Here is my book review from Scott Adam’s, the creator of the Dilbert Cartoons and has been an outspoken voice in the presidential race.  You can hear more from Mr. Adams on a fascinating take on Donald Trump and the use of persuasion.  Beyond any political view, I think it’s a worthwhile listen to better understand the art of persuasion.  Check it out here

Glossary of Key Topics covered:

Social Skills

If you could control your attitude directly, as opposed to letting the environment dictate how you feel on any given day, it would be a minor superpower.

I’ve also discovered acting confident makes you feel more confident.

The next time you’re in a gloomy mood, try smiling at a stranger you pass on the street.

You too can sometimes get what you want by adopting a practical illusion.

I’m reinforcing that thought to help lock it in.

Obviously, there was some acting involved, but we are designed to become in reality however we act. We fake it until it becomes real.

Never assume you understand the odds of things.

Rule one was that no one would ever be criticized or corrected. Only positive reinforcement would be allowed from the instructor or from the other students.

A few words came out, just barely, and she returned to her seat defeated, humiliated, broken. Then an interesting thing happened. I rank it as one of the fascinating things I have ever witnessed. The instructor went to the front and looked at the broken student. The room was dead silent. I’ll always remember his words. He said , “Wow. That was brave.” My brain spun in my head. Twenty-some students had been thinking this woman had just crashed and burned in the most dramatically humiliating way. She had clearly thought the same thing. In four words, the instructor had completely reinterpreted the situation. Every one of us knew the instructor was right. We had just witnessed an extraordinary act of personal bravery, the likes of which one rarely sees. That was the takeaway. Period.

Today when I see a stage and a thousand people waiting to hear me speak, a little recording goes off in my head that says today is a good day. I’m the happiest person in the room. The audience only gets to listen, but I get to speak, to feel, to be fully alive. I will absorb their energy and turn it into something good. And when I’m done, there’s a 100 percent chance that people will say good things about me.

Adults are starved for a kind word.

When you understand the power of honest praise (as opposed to bullshitting, flattery, and sucking up), you realize that withholding it borders on immoral. If you see something that impresses you, a decent respect to humanity insists you voice your praise. “Wow. That was brave,” is the best and cleanest example I’ve seen in which looking at something in a different way changes everything. When the instructor switched our focus from the student’s poor speaking performance to her bravery, everything changed. Positivity is far more than a mental preference. It changes your brain, literally, and it changes the people around you. It’s the nearest thing we have to magic. Another thing I learned from my Dale Carnegie experience is that we don’t always have an accurate view of our own potential.


Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want.

My point then and now is that you don’t need to know why something works to take advantage of it.

I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.

“I, Scott Adams, will be a number one best-selling author.”

A person who diligently writes affirmations day after day is the very definition of an optimist, even if only by actions.

Whether you are a born optimist or you become one through affirmations, prayer, or positive thinking, you end up with several advantages that make it easier for luck to find you.

The point is that affirmations might have a perfectly sensible scientific explanation that involves anything from multiple universes to quantum strangeness or anything else that baffles our tiny brains and causes us to invent delusions to compensate for our feelings of uncertainty.

Affirmations look a lot like focusing on goals. But I would argue that doing affirmations is a system that helps you focus, boosts your optimism and energy, and perhaps validates the talent and drive that your subconscious always knew you had.

I also like coming up with my own crackpot ideas, sometimes several per day.
Timing is often the biggest component of success.

He said that every time he got a new job, he immediately started looking for a better one.

In other words, it had the x-factor on day one. And this brings me to a lesson I learned in Hollywood, or at least near Hollywood.

What you’re looking for is an unusually strong reaction from a subset of the public, even if the majority hates it.

Success wise, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one.

When you accept without necessarily believing that each new skill doubles your odds of success, you effectively hack (trick) your brain to be more proactive in your pursuit of success.

I made a list of the skills in which I think every adult should gain a working knowledge. I wouldn’t expect you to become a master of any, but mastery isn’t necessary. Luck has a good chance of finding you if you become merely good in most of these areas. I’ll make a case for each one, but here’s the preview list. Public speaking Psychology Business writing Accounting Design (the basics) Conversation Overcoming shyness Second language Golf Proper grammar Persuasion Technology (hobby level)

Technology is part of the fabric of civilization, and you need to jack into it if you haven’t already. Learn the basics and you’ll be a lot happier.

that design is actually rules based. One need not have an “eye” for design; knowing the rules is good enough for civilians.

I also learned that art composition for anything from a magazine cover to an oil painting to a PowerPoint slide should conform to a few basic templates. The most common is the L-shaped layout.

When you take a photograph, you can use the same concept. Instead of centering the person in the pictures, adjust your field until the person is one side of the L and the ground is the bottom. The less-busy quadrant might be some landscape or the sunset.

Reduce daily decisions to a routine.
Over time I trained myself to reverse my cravings. Now ice cream is easy to resist but I’m not comfortable going two days without a hit of broccoli.

I set out to hack my brain like a computer and rewire the cravings circuitry.

I’ve successfully erased cravings for a wide variety of less-healthy foods. I do them one at a time, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

My experience, as odd as it sounds, is that I can change my food preferences by thinking of my body as a programmable robot as opposed to a fleshy bag full of magic.

You probably think your mood is caused by what’s happening in your life, not the starchy food you ate for lunch.

My proposition, which I invite you to be skeptical about, is that one of the primary factors in determining your energy level, and therefore your mood, is what you’ve eaten recently.

Nothing I can tell you in a book will convince you that food is a huge determinant of mood if you’ve lived your entire life without noticing that potatoes make you sleepy, and probably cranky as a result. The only way you’ll believe that food drives your mood is by testing the claim in your daily life. By that I mean simply asking yourself how you feel at any given moment and then making a mental note of what you ate recently. Look for the pattern.

When you get a handle on your own diet cause-and-effect patterns, you might discover they differ from my experience.

Just remember that it is chemistry , not magic controlling your energy.

The main point of both diet and exercise is that you want to reduce the amount of willpower required. Any other approach is unsustainable.

It’s a system , not a diet with a specific weight goal. Remember, goals are a trap. You want systems, not goals. The first part of the system is to break your addiction to simple carbs.

If for several months you give yourself permission to eat as much as you want of the foods that don’t include addictive simple carbs,

After a few months of staying off the chocolate I lost the craving. Later, when I ate a Snickers bar just to test what would happen, I barely enjoyed it. It felt like nothing but unnecessary calories.

Coke. Eight weeks later, I see Diet Coke as a weird little-colored water full of chemicals that I don’t need.

It is impossible to know with any precision what you should be eating and how often you should eat it. Nutrition science is shockingly incomplete.

As I write this, my fridge is full of prepped, healthy food. There are some cut and washed strawberries and blackberries in one plastic container.

The trick to eating right is to keep willpower out of the equation for your diet. Laziness can make you choose healthy foods if you are clever enough to make those foods the most convenient in your house. You can further game your willpower by allowing yourself unlimited quantities of the good sort of food, at least until your cravings for the bad stuff subside.

You don’t need to suppress your appetite if the reason you’re eating isn’t hunger.
punishment. No one gives out medals for choking down a big bowl of boredom. If eating a healthy diet feels

Think of healthy eating as a system in which you continually experiment with different seasonings and sauces until you know exactly what works for you. You want to be able to look at a vegetable and instantly know five ways to make it delicious, at least two of which don’t require much effort. When you change what you know about adding flavor to food, it will change your behavior. You’ll no longer need much willpower to resist bad food because you will be just as attracted to the healthy stuff.

I’m also a convert to the thought that dying at age eighty isn’t worse than dying at a hundred. If your meat diet is a bomb with a long enough fuse, it might kill you at just about the time you’d want it to.

What your doctor will do when you confess your vegetarian ways is recommend supplements, including omega-3 fats and B 12 and B6 vitamins.
I do have a cartoonist’s knack for simplification. And simplification might be just what you need.

The trick is manipulating your own cues in a way that programs your mind.

The exercise clothes cause me to think positive things about exercising, and that boosts my energy.

But what I have is not a goal; it is a system. And the system allows leakage.

All that matters in the long run, is that you made exercise a daily habit.

Do you steer clear of simple carbs for lunch because you’ve noticed they make you sleepy during the day?

Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps.

I’m suggesting that by becoming a person with good energy, you lift the people around you.

The main reason I blog is because it energizes me.

Ideally, you want to manage your personal energy for the long term and the big picture. Having one more cocktail at midnight might be an energy boost at the time, but you pay for it double the next day. At this point in the book, allow me to pause and acknowledge your entirely appropriate skepticism about my notion that organizing your life around the concept of personal energy is useful.

My proposition is that organizing your life to optimize your personal energy will add up to something incredible that is more good than bad.

Probably not. But the idea of it excites me and raises my energy today. That’s my system. By the time you read this

Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.

Damn, the problem was definitely in my brain. …….embedded in that story is pretty much everything I know about grabbing failure by the throat and squeezing it until it coughs up a hairball of success.

I’ve long seen failure as a tool, not an outcome.

The market rewards execution, not ideas. From that point on , I concentrated on ideas I could execute. I was already failing toward success, but I didn’t yet know it.

But what if you’re doing everything right on the physical-health front and you’re still not enjoying life as much as you think you should? A simple trick you might try involves increasing your ratio of happy thoughts to disturbing thoughts . If your life doesn’t provide you with plenty of happy thoughts to draw upon, try daydreaming of wonderful things in your future. Don’t worry that your daydreams are unlikely to come true. The power of daydreaming is similar to the power of well-made movies that can make you cry or make you laugh. Your body and your mind will respond automatically to whatever images you spend the most time pondering.

Once you get back to your baseline level of happiness, you’ll be in a better position to get the benefits of daydreaming. A powerful variation on the daydreaming method involves working on projects that have a real chance of changing the world, helping humanity, and/ or making a billion dollars. I try to have one or more change-the-world projects going at all times.
The big part— the 80 percent of happiness— is nothing but a chemistry experiment. And it’s hugely helpful to think of it that way. You can’t always quickly fix whatever is wrong in your environment,

Step one in your search for happiness is to continually work toward having control of your schedule.

Those parents might have all the “stuff” they could ask for but no flexibility to enjoy what they want when they want.

I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it.

You won’t all become work-at-home cartoonists, but you can certainly find a boss who values your productivity over your attendance.

Simply imagining a better future hacks your brain chemistry and provides you with the sensation of happiness today . Being happy raises your energy level and makes it easier to pursue the steps toward real-world happiness. This is another case in which your imagination can influence the real world. Don’t let reality control your imagination. Let your imagination be the user interface to steer your reality. The next important thing to remember about happiness is that it’s not a mystery of the mind and it’s not magic. Happiness is the natural state for most people whenever they feel healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good.

chapter. Taking care of my body always influences my happiness more than whatever task I’m involved in.

I’m here to tell you that the primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet, and exercise.

Based on a lifetime of observation, my best estimate is that 80 percent of your mood is based on how your body feels and only 20 percent is based on your genes and your circumstances, particularly your health.

Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself).

Exercise , food, and sleep should be your first buttons to push if you’re trying to elevate your attitude and raise your energy.

Feeling hungry can make you want to eat simple carbs, but eating simple carbs can make you feel hungry.

Humor also transports your mind away from your daily troubles. Humor puts life in perspective and sometimes helps you laugh at even the worst of your problems.

People need permission to be funny in social or business settings because there’s always a risk that comes

I hate selling , but I know that’s because I’m bad at it. If I were a sensational salesperson or had potential to be one, I’d probably feel passionate about sales

Here’s my own list of the important patterns for success that I’ve noticed over the years. This is purely anecdotal. I exclude the ones that are 100 percent genetic. Lack of fear of embarrassment Education (the right kind) Exercise A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. It’s what makes a person take on challenges that others write off as too risky. It’s what makes you take the first step before you know what the second step is. I’m not a fan of physical risks, but if you can’t handle the risk of embarrassment, rejection, and failure, you need to learn how, and studies suggest that is indeed a learnable skill.

If I could find the pattern behind my worst voice days, I would know what I needed to change. But no pattern emerged.

successful. The best he could offer was his observation that life had patterns and this was one of them: You become like the people around you.

Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry-cleaning store or invest in a fast-food franchise— boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.

The market rewards execution, not ideas. From that point on , I concentrated on ideas I could execute. I was already failing toward success, but I didn’t yet know it.

When you decide to be successful in a big way, it means you acknowledge the price and you’re willing to pay it.

The same was true for Scrabble, Ping-Pong, and tennis . I’m better than 99 percent of the world * in each of those games because I put in more practice time than 99 percent of the world. There’s no magic to it.

I was literally trying to hack my brain. My hypnosis training * suggested this might be possible. Over the next several weeks I noticed I could hold my pen to paper for a full second before feeling the onset of a pinkie spasm. Eventually, it was two seconds , then five. One day, after I trained myself to hold a pen to paper for several seconds without a spasm, my brain suddenly and unexpectedly rewired itself and removed the dystonia altogether. Apparently, I broke the spasm cycle and reinforced the nonspasm association.

One helpful rule of thumb for knowing where you might have a little extra talent is to consider what you were obsessively doing before you were ten years old.

I would be bouncing around from one thing to another and accomplishing nothing. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have a flexible schedule. I didn’t have one either for the first sixteen years of my corporate life. So I did the next best thing by going to bed early and getting up at 4: 00 A.M. to do my creative side projects. One of those projects became the sketches for Dilbert. You might not think you’re an early-morning person. I didn’t think I was either. But once you get used to it, you might never want to go back. You can accomplish more by the time other people wake up than most people accomplish all day.

television show is a bad way to relax into your evening snooze. A better approach is to use your bed for sex and sleeping and nothing else. 1 , 2 Likewise, it’s a good idea to dedicate certain sitting positions and certain workspaces to work and other spaces to relaxation or play. That makes your physical environment a sort of user interface for your brain, and it becomes a way to manipulate your energy levels and concentration. To change how you feel, and how you think, you can simply change where you are sitting. This is the sort of idea you’re likely to dismiss as unimportant unless you try it yourself for an extended time. In my experience, the way I sit makes a huge difference to my productivity.

That’s why it’s a good idea to invite people over on a regular basis. It will inspire you to keep your space straightened up, and that might in turn cause your mind to have a bit more

It’s useful to think of your priorities in terms of concentric circles, like an archery target. In the center is your highest priority: you. If you ruin yourself, you won’t be able to work on any other priorities. So taking care of your own health is job one. The next ring— and your second-biggest priority— is economics. That includes your job, your investments , and even your house. You might wince at the fact that I put economics ahead of your family , your friends, and the rest of the world, but there’s a reason. If you don’t get your personal financial engine working right, you place a burden on everyone from your family to the country.

One simple way to keep your priorities straight is by judging how each of your options will influence your personal energy. It’s not a foolproof gauge, but if you know a particular path will make you feel more stressed, unhealthy, and drained, it’s probably the wrong choice. Right choices can be challenging, but they usually charge you up. When you’re on the right path, it feels right, literally.

Salespeople know they can manipulate buyers by controlling what they compare. A building contractor knows that when customers see the house during the framing phase the rooms will look too small. Later, when the rooms are finished and furnished, they look larger. A smart builder warns the customers in advance that everything will look smaller in the framing phase. That way the customer doesn’t flip out. That’s psychology.

I’ve spent a lot of time describing just one psychological phenomenon: the tendency to make irrational comparisons. But how many psychological tips and tricks does a person really need to understand in order to be successful in life?

It’s a good idea to make psychology your lifelong study. Most of what you need to know as a regular citizen can be gleaned from the Internet. Below is Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases. 1 It looks like a lot to know, but you have your entire life to acquire the knowledge. Think of it as a system in which you learn a bit every year. That will be easier if you understand how important psychology is to everything you want to accomplish in life. On a scale of one to ten, the importance of understanding psychology is a solid ten.

You’re wasting your time if you try to make someone see reason when reason is not influencing the decision.

If you’re perplexed at how society can tolerate politicians who lie so blatantly , you’re thinking of people as rational beings.

Being a good persuader is like having a magic power.

Persuasive Words and Phrases Because Would you mind . . . ? I’m not interested. I don’t do that. I have a rule . . . I just wanted to clarify . . . Is there anything you can do for me? Thank you, this is just between you and me.

Apparently, the word “because” signals reasonableness, and reasonableness allows people to let down their defenses and drop their objections.

If you phrase your clarification question correctly, it will shine an indirect light on the problem and provide a face-saving escape path. In many cases, the clarification you receive will actually be an entirely new and more rational plan. No
No matter how you deliver a thank-you, make sure it includes a little detail of what makes you thankful. Was it the surprise, the thoughtfulness, or how helpful the favor or gift was? Be specific. For example, “Thank you so much for the ride. I was worried all day about how I would get everything done while my car is in the shop. You really saved me.” Compare that with a simple “Thank you for the ride.” Any thank-you is better than none, but you’re missing an opportunity if you do a poor job of it.

Don’t confuse your artificial sense of decisiveness with a need to be right all of the time. Life is messy and you’re going to be right only sometimes. You’ll do everyone in your life a favor by acting decisively , though, even if you have doubts on the inside.

People like how it feels. If you show enthusiasm, others will want to experience the same rush.

In any kind of negotiation, the worst thing you can do is act reasonable. Reasonable people generally cave into irrational people because it seems like the path of least resistance.

A little bit of irrationality is a powerful thing.

I think most people hold back their full powers of persuasion because it doesn’t feel good to be manipulative. It’s one thing to speak your mind and voice your preferences,

If your experience of reading the news is that it’s always boring, you’re doing it wrong. The simple entry point for developing a news-reading habit is that you read only the topics that interest you, no matter how trivial they might be. That effectively trains you to enjoy the time you spend reading the news, even if

It will feel easy and natural, which is the sign of a good system. If I had suggested starting every morning by reading the hard news in the Wall Street Journal, it would feel daunting for many people, and it’s unlikely you would follow through. A smarter approach is to think of learning as a system in which you continually expose yourself to new topics , primarily the ones you find interesting. My one caution about reading the news every day is that it can be a huge downer if you pick the wrong topics. Personally, I try to avoid stories involving tragic events and concentrate on the most hopeful topics in science, technology, and business. I don’t ignore bad news, but I don’t dwell on it. The more time you spend exposing yourself to bad news, the more it will weigh on you and sap your energy.

The great thing about reading diverse news from the fields of business, health, science, technology, politics , and more is that you automatically see patterns in the world and develop mental hooks upon which you can hang future knowledge. The formula for knowledge looks something like this: The Knowledge Formula: The More You Know, the More You Can Know

When it comes to any big or complicated question, humility is the only sensible point of view. Still, we mortals need to navigate our world as if we understood

Making comics is a process by which you strip out the unnecessary noise from a situation until all that is left is the absurd-yet-true core.

The best example of the power of simplicity is capitalism. The central genius of capitalism is that all of its complexities, all of the differences across companies, all of the challenges, decisions, successes, and failures

Throughout my career I’ve had my antennae up, looking for examples of people who use systems as opposed to goals. In most cases, as far as I can tell, the people who use systems do better. The systems -driven people have found a way to look at the familiar in new and more useful ways.

Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system. That’s a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction. The system-versus-goals model can be applied to most human endeavors. In the world of dieting, losing twenty pounds is a goal, but eating right is a system.

If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.

Whatever your plan, the focus is always important. My system of creating something the public wants and reproducing it in large quantities nearly guaranteed a string of failures.

Simple systems are probably the best way to achieve success .

When you are trying to decide between optimizing and simplifying, think of your entire day, not the handful of tasks in question. In other words , maximize your personal energy, not the number of tasks. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t always have the option of choosing simplicity, especially if we have a thousand things to complete in a day, as Shelly often does. But it’s a good idea to have an overarching plan to move toward simple systems as opportunities allow. You can chip away at the complexity of your life over time. Simplicity is a worthy long-term goal. That’s how you will free your personal energy so you can concentrate it where you need it.

Simple systems are probably the best way to achieve success .

When you are trying to decide between optimizing and simplifying, think of your entire day, not the handful of tasks in question. In other words , maximize your personal energy, not the number of tasks. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t always have the option of choosing simplicity, especially if we have a thousand things to complete in a day, as Shelly often does. But it’s a good idea to have an overarching plan to move toward simple systems as opportunities allow. You can chip away at the complexity of your life over time. Simplicity is a worthy long-term goal. That’s how you will free your personal energy so you can concentrate it where you need it.

But remember, goals are for losers anyway. It’s smarter to see your big-idea projects as part of a system to improve your energy, contacts, and skills.
The idea I’m promoting here is that it helps to see the world as math and not magic.

So the first part of my system involves managing my mental and physical states so I can do more things with the right kind of energy.

And it might rob you of some energy if you feel guilty about it or you get caught. The most important form of selfishness involves spending time on your fitness, eating right, pursuing your career, and still spending quality time with your family and friends.

We buy fast food to save time to help a coworker with a problem. At every turn, we cheat our own future to appear generous today. So how can you make the right long-term choices for yourself, thus being a benefit to others in the long run, without looking like a selfish turd in your daily choices? There’s no instant cure, but a step in the right direction involves the power of permission. I’m giving you permission to take care of yourself first, so you can do a better job of being generous in the long run.

The healthiest way to look at selfishness is that it’s a necessary strategy when you’re struggling. In hard times or even pre-success times, society and at least one cartoonist want you to take care of yourself first. If you pursue your selfish objectives, and you do it well, someday your focus will turn outward. It’s an extraordinary feeling. I hope you can experience

When you start asking questions, you often discover that there’s a simple solution,

The technique is laughably simple and 100 percent effective. All you do is introduce yourself and ask questions until you find a point of mutual interest. I’ll paraphrase the Dale Carnegie question stack as best I remember it. It goes something like this: What’s your name? Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do for a living? Do you have any hobbies/ sports? Do you have any travel plans?

will feel every bit as awkward as you. That person wants to talk about something interesting and to sound knowledgeable. Your job is to make that easy.

Your job as a conversationalist is to keep asking questions and keep looking for something you have in common with the stranger, or something that interests you enough to

Try to get in the habit of asking yourself how you can turn your interesting experiences into story form.

I credit one of my college friends with teaching me the secret of overcoming shyness by imagining you are acting instead of interacting. And by that I mean literally acting. It turns out that a shy person can act like someone else more easily than he can act like himself. That makes some sense because shyness is caused by an internal feeling that you are not worthy to be in the conversation. Acting like someone else gets you out of that way of thinking.

The single best tip for avoiding shyness involves harnessing the power of acting interested in other people. You don’t want to cross into nosiness, but everyone appreciates it when you show interest. You should also try to figure out which people are thing people and which ones are people.

I also recommend exercising your ego the way you’d exercise any other muscle. Try putting yourself in situations that will surely embarrass you if things go wrong, or maybe even if they don’t. Like any other skill, suppressing shyness takes practice. The more you put yourself in potentially embarrassing situations, the easier they all become.

But research shows that voice quality is far more important to your overall health and happiness than you might imagine. 4 Studies show a commanding voice is highly correlated with success.

I’m reasonably sure that my fake voice, with its low notes and artificial confidence, made me appear more capable than I was, and that wasn’t difficult because I was largely incompetent at every corporate job I held.

be rising and falling. If your upper chest is expanding when you breathe normally, you’re doing it wrong. When you get your breathing right, your words will come out sounding more confident. Next, you need to pick a tone. Some voice experts will tell you that your best and most natural tone is probably higher than the way you normally

Another common speaking trick is to hum the first part of the “Happy Birthday” song and then speak in your normal voice right after. You’ll notice your post humming voice is strangely smooth and perfect. The effect won’t last, but it gives you a target voice that you know you can get to with practice. Posture is also important for good speech. If you don’t sit up straight or stand straight, your vocal equipment will be pinched, and it will sound that way even if you don’t notice it yourself. When you’re trying to convey a fake sense of confidence— which is often handy— you need to tell yourself you’re acting. Simply speak the way you imagine a confident person would speak and you’ll nail it on the first try. You want to get rid of the hemming and hawing, the “ums” and “uhs ,” and anything that disrupts your flow. That takes practice.

When writing a résumé, a handy trick you’ll learn from experts is to ask yourself if there are any words in your first draft that you would be willing to remove for one hundred dollars each. Here’s the simple formula: Each Unnecessary Word = $ 100

As it turns out, business writing is all about getting to the point and leaving out all of the noise. You think you already do that in your writing, but you probably don’t.

In editors’ jargon, the first sentence is direct writing and the second is passive. It’s

Clean writing makes a writer seem smarter and it makes the writer’s arguments more persuasive.

It’s well worth your effort to learn how to avoid the most common grammatical errors.