Reading time: Just over 1 minute
A great way to improve your writing is to emulate the work of others. That’s why, every week, I present a sentence that I’d happily imitate. I comment today on one written by D.T. Max.
D.T. Max is a graduate of Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. The Oct. 21/13 issue of that magazine contains a long, thoughtful profile of his, about tech entrepreneur and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (pictured above.)
I was an early-adopter of Twitter but I haven’t exerted a lot of effort to maintain my connection (my blog is set up to auto-post my tweets). Nevertheless, I found the profile of Dorsey highly engaging and I was intrigued to learn that he is also the brains behind Square, a credit-card reader that operates on an iPhone. (I first saw this in action eight months ago, in an art gallery in Manzanita, Ore. It impressed me.)
In reading the story, I could sense that Max is not only a very fine writer, he’s also a skillful interviewer. He extracts interesting, thoughtful quotes from his subjects. As well, he’s able to give descriptions and make comparisons that help the reader better understand his point. Take, for example, his comparison of Dorsey to Steve Jobs (which is much more extensive than I’m showing here):
Dorsey’s emulation of Steve Jobs diverges in at least one key respect: whereas Jobs overwhelmed those around him, Dorsey is the kind of leader who never feels the obligation to fill a silence.
I love the balance in this sentence! We all know that Steve Jobs was a control-monster. Telling me that someone is the opposite of that is actually quite meaningful. I also enjoy the rolling rhythm of the phrase: “…kind of leader who never feels the obligation to fill a silence.”