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Paperback Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace Book

ISBN: 0321953304

ISBN13: 9780321953308

Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace reflects the wisdom and clear authorial voice of Williams' best-selling book, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, while streamlining every chapter to create a very brief, yet powerfully direct guide to writing with style. The concise clarity of this book makes it a handy reference for anyone interested in good writing.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A beautiful, systematic treatise on writing well

This is, by far, the best book on writing that I have ever read. I stumbled upon this book while taking a free writing seminar at Pepperdine University. I must say that I have never had such a wondrous, wholly unexpected discovery and experience as this. In the book Williams explains why writing may be clear, or unclear, and by relating narrative prose to composition. He states that when we can identify characters, i.e. people or things, with subjects, and actions with verbs, then we tend to think the writing is clear. He gives example upon example to buttress his point. Later he describes how to write coherent paragraphs and papers - not by concatenating one unrelated sentence to another but by making sure the topics of the sentences are related to each other, forming a cohesive unity. The book ends by examining ways to increase elegance in your writing - a fitting finish to a systematic, rational approach to writing. I must admit that another reason I enjoyed the book so much was that, being an engineer working in academia and doing research, I have read so many abstruse, incoherent papers that unless you are careful you begin to write in a similar manner. This book gives cogent, principled explanations about how to change these incoherent, murky writings into clear and concise papers. As I hope to have people read my works and not become frustrated this book was the perfect antidote.

The book my students have learned the most from.

I'm an economics professor who started teaching writing courses as a spare time activity when I discovered that our English faculty was doing such a poor job of it. My writing class is directed at college undergrads and grad students. I tried a number of books, but settled on Williams and have been using it since the 2nd edition. I find that students can make an enormous improvement in their writing in just ten weeks. If your goal is to learn the kind of writing that will help you explain a process, change someone's mind, or write the winning proposal, Williams is your man. Don't read it all in one session, and you must actually do the exercises. Try a chapter a week. It works. Charles Lave, University of California, Irvine

Best Book on Writing I've Found

Most guides to writing speak in maxims and platitudes - "Be succinct" or "Write clearly". Williams accomplishes a unique feat in actually demonstrating techniques that allow writers to write succinctly and clearly. Unlike most writing guides, this book cannot be consumed in a single sitting. It requires the reader to work at the techniques, not simply to read Williams' ideas and magically hope that they will appear in the reader's future written works. If you spend the time with it, you will not be disappointed.

The best book on writing ever written

Joseph Williams' book, "Style: Toward Clarity and Grace" is the best book on writing I have ever read, by far. Williams himself describes the emphasis of the book on page one: "Telling me to 'Be clear' is like telling me to 'Hit the ball squarely.' I know that. What I don't know is how to do it." But Williams does know how to write well, and his explanations are precise and concrete. This book takes a sort of linguistic, almost scientific approach to improving your writing style. I first learned of Williams' work in "The Language Instinct," by the Stephen Pinker, the acclaimed professor of linguistics from MIT. Unlike every other writing book, this one is more than a laundry list of grammatical shoulds and shouldn'ts. This book is about HOW-- how to write to suit the human brain's innate method of processing information.I am a professional writer, and I have a whole book case filled with grammar books. But this book is worth more than all the others combined. If you're a writer, this is the book you've been looking for.
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