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on November 1, 2005
I've been developing retail software professionally for over 15 years and have been waiting for a book like this one. When I finally discovered the book, I was a little skeptic -- that is until I received the book.

If you are writing help, or any other technical documentation, this *is* the book for you. Coverage of the subject is just right. It's not too overloaded and it's not to light on the subject either.

The only thing missing that I wish they had was recommended templates for different types of documentation. If this book had a CD with samples, it would be worth 2 or 3 times the amount I paid for it.

I highly recommend this book.
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on July 29, 1998
What a pleasant surprise - a book which gives me exactly what I needed - a bag of tips and tricks on how to write a good manual. EXTREMELY well structured, and example if what it teaches itself. With a good set of checklists. Congratulations, Gretchen!
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on May 18, 2007
I purchased this text because I am trying to redirect my career. I have a lot of marketing and public relations in my background, but technical writing is a new area. I found the text easy to read, very informative, and exceptionally helpful. The only reason I gave it four instead of five stars is that it is weighted for web writers. Writing for the web is not a function of the job I am interviewing for, so that information, while interesting, was not particularly helpful for me.
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on August 4, 2004
There is a second edition to the Hargis book that you can find by searching for ISBN 0131477498. Get the new and even better second edition.
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on August 17, 2004
This second edition is much improved. There are lots and lots of examples that enable a technical author to hone the quality of their writing output. I am a manager of a group of technical authors and have purchased a copy for every office. A very worthwhile investment...
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on December 29, 2012
I've been writing technical documentation for 20+ years, but I was looking for some sort of "standard" to make sure that I'm meeting industry guidelines. This book is exactly the resource for which I was looking.
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Reading this new edition, I was quite impressed by the practical nature of its suggestions, which are reinforced by good choices of example texts that are then revised and improved, in accordance with those suggestions.

But it struck me that there is one logical subdivision of the book, which the authors may not necessarily have intended. It cleaves well into two portions. One deals with the timeless nature of writing clear, non-fiction text; totally independent of any computers. For example, it includes Part 2 of the book, entitled "Easy to understand", which spans 3 chapters, "Clarity", "Concreteness" and "Style". Even from the single word titles, you could guess that they are of this ilk.

In contrast, the other portion of the book relates more to a computer and browser oriented presentation.

Both portions are well put. But the authors and the publisher may have sold themselves short. The first portion, with minor tweaks, could be useful enough as a standalone text. But to a far broader audience than technical writers. It could be directed at the high school or undergraduate level, for a class on non-fiction writing. In my high school, we never had guidelines as cogently argued as this. I could have used it then. So perhaps could you.

Thus, the pity may be that most who might benefit from the book will never chance to encounter it.
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on May 17, 2013
The go-to resource for any software documentation project. I'm glad it came in hardback; this book is going to get a workout!
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on May 22, 2011
While I haven't finished reading this yet, I've already found it very informative and useful. I especially like that it provides before and after examples to show how so-so writing can be improved. It should be required reading for any and all engineers or SME tasked with producing their own technical documentation!
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on August 1, 2014
This is my favorite tech-comm book.
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