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Just the good stuff

This week’s best bits from around the web. WORK – Proof that you should get a life – William McPherson has a Pulitzer Prize and no money. He isn’t wretched-of-the-earth poor, but he’s poor WORLD – American intelligence and torture: A hard pill to swallow – Oil gluts, late-1970s style – Falling Gas Prices Are Fantastic. Unless You’re…

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Business writing: tricks of the trade

Good enough for Shakespeare; good enough for you. Give ‘em a whirl. Your words will sing. Alliteration: Dead as a doornail. Ban the bomb. Burn your bra. Power to the people. Polyptoton: Please please me. Grace me no grace. The rain it raineth every day. A stranger in a strange land. Antithesis (one thing, then another): The well-bred…

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Content strategy: really?

Content might be king, but is it strategy? Since when was saying something useful to the right people strategic? We’ve been doing it for years – saying things we hope will grab attention and change minds. We called it communication. It required thinking before talking. And we asked questions like: Who are we trying to…

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What you missed | Brand storytelling through social media

A Vernacular report:  5:30 PM Tuesday 18 November 2014. Stop saying social, because your customers don’t think in those terms. Straight shooters put PRINZ punters in the picture. Here’s what you missed – I took a chair, slugged a beer, and pondered two questions. One: is there anything more to say about social media that hasn’t…

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What you missed | Zuora: The subscription experience city tour

A Vernacular report:  2:00 PM Tuesday 14 November 2014. Welcome to the subscription economy. Tien Tzuo, founder and CEO of Zuora – a provider of software that gears up businesses to sell products and services on a subscription basis – shared his story with 50 execs gathered in a conference room on the first floor of Auckland’s…

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child-eating-cake-and-ice-cream

Just the good stuff

This week’s best bits from around the web. WORLD The war against Islamic State: The Kurdish Stalingrad. READ >> Burkina Faso’s ‘Black Spring’. READ >> THINKING Speed Kills: Fast is never fast enough. READ >> Freedom from food. READ >> Jazz Legend Bill Evans on the Creative Process, Self-Teaching, and Balancing Clarity with Spontaneity in…

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The curse of knowledge

Turns out we know too much, and it’s a curse. The trouble is, once we know something we can’t imagine not knowing what we do. So our messages occasionally miss the mark, because they pay no regard to the ‘unknowing’ state of mind of our listeners. Academics are cursed by knowledge. They’ve spent years –…

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Let’s talk pictures

Humans are wired for pictures, but that doesn’t mean we should stop writing. Fifty per cent of the human brain is involved in visual processing, and 70 per cent of our sensory receptors are in our eyes. So why do I bother writing? Because I can’t draw. And clients I work for have lots to…

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George Orwell’s rules of good writing

George Orwell argued that “if thought corrupts language, language can often corrupt thought” and proposed six rules of good writing. • Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print • Never use a long word where a short one will do • If it is…

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Beware the abstract noun

A writer’s job is to make people see. When people see, they understand (that’s why we often say “I see” when we understand). But here’s the problem: Most business writing is clogged with words that obscure rather than clarify. Sometimes the fog is so dense that readers give up. The culprit? Abstract nouns – nouns that…

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