The self-serving Michael Flynn resignation letter is mostly fluff

Michael Flynn resigned yesterday as Donald Trump’s national security advisor. Media reports stated that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Resignation letters should take responsibility, apologize, and say nothing further — but Flynn’s is strangely full of fluffy praise for Trump. Flynn’s letter is … Continued

Join me live at 2 Eastern this Thursday 16 Feb – Learn who is the biggest bullshitter

I spent 2016 cataloguing and critiquing the most egregious bullshit statements of public figures. Somebody had to do it. Hundreds of you spent the last three weeks voting. Thanks. On Thursday I will announce the winners in a live broadcast from Cambridge, Massachusetts. There are 11 categories, including bullshitter of the year (both corporate and political). … Continued

Should Shopify dump Breitbart? Where should vendors draw the line?

Shopify, a commerce platform, supports thousands of online stores, including Breitbart’s. Tens of thousands of people have called on the company to dump the alt-right site, but Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke says anyone who isn’t breaking the law can use his platform. I agree with his position. As I previously wrote, the boycott war has descended … Continued

Lessons from the appeals court’s ruling against Trump’s immigration order

A federal appeals court ruled against President Trump, refusing to allow Trump’s executive order concerning immigration and travel to go back into effect. It’s a complicated case, and a complicated ruling. Let’s look at the clearest parts of the ruling, and what’s good and bad about legal language. First, the context. Trump’s executive order 12 days ago … Continued

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

Business books are stories. Here’s how to write one.

Most business books are boring because there are no people — just endless rambling on about strategy. You need people and stories to make them come alive. I wrote my first business book proposal in 2005. It was for a book called “The End of TV as We Know It,” and it reflected my decade … Continued

Coca-Cola Refreshments achieves record low meaning ratio of 4%

If you have bad news, just come out with it. The more you bury it in self-serving bullshit, the more people will just think you’re a dishonest idiot. That’s what happened with today’s spectacularly opaque note from Coca-Cola Refreshments. Here’s the note that J.D. Lowry of Las Vegas found on the break room soda machine. … 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