Boycott frenzy, “discrimination,” and the tyranny of efficiency

In the wake of the school shooting in Florida and NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s statement that the right to bear arms is “granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright,” a slew of companies from Delta Airlines and Hertz to MetLife have ended discount programs with the NRA. Now people are calling for … Continued

KFC answers the question: when are you allowed to be funny in a crisis?

KFC ran out of chicken in the UK. They had to close their restaurants, and then explain themselves. They decided to poke fun at themselves . . . which is great, so long as nobody gets hurt. KFC suffered a distribution problem, which meant, basically, no chicken. Their first decision — to close the restaurants … Continued

Do you taste what you eat?

When you eat, do you pay attention to what you’re eating? Would it make a difference to your health if you did? I’m talking about everything that goes in your mouth. Breakfast, lunch, snacks. Are you actually noticing what the food tastes like? I work at home. As a result, I eat all three meals … Continued

How to build on ideas without being a ripoff artist

You can write about and extend other people’s ideas. You can come up with your own, independently. But even if you think you thought of it, you’re better off checking first. Because ripoff artists are the worst. This week, Amy Chua is publishing a new book, called Political Tribes. Here’s the cover, along with the … Continued

Could the five-paragraph essay be the reason we’ve forgotten how to think?

David Labaree published a devastating takedown of the five-paragraph essay, that pernicious container that’s corrupting the teaching of writing everywhere. He’s made me wonder about my own rules and advice for writers. In my mind, writing and thinking are two sides of the same process. Separate the two, and thinking ceases to be important, which … Continued

Coming to a better conclusion: how to end an essay, blog post, or paper

“What should I write at the conclusion of my paper?” a student recently asked me. Endings are hard. The best ones don’t let up; they build on what you’ve already written. Beginnings are more important than endings; you need to capture the reader’s attention with your title and first few words. But as hard as … Continued

Emma Gonzalez and the power of victims

Look at this amazing statement from Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Is there any question that this woman will be one of tomorrow’s leaders? This level of passion, logic, persuasion, and maturity in an 18-year-old is remarkable. Ms. Gonzalez has taken her status as a victim and turned it … Continued