[found on copyblogger.com; by RYAN HOLIDAY]
“I’m going to talk about research. No, research is not very fun, and it’s never glamorous, but it matters. A lot.
If you want to be able to make compelling case for something — whether it’s in a book, on a blog, or in a multi-million dollar VC pitch — you need stories that frame your arguments, rich anecdotes to compliment tangible examples, and impressive data so you can empirically crush counter arguments.
But good research doesn’t just magically appear. Stories, anecdotes and data have to be found before you can use them.
You have to hunt them down like a shark, chasing the scent of blood across the vast ocean of information. The bad news is that this is an unenviable task … but the good news is that it’s not impossible.
It’s not even that hard … once you learn what you’re doing — and I’m going to teach you those skills.
By the time I was 21, my research had been used by #1 New York Times Bestselling authors like Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, and Tucker Max. Was I a slave to study? Did I have to become a library hermit to accomplish this? No, I did it all in my spare time–on the side, with just a few hours of work a week.
Here’s how I did it …
Step 1: Prepare long before gameday [sic]
…This is the mark you must aim for as a researcher, to not only have enough material — and to know where the rest of what you haven’t read will be located — on hand to do your work….
Step 2: Learn to search (Google) like a pro
…How do you find a needle in haystack? Get rid of the extra hay….
Step 3: Go down the rabbit hole (embrace serendipity)
…One of my rules as a reader is to read one book mentioned in or cited in every book that I read. It not only solves the problem of ‘what to read next’ but it sends you on a journey down the rabbit hole….
Step 4: When in doubt, turn to the classics
…The Classics are “classic” for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time….
Step 5: Keep a commonplace book
…a book of quotes, sentences, metaphors and miscellany that he could use at a moment’s notice….”