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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget corporate-speak, our business communications need to be conversations. "Room 121" shows you how
Businesses often spend millions on branding while paying scant attention to what comes out of the corporate mouth and onto the written page. They may believe that the job is done so long as they get their basic messages across, squandering opportunities to connect with people by resorting to comfortable clichés and boilerplate business-speak. As a result, the...
Published on 27 Sep 2011 by Fiona Ritchie

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great exercises in this book.
This is a really nice read and one of the best on the subject of business writing.
Not entirely convinced by some of the dialogue between John and Jamie (the authors), but the exercises at the end of each week (things to do) were really unique and did work on many occassions to get me focused on the issue in hand.
If you teach business at either FE or HE I...
Published on 1 Dec 2011 by C. Buckingham


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget corporate-speak, our business communications need to be conversations. "Room 121" shows you how, 27 Sep 2011
Businesses often spend millions on branding while paying scant attention to what comes out of the corporate mouth and onto the written page. They may believe that the job is done so long as they get their basic messages across, squandering opportunities to connect with people by resorting to comfortable clichés and boilerplate business-speak. As a result, the language they use is all too often impersonal and forgettable. It's become common to encounter a strong visual brand weakened by a vague verbal identity.

On a personal level, communication is always an intricate dance. Muddling your steps may result in the occasional social stumble, but making flat-footed linguistic dance moves in the world of work could lose you clients, the confidence of colleagues, even your job. John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey ensure you will never again underestimate the importance of the language you choose in your business writing. In a blog-style exchange of thoughts, their "Room 121" engages you in an inspiring, imaginative journey, brim-full of insights, practical advice, clear principles and examples. Through exercises and encouragement, they remind us that our business communications are conversations in which we must always be personally invested.

From corporate reports to websites, today's business writing is circulated globally, often conveyed through the rarefied realms of sterile digital platforms. All the more important, then, that we eschew mundane writing habits and strive to make genuine personal connections with co-workers and clients. John and Jamie coax us to express ourselves honestly and emotionally in our writing and to explore creative phrasing ideas that can be applied in any work situation. With "Room 121" open on our desks, we can aspire to transcend distance and technology and give each professional communication we send out into the world the impact of a one-on-one human encounter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the erudite and witty company of two wise men for just [], 3 Sep 2011
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This is a correspondence between two balding old business writers over the course of a year. I'd like to be able to read it from cover to cover, but actually there's just too much good stuff in it to manage that.

Instead I've been picking it up, finding a good page and then becoming engrossed. It's all very intelligent stuff, beautifully explained through anecdotes and personal reflections. Perhaps a flaw is its elegant use of understatement - Room 121 is a a bit too obscure (or clever) as a title - perhaps they should have chosen something more crude, American and direct like "Be The Best Business Writer".

The simple message of the book is just because you're in business doesn't mean you can't be human. It's full of examples of how being curious and gentle can invigorate prose and soften the hard edges of our interactions. I went to a good university and in my college there were a few dons who lived what they taught. They were fascinating characters, full of foibles and unexpected interests - it was a privilege to have them as tutors. John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey are not unworldy - they've worked for the sharpest brands and the hippest businesses - but their book is like overhearing two professors at High Table exchanging the wisdom they've gained over a lifetime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A one-to-one book about one-to-one communication, 1 Oct 2011
By 
N. Asbury - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the latest in a series of influential books by John Simmons that have led the way when it comes to writing about writing in a brand and business context. Jamie Jauncey brings a welcome extra voice and it leads to a discursive, gentle, broad-ranging discussion of writing, why it matters and how to do it better.

I found the exchange strange at first, as it's really a conversation between people in complete agreement with each other - we're so used to more adversarial conversations in most parts of the media. There were times when I thought a dissenting voice might bring out some interesting points (as was the case in an excellent Radio 4 `In business' programme, hosted by Peter Day, in which John and Jamie both featured and expertly argued their case). However, the book wins you over, as the argument builds in layers and one point naturally sparks off another. The suggested `things to do' scattered throughout are all great starting points for workshops, and many could act as an equally useful cure for writers' block.

Many professional writers will find this inspiring and illuminating, but the real target audience is business people who use words as part of their working lives and want to do it better. That's potentially a lot of people. If you're one of them, this is an excellent place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tonic, 21 Jan 2012
Disclosure: Jamie has included a poem what I wrote in this book. But quite apart from that, I heartily commend it to anyone who would like to write more effectively. In its dip-in-ability, it's a bit like a fancy spa where you can be in a scented steam room one minute, spend a spell in a sauna of alien heatiness and then gasp with delight under a cool shower. Refreshing, invigorating, varied - and also a good place for legitimate eavesdropping. I wouldn't, however, recommend any of these as good places to actually read the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great exercises in this book., 1 Dec 2011
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C. Buckingham "Christopher Buckingham" (Winchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a really nice read and one of the best on the subject of business writing.
Not entirely convinced by some of the dialogue between John and Jamie (the authors), but the exercises at the end of each week (things to do) were really unique and did work on many occassions to get me focused on the issue in hand.
If you teach business at either FE or HE I recommend reading this, it certainly inspired me to add some quite fresh, practical exercises to my classes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wise words, 30 Oct 2011
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This great little book is warm, human, highly readable and a delight from start to finish. It's also a rich source of advice and opinion from two truly excellent writers. My only minor niggle is that the authors almost always agree with each other, whereas a bit of cut and thrust might have provided even more food for thought. But as I say, an excellent book that deserves every writer's attention.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in writing with Room 121, 3 Oct 2011
John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey know their stuff. Both experts on crafting interesting and compelling writing for business, 'Room 121' shares some of their secrets. The book is written in a conversational style with each author writing a letter to the next. The letters are personal and engaging peppered with poems, anecdotes from their clients and stories from their home and working lives. Each exchange ends with an exercise - there are 121 of them in all. And this is where I think the strength of the book lies. These practical and inspiring exercises ensure the book is a useful read as well as an interesting one. It's like going to a workshop. So although I read 'Room 121' quickly in the way I might whizz through a novel, it's also a book I'm keeping close to my desk to dip in and out of.
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