Power of Speech and Prose

Jason Spencer with Ford Explorer

A person’s ability or inability to communicate their thoughts through writing is in my mind one of the most important differentiating factors between success and failure for a knowledge worker.  You have to be able to formulate a coherent argument that transcends the structure – being only a nitpicky grammarian does not make you an effective communicator – it makes you a rigid structuralist.


Like the spinster composer who lives with a house full of cats and who smacks his students with a ruler for varying the scale but rarely practices him or herself much less composes, master of language requires constant engagement in the art of prose.  Mastery of language is a master key to success and its lacking portent inevitable failure.


I knew the son a multimillionaire who bragged about how he cheated his way through undergraduate business school in finance at Cornell and then cheated his way through UC Berkley business school by having other people write all his papers for him.


Despite slipping through the cracks, he spent a decade jobless on Wall Street during the time of a boom, because he could not write or speak English well enough in a manner befitting that of a an educated professional in finance.


Similarly a 22-year old man from the University of San Diego became a viral sensation over night when he penned a simple letter that reflected his integrity and humility to a Wall Street Executive asking for a summer internship.  The letter landed him numerous internship opportunities, many of which your typical Ivy League MBA would kill for. 


The moral of the story is that your ability to act with integrity and communicate effectively in writing and  plain speech are critical skills and hallmarks of personal leadership that will proceed you everywhere in all your future endeavors.



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