Consistently mistaking confidence for competence

There’s research on what’s called the Babble Effect, which is the idea that the more you talk in a meeting, the more likely you are to get selected as the leader of a team. So we reward people who dominate the conversation, even though they are not actually better at leadership. Often they’re worse, because they fail to include and learn from the voices around them in the room. They’re so obsessed with being the smartest person in the room that they fail to make the room smarter. And I think what happens there is we’re consistently mistaking their confidence for competence.

Adam Grant

Question Time

Noise, generating noise. It’s ambitions are no higher than something like the Jeremy Kyle show. A bottom feeding wind up that polarises the audience instead of informing and holding power to account.

They are no doubt delighted when it kicks off and generates outraged comments. All helps the viewing figures.

It’s a sly, underhand way of providing nominally informed debate regarding issues, irresponsible as it operates under the pretence that it’s audience is deeply interested in politics and will have looked at issues in depth from other sources. Irresponsible as it refuses to acknowledge that it may be the only way some, if not most people engage in politics.

Thus a populist like Farage can spout lies (I remember an audience member calling him out on this on one occasion) and they are given an opportunity to make claims that have no evidence to support them.

It is going to be interesting to see how they provide balance on climate change, something they are focusing on. Will counter arguments be backed by evidence, or just someone pandering to the ignorance of the audience?



It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else. Nothing has a more diverse and alienating effect upon society than this moral complacency and lack of responsibility, and nothing promotes understanding and rapprochement more than the mutual withdrawal of projections.

Carl Jung

Write with Rhythm

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

Gary Provost