Insight Beats Information

Alert readers may recall that last fall, I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder.

All went well and while it’s been quite some time, you will be pleased to learn that the window for sending get well gifts is still open (mailing address below).

Unfortunately, my left shoulder has now been acting up.

And so yesterday, as a follow-up to an MRI earlier in the month, I went to see my orthopedic surgeon.

He didn’t waste any time.

He walked in, shook my hand, and said, “Well, your left shoulder is in even worse shape.”

He provided some detail regarding what he saw, and then proceeded to lay out my options – all five of them.

They ranged from a repeat of last year’s surgery (ugh) on one extreme, to doing nothing on the other, with a bunch of other interventions inbetween.

And then he said something that stopped me in my orthopedic tracks:

“When a surgeon gives you a lot of options, it means that none of them are especially good.”

Wow. I wasn’t happy to hear that, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by the counterintuitive elegance of the man’s insight.

After all, in most situations – mapping a driving route, selecting an ice cream flavor, deciding which of your brothers-in-law is the least annoying – more choice is more better.

But not, apparently, when it comes to surgery. Here, according to my medically-degreed friend, the lack of a single, obvious solution suggests a problem that is hard to fix.

Experts Have Insights

As you might imagine, I receive and read a lot of newsletters. Most of them are exceedingly “just okay.”

The problem, often, is not related to format or typeos or even the writing. It’s that the topics chosen are uniformly average and predictable.

That’s a missed opportunity.

There’s nothing terrible about average and predictable. But if you want people to pay attention to what you have to say (occasionally even exclaiming “Aha!”), you need to pick topics that veer from the middle of the road – topics that reveal the depth of your understanding.

That’s what my surgeon did when he revealed something counterintuitive.

That’s what …

… Barry Horwitz did when he explained why tradition can be dangerous;

… Dianne Savastano did when she made it clear that you don’t have to do what your doctor recommends;

… Rob Waeldner did when he demonstrated that difficult negotiations can still be friendly.

These people aren’t just sharing information; they are sharing expert insights.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to finding answers to burning questions, Google is hard to beat.

Experts, on the other hand, provide insights, share perspective, and answer questions you didn’t even know you had.

If you can do that consistently, your readers will stick around. In some happy cases, they will even become your clients.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which of your brothers-in-law is the least annoying?
  2. Have you ever exclaimed “Aha!”
  3. Where do you find your best content topics?

Share your answers below…

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9 thoughts on “Insight Beats Information

  1. Bart Foreman

    1. I only have one B-I-L and he’s great
    2. AHha! (Giggle-giggle) Form many years my weekly Monday Morning e-marketing newsletter was named The Monday Morning AHha!
    3. I find my best content topics from writers like you. Keep it up.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Totally agree on the kids thing. Since mine have left the house and my dear dog passed away, the stories are not as easy to come by!

  2. K Srikrishna

    1. As with Patti I too have only immediate one—of course in true Indian style given the vast number of my cousins, like your doctor said multiple choice is not good!
    2. In a high school skit!
    3. I just found out, from the parents of two teens, that unlike your assertion “When it comes to finding answers to burning questions, Google is hard to beat.” TikTok has not only all the answers but video instructions too!

  3. Cliff Saunders

    You always write so delightfully Michael, I really am quite jealous.

    Here’s something for your Get Well Soon Gift Jar.

    IE healing your left shoulder:

    Have you looked into Photo Bio Modulation, PBM not ‘just’ applied to your shoulder but also applied systemically?

    Google something like “Photo Bio Modulation, joint recovery, Scholarly Articles” also read anything by Hamblin on PBM.

    Get weller sooner.


    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Thanks Cliff, I appreciate the info. I had not heard of that although I am very open to any nonsurgical options and will check it out!

  4. Cliff Saunders

    You are very welcome Michael
    I’m glad PBM is a new idea for you.
    [actually I’m being selfish, can’t have you wandering around with a sore arm now can I?, I need to keep getting my fix of Blue Penguin newsletters]!!
    Michael, I’m happy to chat about the science behind PBM, [yes I am a boffin, no, I neither sell PBM equipment nor Bitcoin.
    Dr. Cliff


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