Honest Progress

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Samuel Johnson And Progress Studies

Henry Oliver | Common Reader | 22nd March 2022

Do scientists require writers to communicate on their behalf? The example of 18C doctor and inventor Zachariah Williams might suggest that they do. Samuel Johnson — who could "write almost anything" — came to a destitute Williams' aid with his pen. Useful writing like this is not necessarily automatically recognised as "great" writing. Curious generalists, like Johnson, are sadly rare (912 words)

We’ll Be Honest

Ryan Hamilton, Kathleen D. Vohs, and Ann L. McGill | Journal of Consumer Research | June 2014

Study about the use of "dispreferred" speech markers and their effect on consumer trust. These are phrases like “I’ll be honest” and “I don’t want to be mean, but...” that we sprinkle into our speech to soften the delivery of bad news. The tests recounted here seem to suggest that this kind of platitude does work, acting as a "social lubricant" and increasing the chance of a purchase (9,965 words)

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