Imagine that you are a professor at Harvard. You want to offer a new course to help students communicate more effectively.
What do you call it?

How will you get students interested?

How will you communicate the content and value of the course?

There are thousands of courses offered at Harvard each semester. How will yours stand out?

This isn’t a hypothetical scenario. Alison Wood Brooks, Ph.D. is an associate professor of business administration at Harvard. She is an expert in the psychology of conversation and she had a new course designed to help students get better at talking with each other.

So what did she call it?

She called it “How to Talk Gooder in Business and in Life.”


Gooder isn’t even a real word. Why would a class at a prestigious university about how to speak well have a deliberate grammatical error in the title?

So what happened? Did anyone sign up for the brand-new class with an incorrect title? Yes, indeed. So many students, nearly 1,000, signed up and the class was full almost immediately.

This is an elective course. No one has to take it. Professor Brooks needed to do something different if she wanted anyone to even know that the class was being offered. So she did. She used bad grammar to teach people how to talk gooder to each other. 

This a great example of Wabi-sabi that David Rendall and I share in Pink Goldfish 2.0. Wabi-sabi is a combination of two old Japanese words with overlapping definitions. Grounded in the Buddhist view that both life and art are beautiful, not because they are perfect and eternal, but, because they are imperfect and fleeting. It is a design aesthetic of intentional imperfection. 

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Stan Phelps

Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at