Business books are stories. Here’s how to write one.

Most business books are boring because there are no people — just endless rambling on about strategy. You need people and stories to make them come alive. I wrote my first business book proposal in 2005. It was for a book called “The End of TV as We Know It,” and it reflected my decade … Continued

Preparation is the key to a great research interview (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Preparation is the key to a successful research interview. Deliberate planning makes sure your time isn’t wasted — which is the concern expressed in today’s reader question. Dear Dr. Wobs: Good analysis requires research: analyzing data and interviewing people. I know how to make my research data sing. But how do I prepare for and conduct … Continued

Fat outlines help you write without anxiety (Ask Dr. Wobs)

When you’ve completed most of the research for a writing project, but before writing, you should create a “zeroth draft” — a fat outline. Fat outlines are both easy and helpful, functioning as an onramp to your writing process. But as today’s Ask Dr. Wobs question shows, fat outlines are unfamiliar to people. Dear Dr. Wobs: What … Continued

You should avoid lists of words to avoid

People keep sending me word lists. “Use these words,” they say. “Don’t use these other words.” If you want to be a better writer, these lists are useless, because they don’t change how you think. Words to ban from tech? This list is way too short Robert Dean lists “20 bullsh*t buzzwords that should be banned … Continued

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows how we’ve driven into a ditch

We are living in a portentous moment, characterized by distrust in our leaders and institutions. But what’s the context — is it measurably worse now, and what does it mean? The global communications firm Edelman has released its 2017 edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey on exactly these topics. Edelman clearly and evocatively … Continued

How change happens. (Hint: it’s not through New Year’s resolutions.)

Things are going to be different this year, you have resolved. But that’s not how change happens. It’s a process. Here’s how New Year’s resolutions (don’t) work. You figure out something you want to change. You make a resolution. “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to stop using the passive voice.” You try really … Continued

Ask these questions to subvert your bullshit culture

Bullshit in your company is no accident. You can work on fixing it. Or you can just get people thinking by asking a few questions. When you have to collaborate on bullshit documents, your soul is in peril. If bullshit pervades your company and your managers don’t care — and assuming yoiu can’t switch jobs — you’ll need … Continued