In praise of ignorance and being wrong

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What comes before learning? In 1995, I was out of work and interviewing for a job as an analyst at a research company. As they described the job to me, I became very excited. My job was going to be to identify important questions for business clients where the answer was not yet known. Like … Continued

Famous or useful?

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If you’re famous you don’t have to be useful. A while ago, I had an assignment to present to a small group: the CMOs of a massive media company. Since this company had a dozen major media brands, there were about twelve people in the room. They had tapped me after having me speak to … Continued

Editing brilliant thinkers

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I’ve been working with brilliant thinkers this month. Their brilliance doesn’t make them great writers — in fact, it sometimes gets in the way. The brilliant thinker often falls into what you might call the professor mode. After studying a subject in great deal — and often after accumulating massive amounts of experience — they … Continued

How to write a book chapter

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I write business books. Every chapter is a 5,000-word package full of stories, detail, statistics, insights, and recommendations. You don’t just sit down and write one of those at random.┬áHere’s what it takes to create one. In the last 10 years I’ve written, cowritten, or ghostwritten six books. Five of them were case-study powered business … Continued

Can women write successful business books?

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On its face, this is an absurd question. But my friends are hearing this question and wondering about bias in the publishing industry. Today I’d like to explode those myths. The impetus for this post was the testimony of a female author I know who is trying to sell her next book. She has asked … Continued

How to brainstorm the future

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Every strategy book I’ve ever written includes a final chapter about the future. Here’s how I do the brainstorms that turn into those chapters — and how you can run your own brainstorms about the future, whether you’re writing a book or just planning for scenarios. The objective of a brainstorm like this is to … Continued

The link between entrepreneurship and pre-existing conditions

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The arguments about health care policy aren’t just arguments about health care economics. They’re actually about American support for innovation. Let’s lay it out. First, entrepreneurship. According to a study by Pierre Azoulay and three other authors in the Harvard Business Review, the average age of a successful startup founder is 45. Here’s some of … Continued