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OtherWise by Dick Martin

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27Free-Floating Anger

John Gilfeather is a professional reader of tea leaves. He’s not the kind tea-leaf reader who occupies a narrow storefront with crystal balls stenciled onto the plate glass, but the kind who feeds survey data into a mainframe and sorts it to find meaningful patterns.

Gilfeather has been doing market research for more than four decades and has worked with some of the world’s leading companies. In the summer of 2010, he helped design and test a research instrument that probed people’s feelings about companies in the context of the political and social issues roiling the country. Instead of asking about the presence or absence of the usual favorable attitudes—such as whether companies are “well managed,” “trustworthy,” “caring,” ...

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