Customer Service 1 (888) 261-2693
Please enter Search keyword. Advanced Search

How to Cheat Death. Seriously.

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"You're supposed to be... well... dead. " 

All she had said was, "Hi, Steve," but I knew it was her on the phone. 

My friend Melita's voice was unmistakable... the Australian accent, the cheery demeanor. She sounded a little hoarse, but it was definitely her. 

Melita was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. It was one of those freak things. She was in her late 30s. She didn't smoke... She was told she had a few months to live. 

I called my brother-in-law, who is a cancer doctor. I told him what I knew about her condition, looking for signs of hope. The best he could come up with was that since she was young and didn't smoke, they could really hit her hard with the chemo. But the likely outcome was a few miserable months. 

So you can imagine my surprise when Melita called me up this winter, over a year after her diagnosis. I didn't actually say, "You're supposed to be dead." It's what I was thinking... it's what any normal person would have thought. 

But she had fought hard. And her terminal cancer went into remission. She was back at work, like it was no big thing. 

Even before cancer, Melita was inspiring to me – and everyone she came in contact with. When you were around her, nothing seemed impossible. A few months later, unfortunately, the cancer came back... this time in her brain. She stayed positive. "Always remember," she told her mother, "I have lived more in my 40 years than most people would live in three life times." 

This time, the cancer won. Melita died earlier this year. But for a time, she cheated death. 

My dad had Melita's gift. Everyone around him felt better, more inspired. He just had a way about him. He cheated death, too... 

In late 2007, my dad was rushed to intensive care for a heart issue. A doctor told me, "nine out of 10 people in your dad's condition won't make it... and I wouldn't bet on your dad to be that one." 

That doctor didn't know my dad. Like Melita, he beat impossible odds. I've never seen a man in his sixties make the most out of every day like my dad did. Then in late 2008, my dad died in a tragic bicycle accident. But like Melita, he lived an inspired life until the end. 

So why am I thinking about life and death today? Well, I'm in my dad's hometown of Menomonie, Wisconsin for his memorial service. On the way up to Menomonie, I got inspired... 

I realized you and I can do exactly what Melita and my Dad did. I got the rush of inspiration from my good friend Alex Green's new book. In it, he writes:
Each of us has been granted an incomparable gift, a brief stay on this little blue ball. How will you spend it? To what end will you use it? These are the most important questions we can ask ourselves. And the answers can be read in the way we live our lives.
Alex is one of those people... like Melita and my dad. He's absolutely inspirational to be around. 

His new book is a collection of essays about how to live a "rich" life. I'm not talking about which caviar to buy... I'm talking about living life so fully, you're cheating death just by living it. It's about being able to say what Melita said to console her mom: "I've lived more in my 40 years than most would live in three lifetimes." 

Alex told me he wrote the book to pass on a few essential ideas on how to live to his young kids. "They're too young to get most of it now," he told me. "But I hate the thought of them learning all these lessons the hard way." 

I'm thankful he did this. Whenever I'm looking for inspiration in life or in our business (Alex writes an investment letter like me, so he gives money advice too), I know I hearing a few words from Alex will get me going. 

With Alex's new book, "The Secret of Shelter Island," you can use his words to get inspiration... 

When you're feeling uninspired, just pull the book off the shelf, open it anywhere, and read a couple short essays. They'll help you cheat death... by getting on with living an inspired life today. 

All the best, 


P.S. You can read Melita's blog, including her feelings the time she beat cancer, at And for a link to Alex's new book, click here

Market Notes



OK... time to "flip-flop" on the successful rebound trade we pointed out in December...

At the end of 2008, we introduced the idea of playing a market rebound with shares of emerging-market stocks. "Emerging market" is the name for riskier, high-growth countries like Brazil and Indonesia. These assets were clobbered last year as folks fled anything that even smelled like risk.

Here's the thing about market rallies after a big decline: The assets that have been beaten down the most are the ones that rally the most. Since our December 3 column, the big emerging-markets fund (EEM) is up 47%. Which brings us to the present...

The stock market just enjoyed one of the biggest rallies in history. It's due for a natural "break." No asset can run flat out without resting for a while. And since emerging markets rallied the hardest off the March lows, we expect them to correct the hardest from June highs. Please note: This isn't a "long-term call" on emerging markets. But for the traders out there, "inverse" funds like the EEV, which give you a "one-click" way to bet on market drops, are due for a push higher...

In The Daily Crux

Recent Articles