Quick Start Guide
When I purchased cars early in my life, there was an owner’s manual you could sit down and read in half an hour. Today, they are tomes, with enough legal warnings and details to boggle the mind. It’s impossible to read them and I’m barely able to find something useful in the massive index. (I couldn’t find the secondary hood latch in our SUV, probably because it’s made in Germany and assembled in England, and they call it an “umbrella” or “frock” or something. I wound up calling the dealership just to change the windshield washer fluid.)
Most appliances and televisions and so on these days come with a “quick start” guide. In other words, ignore the lengthy safety and legal claptrap (“Do not use this hair dryer while submerged in water or while scuba diving”). Just do these five things and you’re fine.
That’s the equivalent to an “executive summary.” For those of you who have an obsession with writing War and Peace to provide your buyer with a debrief, also include the executive summary/quick start guide: If you want to improve dramatically, just do these five things immediately in this order. You can still waste your time writing the exegesis which no one is going to read any more than we read the car’s owner’s manual.
Here’s my quick start guide to you: 1. Tell people what they need to know, not everything that you know. 2. Go back to #1.