I have been reading ‘Several short sentences about writing’ by Verlyn Klinkenborg this week. It was recommended to me by my Copenhagen Business School colleague, Professor Len Seabrooke. The book is easily the most radical I have read on writing. For that reason alone I recommend it, presuming you are open minded about how English should be written.

Who is it advising us on clear and elegant writing?

He;s at CBS as an external examiner on a unit about tax. “My colleague at” sounds bit grand for that. Still, it does open the question, has the colleague read some Ritchie and, gaspingly, reached for the first thing on how to write better he can find?

13 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. “The book is easily the most radical I have read on writing.”

    I wonder if the book recommends Spud’s “thought maps” which he published for a while

    *where he basically
    *wrote in prose but
    *broke up the
    *sentences by adding
    *random bullet

  2. My recommendation to Muprhy would be to avoid writing the long stream of consciousness sentences of which he is so fond that have little if any punctuation and which are so long that the reader is unable to glean any meaning from them and also that he refrains from his cliches such as the words staggering and candidly because if he wrote in that manner his thought process would be so much easier to follow although it may be better if he sticks at his current method so that one can start to read and then, with a sigh, say to oneself fvck it I can’t be bothered with this bellend

  3. From Amazon reviews of the book:

    “Honestly, the book reads like the metaphorical self-stroking of an overly-reflective author.”

    Small wonder the fat cunt thinks it’s so great.

  4. From the same review

    “Here’s the best takeaway from the book I can muster: don’t write paragraphs, write (preferably short) sentences.”

    A justification for Murph style haikus

  5. Noel: I was incolved in council insulating schemes more than ten years ago and we were running out of properties to insulate. The insulation contractors were chasing ever decreasing circles of ever decreasing effectiveness, all being pushed by central government diktat. We were ending up insulating houses with 24-inch thick solid walls by stripping and panelling the inside walls, or gluing panels on the outside.

  6. Rod White says:
    November 10 2018 at 10:59 am
    Cogito ergo sum.

    Richard Murphy says:
    November 10 2018 at 11:08 am

    Descartes got that very wrong, indeed

    He has a lot of apologising to do


  7. Noel and and jgh

    Here is my little interaction with him a few years ago about insulation projects making jgh’s point – its been done:


    In one sentence he wants to copy Australia, and shortly after tells he has learnt from the Australian experience and doesn’t want to copy them. Deaths from cowboy tradesmen from infrastructure projects where there are insufficient skilled workers.

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