Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Say More by Saying Less

Thomas Jefferson was a prolific author and correspondent. His words continue to inspire us today. But he was also well aware of the power of brevity. Jefferson closed one three-page letter to a friend with an apology: "Forgive me for writing such a long letter, but I did not have time to write a shorter one."

Unfortunately, many writers today cannot keep themselves from rambling, unable or unwilling to pare their thoughts down to the essentials. Jefferson launched the world's greatest nation with a single page, the Declaration of Independence. But your local personal injury attorney needs to blast out a 3,000 word blog every week. Sad.

We should all follow the example of William Mulholland, the man responsible for developing the remarkable waterworks for the City of Los Angeles early in the last century. Mulholland was asked to speak at the dedication ceremony for a 233-mile aqueduct that brought water from the Colorado River across the desert to the city. When the first stream started to flow out from the aqueduct, Mulholland stepped up to the microphone and commemorated the momentous occasion by saying, "There it is. Take it."

Fewer and truer words were never spoken.

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