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The Charlottesville Fake News Was the Best Persuasion Play of the Past Year

Now that some time has passed, and emotions have subsided a bit, I can tell you about the best persuasion play of the past year. The credit goes to the anti-Trump media. They convinced much of the world that the President of the United States referred to a bunch of racists with tiki torches in Charlottesville as “fine people.”

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Persuasion Reading List – Updated 1/18

Update: New Book added: Win Bigly – By Scott Adams

Readers of this blog have been asking me to update my persuasion reading list. If you wonder why people are asking a cartoonist about persuasion, it is because I am a trained hypnotist, and mention that skill often in the context of blogging and Periscoping. I have also studied the various tools of persuasion for years because they are helpful in my job as a writer. In my New York Times best selling book Win Bigly I teach you President Trump’s world-class persuasion techniques that you can use for your work or personal life.

I recommend reading these books in the order listed. If you decide to skip a few, I strongly recommend reading the first book on the list, Influence, as a grounding for the rest.

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How to Make Your Opponents Try (and fail) to Prove a Negative

Sometimes you can prove an alleged event did happen, but you generally can’t prove something did not happen. For example, if police have clear video footage of a crime in progress, several direct witnesses, and DNA evidence too, you can say they proved the defendant did the crime. But if your neighbor says an angel visited him in his bedroom at night, and there were no witnesses or physical traces left behind, you can’t prove it didn’t happen. All you can say for sure is that you don’t have any evidence of it happening.

So if you want to drive a political opponent crazy, allege that he or she did something evil, provide no direct evidence, and force them to do the impossible: Prove it didn’t happen.

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How North Korea Can Become Switzerland of the East

North Korea is playing nice with South Korea lately as they coordinate joint participation in the Olympics. But don’t get too excited about that niceness because it is a wedge strategy to separate South Korea from the United States in our unified position against North Korean nukes. Still, talking feels like a positive step compared to the alternatives.

The big issue, as we all know, is that North Korea wants nuclear weapons and most of the rest of the world, especially the United States, is unwilling to live with that. Hence the economic sanctions.

So what would a solution to this stalemate look like?

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President Trump Earns the Highest Presidential Approval Level of All Time

The Small Business Optimism Index hit an all-time high. That’s the new Presidential Approval Poll.

In olden days (pre-2016), candidates for president were not so different from each other. I can remember pundits complaining endlessly about how similar the Democrats and Republicans had become. In that environment, you can easily imagine someone who voted for Candidate A warming up to Candidate B. In those simpler times, a presidential approval poll meant something.

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Is President Trump’s Nuclear Button Tweet a Sign of Insanity?

On CNN yesterday, Jake Tapper described President Trump’s recent behavior — including the President’s tweet about having a bigger nuclear “button” than North Korea — as abnormal and unstable. In other words, crazy.

Is it?

One folksy definition of “crazy” is that it involves trying over and over again a solution that has never worked while hoping it works next time. President Trump is doing something closer to the opposite of that. He’s doing something new, both strategically and verbally. To be fair, new things can be crazy too. But usually only if they don’t work. When a new and unexpected thing works out well, we call it genius. And that begs the question: Is President Trump’s approach to North Korea working?

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How President Trump Changed Your Imagination

Do you remember when candidate Trump told us (in effect) that he would be the first non-politician to win the presidency? It seemed impossible to even imagine such a thing. Then he did the impossible.

Do you remember when it was common wisdom that if the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel it would be a huge problem? President Trump did it anyway. So far, it looks like a minor problem at most.

Do you remember when experts said President Trump shouldn’t mess with the Iran nuclear deal because it could cause a huge problem for the United States and its allies? He did it anyway, and it is likely a supporting variable for the Iranian protestors who don’t like how their government is creating problems that don’t need to be problems.

Do you remember when experts said China will never help squeeze the economy of North Korea because China fears a refugee crisis? President Trump encouraged China to squeeze anyway. Then he helpfully provided satellite photos of tankers cheating on the high seas. After South Korea grabbed and held a second cheating tanker, the economics of smuggling oil have turned negative, or will soon. And North Korea is sounding — at least to my ears — more flexible than ever.

That branch is stronger than you imagined.

Do you remember when it was common wisdom that we couldn’t put enough pressure on Pakistan to make them stop harboring terrorists because Pakistan is also an ally in many ways? President Trump just cut off their funding and put them on notice.

Do you remember when experts said withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord would be a catastrophe? President Trump did it anyway because he didn’t like the deal. I’ve seen no indication that exiting the deal made the climate worse. Here I’m only talking about the quality of the Accord and what little impact it would have had in the best case scenario.

The big wildcard in our many “impossibles” has to do with the tax bill and the deficit. Experts say it is impossible to get enough growth from the tax bill to pay for the deficit. But the experts are blind to the persuasion of it all. If President Trump persuades the economy higher, let’s say to 5-6% GDP, there’s a good chance he will accomplish the impossible once again and pay for those tax cuts. The tax cuts alone won’t get us to that GDP, but as part of a larger package of persuasion-by-optimism, it is strong sauce.

The meta-impact of President Trump routinely doing the “impossible” is that it changes how all of us view our world. If Trump can keep doing the impossible, time and time again, why can’t we?

Sometimes things are literally impossible. But much of the time we are only limited by our imaginations. Many of us simply couldn’t imagine that a number of the things President Trump has done would work out well. These were not simple surprises; these were failures of our imagination.

In 2015 I told you that candidate Trump would change far more than politics. I said he would change how we understand reality itself. And one of those biggest changes is in the scope of our imaginations. One year ago it was hard for me to imagine Saudi Arabia taking a sudden turn toward modernization. One year ago it was hard for me to imagine an uprising in Iran that could reshape its destiny. I assume it was hard for the Iranian public to imagine it as well. But they sure are imagining it now.

President Trump isn’t the only variable in the world. But he does create a pattern in our minds of making the impossible seem achievable. Don’t underestimate the impact that pattern has on the imaginations of everyone watching.

And don’t be surprised if 2018 is the year when people all over the world shed their mental prisons and take on the “impossibles” in ways we have never seen. Thanks to President Trump, people everywhere are beginning to recognize the difference between real impossibilities and simple failures of imagination.

Welcome to The Golden Age. It starts now.


If you want to be part of The Golden Age, consider signing up to be an expert (at anything) with my startup’s app called Interface, which is nearing completion. The first experts who sign up will get priority search rankings. We have several hundred experts already, on all kinds of topics, and more coming every day. Imagine a world where you can get advice on anything, directly from an expert, on a video call via your phone, in less than a minute, with no paperwork. We’re almost there.

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The Demolition President

President Trump has delivered on a number of promises for his base. But there was an impressive amount of breakage along the way. You might say he President Trump did as much demolition as he did construction. The press is doing a good job of telling us what he accomplished in 2017. But they keep leaving out all the stuff he broke that probably needed to be broken. I’ll fix that for you here.

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How to Determine If You Should Talk About Politics in Public

When candidate Trump first set about the job of redefining politics (and reality) back in 2015, people had lots of predictions about how things would turn out. One year isn’t long enough to know everything we need to know about his presidency, but it’s long enough to to check some of our predictions. As a public service, I put together a list of predictions that various people made about Trump that you can use to evaluate your own predictive powers. Count the number of items on the list that you once predicted would be true. I’ll tell you how to evaluate your score at the end.

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