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Skip the Line

The 10,000 Experiments Rule and Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals

By James Altucher
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Skip the Line by James Altucher

Skip the Line (2021) is a practical guide to achieving your dreams – fast. It reveals strategies for shortening your path to success, which include how to execute and scale ideas, learn new skills, and harness fear to help you grow.

Key idea 1 of 9

Skipping the line means finding what you love and getting good at it fast.

Have you ever heard of the 10,000 Hours Rule

The concept was developed by Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson and was later popularized by the author Malcolm Gladwell. It states that becoming the best in the world at something takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice.”

This involves practicing the skill you want to get better at, measuring your success or failure, and getting a coach to give you feedback – and then repeating all this over again until you’ve achieved the desired results.

But what if you don’t have 10,000 hours to spend learning a skill? What if you need to be great at something, like, now

This is the key message: Skipping the line means finding what you love and getting good at it fast.

At the start of 2020, few could have predicted just how bad the COVID-19 pandemic would become. 

Tens of millions of people ended up losing their jobs, and many businesses closed their doors forever. 

People had to figure out what to do next in order to pay their bills and feed their families. They had to choose between finding a new job in their current field, changing professions, or doing something completely different. 

James Altucher knows what it’s like to have to start all over again. In 2002, he had no career, no job, and was broke. But he knew he wanted to be a professional investor, and he was excited by the prospect of writing a book. To achieve these goals, he told himself that he needed to get better at something every day – even if it was just 1 percent better. 

Fast forward two years, and Altucher was running a hedge fund that managed millions of dollars, as well as writing his first book. A few years after that, he sold an investment-related business for a lucrative amount (it was in the millions).

So how did he transform his situation so fast?

First, he thought about what it was that he really wanted to do. Then he ditched the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Instead, he thought about ways he could quickly get good at something and start earning money from it. 

To this end, he started constructing experiments – like the 1 percent exercise – to rapidly test ideas and learn from them. We’ll be taking a closer look at his method, which he calls the 10,000 Experiments Rule, in the following blinks. 

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