Seeing The Clues In Front Of You with Charles Hess

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Charles Hess has made a profession of thinking outside the box. Instead of relying only on evidence directly related to the issue at hand, he gathers data from a network of resources in seemingly unrelated fields. He mixes all the information together with a healthy dose of discipline and a measure of intuition, and helps decision-makers in all walks of life anticipate shifting tides in business, politics, technology, and social change. His approach has enabled him to predict seminal events well in advance. His team recognized the potential for a terrorist attack one year before the attacks of September 11, and predicted the economic crisis of 2008-2009 in the middle of 2005. Why is Mr. Hess able to see things others cannot? Because, he says, when we're too close to an issue we lose our ability to see what's really there. "As we get more and more invested in an idea, a person, an outcome, we in fact become more blinded because we have a lot riding on that situation being what we think it should be, or will be. So getting the right diagnosis and understanding of the world we're living in, and getting to it early so that you can deal with it effectively, really starts with the very simple skill of seeing the clues in front of you." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Charles Hess developed the technique of inference reading as a way to create connections and piece together a more realistic perspective of world events. In 1980 he co-founded Inferential Focus, an intelligence gathering organization for leaders in business and politics, and has since served as its managing partner. He is also one of the principals in the website that seeks to pursue ways to nurture and connect people so that their lives may inspire others to awaken their fire for spirit and enrich lives.

To learn more about the work of Charles Hess go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why looking at something upside down might help you see it more clearly
  • Why doctors are predisposed to make inaccurate diagnoses
  • How you might benefit from deciding not to decide
  • Why Chief Justice Roberts misspoke the oath of office at President Obama's inauguration
  • What the color and shape of your car can tell you about your state of mind
Host: Michael Toms     Interview Date: 1/21/2009      Program Number: 3296