A statement is not fact: it may not be accurate

Writers often quote studies for apparently proving that ‘Companies that do X are more successful’ or ‘People who do Y are happier’. But the study may have drawn a different conclusion which the writer twisted to fit his story better. Or, the study may have never actually measured X, Y, success, or longevity but something quite different.

Want a more innovative conclusion? Innovate the conclusion

Want a more innovative conclusion? Innovate the conclusion

'Want a more innovative company? Hire more women'. The title hooked me immediately. I’m an avid follower of the @TEDTalks Twitter page, but I don’t have time to watch every talk. But when I saw one with the title ‘Want a more innovative company? Hire more women’, I wanted to hit play instantly.
Does board diversity really improve environmental performance?

Does board diversity really improve environmental performance?

My LinkedIn feed came alive with this post: Francesca Gino is the Harvard Business School professor accused of faking data in her research. HBS is conducting an investigation into the matter and I am reserving judgement until its outcome; this post is on something completely different. My ...
Missing the big picture

Missing the big picture

In 2016, the finance company MSCI released a study claiming that CEO pay bears no link to company performance. It couldn’t have been better timed. That year, soaring CEO pay was controversial on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK government was so concerned that it launched an official inquiry into it (and other aspects of how companies are run).
Do women improve decision-making on boards?

Do women improve decision-making on boards?

Last week, Harvard Business Review published an article entitled "Research: How Women Improve Decision-Making on Boards". It was widely shared on LinkedIn and someone tagged me in it, given my research on diversity, equity, and inclusion. When I became Managing Editor of the Review of Finance, I appointed the first women to its board of editors in our 20-year history, so I'd like to believe the findings. However, it's important not to take claims at face value, particularly when ...
Does social purpose drive profit?

Does social purpose drive profit?

Someone thoughtfully sent me a Harvard Business Review article, ‘How Your Company's Social Purpose Can Also Drive Profit’, thinking I’d like it given my book Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit, gives a similar message. My confirmation bias led me to want to lap up the evidence uncritically, but unfortunately it’s extremely weak, even for HBR's standards. (I have written for HBR many times and it has many ...
Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

Many forms of misinformation have a clear source — authors or journalists misquoting a study, or a famous person giving an extreme quote. That allows us to check the underlying source, as in this example.
Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 1)

Can we really make $4 trillion fall from the sky? (Part 1)

In late 2022, a CEO posted this on LinkedIn: ‘Companies that place importance on #ESG factors saw profits rise 9.1% and revenue grow 9.7% over the past 3 years’. Having written a book on the value of ESG, I was intrigued.
If in doubt, cut it out

If in doubt, cut it out

We all know the trick of selectively quoting from a passage, so that you can twist it to support whatever you want. As theologian Don Carson pointed out, “A text without a context is a pretext”. Websites such as Quote Investigator check whether a quote was actually said, and give you the context behind it.