A 40-Second Read

This report can be read
in 12 minutes.

In 1935, Morris Llewellyn Cooke submitted a proposal to President Roosevelt and his Cabinet.

The subject? Farm electrification.

The proposed method? Farmer cooperatives (pay $5 to join) plus some government help.

The results? Proposal accepted. Within 7 years, 5 out of 10 American farms were connected to the grid, compared to 1 out of 10 in 1935.

So what’s with the quote?

[Cooke] prepared a formal proposal, now renowned in bureaucratic history for being boldly bound in black-and-white zebra stripes and illustrated with attractive watercolors of bright red barns, with a note on the cover stating, “This report can be read in 12 minutes.”
– The Men Who United the States (pg 380), Simon Winchester

When you know what you want to say, it doesn’t take long to say it. Or write it. Or read it.

Blessings upon you.
– Evaluators, then as now

We don’t usually time how long it takes to read our proposals. Maybe we should. The black-and-white zebra stripes are optional.