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How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393240146
ISBN-10: 0393240142
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  • How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide
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Total price: $43.38
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

E-mails are old-school; texts are becoming a wasteland of acronyms and abbreviations. If you’ve ever feared that written communication skills are dying quickly, don’t worry—this book is here to help! Comprehensive and accessible, the work guides users through just about any situation where the written word is necessary: social media for businesses, a plea to a professor for an extension, sympathy notes, wedding toasts, letters to the editor, and more. The first two sections cover the writing process and discuss writing in the age of technology; in the third section, Brown fills the pages with “Do” and “Don’t” checklists and a plethora of samples. Every library should consider having a copy of this informative and instructional book both in reference and in the circulating collection. --Rebecca Vnuk

Review

“Now, this is a reference book worth owning! Brown offers crisp, succinct advice on how to write better complaint letters, business emails, apology notes, and much more. Especially helpful are the visual "Do" and "Don't" charts next to each example.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Laura Brown has written the ultimate guide for anyone who needs to create clear, concise, and compelling written communications. Students, business people, and even seasoned professional writers should keep it handy, right between their dictionary and thesaurus.” (Michael Snell, literary agent, writing collaborator, and author of From Book Idea to Bestseller)

“An invaluable guide. If your job or your business depends on delivering clear messages with impact, you need this book.” (Bernd Schmitt, professor, Columbia Business School)

How to Write Anything is the first book I've seen that addresses the very core of writing for today's digital communications channels. The lessons in this book are for everybody.” (Mary Olson, digital business design and development pioneer)

“As a writing instructor of over thirty years, I know full well the demands upon young writers. Laura Brown answers the tough questions on how to get started, how to craft tone for a target readership, how to develop succinct content, and how to master argumentation.” (Roger Marheine, assistant professor, Pasadena City College)

“To author a book called How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide, you have to be foolish, delusional, or be Laura Brown, who pulls it off with grace and wisdom. Brown provides readers with an overview of the writing process―the infrastructure on which all writing is built―and specific strategies for hundreds of situations. Of course, eventually writers have to face each task alone, but they will be well-equipped thanks to Laura Brown.” (Alan Ziegler, author of The Writing Workshop Note Book)

“Laura Brown's ability as a writing coach is unparalleled, and How to Write Anything offers the best of her guidance on business writing. Laura has a gift for helping business writers focus, refine, and develop their ideas, and express those ideas in a compelling way. Whether you are a CEO or a first-time manager, How to Write Anything will help you craft your message for the highest possible impact.” (Robert C. Daugherty, executive chairman, Knowledge Shares)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (April 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393240142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393240146
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Laura Brown's "How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide' is the most comprehensive guide to writing I've seen. I wish the book had been available when I was in college more than 50 years ago.

As it happened, I was blessed with wonderful English teachers in both high school and college -- teachers who inspired me to major in English, which led me to take up journalism as a profession.

Brown shows the reader how to write everything: from letters of complaint, thank you notes, invitations of all kinds, speeches, cover letters for resumes, letters of recommendations, college essays, even book reviews.

I liked the way she included examples of poor writing -- "Don't do this" -- along with much better examples: "Do this."

She also includes writing by contributors, including college students. Yes, the book would be an ideal gift to any student.

"How to Write Anything" has more than two hundred how-to entries and easy-to-use models organized into three comprehensive sections on work, school, and personal life.

It's a book that's written in a style that's friendly and supportive. I've given a few speeches in my time and I agree with her statement that this activity is one of life's scariest experiences! In the speechwriting section (pages 408-412), she gives great advice on how to write the speech that's tailored to your audience, how to practice it before you get up on that platform (am I scaring you enough?) and how to have a friend critique it. In fact, having somebody you respect critique your writing is a great idea.

Let's say you're applying for college. Brown shows how to write application essays that will stand out. Somebody is hogging the parking in your neighborhood, blocking your driveway.
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Format: Hardcover
Picked this up in a bookstore, but it’s better value here at Amazon. Laura really knows her target audience: anyone who ever has to write anything. Her tips and examples are superbly crafted, and written with a great sense of humor and encouragement. While it’s designed as a go to guide when you need help with something your’e about to write, I could see myself reading this from front and back just for enjoyment. If you can’t afford your own personal editor (and not sure you can trust you friends) to read over something before you submit it, grab this book. It will help you feel confident about your writing.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who needs writing advice – to revise a résumé, say, or to write a letter of recommendation or a sympathy note or anything at all, really – and goes to the internet in search of answers knows what a hit-or-miss proposition that can be. Online stuff is quick and free, but the majority of advice out there on how to write is really pretty useless. You end up taking on board a few rules from one place, a couple of tips from another, a form of words from a few more… pretty soon you've been all over the place (and been distracted by Ebay and cute animal pix in the process), you've spent two or three times longer than the task actually requires, and your résumé/recommendation/sympathy card sounds like it was written by a committee -- arg.

If this sounds familiar (bet it does) then -- stop doing it! This book is the answer. You just pull it off the shelf, look up the form you need to write (in my most recent experience, a résumé) - you turn to the page (454 in this case) and there it all is, nice and clear. How to make a start, elements to include, 'do' and 'don't' listings, a page of useful verbs (because not every bullet point needs to start with the word 'assisted'!), an example of a poorly written résumé (and why it's poor) alongside a strong example, advice on what employers are looking for when they read it, etc., etc., etc. All this in a few really well-thought-out pages. So what I found was that by having this book as my one really good resource, I saved LOADS of time, and ended up with a résumé I actually liked! #pumpsfists
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Format: Hardcover
As a veteran (I mean elderly) professional writer and editor, I think I know it all. Then along comes this whippersnapper Laura Brown, offering to teach an old dog some new tricks. The presumption! The gall! But, hey, I learned a lot just browsing the book. I will recommend this "everything you need to know about writing anything but were afraid to ask" to all my associates and clients. Whether you're working on your memoirs or yearn to right the perfect love letter, Ms Brown offers clear, concise advice for novices and veterans alike. I cannot recommend the book more highly.
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Format: Hardcover
I used this book with my university student teachers this semester to guide them on writing professional emails. They were used to quick messages with friends that relied on abbreviations and casual formatting. It was causing them problems when communicating with me, other teachers and parents. It was a wonderful resource to explain writing emails within the context of the workplace.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought copies of this for all my younger relatives, who often need assistance writing, well, anything. A detailed survey, Brown's book takes the anxiety out of a wide variety of tasks, from writing thank-you notes to constructing college essays and blog posts. Comprehensive, professional, even witty (see the section on writing fan letters), it's an excellent resource.
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How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide
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