4 minutes readThe most important PDF of my life
We come across many PDFs in our daily life. Most of them are related to work and boring. But then you find good eBooks and Presentations also as PDFs and sometimes you stumble upon the most insightful, brilliant PDF you would ever see!
I came across such a PDF back in 2011. It was the PDF titled “How to Write More Clearly, Think More Clearly, and Learn Complex Material More Easily.” by Michael A. Covington from Artificial Intelligence Center, The University of Georgia.
This PDF has transformed the way I write and think about writing. I share it frequently with founders, designers, and content writers. Today, I want share it with you all.
The first 61 pages (essentially slides with BIG fonts) talks about “How to Write More Clearly”, and I will focus only on that for this post.
It starts with this brilliant phrase from R.D.G. (Any idea who is she/he?).
Let’s take a moment to understand this quote.
We all have influencers in our lives, jobs and businesses. More often than not, they influence us because they write and we read.
Here are a few of my biggest influencers.
Now, are they super intelligent? May be they are, may be not. There is no doubt that they all are very good at what they do and that’s why we consider them intelligent. But aren’t there more intelligent people than them? Would they be where they are, if they didn’t write clearly?
They are considered more intelligent than others in their fields because they have a talent to amplify their intelligence by WRITING CLEARLY!
Still not convinced about the need of writing clearly? Here you go.
Clear writing is a process.
Well, I don’t intend to put every page from the PDF here. You will have to go through it yourself to appreciate its true beauty. But I do want to show you the best part of it as per me. It is an example to shorten the sentences by removing needless words.
Please read below slides.
25 words reduced to 8! Amazing, Isn’t it?
In the remaining 63 slides, author explains “How to Think More Clearly”and “Learn Complex Material More Easily”.
Author’s central claim in this PDF is that clear writing is connected to clear thinking and learning more easily.
Since all the inspirational people mentioned above are able to write clearly, it is safe to conclude that they are indeed intelligent! 🙂
Of course only reading this PDF (multiple times) did not help me. I religiously implemented techniques suggested in the PDF in everything I write. Be it an email, a tweet, a blog post, content for user onboarding process, lean canvas, vision documents, scope documents, etc. Especially the technique to shorten the sentences by removing unnecessary words.
This PDF has made a profound impact in my life by helping me write clearly. I hope I have done a decent job explaining it. I still have a long way to go but I have a definitive guide to take me there.
Which PDF changed your life?