4 out of 4 stars
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Write to Influence! by Carla D. Bass is a great reference for people from all walks of life who need to improve their persuasive writing skills. Ms. Bass argues that a good writing arsenal serves everyone from grant applicants to job seekers, budget managers to non-governmental organizations. She bases Write to Influence! on five principles: maximize limited space and time, empathize with the reader, be specific, avoid jargon, and proofread. The text has a workbook format, with activities at the end of each chapter giving the reader practice with new concepts.
Ms. Bass is retired from the Air Force with a career of writing experience. She gives advice on writing everyday items like resumes, emails and briefings as well as internet marketing. The book contains 200 writing exercises with examples of poorly written sentences accompanied by corrected versions. The book is very well put together and user-friendly, with a table of contents, index, quick reference for writers and a list of references.
It can be useful for people who write professionally as well as those who tackle the occasional writing project. It is divided into five parts: "Word Sculpting Tools", "Strategies to Influence", "Write to Influence! Applied Daily", "Exercises--Test Your Skill" and "Appendices" with answers to the exercises and quick reference writing tools. Cartoons are included that illustrate the topic of each chapter.
My favorite aspect of the book is the copious amount of examples of corrected phrases. In the section "Useless Words: Identify, Chisel, Discard", Ms. Bass changes the sentence "In the initial efforts, applicants were sorted into three categories" to "Applicants were initially sorted into three categories". (P.7) Another example: "The agency decided not to continue the service contract in light of the continual cost overruns" gets corrected to "The agency decided to discontinue the service contract, given the continual cost overruns". (P. 220)
The examples become progressively more complex, reflecting real world writing tasks. The final chapter contains one large "Graduation Exercise" followed by the author's suggested corrections. As the title implies, Write to Influence! targets writers seeking to persuade their audience toward a given end. Writers of fiction, autobiography or poetry may not find this reference as useful as writers of resumes, yearly reviews or budget proposals will.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is well formatted, engaging and appears to be professionally edited. The numerous activities and sample sentences make Write to Influence! a valuable reference for writers in many fields.
Write to Influence!
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