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I love great titles. Why? They stick with me! Some thoughts on titles:

1. Study titles you like

For example some of my favorites:

  • Twilight of the idols
  • The will to power
  • The Antichrist
  • The Iliad
  • Letters from a Stoic
  • Meditations

I find that with titles, it is purely aesthetic. It has to have a good ring in your ear, easy to say, remember and pronounce. Even for my name (ERIC KIM) I am blessed I have such a simple and memorable name.

2. Make it quotable

For example, Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Communities”. You don’t even gotta read the book to quote it.

3. Simpler is often better

Consider if your title is too long, it is hard to remember. Even in photography:

  1. EXILES
  2. Gypsies
  3. THE AMERICANS

4. Juxtaposed titles

Steal good lines and quotes. For example:

The Suffering of Light (Goethe quote used by Alex Webb for his book)

Or

The Decisive Moment (quote from Cardinal Retz used by Henri Cartier Bresson)

Stealing good titles from literature, poetry is a good strategy.

5. 10 ways you wouldn’t believe this title is insanely epic click-bait

I don’t believe in click bait. It is just someone with a very good skill iii making a title that you cannot resist NOT clicking. When I make titles, this is what I think:

If I wrote this as a title, would I click it myself?

Typically ways click bait titles work:

  • Something surprising and unexpected
  • Numbers
  • Benefits or potential harms
  • Loss or risk aversion
  • Promise of gain or augmentation of knowledge, wisdom, riches, etc

Here it is good to study human psychology. Then comes the more philosophical question:

SHOULD you placate to the desires of people, or should you give them what you *THINK* they *SHOULD* need?

In the lines of Kanye:

Give them what they need; it may not be what they want.

ERIC KIM

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