Great article in the January 29th issue of The New Yorker titled “What’s The Trouble?”.
It’s primarily a deep deconstruction of how doctors think and make a fast diagnosis under pressure. Which turns out to be dangerously flawed in many cases… especially if they like you.
But the article also makes an excellent cross-reference to how the same kind of thinking can affect business owners. This isn’t about evil or obtuse agendas… it’s about how a very natural way of looking at vast, changeable, and not always clear data can mess with your head.
The result can be frightening for a patient. And disasterous for a business owner.
I love the New Yorker, by the way. It hosts the best writing in journalism right now, and yet it’s on the stands every week. (I have a subscription.) There’s no telling how long this excellence will last — it’s dependent on enlightened publishers, hard-ass editors (who barely exist anymore in journalism), and ambitious, competitive writers who are at the peak of their game.
Learning to write well has nothing to do with grammar. It’s about communicating. And it’s nearly a lost art in America. Molly Ivins died yesterday, one of the last of the truly-courageous Old School columnists and book writers in politics. (Thank God P.J. O’Rourke is still pounding ’em out.) We won’t see her like again soon… especially since the Corporate Beast discovered how easy it is to use books to coat public discourse with bullshit propoganda and rabble-rousing name-calling nonsense. (Both Al Franken and Ann Coulter fall into this category. These scumballs and their publishers are strangling American political dialogue.)
All this, however, isn’t necessarily bad news for people who care about good writing. And I assume this includes you, since you’re reading this blog.
The need for clear, truthful writing will be filled. If you care to join those of us who work to master the craft (and while it ain’t brain surgery, it does require waking up and facing reality), the rewards are beyond counting.
For business owners, the lack of good writing in your market is an opening you should leap into with guns blazing. Whether it’s honing your sales message, or building up your content and nurturing your list… this is the most important writing you will ever do.
And doing it really, really well allows you to stand out no matter how much better funded, or better situated your competition is. A single good copywriter can go up against Attila The Hun, Inc, and win.
Just remember that when I suggest articles to read.
Sharpening your ability to communicate is like putting money in the bank.
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