Friday Links: Issue 09

This will be the last Friday Links post in my 100 Posts, 100 Days project. I want to write pieces that are more well thought out, and I’ll do that through more in-depth book notes posts. I also want to maintain consistency, so I’ll probably continue on with these Friday links.

Links and book notes will always give me a way to share things I find interesting. The built in structure of these links posts will make it easier to write consistently. That lets me have energy for the longer book notes.

I’ve been diving into Wait Buy Why lately and that’s where a lot of the motivation to write longer posts comes from. Tim Urban even gives direct advice on writing in the first edition of the Wait But Why mailbag:

  1. Don’t be a complete perfectionist, but don’t settle for writing you know isn’t working. Even if you’re experimenting, if something you’re trying isn’t working, try to figure out why, rewrite parts, start over and try a new approach, etc.—keep fiddling until it clicks. Each time you go through the hard, painful work of agonizing over writing that isn’t working and eventually get it to click, you become a better writer.

My next step will be working on figuring out what works. That advice is sandwiched between the other common thing you’ll hear: #1 write more and #3 read more. I’ve been writing and reading regularly. Now I need to be more thoughtful about what I write.

Last year, Fast Company also wrote a good breakdown of Wait But Why’s success:

This is all the more impressive considering there just isn’t a lot of content on Wait But Why. Unlike viral churn-and-burn content sites, which posts dozens of articles a day, Wait But Why has only published just over 80 articles in total. That’s an average of just one a week; 63 of them are pieces that stretch to over 2,000 words, with some reaching more than 3,000. The site’s slow schedule, which began as one post a week, is now more erratic. “After a post goes up, the next one might go up two days later or three weeks later,” Urban says.

Now that’s a schedule I can follow. I’m still thinking through exactly what I’ll try next but I’m thinking it’ll be down to one or two posts each week. Longer but not fluffier. Tim Urban provides a great place to start if I’m looking for examples to follow.

Though maybe not in terms of eating. He wrote a great Grub Street journal: Tim Urban Embraces the ‘Dark Late-Night Unhealthy Seamless Order.

There are two great champions of the DLNUSO, and one of them is pizza. Ordering a pizza any time after midnight and eating at least three slices is super-dark. No one is happy in that situation. And the other one is Chinese food. The main reason is: What kind of Chinese places are open at one in the morning to deliver? And it’s the most mysterious kind of food — no one knows what goes on in those kitchens. Who’s there cooking? It’s don’t ask, don’t tell, enjoy yourself.

I’ve had my share of days with multiple Seamless orders. Those aren’t typically good days. Urban enjoys avocados filled with different toppings. He also clearly enjoys writing. Probably to the point of it being something James Altucher describes as “super loves”:

Because you love those 20. But it’s BECAUSE you love them that they will always distract from the top 5 that you SUPER love.

I super love Writing. Podcasting. Comedy. My family. And the remaining businesses that I’m still involved in.

My top 5.

In that post, he describes Warren Buffet’s 5/25 rule. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the technique after hearing Angela Duckworth mention it in Grit. Altucher’s post is more interesting to read. Here are a few reasons why1:

  • He introduces the technique in a more interesting way

  • He gives the technique a straightforward name (“5/25 rule”) to refer to it by

  • He gives many more examples

  • He gives many very personal examples

His closing summary is really powerful:

“No” is how you whittle down and sculpt yourself into a work of art. “Yes” is how burn up and burn out.

I’m finishing up my 100 Posts 100 Days project this week. It was the first step for this blog. Over the next few weeks I’ll be thinking about what the next steps are. Scoping it down to the blog, I’ll evaluate what I loved during this project. I’ll have a better idea of what I want to say “yes” to so I can say “no” to everything else.

  1. Other than “He’s just a better writer”