As I enter the New Year, I find myself focusing not on resolutions, which can be hollow, but rather on the things for which I’m very thankful.
One of those blessings is James Altucher.
For those of you who don't know James, you should take the time to acquaint yourself with him. He has established himself as one of the Internet’s best bloggers and is also a best-selling business author.
He articulates his thoughts unlike most others – with insight and brutal honesty.
A Breakthough Year
In 2014, James built on the success of his blog and started a podcast called, The James Altucher Show. He recorded 80 episodes. I listened to most of them and thought they were excellent, both information-rich and quite inspiring.
In the process, his podcasts have gained a cult-like following. This begs the question, “Why?”
In my view, there are three reasons why James has been a phenomenally successful podcaster, and I encourage you to follow his lead with your own podcast.
First, he focuses on great storytelling. He does this by asking guests a simple question: “Tell me your story.” With that modest invitation, he unearths a great amount of detail and gets people to share their private thoughts. I firmly believe that nothing is more gripping than a great story told candidly. This rhetorical device works exceedingly well for James.
Because interviewees trust and respect James, they feel comfortable enough to talk about subjects they wouldn’t normally touch. When James is interviewing someone, you don’t hear a lot of canned answers. The responses are refreshingly real.
Second, most of the interviews I listened to were with people running or building disruptive businesses that are reshaping the economy. This is a topic I’m passionate about anyway, so my interest level was high to start. In fact, I wasn’t familiar with many of his guests, but it didn’t matter. They all told captivating stories.
Their stories were riveting, in part, because of the podcast format itself. Unlike something you read, a podcast allows the passion and conviction of the storyteller’s voice to come through. Podcasts give you more context than the written word. Thus, they allow you to assimilate a story completely. Reading about a dynamic entrepreneur in the printed press is not nearly as inspiring or authentic as hearing from that person live – rich with the intonation of their own voice.
Third, James’ interview technique is a tour de force. His genuine curiosity – indeed his entire rambunctious personality – consistently shines through.
Frequently, he’ll ask questions that make you cringe. For example, he’ll ask how much money a guest earned or how much something cost. These are normally taboo subjects, but more often than not, his guests are surprisingly forthright. James doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Listeners are better off for it.
James has had a big impact on my blog, The Wealth Consigliere.
He inspired me to write with an authentic voice. He freed me up to be more honest in my blog, disclosing some of my own vulnerabilities. He also inspired me to use offbeat photos to tell the story with more punch. It’s all worked very well.
In 2015, he’s also motivated me to take the next step in my own storytelling by starting a podcast, which is another social media tool that independent firms should utilize.
Thank you, James, for being a great inspiration. I’m looking forward to the new journey.