The batshit candor of Donald Trump
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The batshit candor of Donald Trump

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he’s a candidate. He is a politician like no other. We ask for honesty from candidates. We rarely get it. We are getting it from Trump. Other politicians occasionally let something slip that reveals how they really think. There are no slips with Trump, just a relentless flood of unfiltered candor. Fivethirtyeight’s Harry…

Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”
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Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”

Twitter’s got problems. Its active users grew only 18% year-over-year. Profits are a mirage in the distance. While Twitter’s users are reading tweets, they’re not clicking on them very much. And the CEO just announced he’s leaving. But if you read what they publish, you’d say “Everything is awesome!” Here are some excerpts from the…

Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors
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Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors

In the 1964 bestseller “Games People Play,” Eric Berne showed how transactional analysis (TA) explains emotional conflict. In TA, people interact in one of three roles: parent, adult, or child; when roles get confused, people get upset. These same kinds of conflicts occur, for similar reasons, when writers and editors aren’t clear about the roles they’re playing. Here’s the briefest possible explanation…

Christopher L. Gasper’s passive voice approach to fixing the Red Sox

Christopher L. Gasper’s passive voice approach to fixing the Red Sox

“Something must be done.” It’s the passive-voice cry of the handwringing editorial or the concerned memo. And it’s vacuous and worthless, since it doesn’t say who must do what. I’ll illustrate with Christopher L. Gasper’s article in today’s Boston Globe: “It’s time for the Red Sox to call for a changeup.” The story so far: despite a high payroll, the Boston…

To write well and efficiently, choose the right level of editing
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To write well and efficiently, choose the right level of editing

Editing is like going to the dentist — nobody likes it, but you’ll avoid a lot of pain and ugliness if you get the right help at the right time. And you need to pick the right intensity of editing to match what your writing needs; you can’t fix a toothache with just a cleaning. Good…

McDonald’s announcement of marketing hires isn’t very meaty
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McDonald’s announcement of marketing hires isn’t very meaty

Troubled McDonald’s announced a new chief marketing officer and PR head. While the press release is as bland as a Big Mac with no secret sauce, the media swallowed it whole anyway. Here’s the actual news: McDonald’s hired Robert Gibbs, former Obama press secretary, as EVP, Global Chief Communications Officer (that is, head of PR). It…

Effective titles and summaries: You had me at ‘Hello.’
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Effective titles and summaries: You had me at ‘Hello.’

Every email, document, or post you write now competes with hundreds of other items for your reader’s attention. Two strategies will get them to read it: fascinate and summarize. In this post I explain how to balance these two concepts to create titles, subject lines, openers, and tweets that win over readers quickly. (A complete guide organized by…

My cord cutting experience (and the bullshit that came with it)

My cord cutting experience (and the bullshit that came with it)

Last week I was a TV subscriber with a landline phone. Now I stream my TV and have much faster Internet. This transition was a lot harder than it sounded because service providers deceived me. Streaming your TV sounds like a simple idea. Our viewing is nearly all broadcast channels like Fox, premium channels like HBO,…