Saturday, October 26, 2013

Balancing the Reference and the Reading Book

I have recommended other business writing books in WORDS ON THE LINE, such as The Business Writer's Handbook, Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of StyleThe Art of Styling Sentences, and Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, among others. I add The AMA Handbook of Business Writing to the list because it works well whether you want to read about theory or practice and whether you want to quickly look up the difference between a comma and a semicolon or delve into the technicalities of the writing process in the workplace.

The authors have chosen a practical three-part structure for this 637-page book. The first 30 pages, on the writing process, cover the step-by-step approach to composing challenging on-the-job documents for the writing student. The next 400 pages, titled "The Business Writer's Alphabetical Reference," copy the dictionary-entry format that has made The Business Writer's Handbook by Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, and Walter E. Oliu so successful in its tenth edition more than 30 years after its first. Hundreds of entries appear, covering parts of speech, parts of sentences, punctuation marks, idiomatic expressions, commonly confused words, and technology considerations, among many other points of interest to business and technical writers. The final 200 pages offer 100 sample business documents for those who want models to follow as they compose their first work-related messages.

Whether you bookshelf or e-bookmark this handbook, you will find it helpful as an easy reference or an in-depth read.