Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best Selling Author, James Altucher, Admits Plagiarism

I'm a writing podcast fanatic, so I was really excited to find a new one: Write 2B Read. The host is author Ani Alexander. She has a wonderful Russian/Ukrainian accent and is a treat to listen to.

That said...

Ani recently interviewed best selling author James Altucher. James is an old hedge fund manager turned inspirational author. Unfortunately, his latest 'writing' idea lands him squarely in plagiarist territory ... and he doesn't even recognize it.

Forgive my lack of transcription abilities. The following dialog happen about 38 minutes into the interview:
I'm seeing that you've been doing many, many different things. I mean apart from the writing you do many different things in life. So, first of all, how do you manage to do all these at the same time. Because, you know, those are like different projects and ... like time wise and attention wise, I don't know how you manage that. Why did you decide to do many different things, and did not pick just one? 
Well, I kinda just do, you know. First off, you have to do what pays the bills for you and your children and things like that. Although most people live higher lifestyles than are necessary. There's probably cheaper ways to pay the bills for many people. But for me, I do what things are interesting. So if someone or something interests me a lot, then I'll get involved in it. Whether its a business or a book idea or a post or an article, or anything. 
I like to share my knowledge. So I have knowledge of business, and I have knowledge of writing, and I have knowledge of technology, and I have knowledge of entertainment, so I like to share my knowledge that I have in different endeavors. And then I just keep going. 
Again, I can never predict tomorrow. I may never get involved in anything new again, but my assumption is if I just keep doing things that are interesting to me, today, fun things will happen. 
I'll give you an example. Can I give you an example? 
So today something interested me. I decided, just for the fun of it, I'm going to take a very popular book and I'm going to hire somebody on [REDACTED] to take this very popular book, and change every word, but keep the same story. So if the words were, “Jane ran to the store,” I might change that to, “Christine walked quickly to buy her clothes.” 
So I'm gonna basically, it's just for fun, I'm gonna see if I can essentially see if I can have someone use a thesaurus to change/rewrite an entire book. So it's the same book, but just every single word is rewritten. So nobody can say this is plagiarism. And if I load this book to Amazon, what will happen? It's just an experiment. So I just had the idea to do it today. I found someone in India who extremely cheaply will do it, by Monday. So I'll have the book finished by Monday. 
Wow! (laugh)
Then I'll use [REDACTED] for free, to pick out a cover. And I'm gonna make, what I do, is I'm gonna make for $5 each, Facebook ads to test out ten different titles. So I came up with ten different titles, and I made ads for them on Facebook, and I'll see which title people click on the most. 
I'll know by tomorrow which title will be the most popular title. By Monday I'll have the book, I'll load it up on [REDACTED], make a paperback in Kindle, then I'll have a book finished and then as an experiment I'll see if the book does well or not. 
(laughing) Interesting. 
And then either the book does well, and then I came up with an idea for a business or the book doesn't do well, and I'll write a post about the experience, and either way I win. 
Absolutely. And I presume the book you're using is a successful one? 
Yeah, sold millions of copies. 
Okay, yeah. That's what I thought.

That truly sad part of this dialog, is that neither Ani nor James realize James just admitted to plagiarism. So, to increase Mr. Altucher's knowledge base, here's the definition of plagiarism.

Plagiarism: (noun) The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.

Sure, James kept saying it was 'an experiment' and 'just for fun,' but he also said, "And then either the book does well, and then I came up with an idea for a business ..."

No, James. You just came up with a way to steal someone else's hard work. With the current rash of plagiarists rewriting other author's ebook works, you're just another sleazeball out to make a buck. Apologize for making such a BAD mistake, then destroy every copy of your plagiarist work.

It's not an experiment and it's not fun because its not yours.

UPDATE: On 2/1/2016, I redacted the names of several websites in the effort to hinder others using Mr. Altucher's 'blueprint to plagiarism.'

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