The loopholes in Trump lawyers’ tax letter about financial ties in Russia

Lawyers may be verbose, but they’re precise; what they write is supposed to be unambiguous. When reading a document from a lawyer, the ambiguity typically comes, not from what’s written, but from what’s left out. For example, let’s take a look at the letter that President Trump’s lawyers wrote suggesting that he’s got no financial ties … Continued

A “fulsome” critique of skunked terms and connotations

The word “fulsome” is having a moment. Former acting attorney general Sally Yates, Senator Bob Corker, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all used it recently. But words have both meanings and connotations, and in this case, the connotations are undermining the speakers’ intent. What does “fulsome” mean? Here’s a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary: fulsome … Continued

The Economist interview: Orwellian rambling from Donald Trump

The distinguished editors at The Economist interviewed President Trump. When I set out to analyze his statements, I felt as if I had wandered into a hall of mirrors. Donald Trump is a persuasive person who, one-on-one, has been able to make deals all over the world. He’s the master of communicating in tweets and campaign rallies. But … Continued

How our memories of Nixon are leading us astray

I was 15 years old in August of 1974, traveling in Germany with my family, when President Nixon resigned. It made a powerful impression on me. I think, because of our shared history of that time, we all feel we understand what might be coming for Trump. But we don’t. My father had gotten a summer … Continued

Trump fires at FBI director James Comey, shoots himself

Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey yesterday, ostensibly for incompetence. With the FBI investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the justification is suspect. A ROAM analysis reveals how Trump’s letter firing Comey does the opposite of what Trump intended. Imagine you’re Trump. (Hard to do, I know.) You’re about to fire the director of the agency … Continued

10 things your business book needs and how to get them

Business book authors dream big. But the size of your dream is less important than the intellectual ingredients you bring to the project. I know the power you get from being prepared — and the sinking feeling when you realize you’re missing something crucial. If this is your dream, your first step is to assemble … Continued

Analysts talk, consultants listen

I spent 20 years as an analyst at Forrester Research. Now I sell my insights to companies and prospective authors as a consultant. While analysts and consultants have a lot in common, their approaches are different. The analyst focuses on talking over listening This is based on my experience as an analyst, working with and competing … Continued

The Fyre Festival investor deck: un-words for an un-festival

The Fyre Festival was an epic disaster. Organizers hyped the festival, set on an obscure island in the Bahamas, as “the next Coachella”; attendees got stranded with little food and shelter, no entertainment, and no easy way to escape. Who could have known? Anyone who read the pitch deck. It’s filled with un-words that have no … Continued