David Perell on The Power of Writing – Modern Wisdom

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Key Takeaways

  • It’s a better time than ever to write online
    • There is SO MUCH demand from people who want high-level, interesting ideas
  • The 3-Step Process For Changing Your Career
    • Pick a small, emerging industry
    • Learn as much as you can about it
    • Share what you learn by writing online about the industry
  • Your online writing is your new resume
  • “If you can write well, communicate your ideas effectively,  and share your unique perspective on the world in a way that’s both engaging and entertaining, you have a MASSIVE, massive advantage in this world”
  • Consume more of the content that has stood the test of time and less of what was produced in the last 24 hours

Books Mentioned

  • Check out the work of John O’Donohue (he’s an Irish poet) – David has read all 4 of his books
    • “He says things you should have known or recognized that you could never before put into words”
  • Both Chris and David really enjoyed James Clears’ book, Atomic Habits
  • “If you’ve read 1984, you know that a restriction in language is essentially the same as a restriction in thinking” – Chris

Intro

The Joys of Travel

  • He recently spent some time in Morocco
    • “I barely consumed any information, just pure observation”
      • “I had forgotten what’s it’s like to be in that state, the ways in which you experience the world differently and how time begins to dilute and expand”
    • David highly recommends visiting the country
      • The government is planning to really double down on increasing tourism (right now agriculture is the country’s biggest industry)
    • “Morocco is probably the most Instagramable country in the world”

The Rubber Band of Life

  • David has a good metaphor, thinking of life like a rubber band:
    • The 1st analogy:
      • The rubber band is like an electronic dance music song – you have this build up of tension and at the drop, the rubber band releases and begins forming a different type of tension
    • The 2nd:
      • In the rubber band of life, travel creates one type of tension and when you return home, the rubber band releases, firing you right back into “production mode” 

The Value of Writing Online

  • “When I think of ways in which the world in inefficiently priced right now, it’s writing on the internet”
    • There is SO MUCH demand from people who want high-level interesting ideas
      • And the supply of high-quality information is growing slower than the demand for it
    • “If you look at what’s happening with the intellectual dark web, with certain parts of Twitter, certain parts of YouTube…the stuff that you can find is incredible! It’s better than any college class I ever took and it’s not even close.”
  • David’s goal this year is to get 1,000 people writing online – “because I believe so strongly in how writing can change your life”
  • The 3-Step Process For Changing Your Career
    • Pick a small, emerging industry
      • (If you pick the right one, you’ll become an expert in that domain, and you’ll have a “personal monopoly” on that area)
    • Learn as much as you can about it
    • Share what you learn by writing about the industry online

Write of Passage

  • This is David’s new writing course (which isn’t really about writing) 
    • It’s more about building an audience and connecting with people, getting smarter by sharing your ideas, as well as creating more opportunities for yourself (like speaking/consulting gigs) through your work
    • It’s all about how to more effectively get ideas out of your head –> put them on a page —> and influence other people
  • “It’s about using writing as the new resume because resumes are an outdated way to communicate your talents”
    • “If you can write well, communicate your ideas effectively, and share your unique perspective on the world in a way that’s both engaging and entertaining, you have a MASSIVE, massive advantage in this world”

Why writing? Why not podcasting or video?

  • It’s the most fundamental method of communication – “It’s the pillar of any successful career and any other form of media”
  • Writing well is HARD
  • Writing = thinking, rewriting = rethinking
  • “Writing allows you to grapple with and explore ideas from more perspectives better than any other medium”
    • If you really want to explore an idea from all sorts of nooks and crannies, to see it from different perspectives, writing is the best way to do that
  • Writing tends to be held in higher regard compared to other forms of media
    • Who would you trust more – Someone who’s written a book on a  topic or someone who has a podcast on that same topic?
  • “Writing is the single highest form of leverage (compared to other forms of communication)”
  • “If you look at history, those who have been able to communicate most effectively, have been able to achieve the things they wanted to achieve”

Writing for Therapy

  • “Many people just don’t have a creative outlet where they’re forced to articulate the things going on inside their head” – Chris
    • Unless you somehow get your thoughts/ideas out, they just tend to circulate within you 
    • “Writing for a site or to build a readership or to get feedback, simply the process of being on send and trying to articulate your thoughts can be so therapeutic for a lot of people”

We Can’t Forget About Good Conversation

  • A really, really good conversation works in ways similar to writing
    • “In a good conversation, you’re saying things and finding ideas within you that you didn’t even know existed”
    • (But most conversations are just two intersecting monologues)
    • “Having a good conversation, a conversation where you’re elevating onto another realm of human experience, honestly I think that’s what we live for”
      • Writing tries to do this at scale

Consume More Content That Has Stood the Test of Time

  • Probably 99% of the content we consume has been created inside the last 24 hours
    • Just think – Snapchat stories, Instagram, tweets, etc.
  • David has an idea which he terms “The Perpetual Now”- Every time you open a social media platform, you’re always shown new content
    • We’re overwhelmed by the present
    • “I worry that if we’re not conscious of the structure of our social media feeds, we’re going to drown in what I call The Never-Ending Now
  • “If someone sends me an article, I place disproportionate weight on how old that article is”
    • If someone sends you something written 2 days ago – it’s probably more of an impulsive share
    • But if something has been circulating since the early 2000s – you know it must be good

A Call For a Startup

  • There needs to be a platform you can access where you’re exposed to interesting ideas (in the written form) in a personalized way at the snap of a finger
    • Medium tried (is trying) to do this, but has too heavy a focus on what is/isn’t popular (what gets the most claps)
      • “There’s TONS of stellar writing on Medium. I’m just not sure the home page does a good job of surfacing that writing and we need a better solution”

Resources to Check Out

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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