How ‘Data Intimidation’ works

I am a big fan of business literature and always have been. The problem is being able to filter the signal from the noise. The really good from the pretenders. Books by The Druckers from the Tom Peters’ and Jim Collins’ of the world. So a tip.

Within the first two paragraphs or chapters if the authors inserts “….from talking to/interviewing/ analyzing hundreds/thousands/millions of….” immediately put your brain seat into an upright position and tuck your logic cells between your mental legs. HBR articles treat this line like the ketchup to their fries that is the main article.

I called it “data intimidation“. The author wants to ensure that when (it’s not an IF usually) you encounter flimsy claims, dubious conclusions or naïve “lessons” from his/her scholarly work you will suppress that tingling BS detector beeping in your head. The message goes along the line of “Don’t argue with this. This is coming from a lotsa a lotsa a lotsa people. You are 1 opinion. Who do you think you are ?!?! Accept my dubious conclusions you philistine!”

In a alternate universe there must be bestsellers that go “After interviewing and talking to BILLIONS of flies we can conclude Shit is Good. Go eat it.” I bet FastCompany,TOI and ET will run that even in THIS universe if it gets them enough views.

If a books conclusions have escaped the usual errors and biases humans are prone to (Brilliantly captured by Phil Rosenzweig’s masterpiece ‘The Halo Effect’)  then its conclusions can stand on their own. You don’t need to Alpha Dog your readers. So put it all in the Notes Section. Your entire research methodology. Just don’t cop out and use that as the main prop in the start. And Readers : Immediately upgrade your skepticism level to Orange when you see a writer insert the above into his work at the start.

Or even better, dump the book and save the time.

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