Advice from the Masters: Andy Rooney

Apr 11, 2012 | Better Writing defines “curmudgeon” as “a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.” Andy Rooney was my favorite curmudgeon, because he always seasoned his complaints with humor.

Most people know him from those curmudgeonly commentaries at the end of every 60 Minutes show, from 1978 until shortly before his death in 2011. But Rooney was a reporter and book author. He wrote for radio and television in a variety of forms. In short, he was a great writer, someone we can learn from. I love this bit of almost-curmudgeonly advice for anyone who writes or speaks.

“Keep in mind that you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else is.”

It’s true. And it’s the reason you have to work hard to capture and hold attention. It’s why you revise to make things both understandable and helpful. Even Andy Rooney couldn’t complain about that.

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