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Bookshelf #018: How to Generate Endless Ideas

Happy Friday! I'm writing to you from the eerie state of California. It's crazy how many fires are bu
Bookshelf #018: How to Generate Endless Ideas
By Dalton Mabery • Issue #18 • View online
Happy Friday! I’m writing to you from the eerie state of California. It’s crazy how many fires are burning across the West Coast right now, but I hope everyone is staying safe. Let’s jump into this week’s content.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t create is because they can’t think of any ideas. Maybe they’re afraid of creating something that’s already been made, or they have an idea, they just don’t think it’s good enough to publish. Well, not anymore.
The Endless Idea Generator
I came across this concept in the book I shared last week, The Art of Business and Online Writing. It’s three simple prompts to ask yourself to ensure an endless batch of ideas.
Step 1: What Type of Content is This?
There are five main types of content:
  • Actionable Guide
  • Opinion
  • Curated List
  • Story
  • Credibility
Once you have chosen the type of content, you move to understand the “why” behind the piece.
Step 2: What Idea Am I Communicating Within This Piece of Writing?
  • Explanation (When/Where/How/What/Why Something Happens)
  • Habits (To Achieve a Destination, Goal, or State of Being)
  • Mistakes (Keeping Your From Achieving a Destination, Goal, or State of Being)
  • Lessons (Learned in Pursuit of a Destination, Goal, or State of Being)
  • Tips (That Can Help You In Your Own Pursuit of a Destination, Goal, or State of Being)
  • Stories (That Symbolize Or Explain Some Aspect of The Pursuit of a Destination)
  • Timely Events (That are relevant to the TA Knowledge, Awareness, or Pursuit of a Goal)
Now that you have narrowed down the type of content you want to write and the idea you want to communicate, simply explain why you’re the right person to write about it.
Step 3: Why Me?
  • Credibility #1: “I am an expert on this topic. Here’s what I think.”
  • Credibility #2: “I went out and talked to experts. Here’s what they all think.”
  • Credibility #3: “I’m just sharing my opinion, but my opinion is the most articulate.”
When you combine these three steps, you get a very easy (and replicable) equation for consistently creating high-quality, high-performing content.

On Technology
Apple and Microsoft both had very big announcements this week.
A lot of people woke up Tuesday morning to an email from Apple HQ inviting them to the iPhone 12 event on September 15th. Although the email was sent to just about everybody, people felt special receiving an invitation from Apple. I mean, who wouldn’t? The company is expected to introduce a brand new line of iPhones and the new Apple Watch Series 6.
The new Xbox was leaked in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and whoever Xbox’s social guy is needs a raise because it was handled beautifully. The new Xbox Series S is sleeker than ever and will sell for only $299.
On Productivity
I took a break from PARA last week as I reminded you to enjoy the simple things in life and take it easy. I still stand for that, but I can’t leave you hanging without talking about Archive.
The Archive folder is just that, an archive and it’s mainly used for projects. Each time a project is complete, you move that folder into the archive. It’s tempting to delete files when you’re through with them, but you never know when you’ll need to look back at some outdated files for whatever reason. 
It can be helpful to have an archive folder stored on an external hard drive or in the cloud, so it isn’t taking up precious memory on your computer.
Once you have the PARA system down, organizing life becomes much easier. I use PARA inside of Notion, on my laptop to store files, and basically anywhere else I need storage. (I even tried it in my kitchen but it didn’t work as well.)
New Books
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, released a new book this week titled No Rules, Rules: Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention and must I say, wow it’s different.
Hastings boasts about how Netflix has no expense or vacation policy and they have no shame in paying absolute top dollar for their employees.
He attributes all success to Netflix’s unique culture, but after Kinsey Grant talked with him on The Business Casual Podcastshe thought otherwise. Timing, as Grant says, is what makes Netflix so successful. They were first to market with long-form streaming and first to market with original content.
I think the ability for Netflix to pivot so fast was because of its unique culture. As Reed recounts in the book, systems and processes just slow innovation down. 

New Video
I tried a couple of new video formats this week.
The first one I did was a live stream of me reading an article and taking Notes in Roam Research. I shared my screen and people were able to ask questions, share their thoughts, and get an inside look on how I break down an article into its core ideas. You can watch that video here.
I also launched my new show, The Square One Show. Ever since I’ve gotten into business, I’ve wondered what life was like for people before they became a founder, CEO, or online creator. I want to know what childhood was like, how they did in college, and steps they took to get to where they are today. I went live with my first guest this morning and it was a blast.
I talked with KP about how he moved from India to America and how to embrace the identity of who you want to become. He also shared the 3 next steps you should take if you want to start building in public, but don’t know where to start. Watch episode 1 of The Square One Show here.
I plan to do one new interview a week LIVE on Youtube and migrate to a podcast format when I’m 5-10 episodes in.
End Note
If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, mind sending it to a friend? You can send them here to sign up. I try to make it the most informative and witty email you receive each week.
If you want to support The Bookshelf and some of my other content, you can do that here.
As always, if you stumble across any interesting books, articles, or podcasts this week, send them my way. I love discovering new resources I wouldn’t have typically come across.
Have a productive week,
Dalton
P.S. Interested in sponsoring The Bookshelf? Reply to this email and let me know.
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Dalton Mabery

I'm Dalton, a 21-year-old on a journey to find the intersection between Church and technology. I'm an avid reader and every week I send out a newsletter about what I learned in the world of technology, productivity, books, articles, or podcasts.

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