46% of CNBC’s debate questions were weak or awful

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The Republican National Committee suspended its relationship with NBC News, alleging bias and disrespect in the recent debate on CNBC. My analysis shows that only 54% of the questions were about legitimate policy issues. So the RNC has a point. Debates featuring a scrum of ten people are a poor way to judge candidates; they mostly show the candidates’ … Continued

For me, writing is about maximizing happiness, not income

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I just want to write for the rest of my life. Is that so much to ask? Despite my training as a mathematician, my first job was as a writer. I’ve written everything but fiction: software manuals, online help files, newsletters, press releases, interactive tutorials, books, newsletters, reports, articles, proposals, ads, memos, emails, speeches, blog … Continued

Lessons from picking a “Writing Without Bullshit” publisher

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I spent the last month pitching publishers. I spent Monday biting my nails and weighing offers. Today I announce the results and share what I’ve learned. HarperBusiness will publish Writing Without Bullshit in September 2016. My editor will be the estimable Hollis Heimbouch, who in an ironic twist was the editor in charge of acquiring Groundswell for Harvard Business … Continued

Talking plainly about bullshit is 15% more effective

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It’s better to excite a whole bunch of people and piss off a few, rather than trying to be nice to everyone. I have proof. I want to thank my friends at WriterAccess for finding that proof. I had agreed to do a Webinar for their audience of freelance writers and the people who hire … Continued

Meat porn

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It’s a bad week for meat. The UN World Health Organization says red meat causes cancer. And a study found that 2% of hot dogs contain human DNA. Yuck! These sensational stories demand a stock photo. Hmm. Should we feature a photo of the UN, of colorectal cancer, or of meat? Guess what the editors … Continued

Replay, unanswered questions from Writing Without Bullshit webinar

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After 400 people attended my Webinar last week and we got dozens of questions. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recorded replay. Below are my best answers to some fascinating questions about the meaning ratio, tone, reviews, and what causes bullshit. (Questions edited for brevity and grammar.) What is a good meaning ratio target? (Mike DeWees) … Continued

How to see the future

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I’ve learned to anticipate what’s going to happen. You can, too, if you combine experience with seeing. I’ll be bombing down a busy city street on my bike, as I have for the last 40 years. I can read the car that’s angled 15 degrees to the left, the truck idling anxiously at the red light, … Continued

The whole truth about The New York Times – Amazon feud

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Two months after The New York Times‘ devastating takedown of Amazon’s culture, Amazon fired back. Where’s the whole truth here? There is none. Because by definition, stories always leave out more than they include. As briefly as possible, here’s what happened. On August 15, the Times wrote about Amazon’s “bruising workplace.” Jeff Bezos emailed his employees a non-denial … Continued