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Succinct, Punchy, Useful WRITING: with Derek Sivers

You'll solve that problem by attaching a story

In 1997, Derek Sivers (accidentally) started CD Baby, the largest distributor of independent music in the world. Ten years later, he sold the company for $22 million.

What did he do with the money? Did he buy a Ferrari? A mansion? A private jet?

He gave it all to charity.

He then became a TED speaker and a writer. He’s published 5 books:

  • Anything You Want (2011) — Best business book I’ve ever read.
  • Your Music and People (2020) — Best marketing book I’ve ever read.
  • Hell Yeah or No (2020) — Best book on productivity and decision-making I’ve ever read.
  • How to Live (2021) — Best book on life philosophies I’ve ever read.
  • Useful Not True (2024) — Best book on beliefs I’ve ever read.

Derek Sivers is the person I’ve watched, read, and listened to the most since I got an internet connection in 2001. No joke!

I could’ve asked him questions about music, business, productivity, marketing, or public speaking, but many YouTubers and podcasters have done that before.

For 1.5 hours, we talked about one thing only: WRITING.

What brought him into writing? Which writers inspire him? How did he write his books? Why succinct writing? Why does he not use semicolons? What does he do to actively improve his writing? Does he have a sentence he’s particularly attached to? We discussed this and other nerdy stuff about writing.

Watch the interview on YouTube, or listen to it on my podcast


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