This book manages to pack a lot of material in quite a small bundle!
Chapters 1-4 outline 50 umbrella rules to good (technical and other) writing. This address issues as wide-ranging as avoiding jargon, using proper hyphenation, and formatting complex mathematical formulas within your writing. It's not just a list -- it spans 4 chapters and includes both explanation and examples! The remaining 5 chapters are dedicated to specific topics such as writing manuals and proposals.
Throughout, Blake and Bly manage to be both concise and incredibly useful. They provide examples for everything: writing numbers and symbols, revising wordy sentences, and the overuse of "-ize" (with lists of false words, though I disagree with several which have become standard in the language, business, or industry). Showing good writing vs. poor speeds effective learning!
There are 2 appendices: A) "Writing in the Systems Environment", a short 2-page guide about how systems departments work and how this affects writing, and B) "A Brief Guide to Software for Writers." I found the appendices less useful than the text.
Personally, I think "The Elements of Technical Writing" is top-notch. However, someone who needs in-depth tutoring in English grammar would not be served well by this book. Some people need a slower intoduction to everything. This book is *not* wordy, but it covers a lot of ground quickly.
This warning should not be necessary for a college class, but unfortunately, people graduate from high school unable to write as even an eighth-grader should! Professors may consider using this book as a supplement to another -- not because it's inadequate, but because too many students have such low skills. Let the slower book baby them along, and match chapters from this book as reference material.
For the rest of us, this book reminds us of grammar rules that have gotten fuzzy over time. This is staying on my shelf!