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

The greatest party and why it was so great

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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

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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

Economist Peter Navarro promises Trump he will eliminate bad news and unpleasant facts

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After Gary Cohn’s departure as Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor, UC Irvine economist Peter Navarro, who has declared Donald Trump’s intuition infallible, is a leading candidate to replace him. There is a challenge for analysts and managers in every organization. On the one hand, they should be dedicated to hard evidence and truth, so that … Continued

13 tips for thriving as an author within a company

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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

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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

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“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