Sharpen your B.S. Detector: B.S.ers love to use anecdotal evidence.

Your B.S. Detector Is Rusty. Time to Sharpen It


  1. It’s to your advantage to get them to clarify the claim, so ask: “Is what you are saying X?” When you ask people to clarify, they’ll often take a step back and think. And a lot of times, they’ll dial back their claim. So the first question is: “What? What are you saying?”
  2. “How? How do you know that’s true? How did you come to that conclusion?”
  3. “Have you ever considered any alternatives?” The reason for this question is that if they say no, you know they probably haven’t thought through the thing very well.
Look for what we call pseudo-profound, proverbial clich├ęs. The statements that people use as if they are logic incarnate. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Ask yourself if the person is using jargon. Or unclear language. Or platitudes like “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” These B.S. statements aren’t harmless. They imply what you should do in your decision-making. For example, what if you’re in a bad relationship and you’re being told to just hang on because it will get better. That can have a cost. One clue: These nonsensical, prescriptive statements are not always true. Often, there is another equally catchy proverb that disputes them. For example: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” You also hear the opposite: “You’re never too old to learn.”


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Thomas Sowell on Reparations

In Honor of Thomas Sowell’s 91st Birthday, Here Are His 25 Best Quotes 

  • “Anyone who wants reparations based on history will have to gerrymander history very carefully. Otherwise, practically everybody would owe reparations to practically everybody else.” 
  • “It is self-destructive for any society to create a situation where a baby who is born into the world today automatically has pre-existing grievances against another baby born at the same time, because of what their ancestors did centuries ago. It is hard enough to solve our own problems, without trying to solve our ancestors’ problems.”


Excel Tip: Extract Last Name

=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-FIND("*",SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","*",LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2," ","")))))

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