Review of Skip The Line

by Hans-Jürgen John

Skip The Line by James Altucher – Ingenious, Simple Strategies to Propal Yourself to Wealth, Success and Happiness

The Author:

James Altucher is an entrepreneur, active angel investor, writer, podcaster, stand-up comedian, and chess master. He is the author of eighteen books, including the bestsellers The Power of No and Choose yourself!

The first time I heard and read about James Altucher was on LinkedIn – you can subscribe to his newsletter there: The James Altucher Idea List.

About a year ago – 2020/07/13 he published a post there about everything that was current … and the 30 day Book Challenge.

I was immediately fascinated. By the idea – and how he described it:

The definition of a book has changed. If you go into a book store, most books are … 250 – 300 pages … This is a relic of the past. A book can be any number of … pages, and about any topic you want.

If every book you write averages $ 500 a month …, and you write a book a month, then by the end of the year you will be selling $ 6,000 a month.

This was followed by the exact procedure / action guide from idea to publication and marketing.

I got curious, downloaded the ebook The Power of No. And learned that I should become an expert. In a subject area I love. Read 500 books and become an expert. James Altucher makes it all sound easy and effortless.

I decided to take small steps. Read books and review them. Here I am.

The Content:

This review is not a summary of the book. Let’s say it in the authors words: it’s time to skip the line, to explore the universe of possibilities that nobody else even believes exists.

Read it and Skip The Line to your personal success story.

That’s the promise of this book.

The book begins very much in the spirit of the title. 
Skip The Line means nothing other than interpreting some of the written and unwritten laws in business broadly.

It sounds logical. If everyone within a company follows the hierarchy and dutifully reports to their superiors – the one person who skips the hierarchy and presents an excellent idea directly to the leader – can go down or get noticed in a positive way.

It is an invitation – be bold! Leave the long line of those who wait patiently for success. Push yourself forward! Take what is rightfully yours!

The book is a hymn to initiative. And yet it begins strangely. It reminds us of painful moments – 9/11, stock crashes, and the pandemic. It reminds us of loss and pain. It picks us up in the deepest valley of social and personal crashes – and claims to teach in 152 pages what 100 % of the population wants and only a small percentage achieves. 

According to research many people who set goals never actually achieve them. Procrastination?

Does the book achieve its goal of teaching successful behaviors?

Time will answer that question. Those who have found do not look for more – the sales of the following business books of other authors would collapse – this is as unlikely as the city on Mars – and yet possible.

Nevertheless, I am not doing a book review on empty promises.

The beginning of the book is special. Steven Covey, author of business bestseller – The 7 habits of highly effective people – would recommend: Start with the goal in mind.

Claude Ribaux, Zürich – expert in flow and Active-Awake-Hypnosis and guiding numerous managers in Switzerland on the way to high performance – would link positive memories with ones goals.

Again, James Altucher breaks a rule.

What do the thoughts of unsuccessful people revolve around? Right. They revolve around problems like the thoughts of generations of scientists revolve around the abolition of gravity. So far, to no avail – in both cases.

Only a solution means salvation.

James Altucher picks people up where they are. He projects the lowest common denominators of failure – and inspires them to rise above the rubble of the past. Situational change means taking a new approach – changing behavior.

The problem with any self-help book is: how can advice effectively provide individual help to millions of readers?

Let me pick out one point. 
James Altucher talks about how he puts an idea into action. That innovation is a muscle that delivers through training what drives every successful person – ideas.

I was no longer depressed. I was writing down ten ideas every day. I started in June 2002. By September 2002 I felt like my brain was on fire. I couldn’t wait to get up, get to a café, read for a little bit, then start writing down my ideas. Ten ideas a day. Business ideas. Book ideas. Article ideas. Ideas for other people, other businesses.

A wonderful book. It is worth reading. It delivers what it promises. Help for self-help. Simple methods that promise personal success.

What sounds perfect has a catch. The implementation. The daily discipline of sitting down and putting 10 ideas on paper. Sure. I can love the idea. Actually doing it separates the successful 1% from the rest of the population. Whereas. You can also redefine success and lower the bar – for some, doing one thing a day is success.

I have not yet read all of James Altucher’s books. Great would be one on the topic of diciplin or procrastination. That would be another best seller.

Review of The Real-Life MBA

by Hans-Jürgen John

The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career by Jack & Suzy Welch

The Authors:

Suzy Welch is a best-selling author, television host, and business journalist at Harward Business Review. Through her work at the Jack Welch Management Institute, she is predestined to co-author this book.

In his 20 years at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch played a key role in shaping the company. Thomas Edison founded Edison General Electric in 1889 – and the company has been reinventing itself ever since.


I read this book in German – the quotes refer to the German version.

A book review can only address a few points.

In the acknowledgements, the authors’ enthusiasm for “the best game in the world” is palpable. “Business is a team sport – like writing this book.”

Business as a Game. That says a lot. You improve with each new game. Emotions are allowed, indeed required, to win. Losing is just learning. The end of a game means only new game.

The book ends with the confession: “Because work is great. It is life. It is what we do. Better every day.” This reminds me of an interview I had the privilege of holding with HR professional Regula Zellweger (german): “Work is also life“.

What does successful business start with? The company has a mission. If the mission is clearly formulated, every employee knows what he or she is doing.

Chapter 3 – “Growth is Life” is interesting. Growth – it can be a new product, a new customer service or a great new customer.

The authors quote Joe DeAngelo, the CEO who led HD Supply out of the crisis: “Every individual needs to come to work every day knowing that they are a growth company … If you don’t think growth every day and if you don’t say growth every day, it doesn’t happen.”

New leaders look at a company from a new perspectivewhat it is and what it can become. That’s why don’t be afraid of new hires. The authors’ advice: “If you want growth, don’t hesitate to bring in a new perspective (or perspectives).”

More ideas: Growth initiatives are funded by (weak) leaders – by the watering can principle. Everyone gets the same amount of money. This is wrong because it accomplishes nothing.

If there is no money, use creativity.

When I think of the keyword “creativity” I am reminded of the new book “Skip The Line” by James Altucher. He considers innovation and creativity to be a muscle. A muscle that, like any other muscle, can be purposefully built through exercise.

James Altucher recommends writing down 10 (business) ideas every day. As with a workout, success soon sets in. We become an idea and innovation machine. But this is only a supplement and a preview to one of the next book reviews.

Motivation at work is good and positive, and enthusiasm infects employees.

According to David Wee and Handi Kurniawan in their book Great Advice, it is more important when commitment is added, which triggers improvement, change and thus growth.

Jack & Suzy Welch consider innovation “an internal mindset that every employee at every hierarchical level of the organization has every morning when they walk into the building.” Achievable only through a “recognition culture where leaders truly celebrate incremental improvements.”

This includes reviewing the compensation system, swearing in brakemen within the company to the growth path.

In fact, the whole book, “The Real-Life MBA,” is about growth.
“Good leadership leads to growth. Good strategies lead to growth. Good data analysis leads to growth. Good renewed compensation systems lead to growth.”

But is growth really that important?
“Growth electrifies everyone who comes in contact with it. It’s just totally exciting. Exciting and necessary. In nature, everything that doesn’t grow dies. The same is true in business.”

No business without finance.
David Wee and Handi Kurniavan emphasize in “Great Advice” , that finance is, well, the language of business – learn it!

So do the authors of “The Real-Life MBA”.

“You don’t have to be fluent in French to have a great time in Paris. You just need to know the terms that are basic …. .” The same is true for finance. There’s the varinaceous analysis – comparing key metrics from one month to the next – and reconciling them against budgeted figures.

All in all, numbers are just “tools to make better business decisions.”

Jack & Suzy Welch underscore each point with real-life (business) examples.

More keywords in this book:

  • Marketing
  • Crisis Management
  • Team
  • Leadership 2.0 : Most successful leaders radiate energy, are able to motivate others (energize), transform ideas to reality (execute) own the necessary ability to be desicive (edge) and all this with a huge amount of passion.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what people think and plan who have led great companies to success and continue to do so today as mentors. Read this book! Business is indeed the most exciting game.

Even if you’re not pursuing the highest degree in business that exists – the Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Review of Great Advice

by Hans-Jürgen John

For solving everyday challenges at work and in life.

A book by David Wee and Handi Kurniawan.


Thomas Edinson founded Edison General Electric Company in 1889, which later became General Electric (GE). In August 2000, the company had a market capitalization of $601 billion, and was then the most valuable company in the world. CEO was Jack Welch and David Wee responsible for developing and delivering leadership curriculum (Head of Asia Pacific Leadership development).

So this book is the summary of the ingredients of a success story. From the perspective of an author who was in the middle of the action. Of course, Jack Welch represented GE as CEO. His book “The Real-Life MBA | Jack & Suzy Welch” revives his way of leading and guaranteeing success. But that is another book review.

Handi Kurniavan is Group Head of Leadership & Academies Learning at Jardine Matheson – one of the top 200 traded companies in Asia.

His books – “Go-Global – Guide to a Successful International Career”, “Global Career – Boost Your Career to The World Stage” and “The Brain Master” as well as his deep understanding of HR related topics made him the ideal co-author of this book.

Handi has lived and worked in five continents with various cultures. His professional working experience in highly respected companies such as General Electric, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and Sinarmas has allowed him in meeting and working with many best talent world-wide.


112 small chapters show you what is allowed and forbidden in the business world. What stops your professional and personal development and what accelerates it.

Success at work and happiness in private life – one might think that this is mutually exclusive. Career or family. Either or. Elon Musk is said to have advised employees to spend the night at the office. And to prioritize their job when it comes to family events. David Wee and Handi Kurniavan show that both is possible. Yes, that private life and job can complement each other positively.

Do you love entertainment series? Love this. Distinguish between what entertains you on screen (Game of Thrones) and the real world. Intrigue is a no-go in the workplace. Wonder what buzzwords like “kindness in the workplace” and “help others” have to do with cutthroat competition and “survival of the fittest”? Read it.

If you read “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey you will want to know how to get rid of bad habits – unlearn them – David Wee shows it with the example “smoking habit” – after 40 years smoke-free.

Are you irreplaceable at work or are you working towards it? Are you a blocker – keep job at all cost (KJC)? This may be a mistake. Train your employees and be happy when they become better than you – then you are a real leader.

Are you a boss or a leader? Boss has a negative connotation. Leaders motivate. A boss controls. A boss gets loud and threatens. Leaders reward. Leaders see the potential in employees and overlook mistakes. They praise what has been achieved, knowing full well that they are empowering the employee to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Praise is the water to grow. Criticism is the brake that slows down processes. The right balance between praise and criticism moves us forward.

Be aware of the power of truth:

They ask me if I am kind. I am, because I tell the truth. But when the truth hurts, they say I am cruel. Yet many seek my advice. It’s because I say what needs to be heard and not what people wish to hear.
Speaking the truth is not an excuse to be brutal. It is less about telling people that they are wrong and more about helping them change for the better.
So when it makes sense, I replace Here are your mistakes… with Here are your opportunities… . Exchange Do these with What do you want to do?

–David Wee

Appreciation is a powerful tool at work and elsewhere.

If you manage others the way you want to be treated, you forget that they are not you.”

–David Wee

Bullies are loosers. They make other people feel small. A big man never belittles people, and he even makes them feel special as if they are the most important people.”

–Handi Kurniavan

On trust relationsships, products and companies are built.

One teacher defined me by grades, the other (Mr. Steven Lee) believed in what I could be. So which teacher to believe? The one who fought harder!
I do not remember much of what Mr Lee taught me. But I remember that he made me feel like a winner. So I started thinking like one. I was the first in my family to complete university.”

–David Wee

Part of being a supervisor is terminating employees. Employees who do not achieve their goals. That’s the sad part that supervisors don’t get used to – and, according to the book’s authors, shouldn’t either. We feel for you.

Keywords the book covers:






Both authors include a list of their favourite books. Great!

Here a link to an article by David Wee on LinkedIn:

Handi Kurniavan on purpose in a speech by Mark Zuckerberg:

Follow David Wee and Handi Kurniawan on LinkedIn. By following them you might get first impressions of the books they are going to publish.
More and more, it turns out that LinkedIn is a testing ground for many authors. They publish parts of their next books as a post to test the effect.