It shows the reader at a glance what you are requesting. Many times, especially with regard to a corporate proposal, your proposal will be routed to the appropriate person based on the executive summary. You are always dealing with people who have very little time to waste. They do not have time to read your whole proposal to find out what it is about and what you are requesting of them. An executive summary allows the reader to gain a clear idea of your project without reading through pages of text.
1 Ernest Hemingway, "Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter," Esquire (September 1935), as quoted in By-Line Ernest Hemingway, ed. William White.
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