How to learn from great writers

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We all have authors we admire. But that’s no reason to act the way they do. Which nonfiction authors do you think are awesome? My list includes Malcolm Gladwell, Mary Roach, Daniel Pink, Jay Baer, Michael Lewis, Bill Bryson, and Isaac Asimov. And I have no desire to emulate their writing habits. Isaac Asimov wrote … Continued

How to cultivate a lifelong network when you suck at networking

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I have a network that I didn’t set out to create. Curiosity and a specific type of work environment created it. I just needed to do my job and not be too much of an asshole. I’m terrible at networking. At events, I struggle to introduce myself to people. I don’t drink. I like to … Continued

Never send a generic invitation

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An interview is a significant time investment. If it’s not personal, it’s useless. How would you respond to this pitch? Subject: Invitation @ Interview Series Hi Josh, My name is Olga and I’m the Project Marketing Manager at Brief. Apple has featured us as [Apps We Love] in 2018 and 2019. We’ve been working on … Continued

Don’t let version confusion destroy your writing process

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The most fundamental principle in writing is actually . . . version control? It’s an unwritten rule. Like changing your underwear every day. And if you violate it, you are a barbarian. This is the least sexy writing advice ever. But if you and your collaborators don’t share a common understanding of version control, you’re … Continued

Dot, dot, dot: The ambiguous ellipsis in the Trump Ukraine call summary

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An ellipsis (plural, ellipses) has multiple meanings: it can indicate an unfinished thought, a pause, or, in quoted material, something that’s been omitted. When there’s ambiguity, it’s up to the author to resolve it. Trump’s Ukraine call summary doesn’t, and that’s a problem. The ellipsis for an uncompleted thought is more common in fiction. In … Continued

Nuggets, or how to not write a piece that’s a boring lecture

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A lecture is you standing up and droning on about what you think, based on your voluminous experience. It’s boring in person, and it’s a deadly way to write. In today’s short-attention-span world, a lecture is a good way to get people to click away from the post, stop reading the book, and give up … Continued

Nonfiction writing: It’s narratives all the way down.

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Nonfiction writing is made of stories. All of it. Advice. Logical reasoning. Analysis. It’s all stories. And if you don’t understand what a narrative is, no one will read what you write, and no one will be able to benefit from it. I’m editing a nonfiction manuscript right now in which the parts aren’t written … Continued

Think long term. That’s it. That’s the advice.

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Honestly, I think every stupid decision people make is because they can’t think more than fifteen minutes ahead. To wit: That argument you just “won” against your life’s companion — how’s that going to affect your relationship for the next few years? That clever company name you picked out that just happens to be the … Continued