A few years ago I wrote an article for CSQ – 50 Cynical Points of Advice on Travel (That You Can Only Admit to Yourself Are True). Following that up is my New Year’s list. I made a New Year’s resolution to drink more water, but so far I’ve only gotten as far as “drink more.”

Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end. May you have a most excellent 2024 – succinct and cynical, yet again – here are 50 points for your new year. I swear to God I’m an optimist.

  1. Get back to watching a movie, 80 minutes is now short-form content. You can be making money instead of watching episode 8 of season 10.
  2. Take Ozempic, eat the eggs benedict for breakfast M – F, and overeat on holidays. Your happiness matters, and food does it for me.
  3. Stop talking about where you went to college, your fraternity, and what the cost of gas is – if these things matter to you, you’re not living right.
  4. Pledge to not turn your phone off ever, rather keep clients who respect you. Nobody calls me at 3 am, and if they do, it’s important and I want to be available to them.
  5. However many dogs you have, get another one. If you don’t have one, get one. You may think your life doesn’t have space for it, but you’ll be 25% happier.
  6. Don’t go out on New Year’s Eve. Put on that Patek, open a bottle of Roederer, and watch it all from the couch. Go to bed early and get a head start on the new year. Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve, middle age is when you’re forced to.
  • Pledge to drink less, but drink better quality alcohol – also, learn how to make at least 10 cocktails before New Year’s 2025.
  • Go on a Zoom fast for all of 2024, no more video conferences. A conference call will suffice.
  • Start a new collection. For me, it’s watches and cigars. The obsession with luxury watches is about the craft, detail, and perfection of Swiss watchmaking, not about status.
  • Sign up for MasterClass and learn one new thing this year that you hadn’t planned on.
  • If they use anything other than Amex plat, mock them at the table and quietly tell their friends they have a Discover card.
  • Don’t listen to your parents – spend less time cutting back, and more time figuring out how to make more money. You didn’t move to one of the most expensive cities in America to coupon clip.
  • If you love Springsteen, re-listen to Born to Run, if you hate Springsteen, re-listen to Born to Run.
  • Commit to building something bigger than you that may not be finished in your lifetime, like the Egyptians did. Not everything needs to be selfish. Blessed is he who plants trees under whose shade he will never sit.
  • Serial Entrepreneur and Visionary are words reserved for people with a 9-figure net worth, and folks who have reached this level don’t refer to themselves this way, so stop doing it. Be honest about where you’re at on your walk, it’s alright to be on your way up. Hollywood is full of frauds and people know it. Those who say do not know, those who know do not say.
  • Go back to the office – you might learn something from being around other people. You deserve to be fired for your defiance.
  • Become a better storyteller. For most lunches, I’d rather have ordered the chicken parm to go. Have something to say. Storytelling creates trust, and when people believe you – you win.
  • Lease a respectable foreign car so you don’t have to park 2 blocks away anymore. What you choose to drive says something about you. Nobody’s signing with the guy who drives an Infiniti.
  • Trust fund kids and hot blondes will never know whether they’re truly interesting. This year, spend time with people because they’re worth spending time with.
  • Have the ambition and urgency to be successful and the patience to know it simply cannot happen overnight – and someone needs to tell most kids they’re not going to be Zuck.
  • Toxic negativity is bad, but toxic positivity will kill you too. Cut the 7 days a week sunshine for 2024. Be true to yourself, a failure is a failure – recognize and accept it.
  • Don’t let your short-term greed interfere with your long-term greed. To the best of your abilities, don’t be shortsighted this year.
  • Accept that the world’s greatest execs are the most damaged people on the planet. Get a therapist, and you’ve got to pay them in cash – they’re the only ones who will listen to you and be honest. Don’t get too much therapy, or you’ll get soft.
  • Luke didn’t pick Anakin and your siblings were forced roommates, but go see your family. George Moore said, “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” You’re not too good for your family, and besides – you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
  • Go to the French Laundry if you live in the west coast, and Eleven Madison Park if you live in the east coast once a year to remind yourself that your staff can do a lot better.
  • Burn the boats – thinking like an owner, and having a no plan B mentality is the highest-octane version of life.
  • Cold plunges are the new vegan CrossFit electric car phase. Take a vow of silence this year. You can do it but don’t tell me about it.
  • Remember that not every decision is transactional. Being open to the butterfly effect and knowing that some things lead to bigger things is a worthy lesson. After all, Nirvana signed with David Geffen because he signed Sonic Youth.
  • Stay skeptical this year, but don’t become cynical. The difference between a skeptic and a cynic is that a cynic was once a believer who became disillusioned. Stay open to possibilities.
  • Travel more, you’re dead for a long time – and you don’t know what later means or if it exists. Also, travel when other people travel. Go to Saint-Tropez in August, and go to St Barth’s for New Year’s. Don’t travel during off-peak times just for better deals when you should be at the desk, your clients or employer will judge you for it.
  • I don’t trust people who don’t swear or apologize. Use more swear words this year, and apologize more often.
  • Try more things this year, you’ve got to be able to walk and chew bubble gum. Folks who know me know that nobody is more spread at the roulette table. You just don’t know what is going to hit – I tell folks it’s like paying my mortgage at the dollar blackjack table, it takes a million little wins to make a career.
  • This year, take care of the nickels and dimes and the dollars will take care of themselves. If you can stay a specialist on your way up – your business will do just fine. Many CEOs could stand to buy back in and get more granular.
  • Be more urgent this year – some people take an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.
  • At the top of the year, ask yourself “What do I do best?” Focus matters.
  • Make sure you still love what you do and find something that keeps you young. Music is the fountain of youth, it has kept me more connected to culture than I would have been had I done something else.
  • Be still once in a while and practice gratitude. A legendary classic country artist once told me that when you’re happy, write about what you’d miss.
  • Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me peaked on the charts in the 30s, Sting’s Fields of Gold peaked at 23, and Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years peaked at 17 — not everything goes to #1. Some of the most important contributions to society stand the test of time, but may not be obvious at first. Accept that there are different metrics to measure your success, and some of your contributions will be fully realized later.
  • You can only keep your side of the street clean. Try to not take on so much guilt from the other side this year. Sometimes they’re the problem, and you’ve done everything right. Be fully aware of your part in things, good or bad.
  • As it relates to giving back – spend your money getting people out of pain rather than spreading joy. They can figure that part out on their own and there are plenty of bigger organizations that can spend their money on that.
  • Accept that you may still have some time on the road to your destination – but you will arrive in due course. Your failures prepare you for the future. The people who are too early and too late are eventually right on time. The first year you pour the foundation, the second year you let it set, the third year you start framing, and the fourth year you have a house. The time in preparation matters.
  • Practice ethical hedonism daily because life is short. If you found out there was nothing else after this – wouldn’t you?
  • Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child. Don’t baby your employees and clients, they need the experience to make it in the world the way you have and new generations are getting soft.
  • Whatever happens with the 2024 election – you’re not leaving the greatest country the world has ever known. Try to not talk about politics at every meal, it’s exhausting for people, and many won’t be honest that they’d rather talk about something else.
  • Shed your guilt about having better taste than others, only 1% will ever understand your standards. Also, don’t be so elitist that you forget you’re no better than the common man. It takes all types. Without kings, there would be no jesters.
  • Doubling top-line revenue might not buy happiness, but I’ll take my chances!
  • If you don’t live in Los Angeles, you’re missing out. If you live in Los Angeles, make peace with the taxes, and enjoy the weather. Take one road trip up the coast per year to answer the question “Why California?” After all, there’s likely no city that made a greater creative contribution to the world than LA. More dreamers who created something moved here to do it. Or you can leave California and live in a house with aluminum siding.
  • Know the real benchmark for success, and don’t hit your glass ceiling on the way. You shouldn’t be singing “My Way” quite yet.
  • Be a better conversationalist. The single most exhausting meetings I had last year were with people who talked the whole time and never asked me anything. These people put a fresh coat of paint on hell, every time. Did you come here just to perform for me?
  • If you’re one of those New Year, New Me people – we won’t get along, let’s cancel the lunch. I like people who sign up for the gym on February 1st.