The courage of nonpartisan analysis — an interview with Len Burman

We need nonpartisan institutions, dedicated to objective analysis. That’s what the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Policy Center does — they score and analyze tax proposals so we can figure out what they’ll mean for taxpayers. But it’s increasingly difficult for nonpartisan organizations to get heard. Unbiased analysis is a passion of mine. It’s also a passion of the respected … Continued

Optimism, group bias, fake news, and why the Patriots won the Super Bowl

The New England Patriots heroically overcame adversity to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in Super Bowl LI. That’s the story here in New England. Or, perhaps, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn’s bad decisions, tired Falcons players, penalties, the unlikeliest catch ever seen, and Patriots cheaters are what really happened. Which is it? My message today (sorry to harsh your mellow … Continued

The value of predictions (hint: it’s not accuracy)

Thinkers Stowe Boyd and John Battelle published predictions for 2017. They’re going to be wrong about most of them. Their predictions make you think hard, though, and that’s the value of what they’ve created. If you want to make predictions and be right, that’s easy. For example, I predict that Donald Trump will become president this year, and … Continued

Science fiction and analytical thinking

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

11 key skills of a true analyst

If you want clear and useful thinking, you need a true analyst, not just somebody who calls themselves an analyst. True analysts pursue thinking as a discipline. Let’s look at the qualities and skills that define that discipline. If you watch TV or read the media, it seems like you’re always hearing from analysts — … Continued