This month we’ve revisited key works on grammar and style as we’ve prepared for the launch of our online course, Wordsmith: A Grammar & Style Refresher. These books historicize writing and style, offer up grammar rules and best practices, and suggest strategies for managing writing responsibilities in the workplace. Check out our #OfftheShelfpicks for July:
The Checklist Manifesto
by Atul GawandeIf you find yourself bound to your daily checklist, where maybe some items are included purely for the satisfaction of checking them off the list, then Gawande’s book is most certainly for you. The stories in The Checklist Manifesto show how a simple method like a checklist can improve your life. Specifically, the book makes a strong case that checklists can improve standards and performance across complex industries.
The Elements of Style
By William Strunk & E.B. White
Published in 1959, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style has long been considered the classic, definitive guide to writing well. With writing advice and examples that cover grammar, usage, and mechanics, this book offers a reminder that writing style is always about knowing the rules–and then putting them into purposeful practice. Although it’s a bit outdated by today’s standards, The Elements of Style is still perhaps the greatest groundbreaking book of its kind.
Style in Rhetoric & Composition
By Paul Butler
If you’ve noticed a disconnect between the hard and fast grammar rules you were taught in school and the speaking and writing that’s done in everyday situations, Butler’s book is for you. While Strunk & White discuss rules and best practices, Butler discusses the contexts that have shaped the way we understand and talk about style. What’s more, he takes a deep dive into the ways that writing has been taught and the motives behind the approaches. The title mentions rhetoric & composition, but Butler’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in how attitudes toward writing and style have changed over time.
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–Dani Clark & Mandy Watts, Untold