I was going through some writings and and analysis of Aristotle's work recently and came across the most fascinating distinction - exoteric and esoteric knowledge.
There's a few different meanings of the words, but exoteric can mean "external / outside / knowledge that's easily ascertained by anyone" and esoteric can mean "internal / secretive / knowledge that's not easily ascertained."
One thing I've started doing in the last year that I've gotten a lot of gain from is trying to find writing by authors and people I respect that were written for a friendly audience.
There's a huge difference in the tone and content of friendly-audience writing (which can be more esoteric) and general-purpose writing (which is frequently exoteric).
Exoteric writing tends to be more sanitized, more generalized, more politically correct, laying out basic premises and assumptions more (instead of assuming skill/background on the part of the reader), and frequently aims to be less offensive.
Things written, said, or spoken for a friendly audience - potentially esoteric - can often cut to the heart of things and provide much more interesting and actionable things to do with it.
Often the greatest advantages come from esoteric writing and teaching - and again, I'll remind you I don't believe in mysticism of any sort, we're just talking about esoteric ways of doing normal daily life activities, or general expansion in arts/commerce/business/governance/law/etc.
So - a recommendation for you - look for esoteric writings. By definition, they're unlikely to be a NYT Bestseller or in the popular categories of Delicious or Amazon.com. But when you find something, it can be incredibly valuable.
Ray Dalio's "Principles" strikes me as a good first example of it. It was originally written internally for his organization, which is already vetted as smart and driven people. Therefore, it contains a lot of rawness and honesty that you wouldn't get in a mass market work which would be more PR-savvy.
Look for things like that. They're hard to find, but potentially worth a lot since they convey rare advantages most people don't have.
I differ from your opinion.
From my point of view the books you say are exoteric are bullshit.
The books you say are esoterric in fact are the true exoteric so called valuable.
The true esoteric book is one which isn't easily understood and gives you guides but you have to find the knowledge by yourself or in yourself. Such book is "Art of War" by Sun Tzu. \hint\It is said that it is intentionally incomplete.
Insightful post, Sebastian. I definitely need to read more esoteric books!
BTW it would be great if you could put a page on your blog with all your books recommendations.
@ David W: you should definitely have a look to Ray Dalio's "Principles". It's one of the best documents I've ever read. http://www.bwater.com/Uploads/FileManager/Principles/Bridgewater-Associates-Ray-Dalio-Principles.pdf
You know, there is a general rule that applies to being successful at anything. It is, "Make things look easy."
It's been remarked upon many times, by many great and talented people through history.
Probably the best explanation of sprezzatura I've seen comes from Derek Sivers -
“Sprezzatura” is an Italian word that means “to hide conscious effort and appear to accomplish difficult actions with casual nonchalance.”
There are several things to consider when writing a new blog post that are surprisingly left out more so than not. If you follow these core fundamentals with every post, you'll increase the likelihood of success ten fold.
When blogging, the most important thing to do is write for people and not just the search engines alone. Google's algorithm has become far more sophisticated and keyword-stuffed content is not what they're after any more. The more socially powerful your content is, the better it will rank. In other words when people share your content and then your content is shared again, it becomes more and more relevant to Google and starts to rank better and better. However, there's another key to making a blog even more attractive to search engines, keep writing and publishing new content!
There will be times when updating the corporate blog is so low on your list of priorities that you just discard it but that's dangerous. Search engines want on-going, fresh content it keeps them coming back to your pages more often and gives greater visibility to any changes you make on your site. If you don't have time, ask another member of staff to contribute, or even occasionally use a professional blogger to create an article for you. If you allow your blog to slack off, the search engines and your readers will lose interest.
Always keep important keywords in mind throughout the content creation process and use them naturally. Use tools like Google's Keyword Tool and Wordtracker's Firefox Plugin to find keywords that are used frequently and include other keywords that are relevant to your main ones. If someone else is managing your SEO efforts, talk to them and find out what the longtail keywords being targeted are, usually the more specific and lengthy search terms. For example â€˜eye makeup for women' instead of just â€˜eye makeup'. Since you'll be writing about the industry anyway, these should flow seamlessly into your content.
Your headline, or post title, is just about the most important aspect of your article next to the HTML title. It's the hook that will entice the reader to click on the story, so be very careful of how you choose it. It should contain your main keyword in a very natural manner if possible. If you can't use your main keyword than try to use relevant keywords. Also make sure to always use h1, h2 or h3 headings with in your post. Inside your content, break up the post into sections and use subheadings, again in h2 or h3. It will be easier to use your keywords in these subheadings and it also breaks down the copy for your reader and makes it easier to digest.