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On Writing Well, 25th Anniversary: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

William K. Zinsser · 5 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental priciples as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sole, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.
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Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this book.
May 16, 2012 · callmeed on Please learn to write
"On Writing Well" from W. Zinsser is one of the few books I've read multiple times over the years and probably the book I've recommended and loaned out the most.

Anyone who runs a business, has a blog, has to communicate with other, or sends email should read it. Twice.

Have this book, and couldn't agree more.
The advice looks familiar to W. Zinsser's "On Writing Well", which is the best book on writing I've ever read (even for writing academic papers). I try to recommend it to everyone, especially if they're not a fan of bullshit, since it's a book on writing that's written exceptionally well.
Writing well?
Thanks, I just ordered the audio book.

Have you heard of Prof. Drout's A Way With Words? It's great.

Apr 12, 2008 · kalid on Ask PG: Essay Editing?
I highly recommend Zinsser's "On Writing Well" ( It has excellent advice & real examples of rough drafts.

"..there would be some serious PhD research in this area."

PhD research? I think you mean just 'research'. PhDs aren't the only ones doing research in this world. Neither are they the ones doing the 'hardest' or 'highest' research. Academia is just a different community from that of founder/VCs, or writers, or movie makers, or chess players. It has its own language, its own jargon, and its own objective functions for assigning value to work. But it's not more 'research-y'.*

'PhD research' means 'research work for which the audience is in academia'. The way it's normally used, one can just drop the first word without loss of meaning. Just like in the phrase 'personally believe' that William Zinsser picks on. (


* - Nor is it more open anymore, with all the emphasis on open software in industry, and the increasing commercialization of academic projects.

Yes good point, you are correct. I poorly worded that comment; thanks for making the distinction.
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