What? Me, biased?

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My post Friday on Donald Trump’s new site and sort-of social network struck some nerves. One commenter said “As a social commentator, you cover for tyranny.” That seemed a little nasty. Two things are true. First, I am anti-Trump. I did a whole series of posts about it before the election. I’m not trying to … 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

Science fiction and analytical thinking

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I was a science fiction fan growing up in the 60s and 70s. I was a technology analyst, predicting the future, in the 90s and 00s. Here’s what science fiction and strategic analysis have in common — and what they don’t. How science fiction challenges the mind (and “sci-fi” doesn’t) Science fiction is not the same … Continued

Vote for which book I should do next.

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Here are five ideas for my next book. Tell me which one you like best. Thinking Without Bullshit: Embracing the Discipline of Analytical Thinking Based on my 20 years as an analyst and my training in mathematics, I will describe the steps you need to take to think like an analyst. Will feature interviews and examples from … Continued

Hal Varian’s timeless insights on thinking

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In December of 1994, economist Hal Varian, who is currently Google’s chief economist, wrote a paper called “How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time.” Ignore the subject matter. It should have been called “How to think clearly.” His advice hasn’t lost relevance in the 21-plus years since he wrote it. (Thanks to Cory Doctorow at … Continued

How to tell analysis from numerology

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People see patterns, but sometimes they are coincidences. To analyze numbers in a meaningful way, you must be disciplined both in how you collect them and how you connect them. Otherwise, you’re just doing numerology. Take Charles Arthur’s article in The Guardian called “90:9:1 – the odd ratio that technology keeps creating.” The intelligent reader asks … Continued

Polemics vs. Analysis

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Too much of what I read, masquerading as analysis, is just polemics. That’s a shame, because polemics generates more heat than light. Basically, there are two ways of arguing. When you argue polemically, you start with a position. For example, you may start with the idea that social media marketing is effective, or that gun … Continued