Purpose, relevancy, and ideas

purpose, relevancy, and ideas in writing: men chasing ideas

 Have a purpose

Purpose, relevancy, and ideas in business writing

In the 1987 comedy, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, stressed marketing executive, Neal Page (Steve Martin), is reluctantly trapped in a shared hotel room with an optimistic and talkative curtain-ring salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy). Del mindlessly can’t stop talking about the mundane and boring details of his life. Eventually Neal loses his cool. After a long tirade, he shouts, “And here’s another thing: Have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.” Continue reading “Purpose, relevancy, and ideas”

The art of persuasion 2: How to argue

Image of man puzzling over jigsaw pieces
Structure of argument, how to argue

What is an argument?

In the Argument Clinic, a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, an absurdist comedy series, a man pays for a five-minute argument. The customer goes to a room where a man behind a desk hurls abuse at him. The customer interrupts saying he paid for a five-minute argument, and this is not an argument. The abuse hurler apologizes explaining this is Abuse, Argument is next door. Continue reading “The art of persuasion 2: How to argue”

The art of persuasion 1: Rhetoric

illustration of speaker with masks
Rhetoric: The art of persuasion

George Orwell once wrote that a classical education would be impossible without corporal punishment. Maybe that’s why it isn’t taught in school today.  A classical education was demanding. It included rhetoric: the art of effective speaking and writing.

Continue reading “The art of persuasion 1: Rhetoric”

Book review: Payoff by Dan Ariely

Payoff book cover
Payoff: The hidden logic that shapes our motivations, by Dan Ariely

Reviewed by Christopher Richards

Payoff by Dan Ariely is a short book about meaning and motivation. The central thesis is that intrinsic motivators shape long-term beneficial results, whereas extrinsic rewards don’t. Continue reading “Book review: Payoff by Dan Ariely”

Don’t write your business book—plan first

Plan your business book
Don’t let your book get away from you. Plan first, write later

“Any organization that won’t take the trouble to be both clear and personal in its writing will lose friends, customers, and money.”

— William Zinsser, in his 30th anniversary classic, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Continue reading “Don’t write your business book—plan first”

Perfectionism will kill your writing

Image of snooty man
Perfectionism isn’t excellence, diligence, or accuracy. Neither is it tenaciously doing the best you can. Perfectionism is intolerance of a necessary learning process.

Think about how an infant  learns to walk. He doesn’t give up the first time he falls down. He doesn’t think to himself, “This walking stuff is not for me. I’m no good at it. I’ll crawl through life.” Continue reading “Perfectionism will kill your writing”

Business book titles

Why should readers read your book? Every business book has a value proposition.  Writing a one-sentence reply will help clarify your thinking. Most of us form opinions quickly. And this is true when it comes to business book titles and introductions. First impressions count. 

Continue reading “Business book titles”

Style Guide

Style Guide by The Economist
Style Guide by The Economist (Economist Books)

Reviewed by Christopher Richards

Any style guide’s purpose is to make writing understandable—with the possible exception of academic writing. Style Guide by The Economist offers sound advice for business writers, particularly for people writing articles. Continue reading “Style Guide”