Here’s what will happen in 2018 election (POLL)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you think Democrats will retake the House, the Senate, or both in the 2018 election?

Now that you’ve answered, let’s consider the limits of data science in 2018.

The best data scientists in the world agreed with nearly absolute certainty. These scientists determined, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States. That was in 2016.

Those scientists were wrong.

Many of those same scientists applied their advanced degrees and supercomputers to the next problem: how would a Trump presidency affect the US economy. Joined by several Nobel-winning economists, the data scientists came to one conclusion with absolute certainty: Trump will sink the US economy, and smart people should sell 100% of their stock immediately following Trump’s win.

Those scientists and economists were all wrong.

It’s easy to blame partisanship and bias for these huge errors by the best data scientists and economists in the world. And it’s likely that bias played a role in their embarrassing failures to predict the future. But bias wasn’t the only problem. Nor was it the primary error.

The primary error in data science is its confidence in data.

Now, I’m a huge proponent of data science. I work with big companies who under-invest in analyzing their own data and in studying publicly available data. Data analysis and lightweight artificial intelligence and machine learning can greatly improve business results. I’ve helped smart companies achieve amazing growth through a combination of data science and human behavioral science. It’s what I do for a living.

(Find out how I used data science to predict that Trump had a good chance of winning.)

But I also know the limits of data science. And those limits are far more humbling than many data scientists admit. The biggest limit comes from unknowns. Scientists call these “confounding variables.” While eventually knowable, in our present limits of knowledge, the effect of an unknown, confounding variable cannot be measured or accounted for. I’ll give you an example.

Say I want to test a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that trees begin to change colors as a result of temperature changes in the fall. I also want to factor out some variables I know could affect the trees: humidity, cloud cover, rainfall, and heat stress. Then I run my test over 3 years.

In the end, I discover a perfect correlation between temperature change and leaf color change.

Only later do I learn that I missed one other variable: sunlight hours. In the fall in subtropical zones, the hours of daylight decrease and the hours of darkness grow. In October, trees in my part of North America receive several hours less sunlight than they did in June.

Upon further investigation, I learn that scientists had long ago determined that hours of sunlight, not temperature, cause trees to hibernate in the winter. Their transition from active growth to dormancy causes their leaves to change color. An oak tree in coastal California where fall temperatures are often warmer than in mid-summer turns colors just as it does in St. Louis. Here’s the science, according to the United States National Arboretum:

In late summer or early autumn, the days begin to get shorter, and nights are longer. Like most plants, deciduous trees and shrubs are rather sensitive to length of the dark period each day. When nights reach a threshold value and are long enough, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and the stem divide rapidly, but they do not expand. This abscission layer is a corky layer of cells that slowly begins to block transport of materials such as carbohydrates from the leaf to the branch. It also blocks the flow of minerals from the roots into the leaves. Because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at about the same time each year in a given location, whether temperatures are cooler or warmer than normal.

It took science a long time to figure that out. While a pretty simple problem that’s easily tested in both the laboratory and in the wild, trees are subject to many variables: wind, moisture, cloud cover, heat stress, terrain, parasites, deer, beavers, etc. But people have been studying trees for many, many years. And trees are less complex than the human brain.

Now, let’s go back to the problem of modern data science. Data scientists are mostly concerned with how people will behave at some point in the future. These scientists don’t care why leaves change colors in the fall. They care about how people (consumers) will respond to the leaves changing.

People are more complicated than trees, at least when it comes to their behavior. The factors that influence human behavior have also been studied for centuries. But our understanding of the factors that influence our behaviors is limited. And even the variables we know about are so varied and numerous that predicting how one variable affects all the others is as much art as science. (For example, shoppers who receive a free sample of luxury chocolate candy at a kiosk in a mall are more likely to make a purchase from a luxury retailer in the mall than the same shoppers in a mall that doesn’t give away free luxury candy.)

Which brings us back to the 2018 election.

It’s very possible that Democrats will take over the House and the Senate. It’s also possible that Republicans could increase their majorities in both houses. It’s also possible that something in between will happen. I don’t know. Neither do you. And neither do the greatest data scientists alive.

That’s the point. When you hear predictions, don’t be fooled by the math and science used to bolster those predictions. The scientists who did the work, usually in good faith, don’t know the variable they don’t know. Nor do they know the likelihood of a new variable creeping into the equation. Nor can they factor the influence of those infinite unknown variables. Take all predictions about elections with a grain of salt, and be especially circumspect if the prediction comes with a lot of easy-to-understand charts and graphs. And, if you have a strong belief in science, you are actually more susceptible to believing in charts and graphs.

In a study published in 2014, researchers showed how influential charts and graphs can be. From their abstract:

The appearance of being scientific can increase persuasiveness. Even trivial cues can create such an appearance of a scientific basis. In our studies, including simple elements, such as graphs (Studies 1–2) or a chemical formula (Study 3), increased belief in a medication’s efficacy. This appears to be due to the association of such elements with science, rather than increased comprehensibility, use of visuals, or recall.

And people who believe in science are most gullible:

Belief in science moderates the persuasive effect of graphs, such that people who have a greater belief in science are more affected by the presence of graphs (Study 2). Overall, the studies contribute to past research by demonstrating that even trivial elements can increase public persuasion despite their not truly indicating scientific expertise or objective support.

When you see scientific-looking studies predicting with 98% confidence how the 2018 election will turn out, remember this study and this blog. In fact, check out this chart which shows you are more likely than others to share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook. You’re also slightly more likely than others to remember this blog post when the actual results of the election are announced in November.

Persuasion and Fat

Reading Time: 6 minutes


The Easiest Formula for Mastering Persuasion, Losing Weight, and Avoiding Disease (video)

“Persuasion” is part of my job title. When you’re a persuasion professional, you get a lot of questions about persuasion. Some are sincere. Others are skeptical, like, “Okay, persuasion boy, persuade me to give you a hundred dollars.”

Persuasion doesn’t work like that. But it also does. Here’s the thing: if you ask me to persuade you to give me a hundred bucks, you already want to give me a hundred bucks. You want my magic to work.

Likewise, those people who pay $122 to see David Copperfield in Las Vegas want Copperfield’s tricks to work. They want to be dazzled, even if they’re skeptical. They want to try to figure out the trick, but they’d be disappointed if they did. They want to be fooled.

Persuasion isn’t about fooling people. It’s about helping people get what they want. Some people want to be amazed by David Copperfield defying the laws of physics. Some people want to give me $100. Persuasion, like stage magic, delivers.

So, let me state this unequivocally: you are free to give me $100 if you choose. I won’t try to stop you. It’s up to you. If giving me $100 means you’ll understand persuasion, go ahead. But you don’t have to give me $100 to understand how persuasion works. You can learn shortcuts. And I’ve discovered one of the best shortcuts ever.

It’s called The One-Sentence Persuasion Course by Blair Warren. 

Warren admits his method has been scientifically scrutinized. That means scientists haven’t developed a theory to explain why Warren’s method works. Then again, scientists don’t why men find Eva Longoria attractive.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 30: Eva Longoria attends The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. 25650_012 (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner)

Now that you know Eva Longoria’s attractiveness lacks scientific theory, do you think she’s ugly?

Of course not. And the lack of scientific theory to explain Warren’s persuasion method doesn’t make it ineffective. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, as Nassim Taleb says.

Read on to find out where to get the One-Sentence Persuasion Course for free. Actually, I’ll do it right now.

On one condition. Make that two conditions:

  1. You will read this entire PDF before reading this blog any further.
  2. You will return to this blog after you have read the PDF.

Do we have a deal? Good. Here’s the link. I’ll see you back here in a few minutes after you’ve read the PDF from top to bottom without skipping ahead.

What do you think? Are those the five magic bullets for persuasion?

  • encourage people’s dreams
  • justify their failures
  • allay their fears
  • confirm their suspicions
  • help them throw rocks at their enemies

Psychologists and hypnotists call this “pacing and leading.” You align yourself with your patient or subject to build rapport. Then you lead them where they want to go. Where they want to go but have been unable to motivate themselves to get there.

Personal trainers do this. People go to personal trainers because they want to get healthier and look better. Personal trainers simply get their customers out of their own way.


Do you weigh 300 lbs? High blood pressure? Borderline diabetic? If so, you probably want to be thinner and healthier. You want to look good in a swimming suit. If you’re a guy, you want Eva Longoria to find you attractive. If you’re a girl, you want to look like Eva Longoria on the red carpet. But you don’t know how.

Well, it’s not your fault. You’ve been lied to about what you should eat. For decades, doctors, dietitians, the government, and popular magazines have encouraged people to eat foods that make you fat and unhealthy. Society and advertisers have told you that comfort is the goal in life.

Both lessons were lies.

Natural fat is the healthiest food you can eat. Conversely, most fruits, all sugars, all grains, all starches increase disease and obesity. Food labeled low-fat? Very bad. Breakfast cereal, oatmeal, and orange juice make you sick. And fat. Sitting six hours a day is worse than smoking a pack a day. And breakfast doesn’t matter. (You’re better off with a Bulletproof coffee.)

You’re fat because you listened to doctors and the government. You’re sick because you listened to the ads of furniture makers.

You’re overweight because society shames you into eating food that’s bad for you. How do I know this?

Last week I attended a conference at a great hotel in California. I watched a man eat a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. Then he got up, went to the buffet, and returned with a plate of muffins and fruit. And a tall glass of orange juice. As this man sat down, he announced, “now for the healthy stuff.”

He was wrong. The healthy stuff was on that first plate. This plate will kill him. Or give him Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Either way, fruit and grains are the enemies. But no one ever told him.

No one told him because there’s a lot of money in keeping people confused about healthy eating. Here’s a short list of the organizations that benefit financially from bad dieting:


  • Hospitals and their employees
  • American Medical Association
  • American Heart Association
  • American Cancer Society
  • All those Type II diabetes organizations
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Cancer treatment centers
  • Universities like Harvard and Washington University
  • Proprietary diet companies
  • Fitness centers


  • Corn growers
  • Sugar producers
  • Grain growers
  • Soy farmers
  • Fruit growers

Retail and CPG

  • Coke and Pepsi (and other soft drink makers)
  • Beer brewers
  • Kellogg’s (and other cereal makers)
  • Frito-Lay (and other snack makers)
  • Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers
  • Walmart (grain and sugar snacks)
  • Grocery stores (higher margins on CPG than whole foods)
  • Starbuck’s (sugary drinks have higher margins)
  • Fast food restaurant chains
  • Sit-down restaurant chains

Those lists are just off the top of my head. Every company, industry, and association mentioned benefits from bad health. If most Americans adopted a high fat, low carb diet tomorrow, all of those entities would be in deep financial trouble. And so would their lobbyists.

The reason the government tells you to eat food that causes horrible diseases is simple: lobbyists write the bills. Have you ever heard of the National Measles Foundation? No. Because measles has been pretty much wiped out. As has small pox. When a disease diminishes, funding for research disappears. A lot of people make good jack working for the various heart, cancer, and diabetes associations. They need a steady increase in those diseases to justify their existences. And the government is always happy to legislate disease into existence. For a fee.

If you want to be thin and healthy with a brain that works great, it’s as easy as a low carb, high fat eating system. You can kick it off with a 3-day water fast. (No, it’s not dangerous to go three days without food. It’s dangerous not to.)

What I Just Did

I just gave an example of Blair Warren’s method. Let’s take a look.

  • Encourage people’s dreams: I asked if you want to be thin and healthy, to look good in a swimming suit, to look like Eva Longoria. Or to date Eva Longoria. That’s the dream.
  • Justify their failures: “Well, it’s not your fault.”
  • Allay their fears: No, it’s not dangerous to go three days without food. High fat, low carb diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
  • Confirm their suspicions: The pop-science “healthy” eating recommendations are not just wrong but destructive. Eating what the government tells you is dangerous. Large, well-funded organizations use government to maximize their financial success. Everything labeled “healthy” and “low-fat” is bad for you.
  • Help them throw rocks at their enemies: Disease and obesity are everyone’s enemies. So are know-it-all, do-gooder organizations that shame you for eating eggs and rib eye steaks. I just loaded you up with a pocket of rocks to knock them in the head.

So, there you have it. Blair Warren’s one-sentence persuasion course. The easiest way to master the art of persuasion. It’s a simple formula for practicing pacing and leading.

Finally, $100 seems like a lot to ask. Most of this information is free on the Internet. It’s just that no one wants you to know about it. Except me and few others. If you feel guilty about getting this lifesaving information for free, you can just send ten dollars to my PayPal account:

That’s a 90 percent savings if you find this information valuable. It could save your life. And you may look better, too.

P.S. If you want to learn more about the One-Sentence Persuasion Course, check out Blair’s great book. Scott Adams recommends it. And for more on the diet that reduces disease in improves life, see and watch this video by Dr. Ted Naimen.