Customer Review

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eagerly awaiting the next edition., 23 Mar 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction (Paperback)
I approached Zinsser's book "On Writing Well" for its good reviews, and thus spent money and time on it. My opinion is that Zinsser went off topic; he exercised self-indulgence, lost sight of the topic, and delivered an auto-biography. I learned more about the author's life than his art of writing. The book is also a marketing operation; the main-matter includes extensive references to other works by the same author and his present business, so much that I felt an invitation to read those works and enroll in a class at the author's "New School" in New York, to learn what the book was supposed to deliver on paper! This is not supposed to happen, and I resent it. --- I read the book twice. The first time, to understand that much of it is needless. The second time, to spot the words of wisdom that are scattered in its 300 pages, take notes, and put the book away in my personal library. My reference book on the subject remains Strunk's "Elements of Style". By comparison, Strunk's work stays on my desk. I share Zinsser's own opinion that anyone serious about writing should read Strunk every year. I would say, read it so often to memorize it. I wish Zinsser's work were along the lines of Strunk's own, to complement it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Sep 2009 18:18:14 BDT
P. Windridge says:
I completely agree, there is a lot of waffle between the useful bits (of which there are lots).

* Strunk and White can be read at a sitting and contains excellent practical information.
* Chapter on interviewing people misplaced.
* Some examples poorly chosen
* Biographical details that add nothing (we learn, for example, that he lectured at Yale, a school approached him to advise on writing letters to parents, he has given workshops for business writing, written books and articles in this or that magazine). It gets tedious.
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