Every sentence must contain a verb so be careful with this advice. However, there are cases where using a noun can make a tidier sentence- for example 'industrialisation' could replace a verb phrase describing the transition. Simple direct senetcnes are unlikely to be enough for academic writing where it is necessary to build up a coherent argument, explanation, etc. While long rambling sentences are not good in English, very short sentences make the writing choppy and difficult to read. What is very important is to connect things, so that sentences follow each other naturally, without jumping. Also, passives are used quite a lot in descriptions of processes, for example, and conditional and modal forms are useful for hedging and stating possibilities, etc.