It's hard to come up with just one main takeaway from Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher. It reads a lot like a series of blog posts. In a series of self-reflecting articles, James pulls learnings from people he looks up to and has interviewed on his podcast. He also analyzes his life up to this point and attempts to extract lessons that can be applied to anyone who is looking to navigate a transitional time in their life.
Although you can pretty much turn to any page in the book and extract something valuable, there were a few things the stuck out to me:
1) Better to obsess over the process rather than the results. If the process is solid then the results will always take care of themselves (also see The Score Takes Care of Itself). Imagine where you could be if you focused on improving 1% every day? Too many of us worry about the future, about where we’d like to see ourselves in five years. Instead, why not put our energy to better use and take care of today to plan for a successful tomorrow?
2) If you’re going to build something meaningful or do something that matters, you’re going to have to be good at a lot of things. But the good news is, you only have to be GREAT at one thing—the practice of failure. Failure teaches persistence—but only if we keep persisting—the result of persistence is creativity. And creativity beats obedience every time. That’s how Steve Jobs was able to combine design with technology to build Apple and Pixar. It’s how The Rolling Stones have stayed relevant for so many years by mixing rock with the blues. It’s why Hamilton appeals to so many different kinds of people.
If you find yourself needing to constantly reinvent yourself, don't feel discouraged. Explore your passions. If you passions change, learn everything you can about your new passions. We're not talking about being bored here, we're talking about being curious.
Combine your passions. Fail. Repeat. You just might come up with something interesting.
P.S. My favorite part of the book is the appendix at the end. Skip to it if you have to. It breaks down your next five years of reinventing yourself.