Talking plainly about bullshit is 15% more effective

It’s better to excite a whole bunch of people and piss off a few, rather than trying to be nice to everyone. I have proof. I want to thank my friends at WriterAccess for finding that proof. I had agreed to do a Webinar for their audience of freelance writers and the people who hire … Continued

Meat porn

It’s a bad week for meat. The UN World Health Organization says red meat causes cancer. And a study found that 2% of hot dogs contain human DNA. Yuck! These sensational stories demand a stock photo. Hmm. Should we feature a photo of the UN, of colorectal cancer, or of meat? Guess what the editors … Continued

Replay, unanswered questions from Writing Without Bullshit webinar

After 400 people attended my Webinar last week and we got dozens of questions. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recorded replay. Below are my best answers to some fascinating questions about the meaning ratio, tone, reviews, and what causes bullshit. (Questions edited for brevity and grammar.) What is a good meaning ratio target? (Mike DeWees) … Continued

How to see the future

I’ve learned to anticipate what’s going to happen. You can, too, if you combine experience with seeing. I’ll be bombing down a busy city street on my bike, as I have for the last 40 years. I can read the car that’s angled 15 degrees to the left, the truck idling anxiously at the red light, … Continued

The whole truth about The New York Times – Amazon feud

Two months after The New York Times‘ devastating takedown of Amazon’s culture, Amazon fired back. Where’s the whole truth here? There is none. Because by definition, stories always leave out more than they include. As briefly as possible, here’s what happened. On August 15, the Times wrote about Amazon’s “bruising workplace.” Jeff Bezos emailed his employees a non-denial … Continued

On Thursday, a webinar where anything could happen

You know, the Webinar I’m doing tomorrow is live. Anything could happen. I might say just about anything. No one can stop me. Sign up now and tune in tomorrow, Thursday, at 1PM. Here’s what I can guarantee will happen. I will tear apart some really bad writing, teaching technique and making you smile at … Continued

The Boston Globe’s oversimplified analysis of candidate speech

In a front-page article, the Boston Globe sneers at Donald Trump for speaking at a fourth-grade level. They imply that simplicity is equivalent to stupidity. In fact, a bias toward complexity — the same bias inherent in this article — is what has given us a world pervaded by bullshit. The Globe ran the candidates’ speeches … Continued

Explaining digital disruption to three-year-olds

As an analyst, I told stories about complex technology, but I learned to tell them simply. When you’re trying to get your point across, that’s essential. One night in 1999 I was giving my three-year-old a bath. My kid was bright, good with language, and, like Dad, a bit of a smartass. And like many three-year-olds … Continued