13 tips for thriving as an author within a company

When you write a book about ideas, it reflects well on both you and your company. Or at least it ought to. As with all corporate politics, the devil is in the details. I learned much of what you’re about to read while coauthoring three books and editing two others at Forrester Research. Since leaving, … Continued

Writers: say these words before every interview you conduct

You’ve lined up some time with a smart person. You’re about to interview them on the phone or in person, and you’re eager to get started. So after the small talk is done, you ask the first question. You’ve made a mistake. There’s something you’d better say first. And based on the tears and rending … Continued

How to deal with infuriating editors

Here’s the five-step plan for what to do when you get a piece of writing back with infuriating comments: Read comments and suggestions from editor. Get annoyed that editor is finding fault and making stupid suggestions on how to change perfectly good prose. Figure out what problem set the editor off. Rewrite to fix the … Continued

Coming to a better conclusion: how to end an essay, blog post, or paper

“What should I write at the conclusion of my paper?” a student recently asked me. Endings are hard. The best ones don’t let up; they build on what you’ve already written. Beginnings are more important than endings; you need to capture the reader’s attention with your title and first few words. But as hard as … Continued

Shakespeare didn’t plagiarize. He drew inspiration . . . just as you should.

A New York Times article with an inflammatory title suggests that, according to new scholarly research,  Shakespeare’s plays drew heavily on a manuscript by another author. For Shakespeare scholars, this is a revelation. For the rest of us, it’s a good demonstration of the difference between plagiarism and inspiration. The title of the Times article is “Plagiarism … Continued

How to balance the 5 key elements of a business book

Business books are made out of case studies, idea frameworks, proof points, argumentation, and advice. The key is to balance the amount of each element that you include. Here’s a short description of what each piece is, why it’s important to use the right amount, and how to adjust it. If you write business books, … Continued

5 reasons why text is better than video

Video content is taking over the world, or so we’re told. Text is old-school — video stands out and people share it. So who needs to learn to write? You do. If you think the future of communications is video, you’re way off. Here are five reasons why, for nearly every communication you’re planning, text … Continued