In schools around the world, children are celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. If you haven’t read Dr. Seuss since childhood and think it is all about green eggs and ham, you are missing one of the greatest lessons on the power of simplicity. Yes, Dr. Seuss gave us whimsical nonsensical rhymes to encourage reading skills like Hop on Pop. But he also gave us some great wisdom – and he did it simply and memorably. Here are a few of my favorites:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”The Lorax
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Horton Hears a Who!
Dr. Seuss didn’t use a fancy messaging matrix, or a complex narrative structure. He kept it simple, and focused on what was important to that story. Perhaps he said it best this way, “Sometimes the questions are complicated. The answers are simple.” Whether you are a speechwriter, a media relations guru, a lobbyist or a digital media specialist – this is great advice for all of us in the communications field. And for life.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss.