The greatest party and why it was so great

My friend, who used to be a startup CEO, gave a party at her apartment. The party was for her husband and his new book. I don’t know him well, but I do know books, which is one reason I was invited. I have to admit, I have no idea what people mean when they … Continued

Analytical thinking: Unexpected consequences of a single election

A Democrat narrowly won a special election for an open congressional seat in western Pennsylvania. It’s only one election. But as an exercise in analytical thinking, let’s figure out what it could mean. First, the facts. Tim Murphy, the Republican in the 18th congressional district, resigned after his mistress said he’d told her to get … Continued

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

Analysts, the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and the Gartner Hype Cycle

A little knowledge is dangerously misleading. That’s the message of the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which ignorant people think they’re smart. It’s the message of the Gartner Hype Cycle, in which people get overenthusiastic about new technologies. And it’s the reason that analysts, over and over again, get overenthusiastic about whatever’s new. In 1999, the psychologists … 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

Comparing real influence and fake followers

The New York Times published an expose of how “influencers” pay to boost their follower counts on Twitter, using services like Devumi. Real influence comes from ideas that spread and generate change in how people think. You can’t measure that from follower counts. The Times article “The Follower Factory” is worth a read. According to … Continued