Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Few words are as loaded as the word “redemption.” For some people, it carries an aura of sacredness: It’s an experience of salvation, catharsis, and forgiveness all at once. For others, though, redemption feels like a relic from our history, giving off the unpalatable odor of fanaticism. I imagine that’s why usage of the word (in books, via Ngram) has declined since the 1800s.


Image: Häxan (1922) — Public Domain

I used to never watch movies. I thought reading was “smarter.” Then, someone I deeply respect explained to me that great cinema involves everything that goes into a great book, and more: smart writing, subtle acting, skillful songwriting — and with great direction and cinematography, every frame is a painting. After watching the films he recommended to me, I became a believer.

Now, of all times, is the time to watch some exquisite films!

Samuel Nightengale and I worked together to curate this list of top-notch, intellectually stimulating, deeply human films, a little off the beaten path. …


Master 3 things → get “stuck in their heads.”

A few months back, David Perell and I asked ourselves, “What makes a piece of writing memorable?”

To answer that question, we explored our favorite creators’ most memorable work, looked for patterns, and talked through what we found. Here’s the framework we came up with:

We then got together to teach this framework in a 1-hour workshop focused on business writing. The video is on YouTube.

Ever since the workshop, some people have been asking me to send this Venn diagram with a write-up of our key points, so I decided to post it here.

Big Picture: The best writing is unforgettable.

Good writing isn’t what people…


Fusion is a force to be reckoned with.

Harry Whittier Frees / Public domain

This essay exists thanks to the excellent collaboration of Pavel Brodsky.

Before I ever got paid to write anything, I managed to find work as an editor. That held my feet to the fire. I knew that being a good editor meant clarifying the writer’s voice, not replacing it with my own. But I didn’t know, just yet, how to walk that line.

To teach myself, I took on the mindset of a collaborator. Mentally, I framed the finished piece of writing as a goal that the writer and I were working together to attain.

In the process, I stumbled…

ellen fishbein

Full-time writer + writing coach. ~ www.writing.coach

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