Oxford University Press
2012| 213pp | £22.50
Reviewed by Sarah Farley
This book aims to help all scientists improve their writing and increase the impact of their work. It is not a technical guide on the construction of papers and proposals, rather it considers the ‘craft’ of writing and how to convey your message effectively to your readers.
The focus throughout is on the ‘story’ you are aiming to tell, with advice on how to structure this considering both the document type and the needs of different audiences, including funding bodies and the readers of general and more specialised journals.
The early chapters consider the different types of story structure and their constituent parts, while the following chapters look more closely at paragraphs, sentences and flow. The concluding chapters provide guidance on energising your writing, overcoming limitations, and on the final editing and condensing of your work, as well as writing for the public.
The advice is clearly explained and illustrated throughout, with abundant real examples of good and bad practice. Readers are also invited to select papers from the primary literature and their own work, and at the end of each chapter are encouraged to use the newly introduced concepts to suggest improvements to them.
Scientists and students at all levels will benefit from the practical advice in this book. Although producing a good document is never simple, the concepts described here are easy to apply and will undoubtedly increase the impact of your written work. Furthermore, the advice on structuring for the audience extends to the presentation of results or ideas in any format, helping to deliver your message more effectively.