10 ways you can help when your client is smarter than you are

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If you are a consultant, you’re supposed to be providing a service your client can’t get on her own. The usual dynamic is “I know about my area of expertise; I can help you with that.” But what happens when your client is more of an expert than you are? Your ability to contribute to an … Continued

Revisiting my Donald Trump predictions

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On the day after Donald Trump was elected president, I made a set of predictions. Today I’ll revisit those predictions and grade what I got right and wrong. The true analyst is always looking forward. Most of my friends were in despair on November 9, 2016. But I knew that Trump was a nontraditional candidate, … Continued

How to write Chapter 1 of the book that will make your reputation

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You want to write a book that will make everyone take notice of the insights you’ve gained — insights that no one has thought of before. But how to start? I’m going to assume you have a powerful idea and you’ve researched it. (If you haven’t, nail those down before writing.) If you have a … Continued

Christopher Penn vividly makes clear the varied architecture of political influence

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I’m grateful to Christopher Penn, cofounder of BrainTrust Insights, for his analysis of link and influence on both sides of the political spectrum. Yesterday, he posted some incredible graphical visualizations. Here’s how describes what he did: Using Facebook’s API and its Crowdtangle journalism tool, we extracted 6 months of data from approximately 250 conservative and … Continued

You need perspective . . . but you’re not looking in the right place

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Perspective: you cannot have a useful insight without it. We all crave perspective. We go on vacation to the mountains or the beach, just to admire the view. After looking at close-up smartphones, laptops right in front of us, and colleagues in the same room, the simple act of focusing at infinity relaxes us. There’s a long … Continued

Why I’m an analyst (and you could be, too)

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I like to do two things at work: figure new things out and explain what I figured out. That’s what makes me an analyst. The way I look at it, ignoring overhead (like filing expense reports and political scheming), people do three useful things at work: Figure new things out. Use knowledge to get things … Continued

The three kinds of facts and how to verify them

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When people find out I write books, they often ask, “Do you write fiction?” My answer: “Not on purpose.” I deal in facts. But not all facts come from the same place. Here are the three kinds of facts (plus one kind of non-fact) and how to make sure they’re true. Sourced facts What they … Continued

A question for thought leaders: “Yes, but how do you know?”

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The number of self-described experts has multiplied along with the slots for them to express their views on blogs, podcasts, Forbes, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and Medium. It’s great that we now get to hear from a wide variety of thinkers. But the first question you should ask of any of them is, “How do you … Continued