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Apr 17, 2018

How New York Times Bestselling Author Maria Konnikova Writes

The multiple New York Times bestselling non-fiction author and New Yorker columnist, Maria Konnikova, dropped by the show back in early 2016 to chat with me about what it’s like to be a contributing journalist for a storied institution, productivity hacks, and her own creative process.

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This is a fan favorite from the archives that I’m updating because it’s an insightful interview and Maria has also been in the news recently for winning her first premier professional poker title.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and as the story goes — reported by Poker News — over “… a year ago … Konnikova decided to learn the game of poker and asked the infamous, Erik Seidel [winner of eight World Series of Poker and a World Poker Tour title] to help mentor/coach her. Her goal … was to play poker for a year, to learn the game, and then write a book about it.”

The book was pitched as a chronicle of her “… yearlong journey from poker neophyte to the World Series … an exploration of the balance of luck and skill in our daily lives and how we can become the best decision makers we possibly can.”

Lo and behold, an intensive one-year poker crash-course helped her win her first prestige pro tournament and a cool $85K in early 2018.

It’s a crazy story, and a fantastic reason to revisit our talk here, and to find her book, The Biggest Bluff, when it’s published in Summer 2019.

Her last bestseller — The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time — examined the psychology of the con, and as Forbes described the book, “One of the best science writers of our time examines the minds, motives, and methods of con artists — and the people who fall for their cons.”

Ms. Konnikova has a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and has contributed countless articles and essays for The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, The Paris Review, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and Scientific American, to name only a few.

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In this file Maria Konnikova and I discuss:

  • How to avoid writer’s block
  • Why a standing desk isn’t for everyone
  • How to simplify your research & writing process
  • Why writing is hard … just like any other job
  • The author’s definition of creativity

Listen to The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience below ...

The Show Notes