SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better

Overview

Send—the classic guide to email for office and home—has become indispensable for readers navigating the impersonal, and at times overwhelming, world of electronic communication.  Filled with real-life email success (and horror) stories and a wealth of useful and entertaining examples, Send dissects all the major minefields and pitfalls of email. It provides clear rules for constructing effective emails, for handheld etiquette, for handling the “emotional email,” and for navigating all of today’s hot-button ...

See more details below
Paperback
$13.27
BN.com price
(Save 16%)$15.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $9.05   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   
Send: Why People Email so Badly and How to Do It Better

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Send—the classic guide to email for office and home—has become indispensable for readers navigating the impersonal, and at times overwhelming, world of electronic communication.  Filled with real-life email success (and horror) stories and a wealth of useful and entertaining examples, Send dissects all the major minefields and pitfalls of email. It provides clear rules for constructing effective emails, for handheld etiquette, for handling the “emotional email,” and for navigating all of today’s hot-button issues.  It offers essential strategies to help you both better manage the ever-increasing number of emails you receive and improve the ones you send.  Send is now more than ever the essential book about email for businesspeople and professionals everywhere.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Some folks are so disgusted with email, they're abandoning it. We have a better solution: Read Send. This book offers the world's best advice on writing emails that'll be read, understood the way you meant them, and acted on the way you want.

The authors help you ruthlessly eliminate ambiguity that leads to misunderstandings (and gives people an excuse to ignore you). You'll learn better ways to ask for stuff (and thank folks afterwards). You'll discover how to write better subject and signature lines; how to use cc: and bcc: appropriately; how to avoid email's emotional traps; and what shouldn't get emailed at all.

Along the way, you'll be entertained with some of history's worst emails (from luminaries like FEMA's Michael Brown), plus neat tidbits like this: in Dutch, the word for the "@" symbol is apestaartje, "little monkey's tail.") Bill Camarda, from the July 2007 Read Only

From the Publisher
“Informative, entertaining, thorough, and thoughtful.” —Dave Barry, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Read it or weep.” —Michael Lewis

“Handy . . . Written with concision and good sense.”  —The Wall Street Journal
 
“Witty and wily . . . Fun to read.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“With Shipley and Schwalbe’s excellent instructions in hand we can email as confidently as we load the dishwasher and turn on the microwave.” —New York Review of Books

“This is just the book I’ve been waiting for.” —Bill Bryson
 
Send can help any of us send emails that build better business relationships and get better results.” —Spencer Johnson, M.D., author of Who Moved My Cheese?
 
“Witty and wise . . . Send is far more than Miss Manners for the Web; it’s brimming with fascinating insights. . . . [It] should make Shipley and Schwalbe the ‘Strunk and White’ for the Web.” —Daniel Goleman
 
Send is an easy to read primer, full of practical tips for every emailer.” —Bob Eckert, Charman and CEO, Mattel, Inc.
 
 “The definitive tome on email. Send is to email what The Elements of Style is to writing. Thank God it’s here at last. (BCC: David Shipley and Will Schwalbe)” —Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start
 
“A fascinating, entertaining, and, above all, informative look at email—and how it changed the way we communicate with one another. What Strunk and White is to style, this book is to email. It’s a terrific read. I highly recommend it.” —Charles Osgood

Dave Barry
E-mail, for all its efficiency, often fails to achieve its intended result; a vague or carelessly worded message can cause major problems — personal, legal and financial — for senders and receivers. Helping you avoid these problems is the goal of “Send,” an informative, entertaining, thorough and thoughtful book. The authors are media veterans — David Shipley is deputy editorial page editor of The New York Times; Will Schwalbe is editor in chief of Hyperion Books — with extensive, and not always positive, experience sending and receiving e-mail. They summarize their essential message in two rules: “Think before you send” and “Send e-mail you would like to receive.”
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

From this essential guidebook's opening sentence—"Bad things can happen on email"—Shipley and Schwalbe make all too clear what can go wrong. E-mail's ubiquity, with casual and formal correspondence jumbled in the same inbox, makes misunderstandings common; e-mail's inexpressive, text-only format doesn't help. Given its brief history, there's no established etiquette for usage, which is why this primer is so valuable. It promises the reader hope of becoming more efficient and less annoying, reducing danger of a career-ending blunder. Brisk, practical and witty, the book aims to improve the reader's skills as sender and recipient: devising effective subject lines and exploring "the politics of the cc"; how to steer clear of legal issues; and how to recognize different types of attachments. Using real-life examples from flame wars and awkward exchanges (including their own), Shipley and Schwalbe (op-ed editor of the New York Timesand Hyperion Books' editor-in-chief) explain why people so often say "incredibly stupid things" in their outgoing messages. "Email has a tendency to encourage the lesser angels of our nature," they note. They also offer "seven big reasons to love email," along with quick guides to instant messaging and e-mail technology, all the while urging us to "think before [we] send." (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Adult/High School-In a snappy and easy manner, the authors provide a brief history of email, explain why people love it, review reasons for using it, and describe times when it should be avoided-for love letters, documents to be archived, and confidential correspondence. There are discussions on writing emails (essentially six types), subject lines, the use of contractions, font type and size, color, openings, and sign-offs. For readers who have ever sent an email and instantly regretted it, wondered about legality issues or whether or not that deleted email will stay deleted, or what information is hidden in an email's header, this guide provides the answers.-Joanne Ligamari, Rio Linda School District, Sacramento, CA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307275998
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 204,717
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Shipley is the deputy editorial page editor and Op-Ed page editor of The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior presidential speechwriter in the Clinton administration. He lives in New York.

Will Schwalbe is the founder and CEO of Cookstr.com.  Prior to that, he was editor in chief of Hyperion Books and a journalist, writing for such publications as The New York Times, Insight for Asian Investors, and Business Traveller. He lives in New York.
 
www.thinkbeforeyousend.com

David Shipley and Will Schwalbe are available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact the Random House Speakers Bureau at rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

When Should We Email?

Would you carry a violin in a damp knapsack? Would you wrap your fiancée's birthday present in used cheesecloth? Would you mail your grandmother's stemware in a paper bag?

How you send something can have a profound impact on what you're sending. Your method of delivery sends a message of its own.

Here's the verbatim text of an electronic message sent to the phone of Katy Tanner, age twenty-one, who worked for a hip fashion store in Wales:

We've reviewed your sales figures and they are not really up to the level we need. As a result, we will not require your services anymore. Thank you for your time with us.

There's a trend here. Radio Shack did the same thing recently, telling about four hundred workers by email that they were being fired.

The workforce reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.

Nice. We need to remind ourselves that just because we have email, we shouldn't use it for everything. Because of the speed and the seeming urgency of the new forms of communication available to us, many people simply grab the closest thing at hand. Or they get lured into eye-for- an-eye exchanges: if they get an email, they reply by email; if they get a letter, they feel compelled to respond by letter. We can do better than that. It's really a matter of taking the time to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each form of communication before committing to one.

That said, figuring out what medium is right for what message can be confusing. Today there are more ways to communicate than ever before. When should you email? And when is a text message more effective? How about a letter, or picking up the phone? (You remember those?) Or even a personal visit?

Or-and this seems to be one of the most effective and least used options-simply doing nothing at all.

Match Game
Take one item from each column. Which of these go together? Try to mix and match:
Email                            Boss                           Casual                           Request
Text                              Friend                         Urgent                           Solicitation
Mail                              Colleague                    Routine                          Thank-you
Phone                           Assistant                     Unexpected                    Critique
Fax                               Mentor                        Emotional                       Apology

It's not clear-cut, is it? Do you text a friend a routine thank-you? Or do you phone? Do you fax a colleague an unexpected critique? Or will email work for all of the above? To find your way to the best decision, you need to understand the communication technologies at your disposal. Let's start with the strengths and weaknesses of the one that many of us use the most and understand the least.

Email
Seven Big Reasons to Love Email
1. Email is the best medium ever created for exchanging essential information. What time is the movie? Where is the restaurant? Who's coming to the meeting?

Before email, any one of these questions would have involved at minimum a call, often to someone who wasn't there, necessitating a message (possibly garbled by a third party on one of those awful pink message slips). The return call might meet a similar fate.

And say your call wasn't one of the 70 percent that, according to Bill Gates, wind up in voice mail, and that you did manage to connect easily. Etiquette demands that you enter into a far longer exchange than the answer to your question strictly requires. At the very least, you are obligated to engage in several minutes of pleasant but not particularly productive conversation, whether or not you have time to spare.

Email has been blamed for the death of the letter. We think that's unfair. Email is responsible for the death of the useless phone call. (And, by the way, it was the telephone that killed the letter.)

When Will was editor in chief of a publishing house in the early 1990s, he used to receive fifty to sixty phone calls a day-and not one email. Twenty years later, at a different publishing house, he received only ten to fifteen calls daily. Much of what used to require a phone call can now be taken care of more efficiently with email.

But as the Cat in the Hat says, "That's not all!"

2. You can reach almost anyone on email-and not just businesspeople. Recently, Duncan Watts, a sociologist at Columbia University, updated for email the famous "six degrees of separation" study, which demonstrated that anyone can be connected to any other person through a chain of no more than six acquaintances. Watts asked the people participating in his study to see if they could get an email message to someone they didn't know: "a professor at an Ivy League university, an archival inspector in Estonia, a technology consultant in India, a policeman in Australia, and a veterinarian in the Norwegian Army." The catch was that you could forward a message only to someone you knew. The forwarded messages that hit their targets did so after an average of only four connections.

Another clear benefit: You can get your message to a list of a half- dozen or one thousand people as easily and inexpensively as you can get it to one person. And most email addresses can be easily found or sleuthed.

3. Email knows no time zones-it's an efficient and economical way to communicate with people around the world. You can also write an email any time of the day or night and have it sent the minute it's finished- or, if you are moderately clever, program it to be sent hours, or even days, later.

4. Email gives you a searchable record. Even if you do make an efficient phone call, there's no record of it. Are you going to trust the other person's "notes"?

5. Email allows you to craft your message-or your response-on your terms and on your own schedule. Unlike a conversation, email gives you time to think about what you want to say.

6. You have the choice of preserving and presenting parts or all of a string of preexisting emails. This enables you to refer to what came before, to bring newcomers up to date, or, without anyone knowing, to delete irrelevant or inappropriate parts of the correspondence.

7. Email lets you attach and include additional information that the recipient can retrieve when and if he chooses. This means instant access to maps, supporting documents, photographs, charts, spreadsheets, links, and so on.

A Brief History of Email,
for Anyone Who Cares

In the early 1960s, the Pentagon decided that it needed to be able to harness the power of all its computers more quickly. (To respond to things like, oh, Soviet missile launches.) So it asked its re- search arm-the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA-to build the world's first computer network. The project, called ARPANET, connected UCLA to Stanford on October 29, 1969. The first message sent over this network was "LO"-although it would have been "LOGIN" if the computer hadn't crashed.

The world's first email-a small message between two ARPANET computers- was sent a couple of years later, in 1971. By this time, each user of an ARPANET computer had a rudimentary "mailbox." Ray Tomlinson, a computer scientist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, devised a simple address for messages sent from one user to another, using the user's account and the computer's name, separated by an @. As Tomlinson remembers it, the first message he sent was gibberish: the computers were in the same room, and Tomlinson was both the sender and receiver, so he didn't bother with a sentimental or grand historic declaration.

Initially, ARPANET's physical network consisted of a few long-range connections between the East and the West Coasts. But it grew, and in 1983 the network was split into military and civilian branches. (The military's branch was renamed MILNET; we civilians were given ARPANET.)

By the time it sprang free, ARPANET wasn't the only civilian network around. Research groups and organizations in the civilian world had started to establish computer networks of their own. These networks would soon merge with ARPANET to form the early Internet.

For that integration to take place, however, computers in these different networks needed to be able to talk to each other. They needed a simple, efficient protocol for sending information. Enter TCP/ IP, which had been created in 1974 but wasn't adopted by ARPANET and other networks until New Year's Day, 1983. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, TCP/IP is still the standard protocol of the Internet. IP (or Internet Protocol) deals with addresses while TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) regulates the way messages are divided up and sent.

Once the rules were in place, competing services started popping up everywhere, as telecom companies entered the fray. In 1983, MCI introduced MCI Mail, which charged subscribers forty-five cents to send a 500-character message. (This came with a special feature: MCI would call users to tell them they had received electronic mail.) CompuServe jumped in the game, as did America Online, which (wisely and lucratively) positioned itself as the service for people who were uncomfortable with, or new to, computers. Lotus, Microsoft, and others introduced products that made it simple for businesses to use email companywide. Suddenly, email wasn't so scary anymore. The rest is history.

Eight Reasons You May Not Want to Email

Email's strengths are also its weaknesses. We're going to explore these at some length-not because we're negative guys but because you can't be certain that email is the appropriate mode for a message until you've considered all of its limitations and dangers.

1. The ease of email encourages unnecessary exchanges. Because it's so easy to engage in brief exchanges on email, people email way too often. They ask questions when they don't really need the answers (or when they could have found the answer another way). They also send information that doesn't need to be sent and extend conversations long past their expiration date.

That's not to say we're against all unnecessary exchanges. A casual encounter, whether in person or on email, can cement a social bond and sometimes even lead you to information that proves useful later.

Rule: If you wouldn't stop by a colleague's office every ten minutes for a chat, you probably don't want to email him frivolously thirty times a day.

2. Email has largely replaced the phone call, but not every phone call should be replaced. Because email is at a physical and temporal remove, it can be an awkward tool for reaching agreement, finding common ground, or bringing things to a close.

Rule: Conveying an emotion, handling a delicate situation, testing the waters-all these challenges are usually better undertaken with the human voice.

3. You can reach everyone, but everyone can reach you. The world of email appears hierarchy-free. Many people who were once out of reach are now, theoretically, within grasp. Many CEOs read their emails unscreened-whereas an unfamiliar, inappropriate letter isn't likely to get past an assistant. We all get plenty of emails every day from people we've never met-people to whom we have never given our private email addresses-simply because these individuals have found their way to our personal inboxes by some not-so-hard-to-divine combination of first initials, last name, and corporate address . . . or just by searching the Internet.

This flatness has its egalitarian appeal, but it's also a source of genuine confusion because it fosters a lack of formality that's often misguided. If you were a new employee in, say, tech support, you wouldn't dream of walking into the CEO's office with a minor complaint. If you were a student, you wouldn't think of calling your professor in the middle of the night with a question about an assignment you didn't understand because you were hungover in class. And if you were going to make a presentation in a foreign place, you'd learn about local etiquette and rules first-and not simply barge into a conference room in, say, Dubai or Seoul.

Email is both so intimate and so easy that it makes unwise actions far more likely: once you have someone's address, you can contact that person any time of the day or night from your very own office or bedroom. This once unimaginable access clouds our ability to discern who we are in relation to the person we're writing. Consequently, people issue wildly inappropriate requests to their correspondents that can damage their relationships and derail their careers.

Some of the most telling conversations we've had are with professors and college admissions officers, who have seen the once-respectful divide that used to separate them from students and applicants evaporate with email.

David Haig, a head tutor in biology at Harvard, regularly gets emails from students he's never met that are addressed "Hey, Professor Haig," or "Hiya." And Bill Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions at the university, tells us that he now receives long, slangy, and sometimes sloppy emails from applicants. While he made clear that these messages don't cause a student to be rejected out of hand, they do at times make him question the judgment of the writer, especially if there are other concerns. "Ever since email came on the scene," he said, "there are people who have thought, wrongly, that there are different rules with regard to familiarity-that all bets are off because it is a different medium."

The students sending these emails seem painfully un- aware that the person they are writing to (and annoying) is the same person who could be offering them a place in a freshman class or grading them at term's end.

A related problem is how to separate the genuinely familiar from the overly familiar. The Subject line or the sender's name can sometimes indicate which messages you'll want to read right away, which can wait, and which ones will aggravate you. But they aren't foolproof. And even programs with preview panes, which show you the message before you actually open it, only save you one click. You still have to read the thing.

For people fortunate enough to have assistants, email presents another problem. So much email is confidential that many companies prohibit executives from letting others access their email accounts. Busy people are left with the choice of sorting through an enormous inbox every day or of breaking the rules and entrusting their privacy (not to mention the power to send emails under their name) to someone else. After the World Economic Summit in Davos in 2006, a participant reported that one of the most hotly debated issues among global leaders was this: Should you allow support staff to manage your inbox?

A 2002 online poll conducted by the International Association of Administrative Professionals and the ePolicy Institute found that 43 percent of administrative assistants write and send emails under their boss's name; 29 percent are allowed to delete emails before their boss has seen them.

Here's what Bill Gates does. He has software that cuts his email intake from thousands of emails a day to about a hundred by letting through only those messages that come from people with whom he has corresponded in the past. The rest go to assistants who then sort and summarize them.

Rule: When it comes to outgoing messages, don't assume instant familiarity. And when it comes to incoming ones, try filters. But keep in mind that current filters are usually imprecise or overly restrictive. Until smarter filters come along, you should think twice before giving out your address.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Do We Email So Badly? 3

Chapter 1 When Should We Email? 17

Chapter 2 The Anatomy of an Email 56

Chapter 3 How to Write (the Perfect) Email 117

Chapter 4 The Six Essential Types of Email 143

Chapter 5 The Emotional Email 177

Chapter 6 The Email That Can Land You in Jail 206

Chapter 7 S.E.N.D 225

The Last Word 228

Another Last Word: How to Keep Email from Taking Over Your Life 231

Appendix: How to Read Your Header 251

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 261

Index 273

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    Drones on and on and on....

    Couldn't even finish the book. If you don't understand the concept of proofing your email before hitting he send button, then I guyess there is no help for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)