Short Books


All these books say over and over, "There's so much more to say about this, but..." When an author forces him/herself to condense, they only write important things. When you read such a book, it seems full of important things, because it is.
My grandfather once told me that one of the marks of a good writer, is the ability to "KillYourDarlings" i.e. to look at the words you have slaved over, and formed until they sound just right, realise that they add nothing to your message, and then get rid of them.

It is something that I try to remember when programming. --JonathanMarkLange

Well, when it comes to those words, perhaps YouArentGonnaNeedIt.
[moved from WabiSabi]

I absolutely agree about this, that all my favorite books are short (with perhaps some notable exceptions such as TheTimelessWayOfBuilding). Perhaps the writers out there can shed some light on why ShortAndToThePoint is a good writing pattern. -- NicholasJacobs

Sometime in the early nineties I came across a comment in a book that "with the availability of modern word processors, any fool can write a five hundred page book and often does."

Writing a short book is not easier, it is in fact harder. At one time I earned my daily bread writing technical books; I tend to be quite snobbish about book length. If you can't fit your book into less than 400 pages, you're either not trying hard enough, or you're trying to cram two books into one.

(quote moved to TimeToMakeItShort)
Note, that when a sentence is made stronger, it usually becomes shorter. Thus brevity is a by-product of vigour. Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr and E B White

Brevity is the soul of wit (Hamlet)

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. -- BlaisePascal

When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind." -- Cicero

"A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful and throws in hopes he may hit." -- English lexicographer Samuel Johnson

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." -- Hans Hofman

"You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length."-CarlFriedrichGauss?

Indeed, it's interesting to note that as the length of these quotes go up, the less impact they seem to have.

For some, yes, but I like the visual metaphor of the long ones while the Hamlet quote says little to me. -- FergusCooney

''Vocabulary resubstantiates buffoonery."
See also: SkinnyBook (those less than 1cm in thickness)
CategoryBooks

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