Welcome to another edition of 🦊Quick Brown Fox! This week I share a new essay on Aristotle’s three appeals of persuasion, a wonderful book I read on building awareness, and a few thoughts on using Twitter.
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New Essay: The Art of Persuasion
A few weeks ago I wrote an essay about polymaths. I described the challenges and benefits of living a polymath lifestyle, along with my own experiences embracing it. To my surprise, the essay really took off. I was incredibly humbled by the response. I was also curious to understand what made the essay resonate so strongly.
Later that week, I was catching up with my good friend Patrick when the topic of my essay came up. I shared some of the responses I had been seeing with him. Immediately, Patrick recognized a pattern: almost all of the resonance connected with one of the three appeals of persuasion described by Aristotle (Ethos, Pathos and Logos). I had heard of them before, but never considered applying them to my writing. I decided to explore them further in hopes I could leverage them more intentionally in the future.
In this essay I’ll be sharing the learnings from that exploration. I review specific examples of feedback and how they connect to each of Aristotle’s appeals. I then propose a set of writing appeals that you can use to improve the resonance of your own writing.
I just finished reading Awareness by Anthony de Mello and J. Francis Stroud. I was blown away by it. There’s a ton of wonderful advice about meaning in our lives, separating our feelings from our identity, and building stronger awareness of ourselves. I need to go through all my highlights from the book to fully absorb its lessons, but here’s one quote that stuck out:
In response to this tweet, Dan Stern shared his notes which you may find valuable. Overall, I highly recommend the book as a mechanism to start developing awareness throughout your day. For starters, you can check out this thread I wrote on how awareness can become a superpower.
Alternating Modes of Creation
I’ve been spending more time on Twitter lately, and have been seeing a lot of good returns on that investment. I’m having fun with sharing more openly and connecting with lots of interesting people (especially in DMs).
I’m also starting to see threads I’ve written in the past start to deliver more long-term value (FYI: here’s a thread of my best threads). One that came up this week is my thread on Going Independent. A while ago I had shared some advice with a friend on how to think about quitting your job and going independent. He later told me that advice helped him take the plunge, so I ended up turning the advice into a thread. This week another friend shared that it helped him take a big step. It’s really gratifying to see my writing help folks take action!
Despite the benefits, I realized I was spending a little too much time on my phone using Twitter. When I sat down yesterday to do some focused writing, I could sense I was more distracted than usual. It’s not a big deal to spend more time on social media now and then, but it’s important to be aware of its impacts. Now that I’ve noticed this, I’m going to pull back my usage a bit and spend more time on deep focus activities like writing and long-form writing. I shared a quick thought on this earlier in the week:
I think there will be a continuous ebb and flow between the two states, and the key will be maintaining awareness on where I am and rebalancing accordingly.
How To Say No: I tend to always want to help, even when I’m overloaded. Even when I manage to say no, it takes up a ton of energy just to compose a thoughtful reply. This tool looks like it could really help reduce that burden.
TED Talk: Joseph Gordon-Levitt - How craving attention makes you less creative: “Being addicted to getting attention is just like being addicted to anything else. It's never enough. There is no amount of attention you can get where you feel like, 'Ah. I'm good now.'”
Mars Curiosity: Incredible video of the surface of Mars captured by the Curiosity rover.
Until next time,