Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka explains how a specific passage in Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way influences the way he writes.
If you’re going to be writing something, take a look at Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the WayTaoism Books) a copy of which you can pick up at any bookstore. No. 81 from the Tao has been translated as “True words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not true. Experts do not argue; the argumentative are not experts. The knowledgeable are not generalists; generalists are not knowledgeable.” In other words, don’t try to sound smart, just write like you talk.
It reminds me of a passage from a great book by Peggy Noonan, Simply Speaking: How to Communicate Your Ideas with Style, Substance, and ClarityBusiness & Investing Books). She writes that we need to write and speak “straight and plain and direct.” She writes that when a soldier gets shot in battle, he doesn’t say, “I believe I’ve just been struck by a bullet,” he says, “I’m hit.” Unadorned expression is always the most powerful expression.