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December 05, 2006

Books on writing

Can't overemphasize how important good written communication is. It is usually the most durable form in which we transmit our ideas to others, and is naturally asynchrononous which relieves coordination problems across time and space. Oral presentations at conferences play a crucial role in building our social networks and gaining the attention and recognition of other scholars, but our written publications usually play a larger formal role in our career advancement.

So, I'll be making posts about written in addition to visual and oral communication. Today I'll start with a list of books that I have found helpful over the years.

















Strunk and White: Elements of Style Strunk and White: Elements of StyleThe true classic. Pithy set of style rules that, applied firmly, almost always improve clarity and vigor in your writing.


William Zinsser: On Writing Well

William Zinsser: On Writing WellAnother classic (just released in revised 20th anniversary edition). He preaches stripped-down simplicity. Has chapters on audience, usage, etc., but also a chapter on scientific writing.


Lyn Dupre: Bugs in Writing

Lyn Dupre: Bugs in WritingSimilar to Strunk and White in that it's a collection of style principles, but not short (some 140 terse chapters). Focuses on writing in technical fields, especially computer science.


Gary & Glynis Hoffman: Adios, Strunk and White

Gary & Glynis Hoffman: Adios, Strunk and White -- A Handbook for the New Academic EssayA writing guide specialized to academic writing. Goes beyond dogmatic rules to discuss features of good writing (flow, pausing, disarming, intensifying, etc.).


Deirdre McCloskey: The Rhetoric of Economics

Deirdre McCloskey: The Rhetoric of EconomicsNot really a writing guide, but an excellently well written inquiry into the rhetorical (persuasive) methods used in economics writing, and how these serve to obscure the nature of knowledge and learning. Reading this will help almost any social scientist write more effectively.


Maxine Hairston and Michael Keene: Successful Writing

Maxine Hairston and Michael Keene: Successful WritingAnother writing guide for academics, focusing on the process and structure of writing (adapting to audience, revising, polishing, etc.).


Martha Davis: Scientifc Papers and Presentations

Martha Davis: Scientifc Papers and Presentations


Vernon Booth: Communicating in Science

Vernon Booth: Communicating in Science -- Writing a Scientific Paper and Speaking at Scientific Meetings


Michael Alley: The Craft of Scientific Writing

Michael Alley: The Craft of Scientific Writing

Posted by jmm at December 5, 2006 09:37 AM

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