6 Techniques in article writing you can learn from Thomas Friedman

We live in a world in which communication has so much impact in our daily life. The person who knows how to effectively communicate his ideas to invoke a particular reaction from his/her listener has a great edge. Recently, I came across a video in which Tom Friedman was interviewed by Salman Khan from the Khan Academy.

I always admired Tom Friedman ever since I read his book “The World Is Flat”. If you are looking for somebody who has the real world experience to tell you about how to convey an idea, then Tom Friedman is the guy.

Here is what Thomas Friedman thinks as in his words, “6 kinds of column”. I believe the same rules can be applied for any sort of written communication, be it a blog or an article. So what are the 6 kinds or columns? As per Friedman, If you get any one of these reactions from our reader, then you have a column.

1. I didn’t know that.

The first kind is the one which a reader reads your column and goes “I didn’t know that”. In other words, telling/reporting something that no body has told before.

2. I never looked at it that way.

If you present already known issue in a completely new perspective which has the potential to make the reader think, then that can be a successful column.

3. You said it exactly the way I felt. God bless you.

This kind of reporting strikes a chord with your reader. Most people do not have the gift of expressing their thoughts in the right words. The kind of “right words/expressions” which will preserve every little ounce of the way they felt about that situation/incident. Your readers will love you for it if you are able to pull that off.

4. I want to kill you dead, you and all your offspring.

You generally get this kind of reaction when you don’t jump on the “Popular ” band wagon and decide to go against it because you believe that it is right. It might not be what others want to read. But there are two benefits for this. Firstly, you can be content that you voice your true opinion and secondly, these kind of articles can earn you lot of (negative) publicity. But as some of you know, there is nothing called a negative publicity.

5. You made me laugh / You made me cry.

Very difficult to pull this one off. Very rarely people have the skill to consistently deliver an article and invoke the above reaction. When you do it well, it really works. When you miss it, like bad humor or bad sentimentality, you basically lose the reader.

6. You challenged me.

This is when a columnist/author challenges his own reader. In my personal opinion, if you are doing this correctly, it can be a great education for yourself and your reader.

Biz Stone quotes on success – Creativity is a renewable resource

Biz stone Quotes

Biz Stone Quotes

I am reading the book authored by the co-founder of Twitter, none other than Biz Stone. In my honest opinion, anyone who ever wish to be an entrepreneur should read this book. It is also highly recommended for those who wish to excel at their current jobs or those who are simply tiered of mediocrity. The book is called Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind

This guy is a college drop out who landed a job in Google and later left this job (which most of us consider a dream job) to create Twitter. So when he talks about success mantra, I think one should pay attention.  Let me quote a small excerpt from the above book.

Creativity is a renewable resource. Challenge yourself every day. Be as creative as you like, as often as you want, because you can never run out. Experience and curiosity drive us to make unexpected, offbeat connections. It is these nonlinear steps that often lead to the greatest work.

One of the things which I found interesting was a phase of his life when he used to design book covers. As per Biz stone,

Graphic design is an excellent preparation for any profession because it teaches you that for any one problem, there are infinite potential solutions. Too often we hesitate to stray away from our first idea, or from what we already know. But the solution isn’t necessarily what is in front of us, or what has worked in the past.

So, if you are looking for the next book that inspires you, then this is the book for you Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffett

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked – Warren Buffett

Anyone who witnessed the bubble bursts and the bull markets in the past 10-20 years will definitely understand what Buffett meant here.  Switch on the television or go to any stock analysis site and you will be immersed in “expert” opinions, stats, “hot tips” and more. Some people even go to the extent of predicting what will happen to stocks or even sectors in the near future and in the not so near future.

And then there are folks who do the stupidest thing. These people are so confident (or should I say their reality is so distorted) to lend money on high interest rates and invest them in stocks based on a hot tip. When the “stuff” hits the fan they will be left naked. They will lose everything.

Warren Buffett has only two rules in investing.

Rule #1.  Do not lose your money

Rule#2.  Follow Rule#1