Reading, Writing, and Speaking Clearly

By | April 1, 2019

[April 1, 2019]  The path to success and the ability to get things done in any of life’s challenges are built around the proficiency of reading, writing, and speaking clearly.  Formal education – the methodical teaching of these skills – is the necessary starting point but not the end to the development of us.

“The fool spoke precisely as he wrote, in convoluted paragraphs that any worthwhile editor would want to set on fire.” – Eliot Grayson, Like a Gentleman

A good education is about teaching us to think and to do so critically.  In other words, it develops our ability to sort through unverified assumptions, prejudices, and intellectual laziness.  While our institutions of higher education find themselves today deviating from this goal, it will always remain an individual responsibility.

In their intrinsic accountability; leaders teach, coach, and mentor others to achieve a higher degree of thinking.  Superior thinking is through the prerequisite of reading, writing, and speaking clearly.  There is no substitute.  Those who cannot express themselves clearly and accurately are doomed to misfortune and misery.

Much like the scientific method, leadership is a way of thinking.  It is also a way of acting and communicating.  Only through the development and use of these skills can a leader inspire others to achieve great things.  Someone once said that few people are fundamentally creative.  Those who do achieve true creativity do so only by the difficult work it takes.

My maternal grandmother, Bigmama, repeatedly advised me to “Go to school and develop your brain.”  I hated school, and I did poorly (if measured by my grades).  But I learned a few things along the way besides dates, formulas, and poems.  I learned that “thinking” would get me recognized by teachers and friends.

And I learned, usually the hard way, that if you use your brain and develop it, you can achieve just about anything.


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Reading, Writing, and Speaking Clearly

  1. Lynn Pitts

    Government education only teaches WHAT to think, rather than HOW to think nowadays.

  2. Willie Shrumburger

    Although no one disputes the value of education, how the country should improve it is fiercely contested. Every few years, along comes a new idea to save American schools.

  3. Edward Kennedy III

    I’ve had the honor to work with soldiers from all of the Americas. Most have very little education but what I find they do have is a willingness to do good in the world. They don’t have sophisticated computers, colorful classrooms, highly paid and education teachers, or a big safety net of counselers, aides, nurses, and administrators. You find this in Canada and the US. But they have something North American education doesn’t have. They are taught to read, write, and speak properly. That is why I would have them at my side fighting the evil of communism and socialism here in Central and South America than the average college, privileged snowflake of the same age.

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Hi Mr. Kennedy. Thanks for your timely and thoughtful comment. Political, business, and education leaders continue to talk about “reforming” the current public education system. They should, instead, be discussing how to replace it.

  4. Mr. T.J. Asper

    The bottom line is that by any reasonable measure, America’s monopolistic, bureaucratic, over-regulated system of public schools is woefully unprepared to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. I should know, since I’ve been in public education for nearly 20 years and have seen it firsthand.

    1. The Kid 1945

      Thanks Mr. TJ. This is the type of comment I like to read, from someone who is in the game and knows what’s going on.

      1. Kenny Foster

        Right! Too many kids are just passed along to the next grade. The teacher has NO incentive to make them adhere to any reasonable education standard.

  5. Maureen S. Sullivan

    This article is worth reading, “The Failure of American Public Education”
    Key finding:
    We not only fail to hold individual students accountable for poor performance, we have also failed to hold the entire government-controlled school system accountable for its performance since at least World War II. Public education is itself a failure. Why shouldn’t individual students follow its example?

    1. Albert Ayer

      What has clearly been on the rise in recent decades is the use of America’s public schools for the purpose of engineering some social outcome deemed desirable by political leaders. This is an unavoidable, and perhaps insurmountable, failing of government-run education.

  6. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Really spot-on article today with this one. Too many young folks fail to get what they should from our educaiton system. And this is not just a comment about the US but Europe, Austrailia, etc.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Yes and I fully agree that our education systems have something other than education in mind as a strategy. What that is, is not reading, writing, and speaking clearly.

  7. Wilson Cox

    I recommend reading the DAILY FAVORITES section. It shows what a lack of a good education can do.
    “The perils of the ‘Chicken Little’ approach to fighting climate change”

  8. Scotty Bush

    ….. and yet our public school teachers are more interested in teaching things about how to save the planet, reduce climate change, and stop violence in politics. Oh, and birth control. The three Rs are an afterthought.

    1. AutisticTechie

      Just part of the decline of our public education system. It doesn’t get much better in colleges and universities unless you are into the STEM fields. Even they are being invaded by the useful idiots of socialist ideology. Message to professors – get a spine.

    2. Eric Coda

      I agree that the lack of moral courage is what stands in the way of a good education. But let’s not forget that the basics are still requied to be anywhere close to successful in life.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Good point and one that Gen. Satterfield has been making for a long time right here in his blog.

    3. Doug Smith

      A 2009 survey shows students in the U.S. are falling behind other countries in critical education areas including reading, science, and math. This news might be alarming to some who are relying on the US Education System to prepare them for high paying jobs after graduation. According to a recent study, the United States out of 34 countries “ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.” Scary!

    1. Fred Weber

      Thanks Army Captain. Good to see you on today.

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