What science fiction can teach you about running a business

Entrepreneur James Altucher, host of the James Altucher Show podcast, has been a lifelong science fiction fan. Some of his favorites include Star Wars, The edge of tomorrow, and Roger Zelazny’s amber series.

“It really sets you free, when all is well,” says Altucher in episode 461 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast. “When there is time travel, when there is teleportation, when there are galactic empires with mystical powers. When there is a universe where there is a planet where it is perfect order, and there’s another universe where it’s perfect chaos, and there’s a spectrum of infinite universes in between, and you can go in and out of those universes. It was just beautiful for me.

Altucher’s love for Star Wars was so intense that “using the Force” practically became his religion. “I remember once I was leaving my business with one of my businesses – things were bad, investors were pulling out of the business – and I was buying these weird self-published books on ‘How to Use strength “”. he says. “I was an adult in my thirties, and I would literally say, ‘OK, I’m going to trust the Force to save this business.’ He has been saved – probably not because of the Force – but that’s how this movie, and the films that followed it in the Star Wars family, had an effect on me.

In his new book Jump the tail, Altucher tells about life and business lessons he has learned throughout his career. One of his greatest successes came in writing computer software to model the behavior of the stock market, an idea he learned from Isaac Asimov. Foundation series. “When I presented my strategy – because a big part of running a hedge fund is fundraising and you have to present your strategy – I always asked people if they had read the Foundation because I would use that to explain my strategy, ”he says.

Altucher dreams of becoming a science fiction writer himself, and in 2015 he planned to spend the year writing science fiction, before being distracted by a career in stand-up comedy. But now he’s planning to return to the field, with the help of podcast guests like Chuck Wendig, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey.

“I only have someone on my podcast when they do something I want to do,” he says. “A podcast is a great excuse to call someone. It’s a great excuse to call Neil gaiman and say, ‘Hey, can you come over to my podcast? I will help you promote your latest book. But what I really want is to learn how to create Sand seller. “

Listen to the full interview with James Altucher in Episode 461 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

James Altucher on Star Wars:

“Depending on the generation you were born into, some people like the prequels, some people like the sequels, some people hate them. I love them all, except maybe the very last one. [The Rise of Skywalker] I thought it was awful. … It was a big mess, just to tie it all together.

James Altucher on time travel:

groundhog day is an amazing movie. I think they think it’s groundhog day 19,000 days in a row, or so. He learns to play the piano like a master – he learns so many skills – and thus he becomes a better person. Part of the problem with all of these sci-fi movies is that it doesn’t happen to someone special. It happens to someone mediocre, or even below mediocre, like Bill Murray in groundhog day. We can relate to this person who is mediocre, who is an ordinary person, and we can speculate, “What would that mean to me? Watching groundhog day It’s almost like a sure way to go through those 19,000 days and figure out how I would learn and how I would grow, and maybe I can learn these things now without going through those 19,000 days.

James Altucher on artificial intelligence:

“AI is a different beast, computers are not humans. A computer processor in no way acts like a brain. There is nothing in computers that would suddenly make me think that one is going to become conscious. If that’s true, it’s at least a thousand years away. … The only reason people say, “Oh, one day the AI ​​will wake up” is because it was a branded activity in the 80s. The Defense Department was throwing money away. on any college computer project that was working on “ artificial intelligence, ” because he thought it was “ OK, we’re going to have robots as soldiers, and the Terminator is going to be a soldier. But [the idea of AI waking up] is ridiculous.

James Altucher on the narration:

“I had this conversation with Steven Pressfield recently. He wrote The legend of Bagger Vance, which became a movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon. This is a golf tournament in Georgia in the 1920s. And he told me that every chapter of the story is the same, beat-for-beat, as the Bhagavad Gita. … That’s a great idea, because it’s a text that has been “focused” by billions of people for 2,500 years, so we know it’s a success story. Much like the Bible is – and many people compare Star Wars to the story of Jesus. So when you take these ancient texts and apply them to a 1920s golf tournament in Georgia, it’s certainly not plagiarism. It’s smart writing. “

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