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1001 Letters For All Occasions: The Best Models for Every Business and Personal Need Paperback – January 1, 2004
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I bought this book hoping to see examples of 1-page letters that cover a myriad of subjects - a reference guide of style and substance, if you will. What I received was a book that covers nearly every topic briefly (from HR memos to Accounts Receivable letters to Travel complaints or compliments), at the expense of covering them well. In my opinion, a book that contains 1001 example letters should be no less than 1001 pages.
I have included a few specific criticisms that I hope will be of value to potential buyers:
1. I have seen up to 4 "letters" on one page of print in this book. This does not allow the reader to get the visual impact of a well-written letter that has been formatted for the reader.
2. Only the body of a letter is included. No examples of salutation, mailing notations, or closing etiquette are to be found in this book. Furthermore, there are no examples of letter styling (full-block, block, or semiblock).
3. Ignoring for a moment the lack of style, I am still less than pleased with the content. Many of the example letters intended for customers and employees lack substance. Specifically, a letter requesting a credit reference asks a question of the reader, but does not include the manner by which a reader should respond - or when.
Of the hundreds of books I have purchased from Amazon, this is the first that I will return. The book is simply that bad. A lack of substance AND style in a reference book is inexcusable, in my opinion. If you are still considering purchase of this book, sight-unseen, please go to your local bookseller and review before purchasing.
On a brighter note, there is another book that I certainly recommend: "Strategic Business Letters and E-mail" by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts Houghton Mifflin Strategic Business Letters and E-mail, Paperback, 374 pages (0618448330). This book is not a collections of letters, but it is ripe with great advice and example after example of how to become a better writer, no matter what the subject. Formatting, white-space, planning, considering the reader and the likely response - these are all critical points that have dramatically improved the way I now look at written communication. You will be a better writer for following the advice between the covers of her book.
My sincerest hopes that this review has given you some guidance in your decision to either purchase or continue your search. Best of luck!