Email like a physicist

Physicists cut straight to the point.

They get to the meat of the problem. It’s hard to get more first principles thinking than physics.

They name things simply.

‘Great Red Spot.’

‘Black hole.’

Communication outlets are growing. You can be in Germany and I can you send you a picture and you can reply with a voice message, instantly.

In terms of human history, email is still new. But in terms of the internet, it’s an antique. Not one of cheap ones you find in a second hand store. More like a grandfather clock sitting in the living room doing it’s job — as long as you take care of it.

When writing an email, think like a physicist. Start with first principles.

People get lots of emails. Why should they read yours? And if they do, what should they get out of it?

If you’re asking a question, be specific.

‘I’m looking for your help with the current venture, what do you think about the process?’


‘We’ve been working on this project for past 3 weeks, we’ve got one week left, what are your thoughts on stage 4?’

Both are great questions but one is more specific than the other.

Ask yourself, ‘what exactly is the question I’m looking to have answered here?’ Then ask it.

Most of all, get to the meat.

With every word, ask, ‘why does this need to be there?’ And if the reason isn’t good enough, remove it.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules, like quantum physics is to the standard laws of physics.

But for the most part, being specific and simple will cover all your bases.

PS you can use this for conversations too.