GETTING REAL

Energy Visualization. Photo by the author.

It happens on Wall Street. It happens in Washington. And it happens in board rooms across the country. What we’re talking about is the misreading and misuse of data. This article is directed toward online marketing decisions based on analytics.

It’s self-evident that without accurate facts, you’re usually not going to make good decisions, except by accident. Unfortunately, we’re so inundated with data that learning how to determine what data has value is a skill in and of itself. The information may be accurate, but those reading the data may lack the skills, or be too biased, to translate it…


PROPAGANDA

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When future historians write about the 20th Century, it would not surprise me to find it had been nicknamed The Century of Spin. Today more than ever we see that the battle for the minds of the people revolves around the manner in which events get interpreted, not necessarily the events themselves.

Social observers have long noted this trafficking in interpretations. Who decides what is good and what is bad? Who decides who the good guys and bad guys are in this battle for control of the narrative?

We live in a mediated world. Before entering World War One, very…


Two views on the pursuit of happiness.

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I am proposing that what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is totally at odds with what it has come to mean today. To elaborate on how this came about is not my aim here. Instead I wish to compare two ideas about happiness and suggest that somehow we’ve now got it all wrong.

What I’m attempting to express here comes from notes I took in response to a lecture on Aristotle that our philosophy club discussed a number of years ago.

Aristotle, one of…


NOSTALGIA

Author in front of elevator doors, Duluth Holiday Inn, when Dylan won Nobel Prize, 2016.

The Minnesota music scene has produced some sensational talent through the years. Rock, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and even gospel music circles have developed exceptional performers and recording artists. One of these was David Curtis Glover, better known as Tony “Little Sun” Glover. A harmonica player with the folk group Koerner, Ray and Glover (inducted into the MN Music Academy Hall of Fame in 1983) he was also a notable rock critic who wrote for many of the best-known music mags including Crawdaddy, Sing Out, Creem and Rolling Stone.


WORK LIFE

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For years I have referenced data from the Gallup organization for insights on various topics. What I like about Gallup Polls is that they stake a claim on getting the most diverse viewpoints from the broadest field of data. They have the resources to do this because they do it well and have become trusted for it, unlike many news polls that pretend to do so.

When companies measure ROI, they are measuring results after the fact. …


BOOKS

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Ernest Hemingway once made a dismissive remark about Nobel Prize winners in which he declared that once people win the prize they don’t produce anything good or important again. (This is my paraphrase.) Kazuo Ishiguro’s remarkable Klara and the Sun proves that such pronouncements are absurd.


TRIVIA

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Each game has its rules, from boardgames to Hollywood to the publishing industry to job hunting, bridge, baseball and even blogging.

The more complex the game, the more challenging. Some people thrive on challenges. For others the slightest resistance to an easy solution results in resignation. The external circumstances may be the same, but the internal commitment or lack thereof leads to different outcomes, whether in relationships or life.


HOMESCHOOL LIFE

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I believe writing well is one of the most important skills any homeschooling parent can teach their children.

The written word has changed the world more than almost any other human activity. Truth is passed on from one generation to the next through the written word. Political movements may begin with a fire in the breast, but it is the written word that distributes this fire far and wide. The American Revolution was successful in large part because of the printing press and the printed word.


BOOKS

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I was introduced to the writings of Jacques Ellul by a publication called Radix which aimed to present a serious, intellectually radical Christianity. Through probing journalism, essays and interviews with thought leaders, it demonstrated that intelligent people could also be Bible believers and worshippers of Jesus Christ.

Having started college as a philosophy major, I found Ellul’s clarity of thought to be enlightening and challenging. What impressed me most about the French philosopher’s writings was that half the books he wrote were written to Christians, and half were directed to secular audiences. That is, he spoke in the language of…


LIFE LESSONS

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In 1992 I published a five-part series of articles on ethical issues in terminal health care. As a result I was asked to teach a one day class for seniors at a local university. The response was such that I decided to write a book proposal and in January 1993 submitted it to Thomas Nelson Publishing.

In February, the movie Iron Will was being filmed here in Duluth. Naturally this was a thrill for locals. Hollywood was in town.

As it turns out, one of the film’s producers was a friend of a friend, and a former Minnesotan. In my…

Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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