I have read more than a few books on writing style: Strunk's Elements of Style, Bernstein's The Careful Writer, and The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage are a few that spring to mind immediately.
Perverse though it may be, I have enjoyed these books, and will sometimes pull one or another down from the bookshelf just for pleasure. Even though my own writing cannot live up to the lofty standards of these guides, I have an appreciation for order and rule, and probably most especially for nuance (Bernstein is one of the best in that regard, I think).
With such predisposition, it was only natural that this book caught my eye. At first skim, I was hesitant: it's thin, and there is a lot of white space. But as I focused in more deeply, I realized that this really isn't quite in the same category as Elements of Style, etc. Oh, there's some basic advice about active voice and the other expected cautions, but most of this is advice on specific writing tasks: manuals, proposals, emails, even web pages. The advice is excellent, by the way, and Barry himself writes very well with a smooth, enjoyable and humorous style.
Don't assume that this is only of value to technical writers: if you send email to your boss or subordinates, if you prepare proposals for customers or board meetings, if you write web pages or create Power Point slides for a presentation, you'll find value here.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-04-29 Tony Lawrence