Archive | writing

Words Matter, Made-Up Edition

As my mantra is “Words Matter,” I’m fascinated by the etymology of words, how different cultures use language, and when people accidentally/purposefully misuse English. I’ve covered spelling bees, written about mondegreens and eggcorns, and advocated for the banishing of overused words. So, it’s probably not surprising that a friend caught my attention when he recently…

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The Pygmalion Effect in Business

In 1965 two researchers conducted a now-famous experiment in a public elementary school, dubbed Pygmalion in the classroom. The researchers told teachers that about one-fifth of their students were unusually intelligent (so-called “growth spurters”), based on results of a fictitious IQ test. Even though the gifted students were seemingly chosen at random, these students performed…

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Do mobile phones cause you to trust less?

If you use your smart phone frequently, you’re less likely to trust strangers. Kostadin Kushlev of the University of Virginia and Jason Proulx of the University of British Columbia came to this conclusion by analyzing data from the most recent World Values Survey. The World Values Survey is a U.S. nationally-representative poll in which participants…

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Change Is The Only Constant

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. This optimistic quote is frequently attributed to Theodor Geisel (aka the popular children’s author, Dr. Seuss). In fact, the saying likely pre-dates him by 100 years and should be attributed to the poet Ludwig Jacobowski. Regardless of the true origin, it’s a useful quote to pull…

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You should embrace Hanlon’s Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. This colorful phrase, called Hanlon’s Razor, explains that people aren’t always out to get us; sometimes they just make mistakes. It’s a practical application of Occam’s Razor which states that, everything else being equal, the simplest solution is usually the best one. Hanlon’s…

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Unleash Your Inner William Gibson

Welcome to the future. It is a common complaint that we were promised jetpacks and flying cars but all we got was… something less cool. But the complaints are mostly unwarranted. Things that seemed like science fiction not long ago are now commonplace (or soon will be): under-the-skin GPS, 3D printing, hoverboards, lab-grown leather, self-heating…

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Successful Authors Explain Why They Write

If writing were illegal I’d be in prison. I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion. — David Baldacci For most, writing isn’t a lucrative profession; it’s a passion. According to Meredith Maran, “one million manuscripts are currently searching for a U.S. publisher. One percent of these will get the nod.” But publishing a book isn’t…

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