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Letter: Parsing ‘exponential growth’ the Hemingway

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Hannah Fry’s vivid imagery in her hugely important mission to help innumerate politicians understand the insidious nature of exponential growth (Lunch with the FT, Life & Arts, July 31) is powerful.

Dare I say that Ernest Hemingway, the master of succinctness, managed it even better — and without imagery, just using the power of language. In a famous scene in his novel The Sun Also Rises, a character describes how he went bankrupt: “two ways. Gradually, then suddenly”.

That’s it! In three words, the essence of exponential growth. Of course one has to allow the phrase to melt slowly on the tongue to savour it properly.

No politician has time for that; so Fry is probably right to slam them with her truck.

Karin O’Connell
Wolnzach, Germany

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