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The Beauty of Brevity

I am in the middle of my triennial tradition of reading “On Writing Well“, the masterpiece by William Zinsser. I love his bidding for brevity:

Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.

It reminds me of the same edict from Winston Churchill in 1940:

To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long.

And his followup document in 1951:

In 1940 I called for brevity. Evidently I must do so again.

I’m not sure if I like his consistency more or his shock that people would drift from his decree after a mere 11 years.

Either way, I approve.