Buying a house? Where’s your imagination?

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My wife and I are preparing the house we’re selling for buyers and an open house in a month or so. We fell in love with the house almost immediately. It’s on a beautiful piece of ground in a nice part of our town. It’s big but 100 years old, with personality. It has four … Continued

Expert speakers or trainers are not interchangeable

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If you hire experts to train on areas outside their expertise, you’ll pay too much and get a really poor result. It’s like paying a painter to rewire your house. Experts specialize. It’s what makes us experts. I’ll use myself as a case study here, but the same applies to anyone you hire. Imagine that … Continued

How to argue better — and what to teach your children about arguing

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I love arguing — if it’s done right. There are basically two kinds of arguments. I only like arguing to reach the truth. Arguing for enlightenment In school, I learned that science is about testing out what is true about the real world, to gain insight. I liked that idea. I am not a scientist, … Continued

Memeflinger or influencer?

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There’s a way to generate influence that bugs me. I call people who do this “memeflingers.” Here’s how it works. First, identify the memes that are spreading most widely on social media, especially if they include meaningless platitudes about behavior and careers. Maybe even hire people to track them down for you. Second, repost as … Continued

Are you writing a memoir or an advice book? Avoid the murky middle.

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It is tempting to add personal stories to a book of advice, or bits of advice in a memoir. When mixing the two genres, though, be careful not to mix your objectives, or readers will find your book confusing. The challenge here is one of tone. Recall the ROAM analysis: Readers, Objective, Action, iMpression. Consider … Continued

Fear, friendship, and solidarity

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A shared enemy can connect people in amazing and ironic ways. There was once a man — let’s call him Ernest. Ernest was troubled. Much of the time, Ernest seemed like a typical suburban neighbor, keeping mostly to himself. But Ernest had a major problem with alcohol. When Ernest had been drinking, he terrorized the … Continued

The cost of developmental editing and how to manage it

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Developmental editing is the process of making a nonfiction book better in every way — including clarity of ideas, structure, tone, paragraphs, sentences, and words. Developmental editors aren’t cheap. Today, some ideas on how to manage that expense and make the book better at the same time. Cheap editors aren’t a bargain Depending on the … Continued

Why you should still call shark attacks shark attacks

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Scientists in Australia and elsewhere want to rebrand what we call it when sharks bite humans. Whether you agree depends on whether you sympathize more with the sharks or the humans. From the Sydney Morning Herald: Authorities in Queensland and NSW [New South Wales] are signalling a shift away from describing encounters between sharks and … Continued