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Wanna-be essayist | Write for long-term value >> Newsletter: thelongformmaddict@substack.com

Short musings on longform writing

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Wait But Why

David Perell

More To That

Those are my favorite places to hang out on the Internet. Not only because their writing is great but also because it’s longform.

What are longforms?

Longforms are long writing, around 2000 words or more. While some take the length of a short movie — 20–30 minutes, others can be as long as a documentary. For example this essay by David Perell, News In The Age Of Abundance which reads for 73 minutes.

Longform articles tackle a problem to its roots. Most often, the writer takes on a problem, looks at it from different angles…


Unveiling the dark side of the fast fashion industry

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India is the country with the highest rate of cotton farmer suicide. Between 1997 and 2013, it was estimated 250,000 farmers had killed themselves due to debt from cotton, a staggering rate of one farmer per day. This is attributed to many causes, but the most popular one is linked to the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds, or so-called “seed business” by the locals.

Since its introduction in 2002, GM seeds have attracted up to 90% of Indian cotton farmers to sow them on their land. Bollgard, a GM seed developed by Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech, is the most widely adopted…


Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

There’s plenty to live for besides the search for meaning. Think nature. Your family and friends. Good books. Beautiful places in the world. The air you breathe. The falling leaves outside. If you pay attention, you’ll see these are all there is to life.

What’s the meaning of life?

Many people say it’s following your dreams and being able to do what you love. But what if it’s not?

I used to think my dreams and goals are all I have. Work is my life. Writing is my life. Taking my laptop away from me and I will die. So I hate it when my…


Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

There’s a myth that the more online footprint you have, the more your audience will grow. This is not necessarily true. Because unless your content provides enormous value, it’s unlikely that anyone will tune in.

In a world where people are bored, distracted, and emotionally hurt, anything that makes life a little less harsh gets the spotlight.

That’s why the most popular content on the Internet is not the one with the best idea but the one that relieves the audience’s pain. Be it teaching them a new skill, sharing a surprising fact, or getting people inspired. …


Be intentional

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In the book Essentialism, Greg Mckeown mentioned the idea of living by design and default:

  • Living by design means accepting the fact that you have a choice and can create space for what matters.
  • Living by default means forfeiting your ability to choose and letting things happen as you go.

Everything in life operates either by design or default.

A good example is when you try to develop a daily habit. If you want to mediate more but don’t determine when and how to do it, chances are you will skip most of the sessions and give up. …


Yesterday I came across the 4-quadrants chart by Stephen Covey again while reading the Boron Letters (very compelling on copywriting, btw)

Every task can be assigned to one of four quadrants: (1) important and urgent (e.g. studying for an exam), (2) important but not urgent (e.g.working on your passion project), (3) not important but urgent (e.g. shopping for the week), (4) not important and not urgent (e.g. watch movies).

To be successful, you must spend the majority of your time working on tasks in quadrant 2. Your side project fits into this category.

Sad truth is your life tends to…


What people don’t tell you about setting goals, and how to do it with a case study

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

This is a long post. So forgive me for not leading you in with a catchy introduction.

Let’s cut to the chase and dive into the first question:

What people don’t tell you about setting goals?

What is the goal?

It’s something you want to accomplish.

Without a goal, you’d like a ship drifting along the sea. No destination to look forward to. You don’t know where you’re gonna go. You don’t know if you’re going in the right direction.

Setting a goal is like finding a source of light in a dark tunnel.

You have something to look forward to.

When you are lost, you can look…


Do you feel scattered and lost in a mountain of things to do? As a creative, it's easy to jump into any exciting project and get yourself burned out.

One way to get out of this mess and stay sane is to work on projects which bring the sweetest fruit.

Here are 3 tips I learned this week from Greg Mckeown’s book "Essentialism" on picking the perfect project:

Tip 1: If it's not a HELL YEAH, it should be no!

"No more yes. It's either HELL YEAH! Or No"
— Derek Sivers

We tend to jump right into a project that excites us without careful assessment. …


Image: freepik.com

My earliest memory with coffee was with bread. My grandpa would take me to the cafe near our house — on the way, he bought me a loaf of bread. Upon arriving, he ordered his coffee, which I then dipped in the bread and enjoyed while he smoked the cigarette. That made a perfect breakfast!

In Vietnam, we drink coffee with condensed milk. The coffee is strong and bitter, capable of making you drowsy within minutes if you’re not a regular drinker. But here the taste to remember. You can’t drink other coffee without feeling reminiscent of it. …


Learn the 7 strategies to break bad habits for good. The key is simplicity and focus

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pixabay

Admit it. Ditching a bad habit is hard. You get excited for a couple of days. Even make some progress. But when the honeymoon phase fades away, all your motivation dwindles. After a while, you quit.

Every day you get a little sadder, a little grumpier, yet you don’t know why. Then it comes back to you. It’s the bad habits guarding your life that make you so miserable. Again you vow to change, but again you quickly run out of fuel.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t break out of this vicious circle. Why are bad habits…

Naomi Pham

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