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Writing That Works

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Writing That Works will help you say what you want to say, with less difficulty and more confidence. Now in its third edition, this completely updated classic has been expanded to included all new advice on e-mail and the e-writing world, plus a fresh point of view on political correctness. With dozens of examples, many of them new, and useful tips for writing as well as f Writing That Works will help you say what you want to say, with less difficulty and more confidence. Now in its third edition, this completely updated classic has been expanded to included all new advice on e-mail and the e-writing world, plus a fresh point of view on political correctness. With dozens of examples, many of them new, and useful tips for writing as well as faster on a computer, Writing That Works will show you how to improve anything you write: Presentations that move ideas and action Memos and letters that get things done Plans and reports that make things happen Fund-raising and sales letters that produce results Resumes and letters that lead to interviews Speeches that make a point


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Writing That Works will help you say what you want to say, with less difficulty and more confidence. Now in its third edition, this completely updated classic has been expanded to included all new advice on e-mail and the e-writing world, plus a fresh point of view on political correctness. With dozens of examples, many of them new, and useful tips for writing as well as f Writing That Works will help you say what you want to say, with less difficulty and more confidence. Now in its third edition, this completely updated classic has been expanded to included all new advice on e-mail and the e-writing world, plus a fresh point of view on political correctness. With dozens of examples, many of them new, and useful tips for writing as well as faster on a computer, Writing That Works will show you how to improve anything you write: Presentations that move ideas and action Memos and letters that get things done Plans and reports that make things happen Fund-raising and sales letters that produce results Resumes and letters that lead to interviews Speeches that make a point

30 review for Writing That Works

  1. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    I bought a copy of Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson’s Writing That Works because advertising legend, David Ogilvy, recommended it to his staff at his ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, in a memo he issued back in 1982. I write for a living, so I took note. A lot of what Ogilvy suggested made sense. And a lot of what’s covered in Writing That Works makes sense, too. Actually, it made so much sense that I wound up having a really good, constructive conversation with the CEO at work about the direction we ou I bought a copy of Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson’s Writing That Works because advertising legend, David Ogilvy, recommended it to his staff at his ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, in a memo he issued back in 1982. I write for a living, so I took note. A lot of what Ogilvy suggested made sense. And a lot of what’s covered in Writing That Works makes sense, too. Actually, it made so much sense that I wound up having a really good, constructive conversation with the CEO at work about the direction we ought to be heading in when it comes to writing. I would argue that, when it comes right down to it, good writing actually means good editing. (I even now have a post-it note with the editing tips from this book taped up next to my computer monitor — just a little reminder of what to look out for.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Philipp

    OK this goes on my 'recommended reading for students' list. Too often do I get emails that are actually three emails weirdly intertwined and after spending 10 minutes untangling the email I have no idea what I'm supposed to do - is there a question or action for me anywhere? This book is a generic 'how to write' book with a focus on business writing in the form of internal memos. There are tips and helpful advice on writing reports, letters, grant applications, CVs, speeches, and lots on proper e OK this goes on my 'recommended reading for students' list. Too often do I get emails that are actually three emails weirdly intertwined and after spending 10 minutes untangling the email I have no idea what I'm supposed to do - is there a question or action for me anywhere? This book is a generic 'how to write' book with a focus on business writing in the form of internal memos. There are tips and helpful advice on writing reports, letters, grant applications, CVs, speeches, and lots on proper etiquette, starting with 'how do I address the recipient?' to CC/BCC behaviours, to 'coping with political correctness' (in a nutshell: you may not like it but 'minorities suffer enough without being labeled with terms they regard as offensive, regardless of what the writer may think of their preferences or their reasons'). I read the 3rd edition from a curious time when e-mails were taking over, yet hand-written memos were still a thing. That's not an issue to the reader as everything written on business memos is equally applicable to business e-mails, lots of cute stuff ('there's ISDN now! So fast!'). Anyway, as I said above, this goes on the recommended reading list pile for students, there's enough knowledge here to remove 80% of my pain with other people's (and my own!) emails. P.S.: I read this book because David Ogilvy recommended it to people working in his ad agency, as written in The Unpublished David Ogilvy. He did not write that Roman and Raphaelson worked for Ogilvy's agency, and that they both worked on The Unpublished David Ogilvy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ilona

    I give it 2 stars because they gave 1 piece of good advice: DON'T MUMBLE. But then they didn't follow that advice and kept on talking how to write an email. (pro tip: be short and clear) I know it's an old book, I just wish it wasn't promoted as something evergreen. Also, it's recommended as a must read by David Ogilvy, which is fun because it was written by people who worked for David Ogilvy. I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND THIS GREAT BOOK BY MY COLLEAGUE BUY THIS. I give it 2 stars because they gave 1 piece of good advice: DON'T MUMBLE. But then they didn't follow that advice and kept on talking how to write an email. (pro tip: be short and clear) I know it's an old book, I just wish it wasn't promoted as something evergreen. Also, it's recommended as a must read by David Ogilvy, which is fun because it was written by people who worked for David Ogilvy. I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND THIS GREAT BOOK BY MY COLLEAGUE BUY THIS.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mridul Singhai

    If your day job involves communicating to other people (almost certainly it does), give this book a try. It uses several representative examples to come upon its thesis that effective communication is the paramount to business/job success.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Phil Simon

    This book would have done better to focus on one area or two. By attempting to cover email, presentations, resumes, proposals, and a swath of other areas in 180 pages, the book ultimately fails. What's more, I found the material to be pretty basic. I hate to be critical, but presentations require separate texts. This book just covers major areas in a rather perfunctory manner. This book would have done better to focus on one area or two. By attempting to cover email, presentations, resumes, proposals, and a swath of other areas in 180 pages, the book ultimately fails. What's more, I found the material to be pretty basic. I hate to be critical, but presentations require separate texts. This book just covers major areas in a rather perfunctory manner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andres Moreira

    A great book about how you ca improve your writing skills, in particular your business writing skills. The book has many recommendations for * better e-mails * better presentations * better proposals Some sections were a bit boring (improve your resume for example), but I've enjoyed a lot the one about Presentations & Speeches. A great book about how you ca improve your writing skills, in particular your business writing skills. The book has many recommendations for * better e-mails * better presentations * better proposals Some sections were a bit boring (improve your resume for example), but I've enjoyed a lot the one about Presentations & Speeches.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Krysztina

    Louis Begley recommends this as "The Strunk and White of business writing". Like Strunk & White, most of Writing That Works is painfully outdated, which makes sense - the third edition was published in 2000, almost 20 years ago. You can chuck out about 90% of what they wrote on email and the Internet, to start. Most job transactions happen online, stuff rarely takes "too long" to download, and printing your email to come back to it the morning is a waste of paper. Oh, and good luck telephoning a Louis Begley recommends this as "The Strunk and White of business writing". Like Strunk & White, most of Writing That Works is painfully outdated, which makes sense - the third edition was published in 2000, almost 20 years ago. You can chuck out about 90% of what they wrote on email and the Internet, to start. Most job transactions happen online, stuff rarely takes "too long" to download, and printing your email to come back to it the morning is a waste of paper. Oh, and good luck telephoning a company to see if they want to interview you. If they do have a landline, there probably won't be a recruiter at the end of it. There's only one piece of truly timeless advice - don't hit Reply to All on an email thread unless you really have to. They should frame that in every office that uses email. Chapters on speeches and proposals are OK. I liked the use of real-life examples, even though some things were common sense. Don't follow their resume advice, though. Sticking to bland facts and empty, impersonal phrases won't fly in the age of human-voiced resumes. And for the love of God, do use bullet points. They won't 'confuse scanners', and the human recruiter reading your CV will appreciate it. Before you pick up this book, ask yourself if you have the time to sift through dozens of pages of technologically-outdated advice and things that may well land your work in the reject pile just to find the handful of useful things that still apply today. If the answer is no, go read something else instead.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robinson Terry

    When I was a grant writer my boss bought me a copy of Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." I think this book would've been more helpful in that situation. It's a bit outdated, but contains a number of insights regarding business writing that are still valuable. Distilled down to three key ideas, the authors recommend writers know their audience, get to the point of their communications quickly, and cut the heck out of their writing. Chop it up. The book is an easy read. Unlike Strunk & White, t When I was a grant writer my boss bought me a copy of Strunk & White's "Elements of Style." I think this book would've been more helpful in that situation. It's a bit outdated, but contains a number of insights regarding business writing that are still valuable. Distilled down to three key ideas, the authors recommend writers know their audience, get to the point of their communications quickly, and cut the heck out of their writing. Chop it up. The book is an easy read. Unlike Strunk & White, they do not delve into grammar or punctuation. They simply provide examples from contemporary business people and comment on what's worked. This book is terrific for people interested in advertising, business, corporate America. Or how corporate America used to be. There's a whole chapter on Memos that's probably unnecessary now, and this book is so old that social media as a term I don't even think is included. If I were an entrepreneur or a business person, this book would've been a lot more applicable to my writing. However, many of their strategies can be applied to various forms of writing/communication, and I'm grateful I read it. P.S. The authors mention David Ogilvy a number of times in this book. I guess he became wealthy off of advertising in the mid-20th century? Their focus is so sharp that he's only mentioned for specific purposes, but what they do mention makes him seem like a fascinating figure.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    Many of the approaches in this book could be regarded as good advice on clear writing; many of the specifics are outdated. However, that doesn't diminish the value of this book because they authors explicitly argue that readers should always be adapting to the audience and that past usage may no longer be appropriate. The chapter on political correctness was a particularly good example in this respect, because it encourages writers to appreciate the views of the audience, especially minority gro Many of the approaches in this book could be regarded as good advice on clear writing; many of the specifics are outdated. However, that doesn't diminish the value of this book because they authors explicitly argue that readers should always be adapting to the audience and that past usage may no longer be appropriate. The chapter on political correctness was a particularly good example in this respect, because it encourages writers to appreciate the views of the audience, especially minority groups, and then provides a list of terms which it would be "loony" to believe offensive — and many of the terms on that list would no longer be good choices for business communications. The book adheres to its own principles; concise and readable. Additionally, an interesting view into corporate culture in the late 1990s.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mohd Rukhairy Abdul Rahman

    The author's approach on business writing is quite astonishing given such a dull topic to cover. It's quite an eye opening for someone who almost frequently wrote a semi-journal kind of email including business email as well and I've been doing it for the past few years. It's a good start with all the business emails I've been sending out this past few weeks. The part where the author talk about Mark Twain removing a word for every 3 words sounds like a thing to try next time. Taking a break eve The author's approach on business writing is quite astonishing given such a dull topic to cover. It's quite an eye opening for someone who almost frequently wrote a semi-journal kind of email including business email as well and I've been doing it for the past few years. It's a good start with all the business emails I've been sending out this past few weeks. The part where the author talk about Mark Twain removing a word for every 3 words sounds like a thing to try next time. Taking a break every few drafts is a good advice to anybody who actually wrote an essay or report like me. Highly recommended for anyone looking to improvise their business email writing

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abhijit

    More theory less examples The thoretical aspect of the book was fine, you can get the two cents from the book. A lot more is required in terms of situational examples. The book is priced at a much higher price point than the information that it supplies. It's worth a quick reading which would lead you to use the hooks provided in the book to do a lot more research of your own. I would have expected everything to be there in this book so that it becomes my one source and then I practise and adjust More theory less examples The thoretical aspect of the book was fine, you can get the two cents from the book. A lot more is required in terms of situational examples. The book is priced at a much higher price point than the information that it supplies. It's worth a quick reading which would lead you to use the hooks provided in the book to do a lot more research of your own. I would have expected everything to be there in this book so that it becomes my one source and then I practise and adjust. Sadly it's not there yet. In the end not worth the price I paid for it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emmett

    This book has good tips. It provides guidelines and good suggestions for how to write something that is professional, understandable, and, hopefully, effective. It is dated though. It was written in 2000 and you can tell. E-mail is discussed, but there is significance placed on other forms of communicating not used often anymore. Other than that limitation, it is a useful book and worth the quick read by anyone that writes professionally.

  13. 4 out of 5

    James Hammer

    I have read this book and it is extremely helpful. This book is a brilliant sample and a guide about how to prepare a speech. I have to prepare a speech for the conference. I'll present my research project. I think it will impress everyone but I really want to learn how to present it in the best way. My speech with the presentation will based on tips and thoughts of the author of this book. I will write the result later. I have read this book and it is extremely helpful. This book is a brilliant sample and a guide about how to prepare a speech. I have to prepare a speech for the conference. I'll present my research project. I think it will impress everyone but I really want to learn how to present it in the best way. My speech with the presentation will based on tips and thoughts of the author of this book. I will write the result later.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil

    While some of the examples might be dated, most of the advice in this book is timeless and commonsense. In 13 concise chapters, the authors recommend the most effective practices for getting your writing read, understood, and acted upon. I will be using this as a handy desk reference for years to come.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natalia Baldochi

    First of all, it's an outdated book. The authors have revised it but still, it doesn't talk about the world with millennials. I wish the book had more language and stile discussion instead of explaining to write a report. On the other side, I believe it to be a good book for a start. It brings good points about speech, resume, and revisions. First of all, it's an outdated book. The authors have revised it but still, it doesn't talk about the world with millennials. I wish the book had more language and stile discussion instead of explaining to write a report. On the other side, I believe it to be a good book for a start. It brings good points about speech, resume, and revisions.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cristian Eduardo Capellino

    Useful recommendations that can be applied immediately. This book is a must-read. Most companies would increase their effectiveness and efficiency if all their people read this book. Those who read it and apply it will be a step ahead from the competition. Very easy to read, the authors clearly walk the talk.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    I used this book to improve my writing when establishing elite score writers, and this review should serve to assist others. For example, "the purpose is to persuade somebody - or more often a number of people - to approve a recommendation or proposal, and agree to put it into action" is an idea that I found extremely helpful. I used this book to improve my writing when establishing elite score writers, and this review should serve to assist others. For example, "the purpose is to persuade somebody - or more often a number of people - to approve a recommendation or proposal, and agree to put it into action" is an idea that I found extremely helpful.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Ann

    Don't let the rating fool you: this is a fantastic book. Much of the material, however, is familiar to me and the book often read like a series of lists. One thing I especially liked is how they analyzed the structure of effective letters as a series of actions. Don't let the rating fool you: this is a fantastic book. Much of the material, however, is familiar to me and the book often read like a series of lists. One thing I especially liked is how they analyzed the structure of effective letters as a series of actions.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Some good, classic nuggets of advice here but this book is in desperate need of a new edition to speak to updated & now universally accepted technology, as well as a better chapter on respecting your audience than "Coping With Political Correctness." Some good, classic nuggets of advice here but this book is in desperate need of a new edition to speak to updated & now universally accepted technology, as well as a better chapter on respecting your audience than "Coping With Political Correctness."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fabrizio Trotti

    A good book for most people If you are an experienced writer and communicator, you probably won't find too much in this book. For everyone else, this is gold. Follow the tips and recommendations religiously, and your effectiveness in corporate communication will benefit immensely. A good book for most people If you are an experienced writer and communicator, you probably won't find too much in this book. For everyone else, this is gold. Follow the tips and recommendations religiously, and your effectiveness in corporate communication will benefit immensely.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Talal

    Definitely worth a read. Taught me a thing or two.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav Bhati

    Good light read. Feels quite dated though. Most of the learnings can be synthesized and presented in a short column instead of a book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ishtiak Hasan

    don't mumble. that pretty much summarise the whole idea. rest of the parts you can skip if you're reading it in 2017 like me. don't mumble. that pretty much summarise the whole idea. rest of the parts you can skip if you're reading it in 2017 like me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ghislaine

    A lot of the information in this book is old hat for any seasoned business writers. If you are new to the game, it's a good primer. A lot of the information in this book is old hat for any seasoned business writers. If you are new to the game, it's a good primer.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Priya sankar

    Highly recommended for better writing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Doy

    Some of the information in here is dated, but their advice on writing is spot-on and helpful. Great information about resume writing as well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sergiy

    Although the book is a bit dated, for sure you will learn a few new tips and tricks

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sinziana Mihalache

    Useful and concise advice on different types of written pieces (memos, presentations, letters, pitches etc); might be of use also to those interested in creative writing. Easy to read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Written almost 40 years ago, this book touts writing advice still recommended today.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Exactly what it purports to be. Very good, if a little dated.

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