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The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking Like a Professional 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are in college, particularly graduate school, this book will be extraordinarily helpful to you. The focus on the book is expository writing, so for creative writing purposes, this tool may not be as important to you, but if you ever plan on writing an academic paper, or a professional report, this book is a must have for your library.
Philip Yaffe very clearly outlines, in simple terms, the real rules to professional writing. A lot of these rules were familiar to me from my past academic pursuits, but I still was able to learn a lot from the book. I think this would actually make a wonderful textbook for a writing course at the college level. I believe if more students had textbooks like this one, there would be far more success in academia today. I particularly liked the plethora of examples for the different rules. There are over 100 pages of appendices just full of examples and exercises.
This is not the type of book you are likely to sit down and read cover to cover like I did, unless you have a real passion for grammar and professional writing. That being said, like any mental health student has a copy of the APA guide book and the DSM on their bookshelves, so too should every college student and writer of professional materials have The Gettysburg Approach on their shelves.
I highly recommend this book to any serious scholar, regardless of subject matter, because its usefulness will know no bounds when you sit to do professional writing.
Author of "The Writer Within You," a Best Book of the Year
Author Philip Yaffe states in his introduction, "Most books and courses on writing and speaking focus on the superficialities without ever getting down to the bedrock of what these essential disciplines are truly all about."
Using the "simple, straight-forward" writing in Lincoln's Gettyburg Address as his stepping-off place, Yaffe begins his exploration of good prose by stating there are only two fundamental types of writing: creative and expository. This book is devoted to the latter.
The purpose of creative writing, he says, is to amuse and entertain, and advises authors to adopt the attitude that everyone wants to read what they has written. Conversely, the expository author must believe that no one wants to read his/her prose. Therefore, Yaffe suggests, the author must find new and interesting ways with which to reach the reader.
The book then goes on to define key characteristics of good writing. Clarity, he feels, is accomplished by in essence prioritizing the information that is related in terms of its importance. Density, a word I have never heard applied to writing, is his second characteristic. Here he emphasizes "precise information" that is "logically linked." I completely agree with his concern that writing should be specific, but I don't fully comprehend the use of the word "density" to reflect this.
Conciseness is the product of balancing the length of a text. As he does with each of the characteristics, Yaffe creates a "mathematical" formula. In this case: Clarity equals long as necessary, short as possible (C = L+S).
Yaffe calls on his experience as a journalist to demonstrate how these three characteristics are implemented.Read more ›
The book is divided into two parts of essentially equal length. Part 1 explains Yaffe's principles and techniques for improving writing and speaking. In part 2, readers are provided a variety of editing exercises coupled with explanatory-analysis to show how Yaffe's writing principles are applied.
As a college professor who struggled, and continues to struggle, with writing, I welcome books designed to assist communicators in improving their craft. Yaffe demonstrates his teaching experience by ensuring his recommendations are both understandable and portioned in short and understandable chunks. This approach reduces the chances of students feeling overwhelmed by a mountain of abstract concepts and data. I am pleased that the author avoided tedious discussions on grammar and punctuation. He was wise to focus on larger structural problems that confront writers.
The book clearly draws upon journalistic principles such as the inverted pyramid and writing a strong lead. I think these techniques are quite useful and recommend that business and newsletter communicators consider adopting them. I am less sanguine regarding how well those principles will be received by college professors. Academics are a traditional and at times an arrogant lot. They teach students to organize papers by a. defining the problem, followed by an analysis of the evidence, and ended with a strong conclusion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book covers all aspects of business writing. It drills down to the bedrock of sentence structure and lays out how to properly convey your message. Great pickup :)Published on January 3, 2014 by JimmyHoffa04
Author Phillip A. Yaffe is a professional writer who teaches in Brussels, Belgium. In this textbook, he offers logical and simple guidelines on how to become a better writer and... Read morePublished on November 5, 2010 by TeensReadToo
I don't normally review non-fiction books, but since I was a full-time university student until recently, and I am currently still studying part-time, I thought I could approach... Read morePublished on October 23, 2010 by Danya
Like Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Yaffe's book,The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking Like a Professional, is delightfully clear, concise, and dense. Read morePublished on October 4, 2010 by Diane B. Lockman
If you read only one self-help book this year, I implore you to consider The Gettysburg Approach. It will be indispensable to you, to your writing, and to your speaking. Read morePublished on October 2, 2010 by Kristin Wilkinson
I consider myself to be something of a stickler for proper grammar, punctuation, spelling and capitalization. Read morePublished on September 28, 2010 by Becky
I cannot imagine being more intimidated about writing a book review than I am about writing this one. Read morePublished on September 2, 2010 by Sam Sattler
I must admit, I am not normally a fan of books that claim to teach you how to write. I believe that writing is personal and you either have a passion for it or you don't. Read morePublished on June 23, 2010 by Amanda Evans
One of my favorite references for writers is The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. I believe Professor Strunk would, if he were alive today, have nice things to say about... Read morePublished on May 27, 2010 by M. L Lamendola