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Communicating

Part of my work involves me in communication as a way of putting across ideas. I used to say, “The best idea in the world is no good if only the milk-man ever gets to hear of it.” (That was in the days when milk was delivered to doorsteps). Ideas have to be disseminated, and much of this task is done by addressing audiences via the print media, the electronic media, or to live audiences.

I write many articles for national newspapers. I write opinion pieces, often averaging about 900 words apiece, for the Times, Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, Mail, Express, and occasionally the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. I also write somewhat shorter pieces for the business sections of newspapers, and somewhat longer pieces for magazines such as the Spectator or Prospect.

I have often chosen to unveil new policy initiatives in this way, putting them into the public domain to attract discussion and criticism. These include pieces that analyze the ways in which the world is changing, looking at the likely consequences and making predictions about future outcomes.

More recently I have started writing pieces for the internet versions of newspapers like the Telegraph and the Guardian. I write ‘think’ pieces for the ASI website, and contribute shorter pieces to its daily blog.

Radio producers often ask me to comment on stories in the news, or to provide balance when a two-sided discussion is deemed appropriate. I appear on the Today programme, on World at One, the PM programme, and similar ones. I also appear on TV news and TV public affairs programmes such as Newsnight, and on the BBC World Service. Sometimes I appear in documentary pieces.

I speak at conferences in the UK and abroad, and I accept every invitation I can to speak at schools, and as many as possible from universities. Young people make a challenging audience, but a rewarding one.

Recently I began recording short YouTube videos derived from some of my school talks to put across some of the essentials of economics.

On a lighter note I have co-authored with my colleague, Dr Eamonn Butler, a series of popular books about IQ and its measurement. Test Your IQ, Boost Your IQ, and the Sherlock Holmes IQ Book were published by Pan-Macmillan as popular paperbacks, selling in many translations in different countries.

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