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*A Book Review*

How To Write, Speak and Think More Effectively

By Rudolf Flesch

by Michael C. Gray

October 18,2000

Would you like to write clearly so your readers will easily understand the ideas and information you give to them? Would you like to capture your readers' interest so they will be compelled to read your entire piece of writing? Would you like your readers to believe the information you present? Would you like to be able to think through problems using the same methods that scientists and creative thinkers use?

If so, you will want to study the classic book, How To Write, Speak and Think More Effectively, by Rudolf Flesch.

Dr. Flesch created the "Flesch score" for measuring readability, which is built into most word processing programs today. In addition, he explains in this book how to use separate scores to measure ease of reading and human interest.

How to Write is designed to be a complete course in the art of communication. Dr. Flesch includes exercises, examples and self-tests to help the reader learn and apply the concepts for better writing to his or her own material. The entire book is written according to the method that Dr. Flesch advocates, so it is not only easy and enjoyable to read, but is an excellent reference when applying the concepts.

Dr. Flesch shows how to use the "active voice" (subject, verb, object) to make writing more clear. He also shows how breaking down long sentences and paragraphs can make it much easier for people to read your material. I found it especially interesting and helpful that he explains how to use punctuation to help guide the reader. I think many people, including me, find it difficult to use punctuation beyond periods and commas. Dr. Flesch gives simple guidelines to help us master semi-colons, colons and dashes.

Dr. Flesch assigns a challenging exercise to make your writing more conversational: write a letter every day for a month to person of your choice. You must actually send the letters. He also assigns some topics for some of the letters. Letter writing is a lost art. Most of the written communications today are emails that are pretty poor examples of writing-most of us don't apply of writing to them. If you follow Dr. Flesch's assignment, I have no doubt your writing will improve.

There are additional chapters in the book about translation problems, how to research, the scientific method, and creative problem solving.

When you find a terrific book like this one that has been on the market for over forty years and is available in paperback for $6.99 U.S., you wonder why it's not used as part of the English composition curriculum in every high school in America. When even college graduates can't write clearly, it's tragic. This book is a readily available solution. You will certainly want a copy in your library.

Buy it on Amazon: How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively (Signet).

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A book review about how to communicate so that people can understand and care about what you're telling them.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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