HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

HBR Guide to Better Business Writing


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HBR Guide to Better Business Writing by Bryan A. Garner, Harvard Business School


When you’re fumbling for words and pressed for time, you might be tempted to dismiss good business writing as a luxury. But it’s a skill you must cultivate to succeed: You’ll lose time, money, and influence if your e-mails, proposals, and other important documents fail to win people over.

The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing , by writing expert Bryan A. Garner, gives you the tools you need to express your ideas clearly and persuasively so clients, colleagues, stakeholders, and partners will get behind them. This book will help you:

• Push past writer’s block
• Grab—and keep—readers’ attention
• Earn credibility with tough audiences
• Trim the fat from your writing
• Strike the right tone
• Brush up on grammar, punctuation, and usage

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781422184035
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 01/15/2013
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 94,684
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Bryan A. Garner is a leading authority on writing, grammar, usage, and style. He is the author of many books on writing, including the best-selling reference work Garner’s Modern American Usage. He is also editor in chief of the world’s most frequently cited lawbook, Black's Law Dictionary.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why you need to write well xv

Section 1 Delivering the Goods Quickly and Clearly

1 Know why you're writing 3

2 Understand your readers 7

3 Divide the writing process into four separate tasks 13

4 Before writing in earnest, jot down your three main points-in complete sentences 19

5 Write in full-rapidly 27

6 Improve what you've written 31

7 Use graphics to illustrate and clarify 37

Section 2 Developing Your Skills

8 Be relentlessly clear 43

9 Learn to summarize-accurately 49

10 Waste no words 53

11 Be plain-spoken: Avoid bizspeak 57

12 Use chronology when giving a factual account 67

13 Be a stickler for continuity 71

14 Learn the basics of correct grammar 77

15 Get feedback on your drafts from colleagues 85

Section 3 Avoiding the Quirks That Turn Readers Off

16 Don't anesthetize your readers 91

17 Watch your tone 99

Section 4 Common Forms of Business Writing

18 E-mails 105

19 Business Letters 111

20 Memos and Reports 125

21 Performance Appraisals 133


A A Checklist for the Four Stages of Writing 139

B A Dozen Grammatical Rules You Absolutely Need to Know 143

C A Dozen Punctuation Rules You Absolutely Need to Know 153

D Common Usage Gaffes 163

E Some Dos and Don'ts of Business-Writing Etiquette 165

F A Primer of Good Usage 169

Desk References 199

Index 203

Acknowledgments 209

About the Author 211

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“At last! A book I can recommend to executives and to the human resource managers whose responsibility it is to develop executives: HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, by Bryan A. Garner.” Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Better Business Writing Blog

“If you need assistance in any of these and other areas, Garner’s book will be of invaluable assistance now as well as in months and years to come.” — First Friday Book Synopsis

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