Monday, August 30, 2010

Advice Too Often Not Followed

I wish more people would listen to Steven Pinker (and his early editor):

I’ve gotten advice on writing from an early editor of mine who said, “When you try to present science to a wide audience, don’t feel that you’re writing for truck drivers or chicken pluckers. They probably realistically won’t buy your book. And if you try to aim at everyone, you’ll end up talking down or condescending. Write for your college roommate, someone who you respect as being as smart as you. They went into a different line of work. They’re joining the conversation late. They need to be brought up to speed; but assume that your audience is as intellectually engaged and as smart as you are.” That was terrific advice both for teaching, and for writing and speaking for a wide audience.

Video interview and transcript of "Steven Pinker on Writing About Science" on Big Think.

BTW, I only happened across Big Think because I happened to be checking Lindsay Beyerstein's Twitter feed. (She's now blogging there, and has archived Majikthise, and ain't I late to the party.) Lots of other blogs there, too, plus various series, like this month's "Dangerous Ideas." Have a look.

[Added] In other things you might already know, but which I didn't, I see Strange Maps also has a new home, at Big Think.

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