What’s the headline on your obituary?

obituary

Just after Fidel Castro died, The New York Times revealed that 16 different journalists had been working on his obituary . . . since 1959. (They keep these things on file, just in case a famous person dies.) It made me wonder about my own obituary and how it would have changed over the years. If … Continued

Change how you write. It’s not that hard. And it’s worth it.

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The main competition for my book Writing Without Bullshit is not another book. It’s inertia. It’s easier to do nothing. But the changes I’ve suggested aren’t that hard to do, and they make a big difference. The changes are simple and well-defined Here’s what the book says you should change, in a nutshell: Write shorter, and … Continued

Difficult questions about “A message from MIT’s faculty”

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Some MIT faculty, led by Roger Levy and Nancy Kanwisher, posted a short message regarding what they believe in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. More than 400 faculty have now signed it. As an MIT alumnus, I read this statement and wondered about the platitudes it contains: why make this statement, and why ask faculty to … Continued

How to deal with schmucks (like the guy Delta Air Lines just banned)

schmucks-delta

There’s a lot more public nastiness since the election. For example, there’s the passenger who, as a Delta Air Lines flight was boarding, starting shouting offensive stuff like “Donald Trump, baby! We got some Hillary bitches on here?” Delta has banned him for life. Is this the right way to deal with real-life trolls? Here’s part of … Continued

Holiday special: signed copies of Writing Without Bullshit for your staff

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It’s the perfect holiday present for your hard-working staff and clients: a signed copy of Writing Without Bullshit with a personalized message from you. For less than $15 per person, you can show your workers, your clients, or anyone you value that you’re a no-bullshit kind of person — and make them smarter, too. Here’s how it works: Email … Continued

Nordstrom: “We sell what sells, including Ivanka Trump”

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Should Nordstrom continue to carry Ivanka Trump merchandise? It sells. So Nordstrom will keep selling it. In its rambling email to employees, it wraps that fact in tissue paper and packing peanuts. Why not have the courage to tell the truth? A friend of mine recently emailed Nordstrom to protest its decision to continue to … Continued

Oval office power play 2017

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It was a beautiful spring day in Washington when the two most powerful people in the free world held their first meeting. She sat primly on the striped couch, waiting. Her silver hair glistened in the sunlight; an active intelligence danced in her eyes. She’d been here before, in the presence of a succession of … Continued

Thanksgiving reflections on the meaning of success

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It’s been a hell of a year. The election didn’t turn out the way I expected or hoped. A lot of people that I admired have died. Facebook is full of angst and fake news stories. It is easy to despair. On a personal basis, I am now a year and half into the experiment of … Continued