Choose the Simplest Explanation

Simplicty is a virtue
Choose the Simplest Explanation

One should choose the simplest explanation,
the one requiring the fewest assumptions and principles.

William of Ockham, fourteenth-century English philosopher



I like the idea of simplicity even more than I like sometimes the practice of it. This is probably the case for most of us. In our super-complex modern world, every step toward simplicity feels like a leap. But it’s a leap worth taking, and especially for speakers.

Using the language well in a speech often means using the strong, simple words that compose our everyday language. Make honesty and integrity the distinguishing characteristics of your speech. Reject jargon and abstract speculation whose purpose is to obscure and impress rather than to illuminate and inform. If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.