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The Business Writer's Handbook
ISBN 0312436122 / 9780312436124 / 0-312-43612-2
Publisher Bedford/St. Martin's
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This fifth edition of The Business Writer's Handbook consists of nearly 700 spiral-bound pages written with both business students and professionals in mind. (It is also available in a paper-bound version, but how nice to be able to lay the book flat on one's desk for ease of reference.) "Our focus," say the editors, "is on helping professionally oriented writers develop effective skills and strategies for communicating in a rapidly changing environment," and that they do. The entries, arranged alphabetically, are straightforward and to the point. Sandwiched between items addressing issues of English grammar and word usage are guides to writing résumés, resignation letters, and everything in between (e.g., abstracts, annual reports, e-mail, executive summaries, form letters, feasibility studies, memos, mission statements, proposals, and trade journal articles). Throughout the book, the point is made that good writing has a marked effect on business communications--a short, personal collection letter, for instance, "will usually motivate a customer to pay a bill faster than will a form letter." Since the book is written for the business professional, many of the usage and grammar issues are illustrated with business-related examples, but don't think that that means the book isn't any fun. Consider the first sentence in an entry for gobbledygook: "Gobbledygook is writing that suffers from an overdose of traits guaranteed to make it stuffy, pretentious, and wordy." --Jane Steinberg [via]