The Business Writer's Handbook

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9780312575106: The Business Writer's Handbook

Now in its eighth edition, this classic book remains the complete business-writing reference for students and professionals alike. Alphabetically organized and easy to use, its nearly 400 entries provide guidance for the most common types of business documents and correspondence, from brochures, press releases, and résumés, to executive summaries, proposals, and reports. Abundant sample documents and visuals throughout the book demonstrate effective business communication, reflecting current practices for formatting documents and using e-mail. In addition, advice on organizing, researching, writing, and revising complements thorough treatment of grammar, usage, style, and punctuation to provide comprehensive help with writing skills. This edition has been thoroughly revised to include expanded advice for analyzing the context of different writing situations, using and integrating visuals, and dealing with ethical concerns in business writing, including plagiarism. Entries throughout have been revised, updated, consolidated, and streamlined to provide the most accurate and accessible information. Comprehensive yet concise, The Business Writer's Handbook remains the quick reference faithful users have come to appreciate.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Gerald J. Alred is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where he teaches business and technical writing. He is also the coauthor of Writing That Works, Seventh Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001), and the author of The St. Martin's Bibliography of Business and Technical Communication (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

Charles T. Brusaw is presently a business writing consultant for corporations worldwide. He retired from NCR Corporation after working for twenty years as a technical writer. He has also worked in advertising, public relations, and curriculum development. He is also the coauthor of Writing That Works, Seventh Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001).

Walter E. Oliu is Acting Director of the Division of Freedom of Information and Publications Services at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and has taught at Miami University of Ohio and Slippery Rock State University. He is the coauthor of Writing That Works, Seventh Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001).

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Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, Walter E. Oliu
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