on 7 April 1999
I have used _Rodale's Synonym Finder_ for a number of years in preparing lectures and sermons, as well as in writing. A few years ago, I introduced it to a colleague while he was writing a book. His response? "This book saved my life!" This past year, I introduced my [homeschooled] 13-year-old to it in order to give some help with writing a novel. The response? "This book is great, Dad! Thanks for telling me about it!" Needless to add, it is now a necessary part of our writing. I cannot recommend it too highly.
The alphabetical approach makes it extremely easy to use, and removes the step of consulting an index. The [numerous] synonyms are listed alphabetically in categories (e.g., casual/slang); it is difficult to see how Rodale could have made it easier to use--or more useful. I recommend _The Synonym Finder_ most highly it to all of my students, and to anyone who writes.
on 24 August 2004
I've been after a thesaurus that's both comprenehensive and easy to use for a long time, and always found the offerings in local bookshops (Roget/Oxford/Collins) to be wanting. For me, this one fits the bill perfectly (okay, ideally I'd like to have its contents online, searchable, etc. but as a book it's hard to see how a thesaurus could be done any better than this).
Here are the key points:
- more than 1.5 million synonyms, according to the introduction, spread over 1361 pages of fairly dense 2-column text, which means it's one to keep by your writing desk, not to carry around in a satchel. Type size is small but readable -- a little smaller than the paperback novel I'm reading at the moment.
- No-frills A-Z layout that makes it easy to find the entry you're looking for (should appeal to those who find Roget overly clunky in use).
- sensible headword choices keep the thing to a manageable size (thus likely look-up candidates such as "thin" and "emaciated" are headwords while the possibly more rarefied "bony" only appears *within* the entries.
on 30 August 1997
I actually used both the softcover and hardcover (Rodale, J.I.) editions, which I found exactly the same.
The more I read them, the more I wanted to read. Each word and each page layered the history of words, as well as our struggles to maintain
However, my eyes have aged and I found the hardcover version had brighter, smoother paper and crisper print. Also, special paper is used for many years of less effort reading.
Well, if you have young strong eyes the softbound would be a bargin for $14.95. The hardbound version would be a lifetime choice, especially if you value the crisp print quality. The page size of each is approximately the same.
on 14 September 1998
I've heard it said that using a thesaurus can poison your style. When applied to some of the older books in this category, that may be true, but never Rodale's. It's a treasure trove! I work from the 1978 edition in which Laurence Urdang begins his Introduction with the curious statement that "...there is no such thing as a true 'synonym.'" So use the book with caution!
No other thesaurus I've seen facilitates that caution. Rodale's enables you to look at the word choices with enough objectivity to see the wealth of nuances of meaning reflected in each one.
This book is indispensable, reliable, accessible, and fun reading!
on 1 November 2005
There is only one way to improve on this book... It needs to be on CD-Rom. I'm a writer and love to be portable which I am, except for this huge writing tool called the Synonym Finder. I can't work without it, so it goes where I go. Maybe someday....
on 1 July 1998
The Synonym Finder is absolutely the best thesaurus in print, sez me. It is an invaluable tool for the serious writer. It is more comprehensive and easier to use than any other thesaurus I've ever seen. Students, business writers, novelists - all need a copy right at hand to speed up and improve the writing process.
on 24 October 1998
When I joined a world-wide technology company I said to the resident technical writer/editor, "Let me tell you what is the best theasaurus."
She said, "It's on the shelf behind you."
She was right!!! It's "The Synonym Finder" by Rodale.
Everyone in our family has a copy!
Now if we could only get Rodale to make an electronic version!!!