Harry G. Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit” — A Review

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Liars lie. Bullshitters prattle on heedless of whether or not they lie. That’s what I learned from the only philosophical treatise ever published on bullshit. In 1986, the philosopher Harry G Frankfurt wrote an essay titled “On Bullshit.” In 2005 he published it as a very small book. On Bullshit, Princeton University Press edition, became a New … Continued

The parable of Ray’s Helicopter Company

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by Josh Bernoff Once there was a man named Ray who was the CEO of a company that made helicopters. In his youth he had been an avid pilot. Soon after, he started the company with a few friends. Over time, Ray’s Helicopter, as the company was known, grew rapidly to command an impressive share of the … Continued

How to write a job description that’s not bullshit

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Hiring is hard enough. If your job description says “we’re full of bullshit,” you’ll attract bullshitters and repel genuine human beings. Here’s the gist of my advice: write shorter and speak directly to applicants. If you want to see how not to do that, check out a job description Johnson & Johnson has posted (hat-tip to the brilliant … Continued

20 years an analyst

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For 20 years, I did the same thing, mostly. I was a technology analyst at Forrester Research from 1995 until last month. If you do one thing for a long time, you should learn from it. My job at Forrester molded my ways of thinking more than anything else I’ve done (save becoming a parent). Perhaps … Continued

Is it a housing bubble or just another rhetorical question?

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Harry Truman supposedly longed for a one-handed economist. As he pointed out, “All my economists say, ‘on the one hand . . . on the other . . .’ ” When the title of an article is a rhetorical question, I long for a one-handed reporter. I know there’s a real issue here. When a reporter … Continued

Companies with a purpose

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Do your customers know who your company is? Do you? After my critique of Inovalon’s impenetrable “Who We Are” page, I began to wonder about purpose statements. My hypothesis is that companies with powerful, clear, differentiated statements about who they are have more effective employee teamwork and strong brands. Note that I don’t say that the statement causes … Continued

Send me your awful emails, job descriptions, and web pages

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I need your help. Withoutbullshit.com needs fuel. I know you’re drowning in crappy stuff. I want to help. My post rewriting Inovalon’s “Who We Are” page was very popular. But I need more. Feed me! And I can keep things confidential. Send me: The email you got from your managers or HR department. The pitch … Continued