Friday, October 16, 2009

Rule #29 -- Words Matter

Awhile back, in her weekly newsletter, Terri Lonier (founder of Working Solo), recommended Alan M. Webber's new book: Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self.

Intrigued, I added it to my reading list and earlier this week I finally started reading it. The book has 52 short chapters, each of which features a rule of thumb. After stating the rule, Webber tells a short story that illustrates it. Then, under the heading of “So What?”, he explains how the rule applies in contexts beyond the introductory story.

This afternoon I came across Rule 29: Words Count. Given what I do for a living, I was quite please to see that rule! (Mind you, it would be higher than #29 in my book, but never mind…)

Anyway, on page 142, under the “So What?” heading for Rule 29, Webber offers two memorable quotes to illustrate the rule that I just have to share. Here’s what Webber wrote:

“1. “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Mark Twain said that.

2. “If you think learning your vocabulary words doesn’t make a difference, try going into a store and asking for toilet paper when you only know the word for sandpaper.” Roy Battenberg, my high school German teacher said that.”

As I said, Rule #29 struck a particular chord with me – but it’s just one of 52 insightful rules Webber offers up. Check it out and let me know what you think…