• David de Souza

The Copy Book

Updated: Jun 15


If you asked the titans of copywriting to distill their advice, this would be the book that they would produce. Not everyone's advice was exceptional. I've distilled the best into the 9 core principles below.


Want to dig deeper than the core principles? Check out:

Core Principles


I have taken the lessons from 'The Copy Book' and distilled them into 9 core principles below:


  1. Use your life to bring your copy to alive. If something has moved you, chances are that it will move someone else.

  2. Take a train or a plane. Movement will help you write better.

  3. Write every headline 100 possible ways, don't stop too soon.

  4. Write headlines that make you think: "Bloody Hell, that's interesting, tell me more.

  5. The first paragraph must segway from the headline into the sales pitch.

  6. The basic motivations of people never change. Use them for great advertising. Human history boils down to the influence of (SIGH LL) Love, hate, sex, greed, hunger, insecurity.

  7. "Our job is not to make people think what a great ad, it's to make them think what a great product".

  8. The reader's imagination is important - Spell it out and you ruin the spell.

  9. Make sure that "you" appears 3 times more than "I" or "we".

  10. Raw statistics are better than opinions e.g 68 MPG is better than "outstandingly economical"

Remember These Core Principles:


I've condensed the core principles into an image, making memorization easier. Use this image, its caption, and Quizlet as a memory aid to help you remember the 80/20 from this book:

Bloody hell! LL (sigh) moved 100 trains using his raw strength, a segway and a great spell. 3 Ewes

Q: What does 'Bloody hell' refer to?

A: Write headlines that make you think: "Bloody Hell, that's interesting, tell me more.


Q: What does 'LL (Sigh)' refer to?

A: LL refers to LL (CoolJ) and it's an acronym. The basic motivations of people never change. Use them for great advertising. Human history boils down to the influence of (SIGH LL) Love, hate, sex, greed, hunger, insecurity.


Q: What does 'moved' refer to?

A: Use your life to bring your copy to alive. If something has moved you, chances are that it will move someone else.


Q: What does '100' refer to?

A: Write every headline 100 possible ways, don't stop too soon.


Q: What does 'train' refer to?

A: Movement will help you write better. Take a train or a plane.


Q: What does 'raw' refer to?

A: Raw statistics are better than opinions e.g 68 MPG is better than "outstandingly economical"


Q: What does 'segway' refer to?

A: The first paragraph must segway from the headline into the sales pitch.


Q: What does 'spell' refer to?

A: The reader's imagination is important - Spell it out and you ruin the spell.


Q: What do 'the 3 sheep/ewes (yous!)' refer to?

A: Make sure that "you" appears 3 times more than "I" or "we".




Let me know how these summaries can be improved? Contact me via Email (david@thisdomain.co) or on Twitter


The 80/20 of Worldly Wisdom: