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Business Writing: What Works, What Won't Paperback – May, 2001


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Business Writing: What Works, What Won't + Writing That Works; How to Communicate Effectively In Business + Business Grammar, Style & Usage: The Most Used Desk Reference for Articulate and Polished Business Writing and Speaking by Executives Worldwide
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Revised edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312109482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312109486
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Business writing manuals tend to fall into two traps. One is dwelling on how much business people hate to write because of bad teachers in school (no one wants to admit that writing takes thinking). The other is inconsistency in tone-trying to use everyday business language but lapsing into quoting Shakespeare in Latin. This book avoids both traps. It has a good format for use in seminars and classes: Chapters are short and contain exercises and examples, humor, and illustrations to make their points clear and memorable. This book suggests some useful activities that don't often appear in similar manuals, such as clustering and writing dialog to get started, and wisely emphasizes getting the first draft done before doing any editing. Davidson is a 15-year veteran of teaching writing seminars in the corporate world for such companies as AT&T and Johnson & Johnson. Her manual is appropriate for public, academic, and corporate libraries.
Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Wilma Davidson, Ed. D., is a writing and presentation-skills coach. Her clients include corporations throughout the Fortune 500. She lives in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and Longboat Key, Florida.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Easy to understand and well organized.
Amazon Customer
This book truly helped improve my professional writing not only at school, but at work as well.
Meredith M.
The book includes quizzes, asking readers to fix broken paragraphs and sentences.
Daniel L Edelen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Eric P. Batterson on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
With business people today spending an average of 30% of their work time writing, this book offers simple techniques (along with practice situations) to make your message more clear and powerful. This book was helpful to me because most writing skills taught in business schools today are not comparable to the writing demands faced by these same students in the business world. This book also helped me discard my academic view that writing features lengthy paragraphs and big words and taught me to use concise paragraphs to get the job done. Look at me now! This review was originally five pages!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Edelen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wilma Davidson's _Business Writing: What Works, What Won't_ is that rare book that fully addresses its title's premise. This book will have you writing more effective business correspondence and documents right away.

As a freelance commercial writer, my work depends on skillfully communicating on point. This book shows how to do just that. Davidson minces no words, either. She finds the current state of business writing deplorable, filled with pointless buzzwords, passive voice, data overload, and too much pomposity. She gears her book to addressing those major problems and does so effortlessly.

You'll learn how to

* Restructure documents for quick reading
* Tighten sentences and paragraphs by eliminating extraneous words and phrases
* Use "real English" instead of business buzzwords that hinder communication
* Move from dull, passive voice to a more natural active voice that holds readers' attention
* And much more.

Best of all, the author provides numerous outstanding examples of the distinctions between poorly written documents and their more professionally written counterparts. The book includes quizzes, asking readers to fix broken paragraphs and sentences. Unlike some other books that test readers, Davidson provides her suggestions for those fixes so the reader isn't left to wonder what the repair might be. Her section on switching from passive to active voice may be one of the best I've ever read, offering illustrations and clever examples that help beginning business writers grasp the concept.

Considering I work as a writer and have read on the topic widely, it's a rarity for me to pick up a book on the subject of writing and say, "What a superlative book!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Gallagher VINE VOICE on November 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Business Writing: What Works, What Won't is a business writing book that indeed does work very well. The author gets right to the point and gives just the right amount of information on most business writing aspects, with a terrific section on e-mail and letters. She uses humor throughout the guide, making an otherwise dry subject more entertaining. More importantly, the book is full of useful examples that illustrate the rule, technique, or principle discussed. For example, she doesn't just urge the reader to use the active voice, she includes almost a dozen examples of the proper way to use the active voice (and avoid the passive voice). Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C M Hagens on April 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
For me the book was a vital part of my learning this semester. Every time we moved to a new topic I would examine the examples. For me to be able to see what a good memo looked like and what a bad memo looked like was invaluable. The different lists throughout the book, like easily misspelled words pages 208-212, were easy to use and extremely helpful.

Business Writing What Works, What Won't by Dr. Davidson - 20 dollars

Tuition for ENC 3250 - 399 dollars

Learning to write a professional memo that will keep you from looking uneducated - PRICELESS
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine Anderson on April 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
The open, inviting and easy-to-read format was the first thing that attracted me to Wilma Davidson's book. Next was the content. She covers all the major areas that most people need to work on to become more effective and efficient writers. Her book provides solid, practical information right up front, with a of easy-to-understand examples. Last but not least is the endorsement given in the forward by Janet Emig, who revolutionized the approach to writing being taught in school systems around the world today. I use Business Writing, What Works What Wont to supplement the principles and techniques I teach in my writing workshop, which is aimed at professionals in technical fields, and they love it too, saying it is a great help and excellent resource.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Burke on April 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found the textbook to be an extremely helpful tool in perfecting my writing throughout the semester. While I used it sparingly for the first few weeks, I started to keep up with the reading assignments later on. The later writing samples blew my earlier work away, and I am confident that the textbook's tips were the reason for my improvement. I found three areas, the side-by-side revisions, the "Grappling With Grammar" section, and all of Chapter 9, to be immensely helpful.

Early in the semester, I relied very heavily on the side-by-side revisions to really get an idea of what my writing should look like. The examples are featured are pages 33-38 and thoughout the book. Seeing an example of a cluttered, wordy memo right next to a concise, even-tempered memo made it easy to correct my mistakes. I followed a similar revising process and had fantastic results. For students who are just starting in the class, these examples are fantastic.

As my overall tone and writing got better, I had to find ways to fine-tune my efforts. To reach the 5.5-6 grade level I knew it would take flawless work. Chapter 11 featured several sections entitled, "Grappling With Grammar." While I knew I was a sound writer, pages 199-203 helped solve those tricky grammar issues. The entire chapter helped with word usage, punctuation, and the technical problems that can deflate even the best memo. For writers at any level, this section was very valuable.

Lastly, I found Chapter 9 to be another important tool as I perfected my writing. The other two parts helped with my tone and punctuation, but I still needed help to clear the clutter in my writing. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I have a tendency to use cliches and pretentious words.
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