June 14, 2019

Eric Hoffer, The "Longshoreman Philosopher", On Writing

by Stijn Hendrikse

Eric Hoffer (25 July 1902 – 21 May 1983) had a great talent for writing short books, with a higher “density” of new ideas and insights then many others.

When you struggle writing marketing content, think of Hoffer’s advice:

  • Write one paragraph before going to bed. Capture the one idea or insight you had that day.

  • Finish your paragraph when you get up in the morning. 

Here are some great Hoffer quotes to fill the page:

  • “There is not an idea that cannot be expressed in 200 words. But the writer must know precisely what he wants to say. If you have nothing to say and want badly to say it, then all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice.”
  • “If anybody asks me what I have accomplished, I will say all I have accomplished is that I have written a few good sentences.”
  • “To overestimate the originality of one's thoughts is perhaps a less serious defect than being unaware of their newness. There is a more pronounced lack of sensitivity in underestimating '(ourselves and others) than in overestimating.”
  • “As a full-time longshoreman I am necessarily more a scribbler than a writer. But I am also so by inclination. The writing I can enjoy is the sketching of an idea in a few dozen words — two hundred at most. Elaboration and expansion are for me hard going. An article of several thousand words becomes inevitably a mosaic of ideas — a series of ideas stuck together.”Eric Hoffer (25 July 1902 – 21 May 1983) had a great talent for writing short books, with a higher “density” of new ideas and insights then many
Stijn Hendrikse

After 15 years of experience in the Software Marketing Industry, Stijn adopted the SaaS model to launch Kalungi, a SaaS Chief Marketing Officer blog where he shares best practices. This supports his work as a CMO Consultant with Chief Outsiders.

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