David Perell

David Perell quotes on focus

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

Twitter wisdom in your inbox

Never miss the the top tweets from David Perell with our email digest.


The Internet is the most important technology in our lives. You don't need permission to build things on the Internet. All you need is an idea, a vision, 2-3 skills, and the discipline to execute it.


Most adults can’t focus for more than 3-5 hours per day but try to make kids sit in class for so long.


Checklist for writing good paragraphs: • Focus on one idea • Make that idea surprising • Maximum of one long sentence • Add a story, statistic, or example • Key points at the beginning and the end Break these rules when necessary, but that’s 90% of what you need to know.


The Internet makes you focus on the urgent at the expense of the important


There are two ways to have brilliant ideas: 1) The hard way: Try to come up with all the ideas yourself. 2) The easy way: Read books. Most problems can be solved with focused attention and a book. Books are a cheat code. Do the easy thing. Read books.


Summarizing academic papers is the fastest way to build an online audience. Three steps: 1) Build a website. 2) Launch an email list. 3) Publish one summary every day. Do it every day for one year and your life will never be the same.


How to build an audience: Start with one platform and absolutely crush it there. Focus first, diversify later.


There are two kinds of focus. 1) Concentrating on a problem for an afternoon. 2) Obsessing over something for years, and showing up every single day. We talk a lot about concentration, but if you study the greats, they're always obsessing over their craft. 24/7 focus.


The best thing playing sports taught me was how to fail in public and keep going like it doesn't even matter. One of those lessons you need to learn when you're young.


School didn’t teach you how to write online. Here’s how writing online is different from what you learned. in school. 1. Distractions are everywhere: 90% of writing well is not getting distracted by the Internet. Put your phone away. Turn off the Internet. Focus on the words.


Three steps to improve your writing: 1) Write for 60 minutes every day. 2) Publish one article every week. 3) Listen to feedback. Do it for a year and you'll be an excellent writer.


How to focus your writing: Before you start typing, summarize your article on a Post-It note, tape it to your computer, and make sure every sentence relates to what you wrote.


Your writing will improve once you start focusing on one idea. One idea per sentence. One idea per paragraph. One idea per essay.


Write every day. Publish one article per week. Read one incredible book per month. Do it for 4 years and you’ll learn more than the average college graduate.


School didn’t teach you how to write online. Here’s how writing online is different from what you learned in school. 1. Distractions are everywhere: 90% of writing well is not getting distracted by the Internet. Put your phone away. Turn off the Internet. Focus. Focus. Focus.


The world is kind to young people who are driven and curious.


When writing, focus on counter-intuitive ideas. Smash people's assumptions and replace them with more useful ways of thinking. If it's intuitive, don't write it.


Knowledge Work 101: People over-estimate what they can accomplish with ten hours of distracted work and under-estimate what they can accomplish with two hours of undistracted work. Focus is everything.


My motto for the weekends: “Follow the soul.” On the weekdays, I focus on projects and goals. But on the weekends, my life becomes slower and more contemplative. It’s like changing gears: The to-do list disappears so I can waltz along a trail of leisure.


You can build a big business with only one marketing channel. Focus first, diversify later.


The easiest mistake to make: Focusing on what you can measure instead of what's important.


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.


Two things: 1) People under-estimate what they can achieve with TWO hours of focused writing. 2) People over-estimate what they can achieve with TEN hours of distracted writing.


When you write your first draft, don’t stop. Just keep writing. You can worry about flow, transitions, and word-choice later.


Write for your best readers. Focus on the people who love your work, and ignore what the average person thinks. Benefits include smarter readers, better friendships, and way less writer’s block. Ignore the masses. Blow a small number of people away instead.


If you're writing and can't find your main point, step away from your computer and talk about what you're trying to say. Talking forces you to structure your article and trim the excess information.


Be regular and orderly in your habits, so you can be violent and original in your writing


Things I believe about online writing: 1) Write about topics nobody else is writing about. 2) When you start writing, focus on publishing consistently. 3) Short-form articles grow your readership. And long-form essays turn those readers into loyal followers.


Thoughts on college. Short-term, I wish I’d focused on timely skills. Long-term, I wish I’d focused on timeless subjects like physics, philosophy, and art history. Regardless, who you meet and how intensely you learn is much more important than your major.


Most people can only write for 90 minutes per day. Those minutes are sacred — hide your phone, cut the distractions, and turn off the Internet if you need to. If you want to write more, you don’t need to spend more time writing. You need to be more focused when you write.


There should be TWO versions of every book: The short version and the long version. The Short Version is for average readers. 80-140 pages long and focuses on the most important stuff. The Long Version is for obsessives + academics. Can't wait for this to become a reality.


Fitness principles that work for me: 1. Have fun! 2. Break a sweat every day. 3. If you feel pain, stop immediately. 4. Stay off your phone 5. Stop after 45 minutes. 6. Focus on simple, compound movements. 7. Don't add weight. Perfect your form. 8. Switch it up if it's hard.


Tweeting a lot will make you less focused, but a much better writer.


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

Get the top tweets via email

Never miss the the top tweets from David Perell with our email digest.

Get the David Perell email digest

Twitter wisdom in your inbox