Archive for the ‘Side Effects’ Category

Will you join me in a pledge to integrity – show both sides of a “solution”?

October 7, 2007

Portions of the below are from Hard Facts by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton:


No drug is without side effects.

Most surgical procedures have risks and even when performed perfectly may have downsides.

Physicians are ethically obligated to reveal risks and drawbacks.

Doctors are getting better at explaining risks to patients and, in the best circumstances, enabling them to join in a decision process where risks and potential problems are considered.


No management practice/program is costless and universally applicable.

All management practices and programs have strong and weak points, and even the best have costs.

That doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t implement a management practice, just that they should recognize the hazards.

Advocates of business practices rarely describe risks, problems that arise even in successful cases, or occasions when their wares are likely to be ineffective.

Admit the Flaws of your Solution

Admit the flaws and uncertainties of your “solution.”

Admit that your solution is the best you can build right now and, like all good ideas, will require constant modification as more is learned along the way.

You may make less money in the short term, but in the long term you will be seen as an honest, straight-talking person.  You will have integrity.


I make a personal pledge that for the next year whenever I make a recommendation, propose a “solution,” or give advice, I will also describe all their problems that I can think of, and I will actively seek out their problems.

Will you join me in making this pledge?

The “eye candy” effect

September 2, 2007

Fascinating information from the book unSpun:

The Eye Candy Effect: pictures tend to overpower spoken words.

Propagandists know that when words say one thing and pictures say another, it’s the pictures that count.

Drug companies have become particularly adept at showing us smiling faces and flowery pictures while the narrator recites material they hope we won’t notice, such as those lists of unpleasant and even debilitating or dangerous possible side effects.

For example, there was a TV ad for the anti-depressant drug Praxil CR.  In the ad it showed an attractive young woman walking her dog in a park , chatting with friends, smiling, obviously free of depression. Meanwhile, an announcer was saying, “Side effects may include nausea, sweating, sexual side effects, weakness, insomnia, or sleepiness.” Viewers weren’t seeing any of the undesirable possible side effects they were being told about, and as a result, many of them probably weren’t actually hearing the words or taking them into account.

When the words and the pictures differ, what we see tends to override what we hear. It’s just the way human beings are wired.

unSpun finding facts in a world of disinformation by Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson