This Chart Will Make Sure You Never Write a Boring Document

Thomas Sargent 335 words.

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.

Be Shorter

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)