Clutter-free Writing

David R. Williams advocates applying the K.I.S.S. principle (“Keep it simple, Stupid.”) to writing. In his book Sin Boldly! Dr. Dave’s Guide to Writing the College Paper (Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2000), 9, he explains, ” ‘Simple’ does not have to mean simpleminded. Keeping it simple means avoiding the complexity of too many competing, confusing factors. This applies to choosing a paper topic as well as writing a sentence or running a business.” Read more

The Effect of Your Environment, Part II

A Fine Mess

Albert Einstein is widely quoted as saying, “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” If you’ve used his words to defend your own messy ways at school, work, or other parts of your life, you might be hard-wired for disorder. And that can be a good thing. Read more

Search Engines You Should (But Probably Don’t) Know

“Ask anyone which search engine they use to find information on the Internet and they will almost certainly reply: ‘Google,’” says Charles S. Knight, Search Engine Optimizer and editor of AllSearchEngines. “Look a little further, and market research shows that people actually use four main search engines for 99.99% of their searches: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask.com (in that order). But in my travels as a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), I have discovered that in that .01% lies a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen. So many, in fact, that I have had to limit my list of the very best ones to a mere 100.” Read more

Tools that Build Strong Papers

David R. Williams calls sentences and paragraphs “the tools of the writing trade.” In his book Sin Boldly! Dr Dave’s Guide to Writing the College Paper (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 2000) 31, he says, “The sentence is the hammer you use to drive your points home. Each blow must hit a nail. Each sentence must communicate a thought clearly from your mind to that of your reader. Disorganized jumbles of words and phrases cannot do this. Only when the words are arranged in a logical order with a subject and a verb is a complete thought expressed.” Read more

The Effect of Your Environment

Dazed and Confused

Are your efforts to work at peak effectiveness at school or on the job being derailed by the clutter in your workspace? Try these quick and easy tips to organize your desk.

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Culture Club

Online Search Techniques

“The diversity of cultures represented on the Web is an amazing and wonderful thing,” notes Web expert Barbara G. Friedman, who adds, “But online searches are easily thwarted if the user fails to take into account the myriad spellings and meanings that accompany that diversity. Searching for one will not find sites that use the other spelling, or for that matter sites containing misspellings. In addition, the same word can have alternate meanings even within a single language.” Read more

Blast Through Writer’s Block

“Getting started,” say Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman, “may be the most difficult task when you sit down to write.” Luckily for us, their book Yes, You Can! 1,200 Inspiring Ideas for Work, Home, and Happiness (Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1996), 101, includes nine ideas to kickstart the process.

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Retrain Your Brain

Magnificent Obsession

“Healthy preoccupations,” say Eric Maisel, Ph.D., and Anne Maisel, “aren’t just for people driven to accomplish something out of the ordinary. They are for everyone.”  In their Psychology Today article Go Ahead, Obsess! written with Carlin Flora, they say, “In order to lead a life that makes you proud, you likely need to up the ante and get obsessed.” Read more

Top Search Tips

Internet Tutorials – Laura B. Cohen’s “basic guide to the Internet” – is a valuable resource for anyone who needs to find information online. Bookmarking her Best Bet Search Tips, for example, means that you’ll always have easy access to proven techniques for effective online research.

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An Essential Tool for Writers

“Use definite, specific, concrete language. Omit needless words.” says William Strunk Jr.  In his extraordinary 71-page book Elements of Style (New York: Macmillan, 1959), he follows his own advice as he steers writers around potential grammatical potholes. And Strunk’s rules – simple directives with examples to illustrate what works and why – apply to research papers, essays, short stories, novels, nonfiction works, business communications, and every other kind of writing. Read more