David Perell

David Perell quotes on writing

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

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1

Business writing 101. ∙ Shorten your sentences. ∙ Make your point fast. ∙ Shorten the introduction. ∙ Use simple words. ∙ Add graphs and statistics. ∙ No buzzwords. ∙ Use more periods, fewer commas. ∙ Write for skimming, not deep reading. ∙ Bold the main takeaways.

2

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.

3

Law of the Internet: If somebody recommends an article that’s more than 10 years old, chances are it’s gonna be outstanding

4

If you want to improve your writing, start by becoming a better note-taker. Save only the best notes: Don't hoard information. Save your top 5-10% of ideas only. That way, you can trust that everything in your note-taking system is high-quality.

5

Let’s set the record straight. Attention spans aren’t falling. Opportunity costs are just rising. Big, big difference. People love long, in-depth content. But it needs to be really, really good.

6

The pain of writing is actually the pain of improving your thinking

7

People think that if they consume enough information, they'll eventually know enough to write well, but nobody has ever eaten their way to becoming a Michelin Star chef. You have to actually cook.

8

Writing online is a superpower. The Internet rewards people with obscure interests. Writing online will help you find other like-minded hobbyists who you wouldn’t be able to find in real-life.

9

Writing is like weightlifting for the brain. Yes, it's hard. But it will improve the quality of your thinking.

10

The internet has a recency bias. Old ideas aren’t resurfaced enough. We’re obsessed with what’s happening right now. Articles, blog posts, interviews, documentaries. You name it. The world needs older ideas.

11

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.

12

Writing makes you see how unsure you are about things you thought you were 100% sure about

13

A simple formula for writing hooks: "Get 3 yes's in 30 seconds". Readers should nod their head yes to the headline, subheading, and first sentence. If they've made it to the third sentence, they're ready for an interesting and compelling story.

14

When evaluating startup ideas, Peter Thiel tells entrepreneurs to ask three questions: 1) What is valuable? 2) What can I uniquely do? 3) What is nobody else doing? Every writer should ask themselves these questions before starting an essay too.

15

Everybody is one exceptional essay away from a flood of career opportunities

16

Writing is nature’s way of showing you how sloppy your thinking usually is

17

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.

18

The media industry is changing fast. Create a language Treat your audience like a friend by adding special phrases and inside jokes for your top fans. Don't just create content — create a world.

19

Great writers write so clearly that you forget you’re reading

20

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.

21

The Internet rewards people who work fast. Code fast. Write fast. Design fast. On the Internet, the cost of publishing is free and the algorithms reward people who publish frequently. That's why so many of the top creators are prolific. Learn to work fast.

22

If you want to write more, I have some ideas for you. If you're stuck, write a summary. Summarize long books and complicated papers. By doing so, you’ll learn fast and attract a smart audience of readers.

23

Own your distribution. If you write online, focus on these two platforms: 1) Email 2) Websites Invest in the long-term.

24

How to take notes: - Read on Kindle - Highlight everything interesting - Export highlights to Evernote - Bold the best ideas - Delete the fluff Extra points if you type up a summary. Just like that, all your best ideas will be saved in your pocket forever. Easy and efficient.

25

Your writing doesn't need to be 100% original. ∙ There are more than 1,000 biographies of Winston Churchill. ∙ Yuval Noah Harari sold 12 million copies of Sapiens and instead of doing new research, he presented ideas in a new way. Synthesis can be as valuable as originality.

26

Simple writing tip: More periods, fewer commas. How your writing will improve: First, short sentences. Short sentences are clear. Like this. Simple. Got it? Nice. But if you remove commas, your writing will also have fewer long, rambling and complicated sentences like this one.

27

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.

28

You don't just write to share what you think. You write to discover what you think in the first place.

29

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

30

Office work benefits extroverts who are great at talking. Remote work benefits introverts who are great at writing.

31

The fastest way to improve your thinking is to write daily and defend a perspective you disagree with

32

Writing tip: Take half your commas, and replace them with periods.

33

Some ways to write a good introduction: ∙ Start with a surprising story ∙ Lead with what's counter-intuitive ∙ Create suspense ∙ Share a half-told story ∙ Ask a question, but don't share the answer Aim to ignite your reader's curiosity.

34

Most people are bad writers, but excellent text messagers. Their writing is bad because they try to sound smart once they open Microsoft Word. But when they text, they write with clarity and enthusiasm. If you’re stuck, write like you’re sending an important text message.

35

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.

36

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

37

People under-estimate two things: 1. The emotional challenges you face when you start writing online. 2. The benefits of writing online, even when you have a niche audience and 3-5 well-written essays on your personal website. Finding the courage to publish is the hardest part.

38

Writing well is 5% ideas, 5% grammar, and 90% not being distracted by the Internet.

39

I see a clear opportunity in podcasting. Make short, information-dense podcasts that are easy to binge. No fluff. Use them to tell your personal story or as a marketing channel for your company. Podcasts are the business cards of the future.

40

Your grandchildren will wish you’d kept a diary during these crazy times. Write down your thoughts.

41

Write like you speak. Then improve how well you speak.

42

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

43

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

44

Writing a lot won’t make you a better writer. If it did everybody who answers 100 emails per day would write like Hemmingway. If you want to improve your writing, listen to critical feedback, read great books, and spend a lot of time *re-writing* your sentences.

45

A summary of George Orwell’s six rules for writing: 1) You don’t need cliches 2) Avoid long words 3) If it is possible to cut a word out, cut it out. 4) Write in the active voice 5) Write as clearly as possible 6) Better to be interesting than to follow all the rules

46

The higher you climb in your company, the more you need to write well.

47

Writing shows you how little you know about topics you thought you were an expert on

48

Having a website with articles you've published is like having a personal agent who finds career opportunities for you 24/7

49

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.

50

Writing is how you check if your gut feelings are genius or completely insane

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