Simple Writing is Better

Thanks to Seth Godin for pointing out  Steven Johnson’s fascinating Literary Style by the Numbers. Seth’s conclusion in The secret of writing to be read is that:

Basically, short, simple sentences not only sell more books, but spread ideas farther and faster.

Johnson started that thought with a fascinating analysis of’s new “text stats” feature, rating books by a delightful dozen or so statistical ratings including words per sentence, percent of complex words, even words per dollar and words per ounce.  He looks at the ratings and compares results for a number of popular writers including Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell, two of my favorites. What those two have in common according to this analysis is significantly fewer average words per sentence and significantly fewer complex words.

And another thing they have in common is very successful very popular and very insightful books.

Hmmm ….


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