LIT & CRIT : FINANCE : CULTURE
JAMES ALTUCHER
Cryptogenius Guru or
Just A Nice Guy?

Continued from Page 5

Can you believe this part of the article isn't even over yet and we still haven't got to the critique of James' writing style?

 

Instead, now that I had my guru's ear, I went off the rails and expounded on my world view to see if he would correct me or at least whack me on the back with a stick. So I brought up my financial situation to James in my reply:

 

  "I can't do research for free because i have a mortgage to pay and my website makes me diddly squat. 

   "I can give the benefit of the doubt to this guy Singer on your behalf; if you say his conscience is clear, ok, I hope he is prepared to meet his maker.  But simply noting that he did not avoid scandal and being skeptical about his ideas is not necessarily criticizing him with anything but the tip of a very public record.

   "If there's more to it, fine, and if his mea culpa is worthwhile, ok. I don't have the money or time to find out unless I'm paid to make the time. I've been reading Umberto Eco instead in prep for a novel I'm writing about an Italian girl's school that is besieged by demonic possession. (Spoiler for you: it turns out its not demons but redacted). I think Eco is worth my time, every page I have to write down ten vocab words!

   "Regardless, Singer made his nut and sold a lot of books so no matter what "the scandal" was, it did not derail his career and my bringing it up without doing more fact-checking is perhaps lazy but on the other hand it was on the first page of the search results on him, too. So perhaps the Florida newspaper that put the story out there should look into the true facts, as you say. They were being paid to do it.

   "One thing is true: because there was a settlement there will never be the discovery process of a court trial, will there? Sure, a settlement doesn't imply automatic guilt but if he was innocent why not have Baker Botts take it to trial and win in the courts as well as unequivocally in the public eye? Well, I don't know the answer to that without doing far more research, as you suggest. And I'd love to do that research, but not for free.

   "Not that I haven't tried to get a decent journo job or writing job; fact is, I'm cynical by nature so that might not be he;ping, but I'll tell you one thing... over the last year I've sent out dozens of positive professional not-cynical proposals and ideas to all kinds of media and --honestly-- not a single entity ever even had the courtesy of a generic reply. 

 

   "Don't they even have an auto-bot that at least says "thanks for your submission; we'll call you if we like it"?  No. No, they don't.

   "Meanwhile, after a year of that I started to ask: Is my writing that bad? I don't think so, not half as bad as Tucker Maxx's. (Let's be honest, he may be an ok comedian or early web adopter, but he is not a good writer by any stretch). In fact, I've won a lot of writing awards in my career (at least in a prior life; somehow, now I can't even get people to respond to me when I send a cheery inquiry letter!)

   "Rest assured, I start off positive with all my interactions with people, just as I said nothing but positive things on your ye olde website. I've even tried to make sure to thank you for your reply and to honestly try to be positive in terms of telling you I like your work and am not out to screw you.

 

    "To wit, it was just several months ago that I said to myself: 'hey, James has a great formula.' And I jotted down some notes about it. Then I put it aside because I said to myself, "If I publish this would I just be trying to piggy-back on James' fame and accomplishments to try and make my own rep?" And I put it aside because I didn't want to be that guy.

   "So I want to say this, in conclusion. 1. Thanks for listening, it's more than any other single literary agent or magazine editor has done for me in a year and I really appreciate it. (That includes the Brassdoor people you rep on your own site. They were total failures). I can't believe how good you are at managing your time and energy. Meanwhile, a one sided Socratic dialogue is a sad thing. 

   "2. I'm not out to shit on you or use you. 

   "3. The article I wrote was essentially very positive about you and your style, it just       sort of breaks down your technique and why it works so well. 

   "4. As a courtesy (I believe this a journalist's typical process) I can offer it to you to read first before I post it though I can't promise to kill it even if you don't like it, but if you are vehement about it I might. 

   "5. Thanks again for your time and trouble. Do you have a team of people who help you with all this on your side/site/podcast etc? Because if not I apologize for wasting your time. But I would guess you might since if I had your money and connections I'd be doing the same thing. I'm just waiting for the universe to rain capital on me since my Kickstarter for my Chinese venture was thoroughly ignored and I didn't have enough money to pay the Russians to trick the algos. 

   "So it goes!  Good luck to you!  --Kevin"

PROOF OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!! 

I TOOK ONE SCREENSHOT

And then I sent him the article to approve. Certainly, he would be impressed with my acuity in capturing his essence in a bottle, right?

James' reply: "I get it, Kevin. I'm a big skeptic as well. I dropped a publisher because they were too much "law of attraction" bullshit. But read singer's book. Then you can decide. Reading starts the dialog."

Kevin's reply: "I think I will have to read his book now, I've shot my mouth off about it too much. Attached is the article you can proof if you want. Thanks again. If you think this is really really uncool I won't publish it on my website but I think you'll like it.

Altucher 3.docx

James: "Btw, I really appreciate a discussion that "calms down". Thank you."

Kevin: "If you hate it let me know and I won't publish it on my site. I figure you know your formula already but if it actually offers any insight for you then perhaps it can somehow be helpful for you. Thanks again, take care and good luck!"  After that, James read the piece. And he didn't like it.

Click here for page 7, if you have the fortitude

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