Despite what the digerati say, the written word remains one of the most powerful forms of communication. Unfortunately the number of good business writers is few and the amount of business writing is great. Carter Daniel has created a helpful, instructional and accessible tool for people who have to make the transition from writing academic reports to creating business communications. Reader-friendly reports presents the basic rules of good business writing in the style of Strunck and White's elements of style.
The book is organized around elements of the writing as opposed to elements of the idea or communication, that can be found in Barbara Minto's Pyramid Principle. Daniel's organization and approach makes the book accessible for those entering the workforce. Professionals looking to brush up their writing will have to to work a little harder as they 'go back to school.' It is well worth the effort.
Learning how to write a powerful, persuasive and readable business report is tough work that often requires breaking bad habits or habits that worked in school but not in the business world. This book helps you do this on your own by pointing out weak points and providing positive examples. This book is not just for MBAs or Consultants, rather its applicable to everyone.
Highly recommended for anyone entering the workforce. This book should be part of the welcome kit for new college hires. The book is recommended for professionals who are taking on a new job or promotion, particularly one into the management ranks or senior management ranks where written communication is sometimes the only form of communication.
The book is clearly organized around the major elements and issues associated with business writing. It follows the writing process from organizing your ideas to writing the report and expressing your thoughts. This will give the reader the impression that writing is something you stop, think about, plan, then focus and write, which is how you write something worth reading.
The book is interactive in the sense that it follows up examples with little activities and questions that reinforce its ideas and concepts.
Frequent examples of good and not-so-good writing give the reader a clear idea of how to improve their writing. While these examples appear dated and somewhat more formal than most of our daily written communications, they do reinforce what good writing looks like.
The book concentrates on the mechanics of writing. This is good, but less so on the organization of the thought or idea you are writing about. Often poor writing is a reflection of incomplete thoughts, limited understanding, or a desire to avoid the issue. While the book's first section, planning a reader-friendly report, seeks to address this topic, it does so mechanically. This is an area where I have found Minto's the Pyramid Principle rather helpful.
The book covers digital issues to a degree, but this book remains grounded in the world of written and printed reports. Given that more of our communication is reading the written word on a screen, stored in a PDF, the book would have benefited from dealing with issues related to digitally delivered written communications. Those issues include: paragraph sizing, graphics, animation, titling, etc.