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On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

William Zinsser
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9. Mai 2006 On Writing Well

On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sole, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.

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On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction + The Elements of Style
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  • Taschenbuch: 336 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Perennial; Auflage: Anniversary. (9. Mai 2006)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0060891548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060891541
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: 15 - 18 Jahre
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,3 x 13,6 x 2,1 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 10.333 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

William Zinsser is a writer, editor and teacher. He began his career on the New York Herald Tribune and has since written regularly for leading magazines. During the 1970s he was master of Branford College at Yale. His 17 books, ranging from baseball to music to American travel, include the influential Writing to Learn and Writing About Your Life. He teaches at the New School in New York.

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In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
A school in Connecticut once held "a day devoted to the arts," and I was asked if I would come and talk about writing as a vocation. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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5.0 von 5 Sternen
5.0 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Even small doses will improve your writings... 21. April 2007
Whow: Ever seen a printed jewel before?

Even the part on "simplicity" is well worth the money.

Make it simpler - cut it down. It'll still convey your message. And Zessner

is so right about it...

Zessner goes on as he begins: precise, interesting and with many

convincing samples. Good read!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen good 23. Mai 2014
Von Zhiling
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
This is a very good book. Nice sentences and practical tips in it, a nice supplement to "The elements of style"
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5.0 von 5 Sternen very relevant even for our digital lifes 7. Juni 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
the books explains how we can become better in writing, and structuring our thoughts. very nice even for purposes such as blogging.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  312 Rezensionen
233 von 239 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen In response to the criticism that Zinsser "generalizes egregiously about topics that are enormous" 23. April 2012
Von A fellow with a keyboard - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
The most damaging (but fair) criticism I've heard of this book came from reviewer D. Fineman who said, "He generalizes egregiously about topics that are enormous. ... He feels free to judge -- for instance scientists -- outside his field."

I agree that Zinsser does these things, but I disagree that it is a problem. In fact, if I have one criticism of the book it is exactly the opposite: that the lessons are even more generalizable and broadly applicable than Zinsser gives them credit for. For instance, if you skip the travel writing chapter, or if you read it thinking that it only applies to travel writing, then you will miss two golden and persuasive arguments that ought to apply to *any* writer:

1) The things that come to the writer easiest -- cliché, excessive detail, syrupy and vague language -- are the things that keep the reader bored/detached/passive.

2) Your main task as a writer is to distill the essence of whatever you're writing about--to find its central idea, to describe its distinctive qualities using precise images. In other words, your main task is to work excruciatingly hard.

The goal of any writer (yes, any) ought to be to transform the reader from a passive observer into an ally. It's excruciatingly hard to do, but once you realize that that's the goal, and once you realize that the parts that come easiest are what's getting in the way of that goal, then you can start writing well.

Zinsser knows these things, and he articulates them beautifully. It is one of the most persuasive books I have read, on any subject. But I hate that the lessons are hidden within topic-specific chapters. Please read with that in mind.
77 von 90 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A CLASSIC GUIDE TO WRITING WELL 15. Mai 2007
Von Mike Klaassen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser, is meant to compliment The Elements of Style by Stunk and White. In Zinsser's own words "The Elements of Style is a book of pointers and admonitions: do this, don't do that. What it didn't address was how to apply those principles to the various forms that nonfiction writing and journalism can take."

Although the book is organized in four parts, the content could really be summarized in two categories:

· Writing principals, methods, and attitudes

· Guidelines for specific forms of nonfiction, including travel, humor, business, sports, arts, memoirs, and family history.

Subjects addressed include: rewriting, craft vs. art, humanity and warmth, clutter, simplicity, finding a style, clichés, rhythm, unity, tone, and attitude. All of these are covered with the insight of a successful writer having decades of experience.

The author works some biographical information and experiences into the text, but the focus of the material is on writing well. Given that the first edition was in 1976, some of the examples and attitudes are dated, but they also add to the charm of the book.

No recaps or exercises are included at the end of the chapters, but an index is provided for easy reference.

As the subtitle indicates, the book is specifically directed at nonfiction writing, but many of the concepts also apply to fiction. With over a million copies sold, and in its thirtieth anniversary edition, much of the information has already been worked into other writing guides. As envisioned by Zinsser, On Writing Well compliments The Elements of Style. Together, they make a great combination.
457 von 574 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen I am sorry to disagree.... 21. September 2009
Von D. Fineman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I usually only write reviews for books I can praise. I actively avoid giving criticism about books that have, as this one does, a large and enthusiastic following. I feel compelled to write now because I think that many will not be as well served as they imagine after reading these reviews.

I think this book is popular for many understandable and, in themselves, good reasons. The writer is up-beat and optimistic. He supplies simple formulas for complex problems. He has both wit and charm. He supplies many funny stories. He makes fun of pompous academics and pedagogues. He is empathetic and warm. His instructions are personal, not distant or abstract. He requires little of the reader and avoids pesky formalities. For all these reasons, one should be attracted to a non-fictional book of reminiscence about writing. However, all these virtues are not those of a book teaching writing.

Indeed, many dislike books that try to teach writing because the majority are rigorous, boring, and impersonal. So, it is no wonder that against those demanding and dry texts this humane presentation appears as an oasis. However, it is a mistake to think that those emotional values make this a good writing text.

This book's relation with writing is much like a movie's relation with its topic: a narrative about a thing more than an instruction. For instance, "Field of Dreams" may make us happy, but it hardly is likely to make us better baseball players. Here most of Zinsser's time is expended in context, quotation of others, and folksy tale. These are topped off with a brief commands - "Go to it" - that have a cheerleader's enthusiasm and lack of content. He celebrates one style, his own, which is short and informal to the exclusion of the hundreds of others that have graced our language. He gives little help with formal discourse. He feels free to judge -- for instance scientists -- outside his field and beside the point. He makes numerous grammatical errors and seems to recognize the dash as the only punctuation. He generalizes egregiously about topics that are enormous and yet undefined, for instance "the human element."
In short, he is less an instructor and more a coach.

As I said, his many strengths have understandably broad appeal, but this book would be inadequate for the college classes I teach. You may not need such formal help and that is fine as long as you do not think it appears here.
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very good - but know what you're getting 16. Mai 2012
Von D. Motta - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
First, note the title: On Writing Well. That is how one titles an essay. It is NOT a technical book that will lay out how to write. It's a collection of well written essays about different factors that will help you write better. The negative reviews are a bit ridiculous in their complaints because they expected something other than what the book is (ironically a lot of them are poorly written as well). If you're a professional writer, this probably won't do much for you. If you like writing and want to clean up your craft a little with this collection of tips, then it'll be great for you. And I'm assuming most of us here don't get paid to write so 5 stars it is.
21 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good basic advice for basic writers 10. November 2006
Von Lynn S. Hendricks - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I read this book as part of a class on writing essays. The advice in it is apt, but it was too basic for the good writers in the group. The nonwriters, on the other hand, found it all amazing and startling stuff. I'd recommend it for those who have read enough to know what a complete sentence looks like but have never seriously written before and want to.
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