The extraordinarily popular blogger James Altucher keeps hammering the last nails into the coffin of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-quoted bromide that “there are no second acts in American life.” Fitzgerald never got his, we know, having succumbed to his crack-up early and permanently. But Altucher not only puts the lie daily to Fitzgerald’s second act nonsense, he’s become a pied piper for the knocked-down and dispirited. His blog is a wailing wall of candor and wisdom–about failure, hubris, ambition, greed, recovery, vision, energy, determination and perspective. It’s not just a pick-me-up but a pick-me-up-out of the gutter. Having achieved dizzying youthful Fitzgerald-like success during the jazz age of his own time–the turn of the century Internet bubble–Altucher is fond of telling (damn near obsessed with telling) how he lost it all and found his way back. And how you can too. Altucher is a confidence man, in the best sense. He’ll give you some. Plus there’s yoga!
If you follow Altucher closely as many thousands of people do, you’ll discover that the big financial failure his new life hinges on wasn’t his first. What he started out wanting to become–long before climbing the commercial K2 of Internet entrepreneurship–was a novelist. He hoped to write The Great Gatsby. He wrote day and night, suffering the slings and arrows and destitution common to that failure-prone enterprise. And yet it was writing, as his legions of loyal blog followers will attest, that revived him. He’s got a few books now, any one of which might bear the perfect title of his most recent: I Was Blind But Now I See: Time to Be Happy. He gives guidance like “How to Get Off the Bottom Once and For ALL“, and “Stop the BS. Now.” And a PBS show is in the works. There are second acts alright–you just have to be more like Nick Carraway and James Altucher than Fitzgerald and Gatsby. Or as a recent Altucher post advises: Slow Down or Die.