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Home » If you only had to understand one idea in 2023, this is it

If you only had to understand one idea in 2023, this is it

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Sometimes you stumble on a book you cannot put down.

Because it changes your whole way of looking at reality.

It’s rare, especially nowadays when everyone and their mother has written a book and shouted about it on a podcast.

Well, I can say I’ve found the one!

And nobody talks about it.

I started reading “The User Illusion”, by Tor Norretranders and it’s blowing my mind.

Both in the sense that it’s super complex (one of the concepts being complexity itself), but mainly because it shuffles the deck on how I thought about my world view.

It’s an incredible journey through scientific discoveries that built our current understanding of consciousness.

In other words, it digs into who we are and who is witnessing who we are.

Are they the same? And how much of our lives are really conscious vs unconscious?

Anyway, I want to keep today’s email even shorter than usual, so you can truly grasp what I’m about to share and take it for a spin.

Two important passages from the book:

  • The meaning does not arise from the information in the message but arises from the information discarded during the process of formulating the message, which has a specific information content…. What matters is not saying as much as you can. It is thinking before you speak.
  • The interesting things in life may be not the ones that take long explanations to describe but those that take many experiences to get to know.


I had to take some time to digest it honestly.

But I find this such an important idea.

In times of scarcity, fear, fraud (check out the latest Joe Rogan podcast with Coffeezilla on the FTS disaster) and FOMO, if you had to learn a lesson, be it this one:

Often what seems to be complex is not. It’s just a lot of noise. And noise can clog your senses and understanding.

Instead, listen for the signal where true information and meaning lie. Generating pure signal requires work. Look for sources that focus on the work and the process required to produce useful signal.

Discard the noise.

And of course, return the favor.

When it comes to your prospects or clients, being kind means doing the work for them. Making things look simple and hiding the complexity behind the scenes.

In copy and UX both, keep it in mind.

P.S. Speaking of complexity, running a business is definitely complex. You know it.

I recently started working through some of my challenges and goals with my good buddy Josh on bi-weekly mastermind calls and we decided to just post them publicly.

If you’re curious at some of the behind the scenes of what I’m working on (and the complexity and work required, to stay on topic), you can find it here.

Quote and reflection of the day:

(At the cost of repeating myself, this book is monumentally important, so here’s another quote…)

“Making things look easy is hard. Clarity requires depth.”

  • Tor Norretranders, The User Illusion

If you want to be an expert at what you do, you need to go deep. Become obsessed with your craft. Become obsessed with making it look easy.

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brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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