Thursday, April 17, 2008

10 Ways the World Could End and How to Play Them

By James Altucher*, writing at

...After my third book I was absolutely convinced I would never write another, but then Will Weisser and Jeffrey Krames from Penguin called and asked if I had any proposals lying around. So I lied, said "yes" and whipped out a proposal for The Forever Portfolio, which I'm super excited about now that it's done.

Meanwhile, I've also changed my mind again about writing another book. I have a new idea for a book -- 30 Ways the World Could End.

I was thinking about this the other evening while at dinner with the risk manager of a multibillion-dollar fund of funds. All this guy does all day is worry. Pandemic this, dollar collapse that, terrorism, nuclear accident, etc. Imagine getting paid to worry about all of this. Well, what if everyone can worry alongside of you? A psychological trick I always play on myself to resolve anxiety is to picture the worst-case scenario in any anxiety-producing situation. If I can imagine surviving the worst case scenario then it relaxes me because I realize things aren't all that bad.

I've compiled an initial list of 30 ideas. If you have any others, please post them to this forum.

I figure I can write five descriptive pages on each item, add some photos and illustrations to tack on another page or two per item, one blank page between chapters and -- voila! -- I'll have 200-plus pages.

Ok, here's the first 10 ideas plus some notes for each one as well as some stock ideas.

World financial collapse triggered by a bank failure....MORE

*Mr. Altucher is a fellow student of Warren Buffett. If you do a Google search for one of Warren's quotes:
"He lied like a finance minister on the eve of a devaluation",
you get three hits on the web search and three on the book search, Mr. Altucher et moi being 1/3 of 'em.