David Perell

David Perell quotes on personal learning / growth

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

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Best way to learn faster: Have a stake in the outcome. To learn about food, cook for friends. To learn about an idea, publish an article about it. To learn about stocks, invest in the stock market. Risk awakens our learning muscles like a splash of cold water.


My love of learning began once I stopped going to school


The smartest people I know are mostly self-educated.


The school system is a training ground for the jobs you don’t want to have


You hit escape velocity when you like personal growth more than passive entertainment


Just because you’re good at school, doesn’t mean you’re good at learning


If you want to learn writing, skip class and start a blog. If you want to learn marketing, skip class and build a business. If you want to learn psychology, skip class and spend a day in a casino. Reality is the world’s best classroom.


Unpopular opinion: Too many people praise “learning.” MAKING things is a better use of time. Building an audience around your interests is THE cheat code. Write articles. Record videos. Publish podcasts. Plus, making things will make you learn faster anyways.


My rule for learning: Start with usefulness, not with theory. • If you want to learn biology, start with identifying edible plants — not homeostasis. • If you want to learn to draw, start with copying famous paintings — not color theory. Practice first. Theory second.


Personal beliefs: 1. The world is extremely inefficient. There is low-hanging fruit everywhere. 2. People don’t learn from history. Study the greats. Find simple lessons. Copy the best stuff. 3. When in doubt, don’t blame individual people. Blame the incentives of the system.


Book clubs are a cheat code. Every time I do one, I remember the book 5x better. It takes 20 hours to read a book, but only 2 extra hours to talk about it with friends. Better friendships. Faster learning.


People over-estimate the benefits of learning by consuming things. People under-estimate the benefits of learning by making things.


The #1 job of a teacher is not to instill knowledge, but to make their students excited about learning in the first place.


To improve your writing, binge-read your favorite writers and shamelessly copy their style


We claim to value individuality but we crush people who actually think for themselves


My nights are sacred. Since I started working, I’ve reserved 2-3 nights per week for reading, learning, and thinking. It’s my time without distraction — to explore the wonderful world of ideas. This habit has absolutely changed my life. The benefits keep compounding.


You can learn things much faster than you think. One year of obsession is all it takes to acquire a new skill.


Wikipedia is one of the best inventions of all-time. The vast majority of people would benefit from turning off the TV, closing their Internet tabs, throwing away the newspaper, and reading Wikipedia instead. Wikipedia is a top-tier education. In your pocket. For free.


I love when exceptional people explain their worldview. Examples: 1) Warren Buffett’s annual letters 2) Jeff Bezos’ letters to shareholders 3) George Soros’ speeches on the theory of reflexivity and fallibility Learn as much as you can. Then share your best ideas in public.


If you’re forced to learn it, you probably won’t remember it


Selling your first product will teach you more about your customers than years of market research


Picking the right game to play is more important than learning to win.


Conventional wisdom says that more education is better. But I think we need less. People should be able to find their first jobs with 12-18 months of vocational training. Then, once they're financially stable, we should encourage them to continue their education.


The fastest way to become an expert is to create your own field of study


Create your own luck by writing online. Tell people what you’re working on, be open about your goals, and teach others what you learn.


We’ve turned our schools into chambers of stress and wonder why our kids don’t like learning


All my projects have two parts. 1) Doing the actual project. 2) Documenting the project and sharing what I learned so other people can do the same thing. More people should do Step #2 because you’re 80% done with it by the time you finish a project.


My philosophy of LEARNING: Treat learning like a process, not a product. Learning is a way of life. Every day counts. Strive to appreciate the world. Ignore boundaries between disciplines. Examine your assumptions. The holy grail is finding JOY in this daily ritual.


My biggest financial goal right now is having the means to hire a personal tutor for everything I want to learn.


A well-written sentence can change your life. With the stroke of a pen, you can build your network, improve your thinking, and create opportunities for yourself. Best of all, it's easy to start writing. All you need is discipline. Learn to write.


I’m reading fewer books, fewer articles, and falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes every night. Start with a big subject like “The Galápagos Islands.” Then, follow the hyperlinks. 99% of people would be better off reading 10x more Wikipedia, and less of almost everything else.


Developing ideas is like building a garden. Your ideas move in three stages: 1) Seeds: Messy personal notes that you don't publish. 2) Trees: Cleaned-up summaries of ideas that build upon each other and develop over time. 3) Fruits: Published work like essays and books.


You under-estimate two things: 1. How much you know that other people don’t. 2. How much you AND other people will benefit if you share your knowledge. Learn. Write. Publish. Repeat.


Schools are moving online. Ship Fast, Ship Often: Traditional school is too passive. Students learn best when they make things. The more students create, the faster they’ll learn.


People learn fastest when they can imitate other people. Chefs learn by watching other chefs. Dancers learn by watching other dancers. Athletes learn by watching other athletes. But knowledge workers can’t really watch each other in action. Business opportunity.


If you’re an expert on a topic, do yourself and the world a favor by writing an ultimate guide to learning it


YouTube is the world’s biggest school. For years, I’ve picked long-term learning projects and watched an educational video whenever I had free time. Better yet, the algorithmic recommendations fuel your learning. First I taught myself economics. Now I’m learning art history.


Writing is research & development for your brain


Give knowledge work the same respect that great athletes give their sport. Train every day, write detailed improvement plans, and surround yourself with people who push you towards excellence.


Building stuff and writing essays is the best way to educate yourself.


Trial-and-error will teach you more than rationality ever will.


My rules for consuming information: 1. The best resources on a topic tend to be trusted individuals. 2. Writing about a topic is the fastest way to learn about it. 3. If you have information overload, you need better filters. Cut the junk ruthlessly. Double down on quality.


The first step to educating yourself is overcoming the intellectual PTSD you picked up reading all the boring books in school


The most successful people I know seem to have unlimited energy. They can work for days and days on end. When they get tired, they shift their attention instead of taking long breaks. Work, learn, write. Repeat.


Free idea: Collect your favorite books, articles, videos, lectures, and podcasts about your go-to subject. Then, publish it online. You’ll help yourself by engaging with the best things you’ve consumed. You’ll help the world by helping people learn.


Kids can listen to better lectures on their commute than they do in class. Podcasts are the gateway drug to learning on the Internet.


My advice to online course creators: 1) Focus less on the quality of your ideas, and more on student experience. 2) Premium prices come from premium live sessions. 3) The business is 20% hospitality, 30% teaching, and 50% marketing. 4) People pay for results — not learning.


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.


A recipe for learning anything. Watch one. Do one. Teach one. First, observe how other people work. Second, do the work yourself. Third, show somebody else how to do what you just did.


The word “school” shares the same root as the Greek word for leisure. School was once a place to explore and experiment. But now, it’s a full-time job. Curious minds are saddled with homework. And college prep begins in middle school. The Greeks had it right.

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