Last night I cooked the best meal I’ve had for weeks.

It was a whole sea-bass, stuffed with dried thyme, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and roasted in the oven on a bed of sliced onion and red pepper.

The vegetables were crisped up and slightly charred around the edges, the fish had a subtle fragrance of thyme... it was delicious.

And the ingredients list was only five items long:

So I’d wager that you could read this, walk down to the supermarket, and still remember the whole list.

Shorter is simpler.
Shorter is faster to read.
Shorter is easier to remember.

But shorter doesn’t mean lazier, lower quality, or less interesting.

Shorter is just… shorter.

Why don’t more people do shorter?

Because shorter takes longer.

A classic recipe can consist of just a few high-quality ingredients. You just have to work out what will set people’s tastebuds tingling…

A great screenplay often has just five key turning points. The opportunity, the change of plan, the point of no-return, the major setback, and the climax.

A memorable talk can usually be boiled down to five key ideas. Which is why if I’m writing a talk, the first thing I do is figure out my five ideas, and which order makes the best story…

Shorter isn’t easier than longer.


If you can make an idea fit on one hand, you can make it stick.

Can you make it shorter?

Posted to Writing in 2016.

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