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Article |

William Bean, Communicator

T. F. Fox, MD, FRCP
Arch Intern Med. 1974;134(5):824. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320230034003.
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I have never seen Bill Bean treating the sick, pursuing research, or even bicycling to work. But at least I can say why I admire him as a communicator—a writer.

Communication is no small part of Medicine. Communication with patients: communication with colleagues: communication with ourselves. And even for self-communion we need words. For without them we cannot think.

To most people, words, of a kind, come so naturally that their use is not seen as a technique to be mastered. But without conscious labour few write clearly.

Bill has long practised the necessary discipline, and he therefore writes precisely. This obliges him-unlike less lucid authors—to find out what he means to say. A preliminary often advantageous to the reader.

Anyone who takes pains can ensure that what he writes, whether useful or not, is intelligible. The trouble is that it may also be rather dull. From even the most


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