12 Writing Lessons from Ian Fleming, Creator of James Bond, and More

Bring Ambition Newsletter - April 22, 2021

Hi folks and welcome aboard new subscribers!

In the Bring Ambition Newsletter, I share 3-5+ things that are fascinating me lately in the world of professional and personal development, peak performance psychology, meta-learning, side hustles, and more. You'll receive unconventional resources, cool gadgets, practical advice, and other inspiring content.

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1.) How to write a best-seller, according to the creator of James Bond

This week, I published “12 Writing Lessons from Ian Fleming, Creator of James Bond,” an article that has been years in the making.

A few years ago, the James Bond audiobooks arguably saved me from losing my marbles during one incredibly boring seasonal job. Since then I’ve been a fan of Ian Fleming’s work, not to mention an admirer of his unique writing style and storytelling ability.

In this article I distill years of research around Fleming’s secret recipe down to 12 powerful writing lessons. Together we’ll analyze the formulas, techniques, and tactics that helped him turn otherwise run-of-the-mill spy stories into some of the most successful thrillers of all time. No matter what you write - fiction, screenplays, ad copy - you can find ways to apply each and every lesson from Fleming’s toolkit.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • "You must know thrilling things before you can write about them"

  • Juxtapose mundanity with exoticism

  • Aim high

2.) How do people get mega-rich nowadays?

How People Get Rich Now.” If you’ve read this newsletter or my blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a fan of Paul Graham, the founder of startup accelerator and seed capital firm Y Combinator.

He released this new essay examining how people get rich in the present day, how it differs from wealth-building strategies in the past, and why it works.

One side note, and maybe this is a gripe, but there are certain limitations in using the Forbes list as a reference. There are plenty of ultra-rich people whose wealth is impossible to quantify, or who choose not to disclose. But regardless, the core of Graham’s argument remain valid, and hopefully you and I both can make use of the lessons here!

3.) Two apps I’m comparing head-to-head

I find myself bookmarking countless articles that I never end up reading. To help me stay organized, I’m testing two apps that allow you to save articles and web content so you can read them later: Instapaper and Pocket.

I’ve already found pros with each — e.g. Pocket has a great text-to-speech function so you can essentially create mini-podcasts out of each article; Instapaper is very minimalist and you can see more info about the article in your feed vs Pocket. I’ll keep you posted on the results once this experiment is complete.

If you have any thoughts on these apps or recommendations for others, I am all ears!


I’d love to hear your feedback on this newsletter — What did you enjoy? What's the worst thing about it that needs to be fixed as soon as possible? Reply here, or you can reach me on Twitter or Instagram.

Have a great weekend!

Jon D'Alessandro

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