Honor Clarity

The beginning is the most important part of the work.

—Plato, The Republic

The worst part of most documents is the beginning. That’s really unfortunate because the beginning, or the first few minutes, of any document is where the reader forms her opinion of whether the writer’s idea, or the writer, is any good. In other words, it‘s one of the most important parts of any document, not only to the document’s success but to your own career.

Most really mediocre (or really rotten) beginnings come not from a lack of effort, but a lack of knowledge of how to start. As my friend Stuart says, the mere thought of having to start melds with the thought of having to do the whole thing, which melds with the thought of having someone ...

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