Rewriting the news with stupendous verbiage in place of simple words

California middle school teacher Leilen Shelton wants her writing students to eschew simple words like “good,” “said,” and “fun,” according to the Wall Street Journal. To demonstrate the problems with this dumb idea, I rewrote a news article about terrorism, replacing all the mundane words with longer ones. Misguided writing teachers are responsible for much of the bullshit … Continued

500 analyst speeches: quirky results in exotic locations

Analysts (and authors) research fascinating things and find new truths. A lot of people want to hear what you have to say — I estimate that I gave more than 500 speeches over 20 years. Wherever I went, I seemed to experience the quirky side of things. A few exotic examples. Italian joke. I gave a … Continued

How to fix weasel words

Weasel words weaken prose. But how do you fix them? First, what exactly is a weasel word? A weasel word is an adjective, adverb, noun, or verb that indicates quantity or intensity but lacks precision. Think of words like “deeply,” “most,” “backer,” and “tends to.” They express emotion, but mean little. I know why you … Continued

An interview with Rohit Bhargava, author turned publisher

Rohit Bhargava had an idea. After writing a few great books, he decided to become a publisher-partner for authors. Rohit’s Ideapress Publishing venture is closer to self-publishing, with some costs for authors, but with great upside and the benefits of partnership. His company has now published seven books, including his own bestseller Non-Obvious. Rohit’s got great insights … Continued

My podcast with Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation

In November, I had an enjoyable conversation with Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation. If you’re interested in how I shifted my perspective from Forrester analyst to author to bullshit fighter and what I’m after here, listen in our conversation.      

Josh Friedman: requiem for a nerd with a heart of gold

My friend Josh died this weekend. I’d like to tell you a little bit about who he was, which is also a little bit about who I am, since we were friends for nearly 50 years. I met Josh when the teacher introduced him as the new student to our third-grade class. I was fascinated, because … Continued

Why and how I homeschool my children

My wife Kimberley and I decided to homeschool our children. There’s only one reason: we think they learn better this way. Since people are curious about homeschooling, I’d like tell you how it works. Homeschooling is a personal preference. My intention here is not to change anyone’s mind or win anyone over, but simply to explain myself. I am … Continued


I’m 57. I’m happy. I’m doing what I love. This didn’t happen by accident. Thanks to my writing teachers, and to those who really taught me to write: Dena, Jon, Bill Blue, and all my editors at Forrester. Thanks to those who supported me, believed in me, and boosted my confidence: Kimberley, Ray, Isaac, Mom … Continued