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on 3 October 2013
I must admit I was a bit nonplussed when I first starting to read this book. After all, I don't consider myself a `dummy' at writing. If you are a novice this is definitely the book for you. It will help you iron out all that bad advice you get in University about writing long sentences, being erudite and planting forests of subordinate clauses (which are designed to help you, in the short term, impress academically). But these are no use in the real world. Where short snappy sentences suffice.

So it's a great book for that. But does it have other uses? Actually yes.

The sections on social media and writing for the internet, linkedin, etc are very useful and a nice way of pulling lots of ideas into a short space. I applaud the effort to provide an easy guide for effective communication in these new channels. And the book is peppered with nuggets and ideas you can use straight away. Even as a relatively experienced writer I got new insights.

Natalie Canavor, therefore, has written a book with mass appeal, and lots of practical tips. I can quibble with sections (as someone based in London, some the `international writing' tips didn't resonate) but overall this is a book to support not only better writing but to help those in business advance their career by effective writing.

So really the title should be "Business Writing for Dummies and also hose who have a bit of experience but are Magpies who always like to collect new tips to improve their writing". But of course that would run counter to one of the themes - brevity - of the book itself.
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on 30 September 2013
With over 3000 articles, documents and reports under my belt, you can imagine that I was not expecting to learn anything new from Natalie Canavor's book "Business Writing for Dummies." My 30 years of constructing documents, reports and presentations must mean I know enough to have the skill to write a similar kind of book, surely? I was wrong, very wrong.

Full disclosure first: I did not buy a copy of this book. Rather it was kindly sent as a gift - eagerly awaited so I could see if there were any hidden nuggets. Gift or not, this review is objective and comprehensive for a reason: "Business Writing for Dummies" is packed with essential information for anybody concerned with business writing.

But what is business writing? Most of us would expect resumes and official letters to be included. But Natalie points out that the definition extends far beyond those narrow boundaries. Emails, reports, presentations, speeches, video and audio dialogue, blogs, web content - the list goes on. We interact in our daily business activities with employers, employees, potential clients and current customers. All of these require the planning and development of appropriate written materials allowing for precise communication and relationship building.

Despite my own experiences, I, too, fail to write effective business materials. In retrospect, after reading Natalie's book, I see items that are incorrectly written, unfocussed, occasionally sloppy and include errors.

The author points out the need for planning and thereafter repeated drafting and editing as a road to success - something we all can, and should, be doing. This is especially the case irrespective of our present position because, despite what we learned at school, we can all teach ourselves to write better and with a more critical eye.

Good writing comes from defining and knowing your subject and audience. What is it and who are they? With this in mind, you can write according to specific needs without being patronising or overly passive. What does your audience want? What can you give them? Think of the "you" rather than the "I" and deliver benefits in your writing style rather than listing features. How many of us really do that?

The strange thing is, this book is really influential. I read it from cover to cover and I have yet to digest and assimilate it all, yet I am already conscious of my own errors and omissions even in this review. Natalie gives us practical points to consider and real life examples of the good and bad. As with all Dummies books, there's a wealth of material far beyond the basic and everything is laid out in a logical way with plenty of tips, case studies and examples.

One thing I never fully appreciated before was the value of hooking the reader from the outset - getting straight to the point. Our senses are challenged by the world around us. With everything competing for our attention, business writing needs to capture the recipient immediately. And this book encourages us to tell stories, share anecdotes and recount experiences. This can make the communication wholesome, practical, verifiable and engaging.

The author cautions the reader to be clear, correct, conversational and persuasive. And, as a reminder, always remember the "you" in all interactions.

I feel I will benefit myself from the host of practical points the book delivers. Essential tips include the scanning and correction of writing structure, generation of impactful headlines and subheads, formulation of relevant transitions, the correct use of bullets and punctuations and, well, a whole lot more too numerous to mention but eminently practical.

Later on in the book I was surprised to come across issues of business writing that I had barely considered. I suspect that most of us wouldn't have either. The simple fact is that robust writing is essential, as well as welcomed, in other modalities such as video production, audio, speeches and alternative presentation types.

I was pleased that the author had not omitted strategic references to the digital world around us - blogs, websites, multimedia, social platforms etc. Businesses are deriving essential benefits from these digital stages. Effective writing skills, delivered in a clear and concise fashion, can support business cooperation, improve customer relationships and outsmart the competition.

If I had to choose one area of criticism, it would be the part of the book dealing with globalisation. Whilst it is true that English is the mainstay of business language, it is often found that other nationalities don't always speak it fluently enough (if at all) or that the particular nuances of the interaction are poorly understood. The author does a good job in introducing these concepts and touching upon their importance but, for me, there was a lack of depth and, therefore, practical usefulness. But a book such as this cannot hope to cover all of these practicalities - that would require a separate book for each language, nation and business scenario. If nothing else, it gives a springboard for further research and development and reminds us - effectively - to be mindful of these delicate issues.

I shudder to think that I would dare bring up any sort of criticism because this book is a masterclass in business writing. The appropriate audience is any person or institution that needs to communicate with other companies, employees, employers or customers. Even as I write, I am mindful of the messages the book holds but I am embarrassed by the fact that even this review will contain many of the errors and issues raised by the author.

Business Writing for Dummies is not a book you would read in one sitting and it is not designed as a book that will immediately turn you into a competent business communicator. But, it is far from a reference work that needs to gather dust on a shelf. The book is of immense practical value and contains tips, tricks and pointers that have immediate use. I imagine the average reader would ardently consume much of its contents only to go back regularly to remind themselves of its teachings, revisit the pivotal issues and discover more and more hidden nuggets that can be implemented straight away.

For me, this book was a gift. I am pleased that I was afforded the opportunity to accept it and was sensible enough to read it. It will be of considerable developmental value for me and I feel it could be a seminal work for business writers around the globe. I neither know intimately nor have met the author but I am glad she afforded me the pleasure of sharing her excellent work.
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on 29 August 2013
As with most titles in this series, Business Writing for Dummies is a clear, well-organized and practical guide, valuable not only to neophytes but to experienced business writers who can benefit from having a ready reference at hand. Virtually any writer would benefit from having it within easy reach.
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on 14 October 2013
To someone who is regularly irritated by business language,this book gives reason to hope.How often are business communications written in confusing or ambiguous English?Throughout this book the author shows how to cut out the unnecessary words which add nothing to the meaning of a sentence.She demonstrates the effect of punctuation.British readers will probably enjoy her use of a quotation from one of Churchill's speeches to demonstrate the ridiculous ''wordiness''of language we meet in today's business world.

In the U.K.we frequently have to struggle with instruction manuals supplied with goods of foreign origin.The English is often ambiguous and confusing.I would recommend Ms.Canavor's book to any non-native speaker,who must write such documents.

I profess no expertise in writing.The advice given in the book is clearly obvious in the way the book itself is written.The way the book is broken down into topics makes in handy as a reference manual.It isn't necessary to read this from cover to cover to get helpful guidance from it,particularly useful if you are an occasional communicator.The advice given often goes beyond that required purely for writing.Whether you agree with the author's approach to particular situations or not,her advice is thought provoking. The needs of digital communicators are well covered,as are those of speech-makers.
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on 16 October 2013
As the manager of a small music publishing company I frequently have the task of formulating emails (and am often annoyed by the poor quality of those I receive). It was therefore a treat to study the email chapter in "Business Writing for Dummies". As a result, writing my emails is becoming a pleasant challenge instead of just a chore. Later I read most of the other chapters, which were not only helpful but amusing as well. Also, typical of all the "Dummy" books, the friendly layout, icons, etc. make for easy reading. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to improve their business writing.
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on 22 October 2013
The readability of this manual is apparent from the first paragraph. It is downright user friendly. The overall impression I have is one of sitting down with a knowledgeable friend for a cup of coffee and a good chat about something I sort of know how to do but want to do better. The layout makes a lot of sense, the advice follows a logical pattern and it's full of the sorts of tips you can incorporate in your writing from the get go.
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on 12 November 2013
It was a delight for me to read this! It is a real help for beginners as well as experienced business people. Not only is Ms Canavor an expert on writing but she also clearly knows how business works and she understands what it takes to succeed in a highly competitive environment.
As Dean of a large Business School in Switzerland, I will recommend this book to all our students.
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on 16 September 2015
You may believe that you’re a good writer and you might be, but as this book teaches, business writing is a separate skill. This book’s lessons are easy to adopt into your work straight away. You will transform your writing and reap the benefits in no time. Highly recommended.
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on 2 November 2013
A good easy to read guide that sets out the basics very well. Will it make you a better writer? No, only you can do that, by writing more, this gives you sound guidelines.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 February 2016
Excellent value for money fast excellent guide book
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