'” Nine Things I Learned from Woody Allen



What Others Are Saying

reviews for choose yourself.jpg


Star Rating:


It was as good as I remembered!

I love James’s honesty, and he clearly has the experiences to back up the kind of things he says.

There are certainly lots of useful takeaways, particularly with respects to gratitude and self-awareness. It reminds me in many ways to the stoic principles outlined in Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy (also well worth checking out).

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, just how contrarian he is. Sometimes I think he says such things just to be so and to have more impact. Not that that’s a bad thing necessarily. I’d personally just be prepared to take some of his views with a pinch of salt.

All in all, though, it’s a really interesting, well-written piece that can be smashed through in a relatively short amount of time.

Definitely check it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s