Use the good silver

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We recently decided to use the good silver every day. It feels great. Years ago, my wife received monogrammed silver flatware from her mother, who is now sadly gone. (Her mother had had her own silver, which was stolen; she used the insurance money to replace it with silver monogrammed with her daughters’ initials.) For … Continued

Self-employed and moving to a new state? Good luck with your medical insurance.

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The state lines in the US might as well be national borders if you’re trying to change your health insurance. I recently moved from Massachusetts to Maine, a total distance of 100 miles. I am self-employed and was paying the usual insane amount for my own health insurance in Massachusetts, including coverage for my spouse … Continued

How the empathetic expert generates trust

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I was thinking about why I trust one particular doctor more than others. It comes down to two things: expertise and empathy. Neither, by itself, is sufficient. The doctor is Caroline Levine. She is a specialist who I visit at least twice a year, and who is protecting my health from serious jeopardy. She has … Continued

Why your publisher won’t edit your manuscript — and what to do about it

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I’ve now written or edited more than 25 books published by traditional or hybrid publishers. I know what your publisher is looking for, and what they will and won’t do for you. So it’s time for some straight talk about that. Publishers in 2021 won’t generally edit your book. They are looking for a publishable … Continued

What AI writing will always lack: wit

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Real writers have wit. AI doesn’t. And that is unlikely to change. Christopher S Penn did a fascinating comparison of how an advanced AI tool, GPT-J-6B, completes writing content based on patterns it has digested from massive amounts of source material. His conclusion: I am bullish on AI creating content at scale. I am bearish … Continued

Never say “shared” and other tips for quoting people

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If you write articles, blog posts, or books, you’re going to quote people. I recommend the tried and true “said.” Avoid other dialogue verbs, especially “shared.” “Shared” makes you sound like a total novice Does this impress you? When I interviewed her on Zoom, she was very excited about the new idea. “We expect this … Continued

Passive voice headlines must be avoided

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Yes, I did that title on purpose. Passive voice is so easy to slip into. I wrote an op-ed for the Boston Globe regarding why it now makes sense for the federal government of the US — regulators and lawmakers — to bring the full weight of enforcement on Facebook. The original title was “The … Continued

Why Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t realize Facebook is evil

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified in Congress yesterday. And Mark Zuckerberg was mystified. He was surely thinking, “Can’t they see that we’re out to help humanity?” Today I deconstruct his sincere statement to employees after all the negative news about Facebook in the past month. If you read this critically and with the right perspective, … Continued