Should I self-publish my work? This is a question many academics and authors ask themselves these days. I had a discussion the other day on Facebook that started with this question, related to my upcoming book, Create or Die.

Let me first explain my own rationale, then get back to the topic of blowhards and peer review.

In 2010, I self-published Four Steps to Funding as a little book to share a framework for grant writing that I’d developed from my experiences ...(read more)



Grants suck. That’s funny, coming from someone who has been helping people with them for the past four years. However, working with so many people on them, I’ve seen the dark sides. There are several.

The grant game breeds fear. Lots of it. Fear breeds conservatism and unhealthy competitiveness. Fear is the enemy of creative thinking, and it is the enemy of fun, freedom, and clarity.

The conservatism that comes from fear leads most reviewers to be extremely conservative about what they’ll ...(read more)

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One of the great things about working with some top scientists to hone their grant-getting skills is that I get to hear really good questions that they struggle with.

One question from a client was this:

“I am a bit confused about what goes in the Significance and the Innovation sections of my proposal, and how those are different from the Approach.”

In my grant writing classes like the Grant Dynamo, I teach the concept posing “problem-solution” pairs. These pairs always come together, ...(read more)


Working hard does NOT mean success (at grants or anything else)

September 18, 2013

There’s this persistent myth that I need to tear down once and for all. Maybe it won’t all happen in this one blog post, but by God I’m gonna give it a good start.

The myth? It’s that all it takes to succeed is hard work.

I have seen lives destroyed by that myth, more than once.

For example: I’ve had a few conversations with a smart scientist who works for a hard-driving, work-all-the-time boss at a major university. This hard-driving boss is ...(read more)

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Are you a liar and fraud? I am…

August 14, 2013

We’re going to do something really different today. I’m going to tell you exactly why I feel like a Liar and Fraud.

But first… I’ll give you some context that explains why this is going to help you, a lot.

According to research at Georgia State and other places, more than 70% of us have experienced the Impostor Syndrome. That’s the feeling that, no matter what we accomplish, we don’t really “deserve it.”

Worse, the more accomplished and highly educated we become, the statistically ...(read more)

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