Why I’m the type of editor who won’t settle

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I hate fluff. I also hate wimpiness, cliched platitudes, endless bloviation, and bad grammar. This affects how I behave as an editor. It reduces the number of clients I have, and changes the way I approach content. Let’s say you come to me with a potential editing job. I look at what needs to be … Continued

On Russian election hacking, Trump switches from denial to complicity

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On Monday, in Helsinki, Trump said he couldn’t see why Russia would hack our elections. Yesterday, he said he was wrong. Even if you believe him, switching from denial to acceptance isn’t a step forward. Let’s look at the transcripts. At the joint press conference in Helsinki, Vladimir Putin denied interfering in the election: Putin: … Continued

A second Bitcoin blackmail scam, based on hacked passwords

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There’s a new Bitcoin blackmail scam circulating — this time based on passwords from website breaches. This extortion email is likely to be less effective than the paper letters because it’s full of obvious errors. My post last April about the Bitcoin blackmail letter in my mailbox has become popular. It generates over 300 views … Continued

Bullshit hiding in plain sight

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I talk about the bullshit in what we read all the time. I’m so deep into it that I’m inured to the whole concept. But I had an experience yesterday that helped me recognize just how pervasive the problem of bullshit is. Here’s the scene. I’m running a plain writing workshop for a group of … Continued

Come at me, bro — what’s fair game on this blog

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This is not a politics blog, but politics is part of my subject matter. So here’s what I hope is a very clear statement of my principles. I write about anything associated with writing quality, analytical thinking, truth, and influence. These are “meta-analyses.” I’m generally writing about how people think and communicate, not whether those … Continued

Why I love the first workday after a vacation

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I’ve been on vacation for two weeks. I’m writing this at 6 a.m. on my first day back. I’m eager to get started. The page proofs for a book I’m working on have come back. I’m eager to review them, so we can turn this manuscript into an actual book. This is where my knowledge … Continued

Living on a houseboat in Amsterdam

Curious about what it’s like to live on a houseboat? Here’s a video of our Airbnb on Westerdok. While there are some tight spots, it was a blast . . .  easily accessible to everything by bus and tram, and a truly unique accommodation.  

Why you should go Airbnb when you travel with your family

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I’ve travelled internationally with my family many times. We’re immeasurably richer because we stay in people’s houses. I’ll share what we did — and why I loved it. Here’s a list of places we’ve rented from Airbnb and similar outfits, in roughly chronological order. This list starts when my youngest kid was three and ends … Continued