Josh Bernoff is on a mission: Rid the world of bullshit in business writing. Since leaving his job as a senior vice president and analyst at Forrester Research, where he worked for 20 years, Bernoff has been calling out BS in writing on an almost daily basis via his Without Bullshit blog, where he analyzes emails, reports, and other missives that fail to state clearly what they mean. (He most recently has taken his red pen to Samsung’s statement about the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Dropbox’s call for customers to change their passwords, and American Airlines’ new ad campaign.)
Bernoff just released his “State of Business Writing 2016,” based on a survey of 547 business writers.
According to Bernoff, there are several categories of BS in writing, including…
- Weasel words
- Passive voice
- Burying the lead
- Ending weakly
In this FIR Interview, host Shel Holtz talks with Josh about these transgressions, why business writing is so bad, some of the causes of writing that seems to get worse over time, and how to impress readers with clear, concise messages.
About our conversation partner
Josh Bernoff is Chief Troublemaker at WOBS, LLC, blogging daily at Without Bullshit, describing the BS that surrounds us and how we can cut through it with clear, powerful writing. He is the author of “Writing Without Bullshit” from HarperBusiness, which will be released on September 13. Before striking out on his own, Josh spent 20 years at Forrester Research, ultimately as Senior Vice President for Idea Development, developing ideas and analyzing consumers, technology, media, social, and mobile. He c0-authored three books while at Forrester: “Groundswell,” “Empowered,” and “The Mobile Mind Shift.”