David Perell

David Perell quotes on intelligence

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

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The smartest people I know are mostly self-educated.


Books let you download somebody’s brain for the price of a sandwich


Try to sound smart and your writing won’t be clear. Try to write clearly and you will sound smart. Write to express, not to impress.


All the smartest people I know have mastered the art of teaching themselves


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.


My philosophy of writing: • Write every day. • Write in public to improve the quality of your thinking. • Write for clarity, not to impress people. • Write about your curiosities. You don’t need to be an expert. • Write for the most intelligent person you know.


Most content is geared towards entertaining the average instead of educating the intelligent


Improving your writing begins with turning off the part of your brain that tries to sound smart whenever you start typing


Talent: Hitting targets other people can't hit. Genius: Hitting targets other people can't see.


School: A system designed to make geniuses feel insane.


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


Online course idea: How to consume information. It’s such an important topic and few people study it carefully. Eventually, people will watch their information diet like they watch what they eat. Good frameworks will make society smarter too. Important problem, huge market.


Biologically, few things are more difficult than holding an opinion everybody you know disagrees with. Intellectually, it’s one of the strongest skills you can have.


Einstein’s five levels of intellect, in ascending order: “smart, intelligent, brilliant, genius, simple.”


Good hobbies make you smarter, wealthier, or improve your relationships. Writing online does all three.


My career is driven by one insight. Writing on the internet give you massive leverage. Here’s why: Demand for quality content far exceeds the supply of it. Sharing ideas attracts kind and intelligent people. Some will become business partners. And others, lifelong friends.


If you follow your intuition for what’s interesting, you’ll have a collection of knowledge nobody‘s ever had before


PowerPoints lead to lazy thinking. Long-form essays lead to smart thinking.


The frustration you feel when you sit down to write is what deep thinking feels like. Relish it. You’re making yourself smarter.


A/B testing is over-rated. If you want to build something innovative, follow your intuition. Skip the market research and bet on a bold vision of the future.


Write for clarity, not to impress people. The quality of your writing will skyrocket once you stop trying to sound smart.


We remember physical books better than Kindle ones because memory is spacial. Instead of storing every idea in our head, we outsource memory to our environment. That’s why smart students study for exams in the same place they take the test.


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


Writing every day is the best way to become a better public speaker. Talking about things you’ve already written about it easy, and your ideas will be so well-structured that people will call you a genius.


A freakishly large number of the smartest people I know studied debate. I like how much they focus on how ideas are framed instead of jumping to conclusions. Instead of moving individual pieces, they create the rules of the game because that’s the highest leverage thing to do.


To improve your writing, stop trying to sound smart.


Forget about the size of your audience. Write for the smartest people in the world, the ones who can unlock opportunities with a single email.


Why I write long-form essays: 1) Writing sharpens my thinking. 2) To attract the most intellectually curious people in the world — and learn from them. 3) To build deep relationships with readers, some of whom will become lifelong friends. Long-form is my favorite format.


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


A series of excellent online essays is a better signal of clear thinking than most college diplomas


Take a moment to appreciate the power of writing online. When you share intelligent ideas, you accelerate human progress and attract incredible people and opportunities. Almost anybody can write. And everything you need is available online, for free. Writing is a superpower.


Note-taking isn’t only about remembering ideas. It’s about remembering things you forgot you knew. By creating surprise, a good note-taking system will boost your intelligence. Cognitive superpower for the masses.


Two things I believe: 1) In a capitalist world, improving how capital is allocated will have a huge downstream impact. 2) Too many of the smartest people I know allocate capital for a living, and society would be better if they built things instead.


Email newsletters are fun, but building a personal website is more valuable. It communicates professionalism and intellectual curiosity. Plus, you can add a splash of personality. Publish a couple well-written articles and it’s a home run. Websites are the new resume.


People don’t trust intuition anymore. We now worship the cold gospel of logic and rationality. We‘ve lost faith in genius. We’ve lost faith in destiny. We’ve lost faith in vocation. But greatness begins with following the light of intuition. Listen to your muse.


Genius begins when the intellect is exhausted


My #1 Learning Strategy: FOMO your way towards brilliance. Step 1: Surround yourself with intellectually hungry people. Step 2: Hang out with them. They'll inspire you and give you "Information FOMO." Step 3: Learn on your own. Go back to step 1. Repeat cycle forever.


I value rationality less than I once did. Too many innovators follow the compass of intuition and too many important truths are paradoxical in nature.


Podcasts made learning cool. In school, all the smartest kids were nerds so hard to learn wasn’t cool. Podcasts are changing that perception. People want to be like the big podcasters, which means that learning is cool again. Great time to be alive.


A world where people can't be wrong is a world without genius


One of my top career strategies is taking ideas from YouTubers and bringing them to the intellectual sphere. Influencers are years ahead of the rest of us. They live at the frontier. Study influencers and you’ll see the future.


If people who have read a lot of good books are “well read,” we should call people who have written a lot of good articles “well written”


Genius begins with uncertainty. Isaac Newton spent most of his time studying alchemy. But that search allowed him to invent calculus and discover the laws of motion. We can’t predict breakthroughs. We can only see them in retrospect.


How to attract more career opportunities: 1) Raise your ambitions. 2) Tell others about your goals by writing online. Smart people want to help people who are working on hard and important problems. Think big.


For all the praise we give business leaders, I’m surprised by how few speak intelligently about beauty and philosophy

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