Everyone and everything on this page has helped or inspired me in some way. This is an ever-growing list, and I will update it as I continue to meet new people and discover new things. If there is something or someone you think I should check out, just shoot me an email me at [email protected].
Derek Sivers is one of my entrepreneurial heroes. He is a musician, producer, speaker and writer. He founded CDBaby and HostBaby, and basically gave both businesses away to charity when he felt he was done with them. His blog posts are short, but inspiring. Derek reads and responds to all his emails, and loves connecting with his fans. I’ve exchanged a number of emails with Derek, and he follows me on Twitter. Check him out.
I think I may have been a little late to the Altucher train, but I absolutely love this guy. He’s not the best writer in the world, by any means. But, he’s incredibly inspiring, funny and, best of all, brutally honest. He writes about everything from making millions of dollars and losing it all, to getting fired from multiple jobs, to wanting to kill himself. If I made a list of 10 people I’d like to hang out with for a day, James would definitely be on it. Visit his website.
As this blog’s creator, Leo Babauta, puts it, “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives.” There’s not much else to say here. Just read it.
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Dan Harris is an anchor on ABC News, which is undoubtedly a demanding job. At one time, he was drinking and doing drugs to manage the stress. Then, he lost his shit, had a panic attack, and started speaking gibberish ON AIR. You can watch the clip on YouTube. In his book, Dan tells the story of his breakdown, and how it led him to discover meditation. It’s a highly entertaining read, and provides insight into how powerful meditation can be. If you’re interested in meditation, I wholeheartedly recommend 10% Happier.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine
This is one of the first books I read while I was in the throes of the heartbreak. The book goes into fascinating detail about the three relationship attachment types: anxious, avoidant, and secure. Reading this book helped me understand that I am an anxious attachment type and that the woman who broke my heart was avoidant to the extreme. Additionally, the book explains why anxious types often fall for avoidant types, and why secure types generally fall for other secure types. For me, there were definitely some “Holy Shit” moments in here. If you’ve been struggling in your relationships, check out Attached – especially if you’re an anxious attachment type.
No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover
When the most beautiful woman I’ve ever dated tossed me out of her life like yesterday’s trash, I was crippled by unremitting heartache and dizzying confusion. At some point, I picked up this book, which had been sitting on my shelf for nearly a year. Within the first 10 pages, I had more “Holy Shit” moments than I’d like to admit. Since reading No More Mr. Nice Guy, I’ve worked closely with Dr. Glover and become a certified No More Mr. Nice Guy (NMMNG) coach. I consider Dr. Glover both a mentor and a friend, and his book was the stick upside my head that I so desperately needed. I’ve learned more from Dr. Glover than almost anyone else in my life. If you struggle to make your own needs a priority and walk away from bad situations, buy No More Mr Nice Guy as soon as you can. And, don’t be fooled by the title. The book applies to women, too.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Browse the self-help section at your local bookstore, and you’re bound to find a lot of garbage. Most self-help books don’t work, and convince us that we need to spend our lives pursuing happiness. But, it’s our constant pursuit of happiness that actually makes us miserable. The Antidote explores a number of alternative paths to happiness, and completely blew my mind the first time I read it. It’s also really fucking hilarious at times. Whether you’re into self-help or not, definitely pick up a copy of The Antidote.
The Tactical Guide to Women: How Men Can Manage Risk in Dating and Marriage by Shawn T. Smith
Given the title, I thought that this book was going to be…well…stupid. However, this is – without question – one of the best books I’ve ever read about dating and relationships. In the book, Smith, who is a clinical psychologist, emphasizes that the right woman can be the best part of a man’s life…but, the wrong woman can lead to personal and financial ruin. He provides a solid plan for allowing the right women into your world, and keeping the wrong ones at a safe distance. He’s also wickedly funny. If you’re a man who continues to attract highly dramatic and emotionally unstable women, get this book now. And, if you’re a woman, don’t worry. Shawn wrote TWO books just for you: The Practical Guide to Men and The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think.
I’ve known Annie Nogg for a very long time because we grew up together in Omaha. Annie is not only one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, she’s incredibly passionate about coaching. She’s now based in San Francisco, and supports high-achieving women who are looking to find purpose and fulfillment in their careers. She also does workshops and speaking engagements. Definitely reach out to Annie if you live in the Bay Area. You can connect with her on her website.
Bob is an incredibly powerful life and relationship coach who has forced me to explore my emotions in ways I never thought possible. He makes me uncomfortable, in the best possible way. He is based in Los Angeles, and regularly holds transformative workshops for men. Do yourself a favor and check out Bob’s website.
Jenna is a fulfillment coach who lives in Seattle and helps millennials discover what makes their hearts sing. She’s great at helping people pinpoint their fears and identify their limiting beliefs. Check out her website and send her a note.
Simply put, George Carlin is my idol. He has been ever since I was 10 years old. I admire him so much that I don’t even know how to express it in words. I cried when he died. Thankfully, his daughter Kelly does an amazing job of keeping his legacy alive. In my opinion, his 1996 HBO special, Back in Town, is the greatest single hour of comedy ever recorded.
Nick Griffin is a friend of mine, and one of my favorite comedians. He’s also one of David Letterman’s favorite comedians, and Letterman’s opinion is much more important than mine. Nick appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman at least a half a dozen times. He’s also been on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Conan. He does stand-up all over the country, and I never missed a show when he came to Omaha. Nick was kind of enough to formally endorse my book: Randy Penny: Cordially F*^@ing With People. I’m lucky enough to have had several cups of coffee and a few cheeseburgers with Nick. This 2008 performance on Letterman is one of my favorites. Watch more clips and find out if Nick is going to be in your city on his website.
Norm Macdonald has no idea who I am, so he probably doesn’t know that he has saved my life on more than one occasion. Whenever I was going through a bout of severe depression, the closest thing I could find to a remedy was watching YouTube clips of Norm’s appearances on late-night talk shows. Norm has to be one of the funniest human beings alive, and the greatest talk show guest ever. This classic appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and this hilarious exchange with David Letterman are my favorites. They crack me up every single time I watch them. And, I’ve watched them hundreds of times. Thank you, Norm. Honorable mention: Norm and David Spade on Dennis Miller Live.
Other Comedians I Love:
Bill Burr • Jim Gaffigan • Dave Chappelle • Anthony Jeselnik • Tig Notaro • Joe List • Gary Gulman • Mitch Hedberg
Health & Wellness
Bulletproof Coffee & Brain Octane Oil
There’s a lot of hype around this stuff and, quite frankly, putting butter (a fat) in my coffee (a stimulant) sometimes makes me shit my brains out. But, that’s fine. The Bulletproof Coffee & Brain Octane combo tastes great and makes me feel pretty fucking awesome. I try and drink a cup every morning. I suggest buying the Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee & Brain Octane Starter Kit.
Rock Solid Nutrition & Rock Solid Training
Rock Solid was started by one of my very good friends, Sean Harley. Sean looks like he was chiseled out of alabaster and then photoshopped. He’s an IFBB Pro and a fitness model, and he’s been on the cover of a bunch of fitness magazines. Between his supplement company and his training programs, God knows how many people he’s helped look and feel their best.
The James Altucher Show
James doesn’t just have a great blog, he’s also got an awesome podcast. He interviews a variety of really successful and interesting people, and gets them to open up in a Howard Stern kind of way. For me, the best part about The James Altucher Show is that James always seems to ask the exact same questions that I would ask. Have a listen.
Hosted by Tom Bilyeu, the co-founder of Quest Nutrition, Impact Theory’s mission is to “free people from the Matrix.” On the show, Tom interviews a variety of experts and entrepreneurs, from Tim Ferriss and Tucker Max to Ed Mylett and Robert Greene. He takes you “inside the mindsets of the world’s highest achievers.” You’ll find some gold in every episode. Check it out.
Are You Being Real?
Are You Being Real? is hosted by my good friend, Mark Shapiro. I’ve known Mark for many years, and he’s an inspiring guy. He left a 6-figure job at Showtime Networks to pursue his passion. Mark’s big theme is authenticity, and he often asks the question “Are you being real?” In fact, you can find him at AreYouBeingReal.com. Check him out. He has fascinating conversations with a lot of really interesting people.