Author Ernest Hemingway once bet his friends he could write a complete story in 6 words:


For sale.

Baby shoes.

Never worn.


Simple writing is perceived as truthful and intelligent. This chapter has tips for instant improvement.


When you write, pretend you are talking to someone bored and you are trying to keep them interested sentence by sentence.

-James Altucher




Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

-William Strunk




There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast. I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for 1 hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.

-Arnold Schwarzenegger


If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.

-Joseph Campbell


Finally, read your writing aloud. Imagine reading it for the first time.


For more examples and exercises, read On Writing Well by William Zinsser.


A simple style is the result of hard work and hard thinking; a muddled style reflects a muddled thinker or a person too arrogant, or too dumb, or too lazy to organize his thoughts.

-William Zinsser


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Sopory P, Dillard JP. (2002). The persuasive effects of metaphor: A meta‐analysis. Human Communication Research. 28(3): 382–419.


Sorrel C. (2015, December 9). Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t give a **** what you think about climate change. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/3054362/arnold-schwarzenegger-doesnt-give-a-what-you-think-about-climate-change


Kruger J et al. (2005). Egocentrism over e-mail: can we communicate as well as we think? J Pers Soc Psychol. 89(6): 925–936.

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