Business writing: three of a kind

Effective business writing
Patrick Forsyth
The Sunday Times/Kogan Page
ISBN: 0749454539

Forsyth opens with “I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork”, which sets the tone for a book that is both entertaining and instructive. He writes clearly and presents his suggestions in an accessible way – although the section on “the difference a word makes” will hardly reassure readers who are already scared by the prospect of business writing. But he wins Brownie points for admitting that styles or habits which irritate purists may still work well in a business context.

10 steps to successful business writing
Jack E Appleman
ASTD Press
ISBN: 1562864815

The font almost stopped me reading at page one – this book looks as if it has been typed. You may wince at Americanisms such as “unleash active verb power”, but keep going, because Appleman knows what he’s writing about. Early on, he acknowledges that good business writing is now required from almost everyone, regardless of level or function, and he assumes, smartly, that writing is outside his readers’ comfort zones. I particularly liked the questions he suggests we ask before beginning to write.

Business Writing: a guide to doing it well
Sidney Callis
Management Books 2000
ISBN: 1852525800

Usefully, Callis splits his advice into written media, so readers can dip in if they just need advice on writing, for example, e-mails or memos. This is very much a nuts and bolts approach to writing – but that’s exactly what many people need. Callis includes the sort of tips that younger readers may well not have learnt at school, for instance on how to begin and end a letter.

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