A book came for me in the post the other day. I didn’t remember ordering it, but it was addressed to me, so I suppose I must have done. People don’t just go around sending books to one another. That would be insane.
The book is called Brutal Simplicity of Thought, and according to the inside cover, it was given to Saatchi employees as a training manual for over 40 years. The general theme is that one should eschew redundant, bloated verbiage and multi-clausal sentences that, without direction or rationale, cascade headlong towards an unwieldy simile like a ten-tonne triceratops from a trebuchet. Instead, just keep things simple.
The French revolutionaries rallied under the unequivocal banner of liberté, egalité, and fraternité. No taxation without representation isn’t open to much interpretation. It’s not hard to work out what Labour isn’t working is about.
Picasso said it took him a lifetime to learn to draw like a child. I’ve got about nine months to learn to write like one. So when I find myself reaching for a fishy adjective or eyeing up a likely semi-colon, I will say no. Simplify that thought. Find the essence of the idea. If you’ve got to explain it, it’s not good enough.