jerryking + skepticism   35

Think Like a Libel Lawyer
March 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By David McCraw, deputy general counsel of The New York Times.

It's the best way to keep an open mind in our “pick your side and stay on it” era.

My job, when I am doing it right, is to please no one. I’m a press lawyer. I’m paid by this newspaper to vet stories before publication.

Think of me as a story’s first and worst reader: doubtful, questioning, blind to subtlety, skeptical of the facts, regularly prodding editors and reporters to do something more or different. And if I have done my job well, many of the subjects of those same stories will be unhappy as well, but for all the reasons we want them to be: We got it right.

The basic idea of libel law is simple. A publisher can get sued for making a factual statement that proves to be false and hurts a person’s reputation.......I am all about the villains in many pieces — the doctor who botched the surgery, the insurance company that shafted its customers, the professor who hit on the student, the greedy industrialist who ground up workers to make a fortune. I try to look for the counternarrative that they could (and their lawyers will) build from the same set of facts. It’s a counterintuitive form of reading. It’s looking for the innocent explanation or the possibility that what appears to all the rest of the world to be nefarious may in fact just be a mistake made in good faith. It’s a tricky skill to take into the real world....for a libel lawyer, a little sympathy for the villain is almost an occupational requirement. And maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us in the tribalized “pick your side and stay on it” era we are living in......Libel lawyers don’t serve as the fairness police. If anything, they are more like fact cops. Coverage can be wildly unfair and still be true. .....Over the past half-decade, The Times and others had reoriented themselves to reader-centered journalism. The shift in attitude has been like opening a window after a long winter. Journalism should be done as if the readers mattered.

But in a divided America there was a risk, too — the risk that we would set our compass by what people wanted rather than giving them the journalism they needed.......It was discouraging that so many people apparently believed that the time-honored journalistic act of telling a story straight had become a problem and that The Times needed instead to take sides and coach readers on what to think.

Journalism is hard when people feel the failure to take sides is in and of itself a surrender....The great risk we face comes not in giving them (the alt-right) voice but in taking their worst instincts and making them our own.

The First Amendment gives a lot of protection to even nasty speakers.....we write about people in the news, not just the people we agree with.....that is how the First Amendment works — thanks to our “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open,......Speakers are allowed to be provocative, colorful, contradictory and wrong.

....
counternarratives  counterintuitive  dark_side  facts  First_Amendment  free-press  journalism  lawyers  libel  NYT  skepticism  open_mind  villains 
march 2019 by jerryking
Fine-Tune Your B.S. Detector: You’ll Need It - WSJ
March 19, 2018 | WSJ | By Elizabeth Bernstein.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT B.S.?
Check the source. Is this person an expert or in a position to know the information? Why is he or she telling me? What does the person have to gain?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that we all suffer from confirmation bias—we’re more likely to believe something that confirms what we already think or want.

Ask questions. Research shows people are more likely to B.S. when they feel they can get away with it. “Ask them simply: ‘Why do you think that? How do you know that is true?’” ......“This will get them thinking critically.”

Don’t trust your gut. People who pause and think about whether information is true are better able to detect false information, research shows. “Rely on your prior knowledge,”

Ask for evidence. This is different than an explanation, which people can continue to spin. Facts don’t lie—but check them to make sure they are real.

Pay attention to people who discount evidence. “I don’t care what the experts say” is a red flag that the person is using B.S.

Stay offline when you’re tired. Research shows we’re more vulnerable to false claims when our cognitive resources—that is, brain power—are depleted.
infoliteracy  Elizabeth_Bernstein  confirmation_bias  misinformation  howto  skepticism  evidence  critical_thinking  questions  gut_feelings  unshared_information  5_W’s  bullshitake  pay_attention  power_of_the_pause 
march 2018 by jerryking
I see history as my root and my illumination
5 August /6 August 2017 | Financial Times | by Kwame Nkrumah Cain.

Sir, I am a bit perplexed at how Henry Mance can assert that history is “rarely instructive” (“ ‘Dunkirk’ shows that the past is not an open book”, July 29). At Stanford University, I was particularly attracted to history because Dionysius of Halicarnassus praised it as “philosophy learnt by example” [ Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus.]. Even to this day, such study helps me heed the counsel of the dead and marshal the strength of my own mind.

I see history as a laboratory rich in a hundred thousand experiments in economics, religion, literature, science and government. I see history as my root and my illumination, as the road from whence I came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide me into the future.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated: “He who cannot draw on 3,000 years is living from hand to mouth.” (i.e. my take is that being able to draw on 3,000 yrs. of living is the definition of wisdom).
========================================

Comment:
Gene 4 days ago
History is the great uncontrolled experiment on human behavior. Lessons should be drawn from it with caution (as history shows).
letters_to_the_editor  history  quotes  tools  hand-to-mouth  Greek  lessons_learned  skepticism  experimentation  wisdom  human_behavior  the_counsel_of_the_dead  foresight  Kwame_Nkrumah 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Enlightenment Project
FEB. 28, 2017 | The New York Times| David Brooks.

Enlightenment thought. The Enlightenment included thinkers like John Locke and Immanuel Kant who argued that people should stop deferring blindly to authority for how to live. Instead, they should think things through from the ground up, respect facts and skeptically re-examine their own assumptions and convictions.

Enlightenment thinkers turned their skeptical ideas into skeptical institutions, notably the U.S. Constitution. America’s founders didn’t trust the people or themselves, so they built a system of rules, providing checks and balances to pit interest against interest.

....Today’s anti-Enlightenment movements don’t think truth is to be found through skeptical inquiry and debate. They think wisdom and virtue are found in the instincts of the plain people, deep in the mystical core of the nation’s or race’s group consciousness.

Today’s anti-Enlightenment movements believe less in calm persuasion and evidence-based inquiry than in purity of will. They try to win debates through blunt force and silencing unacceptable speech.

They don’t see history as a gradual march toward cooperation. They see history as cataclysmic cycles — a zero-sum endeavor marked by conflict. Nations trying to screw other nations, races inherently trying to oppress other races.

These movements are hostile to rules-based systems, multilateral organizations, the messy compromises of democratic politics and what Steve Bannon calls the “administrative state.” They prefer the direct rule by one strongman who is the embodiment of the will of the people.

When Trump calls the media the “enemy of the people” he is going after the system of conversation, debate and inquiry that is the foundation for the entire Enlightenment project....
David_Brooks  grand_strategy  history  Yale  John_Locke  Immanuel_Kant  rules-based  Abraham_Lincoln  multilateralism  De_Tocqueville  the_Enlightenment  skepticism  checks_and_balances  Stephen_Bannon  worldviews  zero-sum_games  strongman  constitutions 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Danger of a Single Story - The New York Times
David Brooks APRIL 19, 2016

American politics has always been prone to single storyism — candidates reducing complex issues to simple fables. This year the problem is acute because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the giants of Single Storyism. They reduce pretty much all issues to the same single story: the alien invader story....As in life generally, every policy has the vices of its virtues. Aggressive policing cuts crime but increases brutality. There is no escape from trade-offs and tragic situations. The only way forward is to elect people who are capable of holding opposing stories in their heads at the same time, and to reject those who can’t....As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “The test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two diametrically opposed ideas in your head at the same time.”"
David_Brooks  storytelling  public_policy  single_action_bias  critical_thinking  history  philosophy  skepticism  tradeoffs  oversimplification  criminal_justice_system  incarceration  narratives  dual-consciousness  F._Scott_Fitzgerald 
april 2016 by jerryking
Malcolm Gladwell: the Snapchat problem, the Facebook problem, the Airbnb problem | VentureBeat | Marketing | by John Koetsier
JULY 24, 2015 | Venturebeat | JOHN KOETSIER.

Why marketers have a job
The deficiencies not only in data but of data are the reason marketers have a job, Gladwell said. In fact, it goes deeper than that:

“The reason your profession is a profession and not a job is that your role is to find the truth in the data.”

And that’s a significant challenge.
data  Malcolm_Gladwell  skepticism  Facebook  Snapchat  Airbnb  millenials  sharing_economy  marketing  shortcomings  developmental_change  generational_change  customer_risk 
july 2015 by jerryking
Skepticism: the critical counterterror tool - The Globe and Mail
STEVE HEWITT
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 29 201
skepticism  counterterrorism  extremism  Islamic  tools 
january 2015 by jerryking
Corporate sponsors of the arts missing creative opportunities - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 16 2015 | The Globe and Mail | TODD HIRSCH.
...the necessary bridge between creativity and innovation is collaboration – the act of allowing someone else’s experience to change the way you see the world....
It’s time to entirely rethink corporate sponsorship of the arts. Forget the silly logo on the back of the program or the complimentary tickets to the play. What artists can offer is much more valuable: a chance to peer into the mind of a choreographer, a singer, a set designer, a writer. How do they solve complex problems? And what insights can this bring to corporate leaders who are trying to solve problems of their own?

In the end it comes down to something neurologists know very well. If you want to become a creative person, you have to force your brain to see new patterns, unfamiliar terrain and uncomfortable situations. Sitting in a boardroom full of people with the same university degree and the same clothes (think dull blue suits and boring shoes) will do nothing to foster creative, innovative visionaries.

Why don’t artists offer those corporate suits something really valuable? The pitch should be: “Give us $100,000 and we’ll show you how we solve problems and design solutions. You’ll think we’re crazy – and quite possibly we are – but if you allow yourselves the chance, you’ll start to change the way your brain operates. Creativity can’t be taught, but it can be developed.”

Companies can transform the way their leaders think.
Todd_Hirsch  arts  philanthropy  branding  creativity  artists  critical_thinking  skepticism  problem_solving  sponsorships  art  creative_renewal  ideality  collaboration  rethinking  missed_opportunities  heterogeneity  crazy_ideas  radical_ideas  creative_types  neurologists  complex_problems 
january 2015 by jerryking
Buyers and Brands Beware in China - WSJ
July 24, 2014 | WSJ | Editorials.

...Husi's behavior is a classic case of "quality fade," a term coined in the mid-2000s by China manufacturing expert Paul Midler. Companies often start out supplying high-quality products, and Husi enjoyed a top hygiene rating. But they start to cut corners in alarming ways, such as the 2007 scandal of cheap lead-based paint in children's toys.

This is especially likely to happen when customers demand lower prices but don't take an interest in how those savings are achieved. ...Lack of trust is the hallmark of life in China today, which is one reason many rich Chinese choose to move abroad....New supreme leader Xi Jinping's anticorruption campaign may bring some temporary improvement. But if he doesn't build government institutions with integrity, the cheating will resume as soon as the campaign is over.....The lesson for managers is that they must always distrust and verify what their suppliers tell them. Regularly scheduled inspections are useless as the factory will be spruced up for their visit. Surprise visits and spot checks are the only defense against fraud and fakery. In the wild west of the China market, caveat emptor is the only reliable law.
brands  caveat_emptor  China  food_safety  KFC  McDonald's  scandals  trustworthiness  lessons_learned  editorials  product_recalls  skepticism  cost-cutting  quality  high-quality 
august 2014 by jerryking
The Power of 'Thick' Data - WSJ.com
By
Christian Madsbjerg and
Mikkel B. Rasmussen
March 21, 2014

companies that rely too much on the numbers, graphs and factoids of Big Data risk insulating themselves from the rich, qualitative reality of their customers' everyday lives. They can lose the ability to imagine and intuit how the world—and their own businesses—might be evolving. By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.

Successful companies and executives work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change. They are able to use what we like to call Thick Data.
thick_data  massive_data_sets  Lego  ethnography  visceral  storytelling  social_data  observations  Samsung  consumer_research  imagination  skepticism  challenges  problems  sense-making  emotions  contextual 
march 2014 by jerryking
Beware the Tech Bubble—But Stay Calm - WSJ.com
By Farhad Manjoo

Dec. 29, 2013

two-step guide for reaping the best from tech while staving off the next bout of irrational exuberance. Think of it as my year-end gift to you, a clip-and-save guide for preventing a new tech bubble.

Step 1: Worry. If you're an investor, employee, founder, tech journalist or in some other way connected to the tech business, worrying about the bubble is your best defense against the bubble. Worrying keeps you sharp. Worrying keeps magical thinking at bay. As in the 1990s, the tech industry is pushing grand, society-transforming novelties on the rest of the world. If you're not worried that some of these claims are crazy, you're not paying attention.

Step 2: Don't panic. Don't let your anxiety become all-consuming. If you study the last dot-com boom, you'll see profound differences between what happened then and what's happening now. Unlike in the 1990s, today's public markets have yet to fully buy in to the boom; it's difficult to take a tech company public, and a newly public company can expect to be judged harshly by the press and investors if it shows any sign of weakness. This factor—the stock market's demand for results—is an enormous difference from the last boom. And it is reason enough to hold off on any panic.

Now, I know that my plan—worry, but don't panic—sounds like a glib, easy way to deal with tech's rise. As a columnist, I strive for firmer, less squishy opinions. I want to say, "Hey, keep partying, there's no bubble!" or "Everyone hide, doom awaits, the end is nigh!"

But unfortunately, the truth is more nuanced and complicated. People with an interest in tech should be on guard against the bubble at the same time they are open to the transformative powers of tech.
Silicon_Valley  technology  bubbles  IPOs  skepticism  paranoia  happy_talk  Farhad_Manjoo  keep_calm  wishful_thinking  worrying  panics  tech-utopianism  pay_attention 
december 2013 by jerryking
Open data is not a panacea | mathbabe
December 29, 2012 Cathy O'Neil,
And it’s not just about speed. You can have hugely important, rich, and large data sets sitting in a lump on a publicly available website like wikipedia, and if you don’t have fancy parsing tools and algorithms you’re not going to be able to make use of it.

When important data goes public, the edge goes to the most sophisticated data engineer, not the general public. The Goldman Sachs’s of the world will always know how to make use of “freely available to everyone” data before the average guy.

Which brings me to my second point about open data. It’s general wisdom that we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. My feeling is that as we move towards open data we are doing plenty of the hoping part but not enough of the preparing part.

If there’s one thing I learned working in finance, it’s not to be naive about how information will be used. You’ve got to learn to think like an asshole to really see what to worry about. It’s a skill which I don’t regret having.

So, if you’re giving me information on where public schools need help, I’m going to imagine using that information to cut off credit for people who live nearby. If you tell me where environmental complaints are being served, I’m going to draw a map and see where they aren’t being served so I can take my questionable business practices there.
open_data  unintended_consequences  preparation  skepticism  naivete  no_regrets  Goldman_Sachs  tools  algorithms  Cathy_O’Neil  thinking_tragically  slight_edge  sophisticated  unfair_advantages  smart_people  data_scientists  gaming_the_system  dark_side 
december 2013 by jerryking
Maybe corporate guys should mind their business
November 17, 2001 | G&M |Russell Smith

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/maybe-corporate-guys-should-mind-their-business/article1034666/

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FOmbxn4lK9kAF2nPKH151NSwTik0aFKNGvxX8OSIY6k/edit

Business people should be way more humble and not act as know-it-alls when dealing with artists and academics.....A blind faith in the efficiency of commerce goes hand in hand with a faith in technology.
Russell_Smith  public_speaking  businessman_fallacy  platitudes  critical_thinking  hubris  skepticism  contrarians  speeches  artists  academics  sponsorships  humility 
march 2013 by jerryking
Big Data should inspire humility, not hype
Mar. 04 2013| The Globe and Mail |Konrad Yakabuski.

" mathematical models have their limits.

The Great Recession should have made that clear. The forecasters and risk managers who relied on supposedly foolproof algorithms all failed to see the crash coming. The historical economic data they fed into their computers did not go back far enough. Their models were not built to account for rare events. Yet, policy makers bought their rosy forecasts hook, line and sinker.

You might think that Nate Silver, the whiz-kid statistician who correctly predicted the winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election in all 50 states, would be Big Data’s biggest apologist. Instead, he warns against putting our faith in the predictive power of machines.

“Our predictions may be more prone to failure in the era of Big Data,” The New York Times blogger writes in his recent book, The Signal and the Noise. “As there is an exponential increase in the amount of available information, there is likewise an exponential increase in the number of hypotheses to investigate … [But] most of the data is just noise, as most of the universe is filled with empty space.”

Perhaps the biggest risk we run in the era of Big Data is confusing correlation with causation – or rather, being duped by so-called “data scientists” who tell us one thing leads to another. The old admonition about “lies, damn lies and statistics” is more appropriate than ever."
massive_data_sets  data_driven  McKinsey  skepticism  contrarians  data_scientists  Konrad_Yakabuski  modelling  Nate_Silver  humility  risks  books  correlations  causality  algorithms  infoliteracy  noise  signals  hype 
march 2013 by jerryking
What Data Can’t Do - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 18, 2013

there are many things big data does poorly. Let’s note a few in rapid-fire fashion:

* Data struggles with the social. Your brain is pretty bad at math (quick, what’s the square root of 437), but it’s excellent at social cognition. People are really good at mirroring each other’s emotional states, at detecting uncooperative behavior and at assigning value to things through emotion.
* Data struggles with context. Human decisions are embedded in contexts. The human brain has evolved to account for this reality...Data analysis is pretty bad at narrative and emergent thinking.
* Data creates bigger haystacks. This is a point Nassim Taleb, the author of “Antifragile,” has made. As we acquire more data, we have the ability to find many, many more statistically significant correlations. Most of these correlations are spurious and deceive us when we’re trying to understand a situation.
* Big data has trouble with big (e.g. societal) problems.
* Data favors memes over masterpieces. Data analysis can detect when large numbers of people take an instant liking to some cultural product. But many important (and profitable) products are hated initially because they are unfamiliar. [The unfamiliar has to accomplish behavioural change / bridge cultural divides]
* Data obscures hidden/implicit value judgements. I recently saw an academic book with the excellent title, “ ‘Raw Data’ Is an Oxymoron.” One of the points was that data is never raw; it’s always structured according to somebody’s predispositions and values. The end result looks disinterested, but, in reality, there are value choices all the way through, from construction to interpretation.

This is not to argue that big data isn’t a great tool. It’s just that, like any tool, it’s good at some things and not at others. As the Yale professor Edward Tufte has said, “The world is much more interesting than any one discipline.”
massive_data_sets  David_Brooks  data_driven  decision_making  data  Nassim_Taleb  contrarians  skepticism  new_graduates  contextual  risks  social_cognition  self-deception  correlations  value_judgements  haystacks  narratives  memes  unfamiliarity  naivete  hidden  Edward_Tufte  emotions  antifragility  behavioral_change  new_products  cultural_products  masterpieces  EQ  emotional_intelligence 
february 2013 by jerryking
Data Is the World
Aug 1, 2005 | Inc.com | Michael S. Hopkins.

Use your data. "Companies aren't taking advantage of the data they generate, Levitt says. "Often, data generated for one purpose is useful for another. Freakonomics describes the case of an entrepreneur selling bagels in corporate offices who kept meticulous records to track profits and loss—data that eventually yielded insights about white-collar crime and the effects of office size on honesty.
Ask different questions. The abortion-crime link revealed itself when Levitt thought to stop asking what made crime fall and try asking why it had risen so much in the first place. That led him to justice system practices in the 1960s, which led him to a statistical understanding of which individuals were likeliest to commit crimes, and ultimately to the question of why a large segment of that population seemed to have vanished.
Don't mistake correlation for causality. Innovative policing and a drop in crime happened simultaneously, but data proved the one didn't cause the other. (Be mindful of the feudal king who, having learned disease was greatest in regions with the most doctors, figured that reducing doctors would reduce disease.)
Question conventional wisdom. An idea that is both easy to understand and a source of comfort (such as the credit quickly given to innovative policing for cutting crime) should be especially suspect.
Respect the complexity of incentives. "You can't imagine, says Levitt, "all the ways humans will connive to beat a system.
Employ data against cheating. Just as companies don't sufficiently capitalize on the data they have access to, they aren't exploiting what Levitt calls "opportunities to think about fraud or theft in their businesses.
'60s  bank_shots  causality  cheating  conventional_wisdom  correlations  data  data_driven  exhaust_data  Freakonomics  gaming_the_system  incentives  insights  justice_system  massive_data_sets  metadata  oversimplification  questions  skepticism  social_data  Steven_Levitt  theft  think_differently  white-collar_crime 
january 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
Conservatism is about more than cutting taxes
September 27, 2004 | G&M | by William Thorsell.

A conservative frame of mind starts with respect for the depth of our social experience, for our history and inheritance as a civilization, if you will. It values the successful adaptations of previous generations, and is slow to throw over well grounded, much-tested means of securing social order and economic prosperity.

A conservative frame of mind is suspicious of complete answers, total solutions and centralized controls. it is humble with the memory of history's honors and excesses. It remembers, as well as dreams. It looks askance at the fragility of humanity, the distortions of power, and the enthusiasms of any given moment.

It puts more faith in process than specific outcomes - the rule of law — and expresses more faith in aspirations than prescriptions.

It recognizes free markets as a fundamental expression of democracy, and values their power to generate technological change and productive work. it is fierce in its respect for individual human rights against aggression by any group, even for admirable ends.

A particular level of taxation is not seminal to these conservative attitudes. The purposes and structure of taxation are.

A conservative may even support higher levels of taxation in the interest of prosperity and social health. Look what Brian Mulroney and, yes, Paul Martin finally did in raising taxes to slay Canada's deficit - which underlies so much of our current economic and social success.
Conservatives will happily invest public money on education, infrastructure, defence and social programs to perpetuate and strengthen the traditions of their society. These responsibilities come with the Constitution, after all. It is how they are done — efficientiy, carefuiiy and affordabiy - that matters.
Conservatives appreciate the limits of public programs to change human nature or solve existential problems. Conservatives know where levels of regulation and taxation become counterproductive, however laudable the political goals may be. So they stop there, often with a rueful smile.
conservatism  Conservative_Party  William_Thorsell  technological_change  Ontario  Michael_Harris  Dalton_McGuinty  taxation  mindsets  skepticism 
september 2012 by jerryking
Who are our heroes?
September 1, 2012 | Stabroek News | editorials.

Time and again, since the birth of our nation, we have shown ourselves to be susceptible to hero worship, to the cult of personality. We have an adolescent’s urge to revere (or revile) our political leaders where a healthy dose of scepticism and an appropriate measure of deference would serve us rather better. It is time to outgrow these teenage-style crushes. Ours is a complex country in need of complex characters to illuminate a path for us to tread.
leaders  leadership  heroes  Guyana  Guyanese  skepticism  personality_cults 
september 2012 by jerryking
Be an Optimistic Skeptic When You're Buying a Business
Sep 1990 | Profit - Building Strategies for Business Owners | Anonymous

Even those who are experienced in acquisitions should be very careful when considering the purchase of a business. The best approach is to form a team with such professional advisers as an accountant. attorney. and appraiser. The best attitude for checking on a prospective business purchase is optimistic skepticism, which should start with an investigation of the seller's reason for selling the business An inspection of the physical plant will provide information about whether it is in need of alteration, its accessibility to public transportation, and the age of plant equipment. Prospective buyers should learn as much as they can about the company's finances, including information about recent sales and expenses. Special attention should be paid to factors that might affect future success such as key employees‘ willingness to remain on the job and customers‘ loyalty to the firm. The attorney and accountant will probe further for details so that a contract can be signed with confidence.
buying_a_business  entrepreneurship  lawyers  negotiations  mergers_&_acquisitions  skepticism  due_diligence 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Management Myth
June 2006 | ATLANTIC MAGAZINE |By Matthew Stewart

Most of management theory is inane, writes our correspondent, the founder of a consulting firm. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead
skepticism  management  curriculum  business_schools  MBAs  philosophy  philosophers  myths 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Trouble with Big Data
May 5, 2012 | | What's The Big Data?| GilPress

“With too little data, you won’t be able to make any conclusions that you trust. With loads of data you will find relationships that aren’t real… On net, having a degree in math, economics, AI, etc., isn’t enough. Tool expertise isn’t enough. You need experience in solving real world problems, because there are a lot of important limitations to the statistics that you learned in school. Big data isn’t about bits, it’s about talent.”.....The “talent” of “understanding the problem and the data applicable to it” is what makes a good scientist: The required skepticism, the development of hypotheses (models), and the un-ending quest to refute them, following the scientific method that has brought us remarkable progress over the course of the last three hundred and fifty years.
in_the_real_world  massive_data_sets  blogs  skepticism  challenges  problems  problem_solving  expertise  statistics  talent  spurious  data_quality  data_scientists  haystacks  correlations  limitations 
june 2012 by jerryking
Is There Big Money in Big Data?
May 3, 2012 | Technology Review | By Lee Gomes.
Is There Big Money in Big Data?

Many entrepreneurs foresee vast profits in mining data from online activity and mobile devices. One Wharton business school professor strongly disagrees.
massive_data_sets  data  contrarians  skepticism  Wharton 
may 2012 by jerryking
Keeping it Real
Nov. 2007 | Advisor.ca | by Heidi Staseson. So what type of
prospect does McCullough look for? It’s
simple: people who want advice; who are willing to pay for it; and who
share basic values of integrity. There shouldn’t be a
grimace when the phone rings. “You want to feel good about all your
clients. And we do,” McCullough adds.
While some view life as a work in progress, McCullough seems to view it
as a work in lessons. He’s much more
evaluative now than in his early days in the brokerage industry.
Although never exactly a people pleaser, he says he was perhaps a bit
naive at the beginning. “I early on believed people had the best of
intentions before checking the facts. I learned over time it’s amazing
how people spin things,” he says. “Now I don’t automatically believe
people. I listen to them, and then I check facts.” Building a family
office has an actual value,” says McCullough. For him, value comes with
integrity, initiative, & the ability to challenge--yes men are a big
no.
Northwood  Tom_McCullough  family_office  tips  prospecting  individual_initiative  due_diligence  integrity  speak_truth_to_power  independent_viewpoints  skepticism 
september 2011 by jerryking
9/11 and the age of sovereign failure -
Sep. 10, 2011 | The Globe & Mail | Michael Ignatieff.. One
of the tasks we ask govt. to perform is to think the unthinkable. Yet on
9/11, govt. institutions failed...A sovereign is a state with a
monopoly on the means of force...It is there to think the unthinkable
and plan for it. A sovereign failed that morning.... There has been a
cascade of failure: (1) No WMDs found in Iraq; (2) The failure of the
levees & New Orleans civil authority following Hurricane Katrina;
(3) the 2008 mortgage bubble and govt. regulators; (4) the failure of
govt. regulators to catch BP before the Spring 2010 oil spill. ...While
there are a lot of things a govt. might do, there are a few things that
only a govt. can do: protect the people, rescue them when they are in
danger, regulate against catastrophic risk and safeguard the full faith
and credit of their currency. Sovereigns matter. And rebuilding their
legitimacy, their capacity and their competence is the political task
that matters most......It is always good to be skeptical about what governments tell us. But we are beyond skepticism now, into a deep and enduring cynicism. There will come a day when they are not crying wolf and we will not believe them. Then we will be in trouble. Some trust in government is a condition of democracy and security alike. That trust has been weakened and can't be rebuilt until sovereigns say what they mean, mean what they say and do what they promise.
cynicism  Michael_Ignatieff  failure  government  9/11  low_probability  catastrophic_risk  priorities  unthinkable  sovereign-risk  legitimacy  capacity  competence  skepticism  oil_spills  policymaking 
september 2011 by jerryking
Unlearning 101: Study Carneades
July 09, 2008 | unlearning 101 | by Jack Uldrich. " I say that
I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state
the argument against my position better than the people who support it. I
think only when I’ve reached that state am I qualified to speak.” "
F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said: “The test of a first rate mind is the
ability to hold two diametrically opposed ideas at the same time and
still function.”"
critical_thinking  history  philosophy  skepticism  strategic_thinking  Nassim_Taleb  opposing_actions  books  incompatibilities  Greek  Stoics  dual-consciousness  disagreements  F._Scott_Fitzgerald 
february 2010 by jerryking
40 ideas we need now -- Unlearning the tyranny of facts
Nov. 2006 | This Magazine | DAVID NAYLOR. Engage in critical
thinking. Pinpoint flaws in logic, dissect rhetorical flourishes away
from the core of an argument, examine issues from different perspectives
and differentiate science from pseudo-science...We are still very
focused on facts—arrayed in patterns, conveyed passively, or uncovered
more or less predictably through cookbook experimentation and
unchallenging exploration. That emphasis seems incongruous. With
computers able to store and search vast amounts of information, facts
are cheap [JCK:the Web is really a source of "external knowledge"]...What might the next generation of learners do instead of
memorizing facts, you ask? Among other things, they could read and play
music. Play more sports. Write prose and poetry. Acquire a skeptic’s
toolkit of sound reasoning skills. Debate highly-charged issues and
learn the lost art of rational and respectful discourse. Study
inspirational biographies, not to memorize facts, but to promote
understanding of how one might lead a more meaningful life.

[From my own note: the presence of facts does not mean that the truth is present. The "truth" is a more complicated thing than mere facts alone]
agreeably_disagree  argumentation  biographies  commoditization_of_information  critical_thinking  David_Naylor  disagreements  external_knowledge  facts  ideas  infoliteracy  inspiration  logic_&_reasoning  poetry  public_discourse  rhetoric  skepticism  sports  uToronto 
may 2009 by jerryking
Nouriel Roubini Says Nationalizing the Banks Is the Market-Friendly Solution - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 21, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | Interview of Nouriel
Roubini by TUNKU VARADARAJAN. Roubini believes that "The problem is that
in the bubble years, everyone becomes a cheerleader, including the
media. This is when journalists should be asking tough questions...
there was a failure there. More financial and business journalists, in
the good years, should have asked, 'Wait a moment, if this man, or this
firm, is making a 100% return a year, how do they do it? Is it because
they're smarter than everybody else . . . or because they're taking so
much risk they'll be bankrupt two years down the line?' In the bubble
years, no one asked the hard questions. A good journalist has to be one
who, in good times, challenges the conventional wisdom. If you don't do
that, you fail in one of your duties."
===============================================
a healthy dose of reality and skepticism is always a good idea.
economics  crisis  ECONOMY  finance  skepticism  nourielroubini  banking  recessions  bailouts  journalists  journalism  nationalizations  hard_questions  financial_journalism  5_W’s  questions 
february 2009 by jerryking

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