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The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking Like a Professional 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0978924751
ISBN-10: 0978924754
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip A. Yaffe is an author, former feature writer with the Wall Street Journal and a marketing communication consultant. Born in Boston he teaches writing and public speaking in Brussels, Belgium where he has lived for more than thrity years.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: INDI Best, INDI Publishing Group; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978924754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978924751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,757,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tiffany A. Harkleroad VINE VOICE on July 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are simple guidelines to follow for effective and professional writing and speaking. Philip Yaffe bases his guidelines on those outlined in the Gettysburg Address. This book outlines the basic rules of professional and academic writing, and has a complete set of exercises to practice said rules, listed in appendices in the back.

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.
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Format: Paperback
by Charles Jacobs
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.
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Format: Paperback
To speak and write well are difficult tasks. Most of us can communicate, but we just muddle through with bloated lines and fuzzy logical connections. Philip A. Yaffe distills his years of writing and instructional experience into easy to grasp principles to help communicators improve their written and oratory skills.

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.
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