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Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little Hardcover – July 25, 2011
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Useful and entertaining.--Mignon Fogarty, author of "Grammar Girl s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing"
Are you microstylish? In the 140-characteruniverse we now inhabit, you better be. --Seth Godin, author of "Poke the Box"
With advice for writing compelling blogs, pitches, ads, slogans, and social-media postings, Johnson s sophisticated, richly referenced, and example filled microstyle guide is distinctive, instructive, enjoyable, and inspiring. --Donna Seaman"
Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, is a work of pop linguistics it synthesizes a wide range of current thinking from recent books about grammar, branding, cognitive science and Web theory. But it does so with intelligence and friendly wit. Mr. Johnson s point is that words are for wooing, in ways both personal and professional, and his own prose is sociable enough to underscore that point and spritz it with a bit of sophisticated perfume. His book is here, like a dating guide, to whisper: You too can woo. --Dwight Garner"
Are you microstylish? In the 140-character universe we now inhabit, you better be. --Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box"
Think big. Write small. Read Microstyle. --George Lakoff, author of The Political Mi"
Useful and entertaining. --Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girls"
What do Oscar Wilde, Steve Jobs, and Jello Biafra have in common? Each has mastered microstyle. With this riotous and readable book, Christopher Johnson helps you join the club. In no time you ll be coining witty epigrams, imagining unforgettable brands, or crafting a distinctive identity. --Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax"
About the Author
More About the Author
Since receiving his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, Christopher has found many ways to apply his love and knowledge of words and grammar. He's been a brand language specialist at Lexicon Branding, a computational lexicographer for the Berkeley FrameNet project, a software developer for natural language processing projects in both startup and corporate research settings, and a professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.
Now Christopher names companies and products and does other verbal branding work as The Name Inspector, and also blogs under that name. He likes to think of himself as a pop linguist. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two sons, and occasionally writes a book. (Actually, Microstyle is his first.)
Top Customer Reviews
Most of the examples in the book are advertising slogans, mixed in with far too many fake headlines from The Onion and selections from Twitter Wit and the FakeAPStyleGuide. I kept waiting for a discussion of more substantive micro-communication. There was no mention of Iran, China, or other places where people have been experimenting with short bursts of text to organize, communicate with the world and avoid censorship. Surely the author has seen instructive examples of that type of communication, and I think the book would benefit by moving beyond branding, marketing and humor.
Highlights were the three short chapters on rhythm, poetic patterns and sonority, but in general this book made me want to re-read Strunk & White. For a more elegantly curated collection of microstyle, try Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style.
(As an aside, I bought the Kindle version because I could not stand to look at the book jacket. Microstyle applies to graphic design as well, and the jacket design is a clunky and nonsensical mixture of metaphors: ruled notebook paper, two kinds of typewriter text, digital type and a stylized magnifying glass, which might also represent a search icon. The author is able to elegantly dissect mixed metaphor in text, but his insights should have been aggressively applied to the cover.)
The author, Christopher Johnson, PhD., an expert in verbal branding, says that, I paraphrase: "Daily verbal life has come to be dominated my micromessages, not because we're suffering from a mass onset of attention deficit disorder, but because it's simple economics".
It's one of the smartest books I've read in a long time. And, the author's in-depth knowledge and passion on the subject shows on every page.
A word of caution; it's not an airport book offering "seven steps for sure success in microstyle". It's an in-depth book on the subject, by a linguist. It's an in-depth book on the theory and practice of microstyle.
Result: if you're willing to spend some time reading on microstyle, the book is for you. I'm sure you'll find it highly rewarding.
Franco Arda, CEO smartercomics.com
Much of the book is interesting, thought-provoking, and worth considering. Unfortunately, the author tries to cover too much ground in his ambitious effort to discuss the subject matter thoroughly, and occasionally obscures his message in an avalanche of detail. Given the theme of the book, the author should have been more brief and concise with his commentary and explanations. A revised edition of the book might be helpful, if the author trimmed some of longer commentary and explanations, and provided a concise "executive summary" of salient points at the end of each chapter.
Despite its flaws, this is a good book that is worth reading. Its thoughtful observations and explanations could be a source of helpful ideas for people interested in trying to write more effectively.
This book has a place on my reference shelf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great basic pointers on making your own micromessages and names. even more important, now the workings of those cartchy names and slogans will no longer be a mystery.Published 14 months ago by Haresh Sangani
The first thirty pages are fluff, but after that we are treated to a wealth of examples of how the under-the-surface poetic possibilities in ordinary language affect slogans,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Experienced seminar leader
If you're curious about the evolution of language in the age of Twitter, soundbites and increasingly sophisticated marketing techniques, MICROSTYLE will be of interest. Read morePublished on February 25, 2013 by Lisa Pliscou
As is to be expected of a Berkeley ideologue, the author busies himself with mocking conservatism and conservatives at every ostensibly cryptoanalytical opportunity. Read morePublished on June 24, 2012 by David Govett
Mining an interesting niche in a world of 140 character wit, Microstyle examines the various structures that have become prevalent in modern communications. Read morePublished on April 26, 2012 by Warren Rachele
Goes on and on and on - violating his own first principal. No real structure, and the hints are old news. Very disappointed - I was looking to improve my own writing.Published on January 23, 2012 by Loyd Eskildson
Christopher is a linguist and cannot help but take us into the linguist's head.... a bit too much if you don't have a love of the evolution of words and nuances of sound, rhythm,... Read morePublished on October 21, 2011 by Sandra A. Shelton
Thinking about language, says Christopher Johnson, is a "strange" activity.
We think we know how to use language to express ourselves but we don't really understand how... Read more