Washington University students were offered a new course in March, Calling Bulls**t In the Age of Big Data. For the past number of decades, week in and week out, I have been calling bulls**t, and so was delighted to hear my favourite pastime had made it into academia. While this course is limited to spotting bulls**t in numbers, there is an equal need for one spotting it in words, especially words used in business. What follows is an outline for a rival course aimed to fill that gap. It starts with a definition: "bullts**t" means nonsense, usually of a puffed-up variety that pretends to be something it is not. Sharp eyes will spot at once the difficulty in applying this to corporate life — almost everything fits the description. Before I have even got inside my office, I have tripped over a yellow plastic sign reading, "Caution Wet Floor" — bulls**t, because usually the floor is not wet, and if it were, the picture of someone falling spectacularly is wildly overdoing it. The first r...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now