Hall of shame: Fixing Cooperstown’s disastrous typography

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The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York just added plaques for some new members. And they’re terrible. Here’s the new plaque for David Ortiz, a player I revere. Why this typography is all wrong I’m no designer, but like all real writers, I care enough about type to know what works and what … Continued

What we can learn from 8 New York Times columnists saying they were wrong

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As a person who once made his living making predictions, I’m fascinated by how public figures speak about what they were wrong about. The New York Times created a natural exercise in studying that when it published eight “I was wrong” columns by its regular columnists on Sunday. And we learned that like all humans, … Continued

Six great book titles: yours for the taking

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When I help authors, I often start with a brainstorm to identify a great title and subtitle. But perversely, my brain recently coughed up some titles unconnected to actual book projects. Since there are no books yet, I offer them to you. Steal my title and write the book. All I ask is that you … Continued

The pigeon

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I once had the chance to give a speech in Rome. It was almost a disaster — even if nobody in the room noticed. The client was a large industrial company in Europe. The venue was one of Rome’s fanciest hotels. The audience were a couple dozen senior executives at customers of the industrial client. … Continued

Old fears and failures

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I’d like you to do me a favor today. It may not be easy. But bear with me. I want you to think about something you’ve been afraid of for a long time. Maybe you were embarrassed while speaking in front of your class at school, and you’ve always been afraid of public speaking. Maybe … Continued

Three paths for brands: grow, invest, or coast

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Has a brand disappointed you lately? Was it a brand you used to like, a brand you had high expectations of? It may be that that brand is coasting: succeeding based on its former reputation. Coasting is very profitable . . . until it isn’t. Brands may have become prominent due to advertising and marketing, … Continued

The one Secret Service text turned over to the January 6 committee

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Reports say that the Secret Service deleted text messages relating to the events of January 6, the date of the insurrection on Capitol Hill. According to news reports, in response to a subpoena from the January 6 Committee in the House, the Secret Service was only able to retrieve and turn over a single text … Continued

Are you verbing nouns? When to curb that verb.

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I nearly retched yesterday when a client told me to edit a passage he wrote, even though he and colleague were still “languaging” it. Languaging? Gag me. It’s a trusim that “Any noun can be verbed.” That doesn’t make it a good idea. Where to draw the line on verbing nouns In my first job, … Continued