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Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business
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Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  461 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Writing That Works will help you say what you want to say, with less difficulty and more confidence. Now in its third edition, this completely updated classic has been expanded to included all new advice on e-mail and the e-writing world, plus a fresh point of view on political correctness. With dozens of examples, many of them new, and useful tips for writing as well as f ...more
ebook, Third Edition, 208 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Collins Reference (first published 1981)
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Mar 18, 2012 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought a copy of Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson’s Writing That Works because advertising legend, David Ogilvy, recommended it to his staff at his ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, in a memo he issued back in 1982.

I write for a living, so I took note.

A lot of what Ogilvy suggested made sense.

And a lot of what’s covered in Writing That Works makes sense, too.

Actually, it made so much sense that I wound up having a really good, constructive conversation with the CEO at work about the direction w
Phil Simon
Apr 30, 2013 Phil Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This book would have done better to focus on one area or two. By attempting to cover email, presentations, resumes, proposals, and a swath of other areas in 180 pages, the book ultimately fails. What's more, I found the material to be pretty basic. I hate to be critical, but presentations require separate texts. This book just covers major areas in a rather perfunctory manner.
Andres Moreira
Mar 17, 2015 Andres Moreira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book about how you ca improve your writing skills, in particular your business writing skills. The book has many recommendations for
* better e-mails
* better presentations
* better proposals

Some sections were a bit boring (improve your resume for example), but I've enjoyed a lot the one about Presentations & Speeches.

Jan 04, 2017 Nikhil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While some of the examples might be dated, most of the advice in this book is timeless and commonsense. In 13 concise chapters, the authors recommend the most effective practices for getting your writing read, understood, and acted upon. I will be using this as a handy desk reference for years to come.
Floris Wolswijk
Jan 02, 2015 Floris Wolswijk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Improve your writing, make it easier and give yourself a confidence boost. That is what the back of Writing That Works by Kenneth Roman and Joep Raphaelson promises – and they deliver. In less than 200 pages they take the reader on a journey along the basics of effective writing. First they tackle the most common mistakes we all make, like mumbling, writing too difficult, or non-specific. After that the book tackles specific areas such as writing for audiences, writing report that make things ha ...more
Mar 01, 2016 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always been of fan of the classic guide to writing, The Elements of Style, otherwise known by its informal, eponymous moniker, Strunk & White.

It's short, clear, and makes a great reference for all writers.

Writing That Works is the modern business equivalent of The Elements of Style. Although Writing That Works is dated in some aspects, the original edition came out when the Internet was a novelty, the lessons it conveys are solid. The chapter entitled Don't Mumble is worth the price o
Book Calendar
Nov 26, 2010 Book Calendar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, writing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emidia Felipe
Feb 14, 2017 Emidia Felipe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Muito bom. Mesmo com 17 anos de idade, tem dicas superatuais sobre escrita e algumas que podem ser muito úteis no ambiente corporativo mesmo que as regras tenham mudado. Recomendo fortemente. E se quiser, tenho as citações arquivadas em um fichamento.
Sarthak Pranit
Well, when David Ogilvy recommends a book about writing, you simply download it on your Kindle - no questions asked but with expectations raised. And that's the folly with recommendations from big folks - you run into the risk of over-expecting... like an Indian parent.

Undoubtedly, it's a good book, but it's a book that has failed to stand the test of time. The first four chapters are true masterpieces. Their simple motive is impressive - Business writing is primarily about communication. Style
Jessica Horne
Jun 04, 2016 Jessica Horne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016_books
Kind of outdated but some of the concepts are still relevant to today. The first third of the book covered what I was looking for; how to write better and more efficiently. The middle to end described the difference between fax and email, marketing strategies, how to sell, collect, and complain, and how to write a speech/give a presentation. It ended with how to edit and save time writing. Overall, I would not recommend this book. I think there are many modern books that would cover the good top ...more
Joe Miller
Feb 26, 2011 Joe Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably best for writers who are a tad weak generally or for those who find themselves getting promoted into a position where a lot of writing is required. I picked this up for tips on improving my business writing skills -- I was particularly looking for tips on writing tighter summaries. Writing the Works was aimed at those who still require convincing that writing well is important. There was a lot of good stuff in here, but it was pretty much all stuff that I used to tell my Rhetoric 100 st ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Keeko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solid and helpful. I came across it when I was looking at an article by David Ogilvy on the Communication Arts website. Ogilivy was the founder of the ad agency, Ogilvy and Mather, and he is known for using writing as an advertising tool. He made copywriting significant and cool. Ogilvy believed and proved that if the writing is good, people will read it. In the article, he advises to read this book three times.

If you want to write effectively, this book will show you how. There's also a sectio
The book's essential premise is: be clear when writing. Use clear and active words. Don't mumble in writing. But writing like this is also simple. People might think of you as a simpleton. Tthat means a stupid person.

Seriously though, the main drawback of this book that it neglects the impact of culture on communication and writing: the guidelines are written as to work in the American / Western European context. I can tell some of the things this book suggests to avoid are exactly the kind of t
Tracy McKibben
Jun 06, 2013 Tracy McKibben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot of good writing tips and advice between the covers of this book. Actually, more precisely, there's a lot of good COMMUNICATION tips between its covers. I've been actively applying some of them to my email communications over the past few days, and I've noticed a difference in the level of response they've generated and a lesser degree of "back-and-forth" trying to get a message across.

Looking forward to trying to apply more of the advice to my other forms of writing and presentatio
Eric Reidsma
Hi my name is Eric and I’m bad at writing, so I read Writing that Works; How to communicate effectively in business. This book encourages being brief and straight to the point. I like how it said, “more people are talking like they write, but we should write more like we talk”. And regarding emails; before hitting send try delete. I read the 3rd edition and it is somewhat outdated but worthwhile.
Mar 14, 2012 Lea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Easy to read (which should be expected since it is about writing well) and useful. The 2000 version is slightly outdated but does address some key elements of writing in email.

I dog-eared and underlined all over this book and plan to share some of the tips with others at the office. I hope it will help people see the value of editing, slowing down and preciseness.
Nov 04, 2016 Paul rated it it was ok
This is a very basic book on business writing. I had hoped for something more advanced. For a beginner it is a great place to start. For someone more seasoned, there are a few good ideas. The kindle version of this book is so badly edited for digital format that I cringe at the mistakes and poor formatting. Highly unprofessional for a book about writing...
Uwe Hook
Nov 30, 2013 Uwe Hook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend this book basically to everyone. Since e-mail is regarded as "informal" it really makes a difference when someone actually takes the time to check spelling, grammar, and overall tone, and this book is full of useful tips to do just that. It's not very long so it's easy to read it periodically.
Stephen Simpson
This book appears to be aimed primarily for those new to business / professional writing, and I believe this would be a good book for undergrads. For someone already working as a professional writer, there is not as much to glean from it apart from a few reminders regarding brevity, word choice, and so on.
Jun 15, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a hard one to rate. A lot of it is full of good advice for any kind of writing and is still timely and spot on. Since it was last revised in 2003, though, large portions of it are pretty out of date. On the whole, it's worth reading, and the outdated sections are obvious and can be skimmed.
Cj Rey
Mar 03, 2016 Cj Rey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This edition was published in 2000. If this is the most current version, and I believe it is, it's in serious need of an update! That being said, it provides good basic info for business people who need to improve their written communication skills.
Elizabeth Olson
A good refresher course on the basic rules of grammar and of writing clearly, with particular focus on business communication, especially newer modern means like email. Still, you can't beat Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" -- still the Bible for good writing, as far as I'm concerned.
Rodrigo Bressane
This book is a great guide on "dos" and "dont's" when it comes to writing. It covers an extensive number of writing needs, from casual letters to customer service and business inquiries. A great reference on how good writing can be achieved by following simple, yet efficient rules.
Shavawn Berry
Jan 09, 2016 Shavawn Berry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple, straightforward primer on professional writing that works and why. A must read for anyone who doesn't want to come off sounding bombastic, puffed up, or ignorant in the business documents they create.
Azat Sultanov
Oct 19, 2014 Azat Sultanov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Дельные и практические советы о том, как писать различные бумаги в западной культуре начиная от эл.писем и до различных отчетов. В общем писать нужно просто, кратко (не всегда правда) и по делу. Остальные детали в книге.
Neil Renicker
Nice primer on simplicity and clarity in business writing. The sections on technology are a little frumpy, but the principles are all still valid.

I most enjoyed the last few chapters on how to edit documents effectively.

Recommended, but not essential.
Abdulaziz Alzain
Jul 06, 2013 Abdulaziz Alzain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read a book about writing well or how to become a better writer at work I learn something new. This book is one of them! Its very helpful for better at work such as: emails, memos, speeches...etc. I recommend reading this book.
Darren White
You already know all the techniques from this book; you've just forgotten them. "Writing That Works" is a brief reference book that helps tighten your business writing. Most MBA programs could hand this out and toss out a business communication course. It's a good book to keep on your desk.
Deb Oestreicher
A decent primer from a business perspective, but nothing terribly enlightening.
Jan 03, 2015 Stoil marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by David Ogilvy in Ogilvy on Advertising. Was written by two of his partners
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