About the Book
Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One by Category Pirates (Nicolas Cole, Christopher Lochhead, and Eddie Yoon) shares why all legendary writers who stand the test of time create a category of one. In decades past, David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, Leo Burnett, Gary Bencivenga, Al Ries & Jack Trout, and many more master communicators have all written about the psychology behind how messages spread. Snow Leopard builds on their work with dozens of new insights and frameworks, and brings category creation and design into the digital age.
- (00:00:00) - Introduction
- (00:07:37) - Service Businesses, Linear vs Infinite Scaling, and Picking a Bag of Problems
- (00:10:02) - Ship 30 for 30 and Finding Your Niche
- (00:17:01) - The Origin Story of Category Pirates and Snow Leopard
- (00:20:13) - Category Creation, Competition, and Being Different vs Better
- (00:28:48) - Content-Free Content and Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious
- (00:35:34) - The Content Pyramid: Levels One, Two, and Three
- (00:49:44) - The Content Pyramid: Level Four (Making Non-Obvious Connections)
- (00:55:32) - Debunking Common Myths About Writing and Category Creation
- (01:04:10) - The Difference Between More Views and More Dollars
- (01:11:37) - What is Category Creation?
- (01:14:27) - How to Create a Category: Weird Problem + Weird Solution
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.
“Writers without niches are starving artists. Because again, they’re just competing in these massive competitions. Writers with niches are category kings.” — 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
If you enjoyed this episode with Nicolas Cole, don’t miss our other interviews with writing and category creation experts:
- #14 The Art and Business of Online Writing: How to Beat the Game of Capturing and Keeping Attention | Nicolas Cole, Author
- #18 Several Short Sentences About Writing: A Masterclass on Becoming a Better Writer | Verlyn Klinkenborg, Author & Yale Professor
- #88 Eight Sleep: On Sleep Fitness, Sleep Technology, and Category Creation | Alexandra Zatarain, Co-Founder & VP of Brand and Marketing
Go Deeper on Writing & Category Creation
- Video - Competition is for Losers with Peter Thiel
- Article - The Difference Between a First Mover and a Category Creator by Eddie Yoon, Christopher Lochhead, and Nicolas Cole
- Article - Category Creation Is the Ultimate Growth Strategy by Eddie Yoon
- Book - Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
- Book - Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
For more, explore the transcript of this episode.