Thoughts on brevity

Published: Jan 10, 2015
Thoughts on brevity
Image: Chaitanaya Dinesh Surpur

What is an epigram? A dwarfish whole. Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I take six or seven years to write really small books. There is a kind of aesthetic of leanness, of brevity.
Mohsin Hamid

A novel is just a story that hasn’t yet discovered a way to be brief.
George Saunders

Be sincere, be brief, be seated.
Franklin D Roosevelt

It is my ambition to say in 10 sentences what others say in a whole book.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Baltasar Gracián

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Thomas Jefferson

Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.
Branch Rickey

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
Dorothy Parker

The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit.
François Fénelon

Never be so brief as to become obscure.
Tryon Edwards

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
George Burns

Writing is one percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.
Louise Brooks

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.
Shirley Conran

(This story appears in the 23 January, 2015 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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