Advice from the Masters: Nora Ephron

Jun 27, 2012 | Better Writing

Nora Ephron died last night at 71. Her New York Times obituary gives a sense of why people are talking and tweeting about that this morning.

“She was a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director — a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men. Her later box-office success included “You’ve Got Mail” and “Julie & Julia.” By the end of her life, though remaining remarkably youthful looking, she had even become something of a philosopher about age and its indignities.”

I loved her writing because it had two characteristics that I prize highly: honesty and wit. I’ll miss her great titles (Wallflower at the Orgy) her great one-liners and her ability to create a complete humorous structure filled with delicious humorous and honest details. I point you to one of my favorite movies, “When Harry Met Sally.”

For the one piece of advice that those of us who write business books can use, I picked the following comment.

“I feel bad for the people who don’t at some point understand that there’s something funny in even the worst things that can happen to you.”

Want more? Read Patricia Sellers’ piece in Fortune from a few years ago titled, “Nora Ephron’s Best Advice.”

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts.

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