James Altucher – The 20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires


James Altucher is an entrepreneur and angel investor – having started 20 companies, 17 of which have failed.

He is has achieved the rank of chess master, is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling book “Choose Yourself” and… is a millionaire.


A blog post on James’ website shares the manifesto and suggests: “I read book after book but the advice seemed awful. And even the advice that was clearly good (“eat better”) there was almost zero chance I would follow.” This is clearly advice that James would follow.

James Altucher - The 20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires


The 20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires

1. Say “No”

When you say “NO” you have more time to read, learn, sleep, ask questions, contact friends, love life. Say “no” more.

2. Love

This is the only religion. This is the only thing worth surrounding to. This is the fuel for your ideal muscle.

3. Make Mistakes

Mistakes are the spell books of success. Study them hard. Learn their incantations. When muscled tear they rebuild.

4. Plant seeds

Basic garden math: 1% of seeds turns into 50% of the flowers. Plant lots of seeds.

5. Be around people who are kind to you and love you

Other people will make you unhappy, unkind, and unsuccessful.

6. Stand next to the smartest person in the room

Harold Ramis did it (Bill Murray). Steve Jobs did it (Steve Woznick). Craig Silverstein did it (Who? Larry Page). Kanye West did it (Jay-Z). I make money only when I do this.

7. No excuses

Blaming is draining. Complaining is draining. Explaining is draining. We don’t have enough inner plumbing for all that draining.

8. Don’t be in a rush

Every overnight success I’ve spoken to took 10-20 years to get there. But ONLY if they celebrated small success along the way.

9. Solve difficult gratitude problems

If you can find a diamond in the mud, you’re going to end up with a lot of diamonds in life.

10. Warren buffet’s 5/25 rule

Make a list of the 25 things you want to do in life. Now do the top 5. And NEVER THINK ABOUT THE OTHER 20 EVER AGAIN. Else they will take time away from the 5 that are most important to you

11. Write down 10 ideas a day

This actually turns into a super power. Do this for six months straight and see what happens.

12. Follow up

I’m shy and bad at this. And lazy. Send an email the next day with an idea on the next step. I have to do this. 

13. Ask questions

There are more questions than answers. Opportunities are buried in the questions. Facts can be outsourced.

14. 1% a day

Whatever you want to get better at: do 1% more each day. 1% a day, compound, is 3800% a year. You win.

15. Right now

Regret will waste time today worrying about yesterday. And anxiety will steal energy from the future. Focus on right now. 

16. Sleep

Sleep rejuvenates brain cells, heals the body, reduces anxiety. And your brain is only active 2-5 hours a day. Sweet dreams.

17. Every day, avoid death

You can’t get rich from a hospital bed. Or a grave. More every day, sleep well, eat well.

18. Do one thing every day you loved as a kid

This is usually the fuel that can power your life.

WAIT – I thought you said there were 20? Secret to success… Give yourself permission to be wrong


Download your copy of these rules here:

Thanks Bill for putting this on your wall where I found it!


This is a classic collection of rules for success.

And I like it because James is really clear – there are plenty of other people out there with their rules for success. He knew he wouldn’t follow them or they wouldn’t work for him so he did the only natural thing he could do -created his own list.

Also, I love the irreverence – 20 habits. Oops, there are only 18. Oh well, make more mistakes.

Personally, I think you can have as many rules as you want.

However, there is a trade-off. When you have lots of rules there becomes a point where you can just have more and more and more of them… Plus, there is a limit to how many of these you can actually remember and are likely to adhere to.

My preference is for a few good rules over a long list.

Plus, I’m all for changing your rules when they get a bit stale (That’s why I could never have a tattoo). My simple thinking here is that you made them up in the first place. Surely, this gives you the right to change them and make up some different ones that better suit your current situation. Don’t over do it, but don’t be strangled by them either.

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