Quote by Blaise Pascal: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I di...”
'If I Had More Time I Would Have Written A Shorter Letter' - Integrated Reporting
Don't be fooled into thinking that when expected to deliver a five minute presentation that it will take less time to write than a ten minute presentation - it won't. I always thought that it was Jonathan Swift who apologised to a recipient of one of his very long letters that he hadn't had time to write a shorter one. Did he? A Google search gives you Blaise Pascal. Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation. About 20 years later, the quote was used in the book The Art of Speaking , where it was translated to "These inventions require much wit, and application; and therefore it was, that Mons. Pascal an author very famous for his felicity in comprising much in few words excused himself wittily for the extravagant length of one of his letters, by saying, he had not time to make it shorter. Sixty years later, Benjamin Franklin wrote the quote in a letter to the Royal Society in London regarding his experiments on electricity entitled "New Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America" shown below, left. Nearly years later, in , author Henry David Thoreau used the quote in a letter to a friend shown below, right , saying, "Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short. In , Mark Twain included a version of the quote in a letter to a friend.
The quote is familiar, and we all know it - but it has been attributed at various times to a disparate number of famous individuals across the globe. He is also Chairman of the King Committee on Corporate Governance which laid the basis for corporate governance in post-apartheid South Africa, and continues to define it today. Every publicly listed company needs a board of directors that is capable of fully understanding the ramifications of the business it is in - and explaining it in simple language, or that 'shorter letter', says Professor King. If the company in question is Coca-Cola , for example, its use of scarce water resources in some countries is relevant. So is its policy on 'land grabs' of land used to grow sugar - as highlighted in an Oxfam Internationa l campaign doing the rounds on Twitter. But all along there has been an emphasis both in South Africa and the UK on a 'principles-based approach' rather than a 'rules-based' one when it comes to drawing up codes of corporate governance.
So if that were true then this is in no way a folklore. As far as we know, Mark Twain has never written anything like this quote. Thus much precious time is lost. There are in fact many quotes that match more closely the quote above. But of course none of them is from Mark Twain.
Blaise Pascal? John Locke? Benjamin Franklin? Henry David Thoreau? Woodrow Wilson? Dear Quote Investigator : I was planning to end a letter with the following remark:. But the number of different people credited with this comment is so numerous that an explanatory appendix would have been required, and the letter was already too long.