David Perell

David Perell quotes on communication

"The Writing Guy". He tweet about business, online learning, and Internet writing.

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The world rewards the people who are best at communicating ideas, not the people with the best ideas.


I’ve basically stopped hanging out with people in big groups. 2-4 people only. The conversations are so much deeper and the friendships are so much stronger. Strong recommend.


Everybody's talking about remote work. Communicate in long-form: Most companies do too much messaging and not enough long-form writing. Communicate less often, but with much more rigor.


I grind my teeth thinking about how much valuable knowledge is lost because people think they need to use big words that nobody understands to sound smart.


If you can’t communicate an idea clearly, you haven’t written about it enough


Small talk builds relationships because it says “I care more about you than being productive”


If you want to build deep friendships, you need extended time with people. Unfortunately, western culture makes this hard. Here’s my heuristic: Aim for at least three hours of conversation whenever you’re with a friend. Anything shorter leaves no room for the soul.


Checklist for online writing: • Remove every unnecessary word • Focus on clarity, not cleverness • If a sentence bores your reader, delete it • Make your reader smarter • Treat every word like it’s on trial for its life • Write like you’re talking to a friend at a bar


My rules for business: 1) Team up with people who work fast. 2) Communicate in long-form writing as much as possible. 3) Do two kinds of planning: weekly planning and quarterly planning. Then, execute. 4) Learning and sharing the best of what I learn is my marketing strategy.


Why writing is an essential skill: 1) Remote work will shift communication from voice to text. 2) Almost every successful person spends a lot of time writing. 3) Leverage: Anybody can publish ideas, and they can now spread to every corner of the globe. We are all writers now.


One simple change has made a HUGE difference in my life. Old: I used to hang with people for 60 minutes at a time. New: Now I spend 3-6 hours with friends at a time. The laughs are louder, the relationships are stronger, and the conversations are deeper. Strong recommend.


Rule for communication: Shorten your introduction. Shorter introductions will improve your emails. Shorter introductions will improve your essays. Shorter introductions will improve your speeches. Get to the point.


If you want to improve your writing, start taking notes. Here’s why: Note-taking isn’t about saving ideas. It’s about having conversations with your past and future self — so you can develop ideas over time.


An idea will only spread far once you can explain it in 10 words or less


Write to make sense of the world instead of trying to sound smart


Improving my writing begins with longer walks and more interesting conversations, not more time at the computer.


Three fun ideas: 1) If you can easily describe what you're working on, it's not ambitious enough. 2) It's better to be world-class at one rare and valuable skill than to be good at a lot of things. 3) Master one communication skill. Speaking, writing, drawing. You pick.


The good conversations begin after you’ve spent 2 hours with somebody and everything before is mostly show


Easy way to improve reading retention: read books with friends. Reading a book takes 10-20 hours. Add 2-3 hours for in-person discussion and your reading retention will skyrocket. Plus... it’s fun. Book clubs or 1-on-1 conversation. They both work. Strong recommend.


Conversations are best when it's okay to be wrong in interesting ways


Writing education falls into two buckets: 1. Analyzing literature and writing 5-paragraph essays. 2. Communicating ideas in clear, simple and convincing ways. Schools focus on Bucket #1 at the expense of Bucket #2 because; Writing education is shaped by PhD English programs.


Three thoughts on conversation: 1) The better the debate, the more you talk about assumptions. 2) Good conversations are limited by the constraints of language. 3) A good friend will surprise you by helping you say things you’ve known but could never find the words to express.


Most of having a good conversation is making the other person feel smart, so they open up to you


My deepest conversations are often with total strangers. There’s no baggage in a first-time meeting, so you can speak from the heart. You can talk about love, grief, death, despair, and everything in between. What a beautiful thing.


People speak loudest with facial expressions in moments of silence, so listen with your eyes


The most important ingredient for a quality conversation: Presence. When two people are 100% present, conversation can reach its peak. Pure bliss.


Three Rules for Advertising: 1. Use simple words and vivid stories. 2. Speak to the customer’s emotions. An ounce of emotion is worth a pound of evidence. 3. Focus on the customer, not yourself. Speak to the conversation that’s already happening in the customer’s mind.


Three ways for remote workers to shine: 1) Purchase a selfie light: Add light to your face so people can see you. 2) Dark background: Sit against a dark backdrop so the camera isn't over-exposed. 3) Learn to write: Remote workers communicate less by voice, and more with words.


Roam and Notion aren’t major competitors. Roam is a programming language for ideas, geared towards individuals. Notion bundles project management, corporate communications and knowledge management, and it’s geared towards teams.


Problems with modern universities: • Thousands of colleges teach basic classes like Econ 101 in parallel. • They are slow to shift resources in response to changes in the labor market. • Zero communication with alumni to solicit feedback after graduation. We can do better.


Publishing a 15,000-word essay next week. Here’s what I learned writing it: 1) Great essays make claims that are surprising in the moment but obvious in retrospect. 2) Hold the reader’s hand. Tell them what you’re gonna tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.


If you write online, name your ideas. Make them memorable by making them concrete. It’s hard to know what will stick, so name everything and double down on the ideas people use most in casual conversation.


I start writing an essay when I’m 80% done with it. Once I’ve collected the notes, lived the experiences I want to write about, and structured my ideas during conversations with friends.


Conversation starter for close friends: What was your inflection point? Listen for the moments that woke them up like a splash of cold water. Who they are. What they are chasing. What they worship. The answers will surprise both of you.


1) Operational excellence is an under-rated competitive edge. 2) In public markets, arbitrage human behavior. In private markets, monopolize access to high-quality talent. 3) The most valuable ideas are shared in whispers.


Tips for conversations with smart friends: 1. Take light notes during the conversation. 📝 2. Share links to relevant books and podcasts. 📚 3. Send a short summary to your friends afterwards. 👥 You’ll boost your memory and accelerate your learning. Strong recommend.


Questions I'm thinking about... 1. How can we improve small group learning + communication? When small group trust is high, you can explore fringe and controversial ideas. In 1-on-1 chat, communication has to be symmetric. In group chats, you can consume more than you produce.


Most academic writing is bad, so most writing teachers teach you how to write poorly. Good writing is communicating interesting ideas clearly and concisely. It’s that simple.


Trying something new: No in-person meetings shorter than 2 hours. No coffees. No lunches. Focusing on long walks and longer conversations.

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