An editor’s notebook: How to help authors who get carried away

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One big job of an editor is to provide a perspective from outside the confines of the writer’s head. Writers burble out all sorts of prose that made sense to them when they wrote it. The editor points out what must change for that prose to make sense to everyone else. Today’s examples come from … Continued

An editor’s notebook: When it comes to metaphors, don’t be a slut

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Editors deal in meaning. Metaphors are great for meaning — until they get out of hand. What do you tell an author whose relationship with metaphors has become promiscuous? Today’s example, like yesterday’s, comes from a book I was editing. The author had great ideas and an engaging writing style, but occasionally got carried away. … Continued

An editor’s notebook: Analyzing and untangling sentences

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One of the editor’s primary jobs is to make sentences say what they mean. When the prose gets in the way of the ideas, fix the prose. A focus on the subjects and verbs in sentences can help make prose clearer and reduce the cognitive load on the reader. These examples come from a book … Continued

The danger of metrics: how the Bill James comments dehumanize baseball players

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Bill James, the inventor of the baseball analytical method sabermetrics, controversially tweeted that baseball players could easily be replaced with no effect on the game. This prompted a swift and outraged reaction from players. It also raises a larger point — should businesses focus primarily on metrics, or on people? James was in a Twitter … Continued

How to brainstorm the future

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Every strategy book I’ve ever written includes a final chapter about the future. Here’s how I do the brainstorms that turn into those chapters — and how you can run your own brainstorms about the future, whether you’re writing a book or just planning for scenarios. The objective of a brainstorm like this is to … Continued

7 bipartisan priorities for the new Congress

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We have a divided government. We’re going to disagree. But it’s time to get some stuff done. (Last political post for a little while, but hey, we just had an election that mattered.) Americans wake up this morning with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans extending their majority in the Senate. Donald Trump is still … Continued

Election Day predictions

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Here’s what’s going to happen today, Election Day in America, and in the weeks and years that follow. (You will notice there are no percentages here. I predict, I don’t quote probabilities.) Young people will vote in record numbers. But less than half of the young people eligible will vote. Someone will win control of … Continued

Should you vote or not?

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I see many, many posts, videos, and tweets telling people to vote. Meanwhile, 10,000 Twitter bots are apparently telling you not to vote. So which should you do? This election is a referendum on the policies of Donald Trump. But if you go to the voting booth, you will find you cannot vote for him … Continued