Mark Twain’s advice to politicians, public speakers, “and other scoundrels”

photo14-1Few great writers offer great advice on communication. Mark Twain is one of my favorite sources. Here are a few of his gems.

On humor

“The humorous story is strictly a work of art — high and delicate art — and only an artist can tell it; but no art is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it.”

On preparation

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a really good impromptu speech.”

On brevity

“No one ever complained about a speech being too short.”

On words

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

On school

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

On honesty

“If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”


“If you always tell the truth, you’ll never have to worry about contradicting yourself.”

On interaction

“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”

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Just before he passed away, Mark Twain approved the design of his official website. Here’s a direct link.



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