Why subscribe?

This is the official community that has formed around the practice of Momentum Thinking and the application of the Two But Rule.

 The Two But Rule is for anyone facing tough choices and challenging relationships in their personal and professional lives. It’s a way out of endless circular arguments, and it’s an indispensable resource for those who intend to build things that work and solve problems—without piling a dozen more on top.

If you’re a leader, innovator, scientist or student...in government, academia, high tech, or nonprofits...running an enterprise, a startup or a local coffee shop...the Two But Rule is for you.

Get The Book

The new book, “The Two But Rule: Turn Negative Thinking Into Positive Solutions”, is out from Wiley now — available today on Kindle and coming to bookstores near you in January 2024.

3D render of the book, The Two But Rule, by John Wolpert (Wiley)
The Two But Rule (Wiley)

It’s a groundbreaking book that will revolutionize the way teams approach problem solving and innovation in today’s complex world.

It will also make you laugh hard enough to shoot milk out your nose.

With a blend of humor and stories from the realms of technology, entrepreneurship, and history, The Two But Rule’s approach to Momentum Thinking will help you embrace contrary viewpoints, break through avoidance patterns, and overcome inertia in everything, from changing careers and starting a business to tackling the biggest challenges facing humanity.

To do that, veteran tech exec John Wolpert is here to reacquaint you with your biggest asset for innovation, one that has been lost in a world stuck between the extremes of obstinate negativity and toxic positivity.

Book A Session on Teamraderie

Does your team need a way to achieve better alignment and transform disagreements into a powerful asset for innovation?

Starting January 15, 2024, you can book time for you and your team to learn the finer points of this approach to problem solving and teamwork at Teamraderie, the awesome live “Master Class” platform for enterprise leadership development.

Led by veteran product exec and author, John Wolpert, this experience aims to improve collaboration and enhance team dynamics through humor, discussion and interactive activities. During the experience, you will discover the power of Momentum Thinking and engage in exercises that strengthen your team’s ability to embrace both critical and innovative approaches to hard problems and new ideas. By learning to embrace what John calls the Two But Rule, your team will learn a way to turn negative thinking into positive solutions that it will never forget.

Don’t miss this opportunity to transform your team’s ability to collaborate, leaving you with new insights, a strengthened sense of camaraderie, and a revitalized team spirit.

2Buts Subscribers

Subscribers will get access to exclusive cases, and paid subscribers will get, in addition to my lasting gratitude, special opportunities to explore new cases together.

Why You Need Two Buts Right Now

Comedian John Cleese said that if you want to achieve creativity in any endeavor, you must employ humor. 

Hard times are coming. We’re going to need to keep our sense of humor.

In hard times, the easiest way to turn people from the open mode of creative problem solving to the closed mode of slogging unproductively through insurmountable problems is to tell them to stay positive.

But there is a different approach, one in which embracing the negative and then iterating to the positive allows executives, scientists and other discerning, skeptical minds to say these powerful words: 

“But that won’t work, because… But it would if…” 

Or as I like to say – because my kids think it’s hilarious – “Always bring two buts to any problem.”

This is the two-but rule, an argument against a no-but policy that’s emblematic of today’s rising culture of toxic positivity, where every idea is a good one, and the safest choice is avoiding conflict and possible censure by embracing the inertia of passive affirmation: “That’s a great idea, Joe. Now, moving on to our next topic.”

This publication draws on nearly forty years of creative problem solving in business and technology and gives the stage to the most powerful tool I’ve ever used in a career focused on innovation – one that has changed my life. Perhaps it will change more lives and help solve some of the big problems facing humanity.

With that, let me introduce you to the innovation asset that I always keep close by: My But.

About Me

Hi, I’m John Wolpert, and I’ve been trekking through the wilderness of product and behavioral innovation for three decades. I co-founded a few startups, started a non-profit government-backed research consortium, and worked for a ton of companies (including IBM…three times) on emerging technology projects ranging from the early internet and life science to AI and blockchains.

I’ve lived through all the buzzwords, coined a few, and learned to laugh at most of it.

Early in my career, a colleague at an innovation consultancy I worked for said something that changed my life:

Always but-the-but:
If you’re going to say, ‘But that doesn’t work,’ try to add ‘But it would work if.’”

That phrase has led to more innovative thinking and more unexpected opportunities than anything else I can point to in my life. And that’s why the name of this publication is the Two But Rule.

Visit me for details on my books, articles and other projects at jwolpert.com.

So, with that, as they say on YouTube, if you like this topic and want to join our community, please like and subscribe. :)

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The official newsletter of "The Two But Rule: Turn Negative Thinking Into Positive Solutions" (Wiley, jwolpert.com). Subscribers get weekly insights into solving hard problems, creating innovative products, and building better teams in a complex world.


John Wolpert writes about innovation, emerging technology and product development. Preorder the new book, "The Two But Rule: Turn Negative Thinking Into Positive Solutions" wherever you buy books.