In today’s high-speed culture, that’s all we need to be effective.
Let me explain. The “335 words” refers to a 2007 college graduation speech by Nobel economist Thomas Sargent.
Yes, the entire speech is 335 words. It’s a compact list of 12 economic principles. Read it here.
Sargent understands to be memorable, you must value a person’s time and attention. Unless you’re prepared to spill your guts and bring people to tears — like Kevin Durant as he recently accepted the NBA’s MVP award — brevity is your best friend and closest ally.
Cover letter, presentation, speech, formal work document — you should cut down EVERYTHING you write. If you’re too wordy, you’re boring. Before you consider a document “finalized,” be tough on yourself and chop it down.
No one will ever say, “This person’s document is way too short. Now what am I supposed to do with all my free time?”
Thus, I created a chart to help us tighten our writing. Are the rules hard and fast? No. They are a reminder to give people exactly what they need and not a word more.