Photo by Anand Thakur on Unsplash

Use the CRAP Framework to Fight Back Against All the BS in Your Life

Jessica Stillman
4 min readJun 15, 2022

It often feels like we’re living in the golden age of, well, bullshit. Thanks to social media, political polarization, and our need for constant entertainment, the world feels flooded with half truths, blatant misrepresentations, scammy self-promotion, and absurd Instagram filters.

But it’s not just the frustrated public who feel beset on all sides by an avalanche of BS. Academics are worried about it too.

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit,” philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt wrote in his unmissable little book, On Bullshit. Researchers are investigating who is most vulnerable to BS. Canadian academic Ian McCarthy and colleagues even developed a scale to measure BS and are in the midst of studying how BS at work affects employee morale and engagement.

While we wait for those results to come in, I think most of us have a gut sense of what they’re likely to find. Truth-dodging corporate speak, empty jargon, and inflated self-promotion all get in the way of truth, clarity, and coordination. I don’t know anyone (who isn’t a professional scam artist) who says, ‘Gee, I wish there were more BS in my life,’ and I doubt you do either.

So how do you reduce your exposure to energy-sucking BS? Helpfully, McCarthy and his team have also developed a framework for leaders to confront and reduce it in the workplace with the hard-to-forget name CRAP. It consists of four parts:

1. Comprehend

The first step in fighting back against BS is getting clear on exactly what it is. BS isn’t lying. Instead, it’s a disregard for the truth entirely. Bullshitters are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. They don’t care. They’ll say or do whatever seems likely to get the result they want.

2. Recognize

The next step is to spot actual BS in operating in the wild. “It often appears in the form of cliches, platitudes, business jargon that seem meaningful but upon closer examination are empty,” McCarthy and his colleagues explained on The Conversation.

Technology has become another vector for spreading BS. “Bullshit can also be enhanced by using data and visualization techniques…

Jessica Stillman

Top columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast.