Some paradoxes of modern life:

1. The paradox of reading: The books you read will profoundly change you even though you’ll forget the vast majority of what you read.
2. The paradox of writing: Great writing looks effortless. But because the ideas are so clear, casual readers don't appreciate how much time it took to refine them.
3. The paradox of creativity: Your work is done when it looks so simple that the consumer thinks they could've done it, which means they won't appreciate how hard you worked.
4. The paradox of decision making: It’s better to choose, commit, and get started instead of waiting for the best possible option, so the correct decisions are actually suboptimal.
5. The paradox of originality: Many of history's greatest artists have found their voice by copying others. We discover who we are by imitating others and watching our uniqueness emerge over time. ImageImageImage
6. The paradox of news: By telling us to care about everything, the news leads to apathy instead of action.
7. The Paradox of Abundance: Information abundance, like all markets of abundance, are bad for the average person but great for a small number of people.

My favorite metaphor is health, where obesity rates and the number of people in incredible shape are *both* rising. ImageImage
8. The Paradox of Consensus: Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect was found guilty by every judge, they were deemed innocent. Too much agreement implied a systemic error in the judicial process. Beware: unanimous agreement often leads to bad decisions.
9. The Paradox of Skill: The more evenly matched opponents are in skill, the more of a role luck plays in determining the final outcome.

(h/t @mjmauboussin) Image
10. The Paradox of Specificity: In the age of the Internet, when everybody has Google search and social media, differentiation is free marketing. The more specific your goal, the more opportunities you’ll create for yourself. Narrow your focus to expand your horizons.
11. The Productivity Paradox: We keep inventing things that save us time, but it feels like we have less time than ever before.
12. The Abilene Paradox: Tell 10 people to get ice cream. If they have to agree on a flavor, they'll pick chocolate or vanilla every time. Groups of people don't agree on what's cool or unique. Since people agree on what's easy, "consensus" is just another way of saying average.
13. The Paradox of Strategy: The same things that help you achieve outlier success also increase your chances of outlandish failure. For example, investing with leverage increases your chances of risk and reward.
I write short threads like this all the time, mostly about writing and creativity.

Follow me: @david_perell

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More from @david_perell

10 Jul
~ My Business Model ~

I write, tweet, podcast, teach, and invest. Here's how my media engine fits together.

Solid lines = The current flywheel

Dotted lines = The future flywheel

For an explanation of every element and my vision for the future, read the thread below.
1. Twitter

The vast majority of people find me on Twitter. It's the town square of the Internet and an always-on conference where I make friends, grow my audience, and share what's on my mind.

Twitter is the top of the funnel for my professional life.
2. Essays

Long-form writing is my favorite art form. It's the hardest thing I do, but also the most rewarding.

When I started writing, I focused on publishing as much as possible, which helped me find my voice. Now I’m focused on publishing essays that stand the test of time.
Read 12 tweets
8 Jun
My principles of creativity:

1. Every creative project is different, but the creative process is timeless and unchanging.
2. When you're in a creative rut, make fresh snow

The mind is like a snow-covered mountain. Every thought is like a sled. Over time, the sled creates trails in the snow and new sleds favor the existing trails.

Fresh snow changes that and creates new paths for exploration.
3. Create fresh snow by finding new ideas

Every Michelin Star chef knows that delicious food begins with quality ingredients.

The same is true for creative work. The quality of what you consume is a leading indicator for what you'll eventually produce, so cultivate your taste.
Read 10 tweets
2 Jun
How Philosophers Think

Philosophers are the best thinkers I know, and their tactics can help us all.

Here are my favorite ones:

1. Be an intellectual boxer: Understand ideas by making them battle with each other. Create characters in your mind and make them debate each other.
2. Dissect ideas

The smartest kid in my middle school class used to take computers apart and put them back together again in order to understand how they work.

Good philosophers are like my friend from middle school. But instead of playing with computers, they play with ideas.
3. Think by writing

Deep thinking happens by writing, which allows us to navigate the hazy labyrinth of consciousness.

Most roads lead to a dead end. But every now and then, the compass of intuition leads to an epiphany that the top-down planning mind would’ve never discovered.
Read 13 tweets
1 Jun
I teach people how to become citizens of the Internet.

Writing online is the best way to do that.

That’s why I tweet about learning, business, and the craft of writing. I aim to make ideas fun and easy to understand.

Here is a collection of my best threads. Enjoy!
Read 21 tweets
31 May
How to improve your writing:

1. Get ideas on paper: Put words on the page as fast as you can. First drafts are always messy. But you can only start shaping ideas into polished writing once they're out of your head. The beauty and clarity you desire will emerge with each edit.
2. Finding ideas

Sherlock Holmes once said: "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." But when you write regularly, you start observing those things because the pen turns you into a curious detective who is always hunting for clues.
3. Collecting ideas

Finding ideas isn't enough. You have to save them too. Preferably, in a centralized place where you can instantly search for the best ideas you've ever had. The better your note-taking system, the less you have to rely on memory.

Read 14 tweets
26 May
Write like your reader talks.

Read a bunch of Internet forums about whatever you're writing about. Identify common phrases and put them into a list. Then, use their language whenever you write.

By writing like a friend, you build trust.
The idea of using your reader's voice works best for tactical writing that aims to be clear and persuasive. As a writer, this strategy also helps you get inside the mind of your reader so you can speak to their specific feelings.

(h/t @dollarsanddata)
@dollarsanddata Copywriters should do the same thing.

They should ask questions like "What inspired you to buy our product?" Then, they should collect the most vivid phrases onto a spreadsheet they can pull from whenever they write.

Let your customers do the work for you.
Read 7 tweets

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