#139 Nicolas Cole, Co-Founder of Category Pirates and Ship 30 for 30 | Favorite Books and Writing Tools, Enduring Boring Things, and Why Great Writing Changes the Reader

Listen as we decode favorite books, writing tools, and the advice he’d give his younger self with Nicolas Cole, Co-Founder of Ship 30 for 30 and Category Pirates. We also cover why all great writing changes the reader and how to endure the boring things that are required for success in anything.
Last updated
October 11, 2022
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About the Guest

Nicolas Cole is one of the most-read writers on the Internet. Over the past decade, he’s written over 5,000 articles online and ghostwritten for over 300 Founders, C-level executives, NYT best-selling authors, and Grammy-winning musicians. He’s also the Co-Founder of Ship 30 for 30, which is one of the largest cohort-based writing courses online, as well as Typeshare and Category Pirates.

Nicolas is also the author of numerous books, including The Art and Business of Online Writing: How to Beat the Game of Capturing and Keeping Attention, and his latest, Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category of One.

Nicolascole.com | Twitter | Ship 30 for 30 | Typeshare


Episode Guide

Nicolas Cole shares the lessons he’s learned as one of the internet’s most-read writers, including why he’s fascinated with reverse engineering written work—from James Patterson novels to Twitter threads—into templates writers can use, why all great writing changes the reader, why his superpower is his ability to endure boring things for longer than others, and so much more.

“It takes you a really long time to realize that great writing has very little to do with you. It will change you in the process. It can be about you, yourself, your heart, and your story. Everything can be in it, but has to ultimately be about the reader.” — Nicolas Cole

Nicolas Cole’s Favorite Books

Nicolas shared his all-time favorite books including:

The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert

  • The Boron Letters is a series of letters by history’s greatest copywriter Gary C. Halbert, explaining insider tactics and sage wisdom to his youngest son Bond. Once only available as part of a paid monthly premium, The Boron Letters are unique in the marketing universe and now they are a bona fide cult classic among direct response marketers and copywriters around the world. The letters inside are written from a father to a son, in a loving way that goes far beyond a mere sales book or fancy "boardroom" advertising advice... It's more than a Master's Degree in selling & persuasion…it's hands-down the best SPECIFIC and ACTIONABLE training on how to convince people to buy your products or services that I have ever read. Nicolas Cole loves this book because it’s a study of “one of the most legendary sales copywriters ever.”
  • Buy it now: Print | eBook

The Gary Halbert Letter by Gary C. Halbert

  • While the easiest to purchase book by legendary sales copywriter Gary C. Halbert is The Boron Letters, you can also purchase the full archive of Gary’s paid direct response newsletter—which he used to literally mail to subscribers. Nicolas keeps a copy of both Volume I and II of The Gary Halbert Letter in his house and goes through it regularly for sales copywriting inspiration.
  • Buy it now: Special Binder Edition 

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

  • Portnoy's Complaint is a 1969 American novel by Philip Roth. The novel tells the humorous monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor," who confesses to his psychoanalyst in "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language." Many of its characteristics such as comedic prose, themes of sexual desire and sexual frustration, and a self-conscious literariness went on to become Roth trademarks. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Portnoy's Complaint 52nd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time included this novel in its TIME 100 Best English Language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Nicolas considers Portnoy’s Complaint one of the most transformative books he’s ever read.
  • Buy it now: Print | eBook | Audiobook

Related Episodes

If you enjoyed this episode with Nicolas Cole, don’t miss our other interviews with writing and category creation experts:

Go Deeper on Writing & Category Creation

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