Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication” as Want to Read:
The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  260 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
When you receive the daily mail do you jump to open the handwritten envelopes first because you can’t wait to see who has written and why? Or do you hold those letters aside to savor and enjoy after you are done sorting your bills and tossing the junk mail? Whatever your approach, you no doubt recognize the importance of the note that comes in a unique envelope with distin ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by Broadway Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Art of the Handwritten Note, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Art of the Handwritten Note

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ed Kay
Dec 30, 2015 Ed Kay rated it liked it
As one of the generation which fell between the stools of antiquated communication and modern technology, I was always a fan of the handwritten letter and miss that personal touch lost in email and social media. This is certainly a grand reminder of the beauty and elegance that handwritten notes can bring to our lives, and it has inspired me to endeavour to awaken this old habit in the new year.

Shepherd offers some useful tips on phraseology for more difficult letters - condolences in particular
Aug 29, 2016 Elizabeth☮ rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: Jennie
A nice handbook on the art of writing letters. There are practical lists of what you should say and what you should not say when sending condolences, congratulations or thanks.

Some of the chapters on pens and stationery choice were interesting, but not always practical.

I liked the short chapters and the examples inserted of various letters.
Sep 15, 2013 Emily rated it liked it
A timely, short treatise on how important it is to write notes to friends, family, and others on a variety of occasions. Shepherd's tone is certainly superior at times, but if this book motivates you to take up pen and paper and reach out to someone, she has accomplished her goal.
Linda C.
Oct 18, 2015 Linda C. rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book on a recent trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. While there, I fully immersed myself in the social etiquette of the early 20th century. I found myself dreaming of a simpler place and time. Browsing through the bookstore, I was drawn to The Art of The Handwritten Note.

Writing notes as a child to my grandparents is what built the foundation for my writing life. I still love to write notes, but as a society we've opted to replace personal interactions wit
Feb 15, 2014 Pamela rated it really liked it
You're preaching to the choir, here, sister. Long a fan and regular practitioner of hand-written notes, I still found plenty to like here. Shepherd offers advice, examples, and "Do and Don't" lists that alternate between quite helpful and hopelessly classless (case in point, one of the "Do" lists which offers this gem for a break-up note: "Your socks are on your windshield to remind you that the rest of your stuff is packed in the car" p. 124). There are quotes, reproductions of notes written by ...more
penny shima glanz
Aug 26, 2008 penny shima glanz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
While written notes and I never formally parted for long, I am rediscovering the joy they bring to myself and the recipient. I do, however, fear that years of email correspondence has corrupted my ability to write notes. In this slim volume, Shepherd has packed useful information from choosing what to write on, what to write with, and how to close the letter. She includes helpful hints for improving your handwriting (which I needed, I have the fountain pens, but needed the simple exercises) and ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
How wonderfully true this little book. I still have three friends young and old who write me hand written letters. One even has a Stamp of fake wax circle to close the envelope. The message in this tome is clear, we must not let this art die. Nor should we neglect telling those we love just how much they mean to us in words they can actually touch knowing your hand caressed the pen that wrote them. Beautiful thruthful book to start the year off right. Loved it.
Feb 23, 2014 Lori rated it liked it
Informative, some nice quotes, and a reminder of the importance of writing a handwritten note.
Marian Flaherty
Jan 30, 2017 Marian Flaherty rated it it was amazing
The Art of the Handwritten Note
Making out holiday cards this year I began to recollect a time in my life when sending cards and letters was more than an annual event. After my parents died 20 years ago I discovered a treasure trove of correspondence I had sent my parents during my youth while away at camp or traveling. There was also a large box full of letter my father wrote my mother during World War II while he was overseas. There was a large collection of postcards and letters my mother had
Jan 22, 2017 Julie rated it really liked it
Not a book that was a huge page-turner, but yet still super fascinating, thinking about the power of writing and putting your thoughts on paper to share with others. I loved Shepherd's advice, tips for writing, and general etiquette rules. (Now I feel horrified at every Thank You note I SHOULD have written, but didn't! Yikes!) I'm inspired to send more handwritten, slow, meaningful mail.
Jan 19, 2012 Starbubbles rated it it was ok
Shelves: language-writing
I hated this. Hated it! If I had to read "handwritten is best," "do it with class," "send your note promptly," or to do any of her pet peeves equates to juvenile, immature, and rude behavior one more time, I was going to throw the book clear across the room. This is not an exaggeration, as I slammed it shut at least once and had to take a breather.

If Shepherd could look past her calligraphy wielding ways for long enough to see the light of day, she would have realized that by the mere fact that
Sarah Beth
Sep 22, 2015 Sarah Beth rated it liked it
This concise little volume tells you precisely why and how you should go about writing notes - on what occasions and using what phrases, writing instruments, etc. "The handwritten note has an intrinsic value beyond its rarity. It's not just an antiquarian curiosity, it's an extremely useful tool. It upgrades a wide variety of messages, transforming 'Oops' into 'Please accept my apology,' and 'Got the money' into 'Thank you for your generosity.' Ink on paper is still the classiest way to express ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Yet another book soon to be on my 'reference' shelf. The sub-title of this book is perfect! Reclaiming civilized communication. Letters and notes are so cherished in a day of text messages and e-mails. They don't have to be on par with great letters of the past to be loved today either. When was the last time you received a handwritten note?? Full of encouragement (her list of excuses and rebuttles in perfect!) and guide to tools, as well as how to rehabilitate your handwriting (I think that cha ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Lyndsey rated it it was ok
I didn't mind reading this in the least, but I suspect that for most readers of this book, Margaret Shepherd is preaching to the choir. I love to write handwritten notes and letters. Normally the need to purchase Ikea furniture to store your toiletries, candy, or (for me) stationery boarders on the fetish level, but I use the stuff, several times a week. In any case, the book is slow and sometimes silly ("breathe evenly. Sit comfortably. Hold the pen loosely..."). But since this is written about ...more
Rift Vegan
Jul 09, 2011 Rift Vegan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
June 2011... I read this book to get some inspiration for writing my postcards. Too bad Margaret Shepherd has a major disdain for postcards, or any mail without an envelope! *laughs* The author provides a lot of rules that no longer really apply in our world. I still write "thank you" notes (usually pretty late)... but except for my Mom's, I've never received one! And Margaret S. is very gung ho about Thank You notes!

I still enjoyed reading the book, tho.

July 2011... Yep. Enjoyed it enough to r
Dec 26, 2010 Cyndi rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Gave good practical advice on how to write all kinds of personal notes and why they are still appropriate and even expected in an age of email and texting. This ia an art we are losing but can be so beneficial to someone who masters the note in their personal and business relationships. Having seen some really bad notes this is not something that is being taught any longer. The advice even included phrases and things to say and not to say in each type of note. Can't wait to get some more paper a ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Anna added it
Forget email, handwritten notes and letters are the way to go! I don't have anything against email, indeed, I rather like them, but there is something special about getting a letter in the mail, about giving someone a handwritten note. And this book just reaffirms that belief. Fun and inspiring, the book is a warm and inspiring read about why handwritten notes are so special. I am now prompted to full out my inks and nib pens and set to work!
May 27, 2016 Fayzah rated it liked it
The book's point is that writing a letter is so much more personal than just a text. But, there's only so many ways to say that, right? What I mean is, the book is quite repetitive and had me almost dozing (I'm serious). It has some interesting topics, like choosing the right pen for the right feel when writing a note, but again...too much explanation for such a simple topic. It's better to have been an article. Read it if you're absolutely passionate about old ways and want every detail.
Apr 17, 2012 Eee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the author hit the nail on the head of why writing and receiving handwritten letters and notes is so marvelous. She points out that a letter is one of a kind, it is meant specifically for the receiver, and the receiver not only gets the letter, but also the message that he or she is worth the effort it took to write the letter.
"And that's one of the greatest human experiences; receiving the gift of another person's attention."
Reagan Ramsey
Mar 06, 2013 Reagan Ramsey rated it liked it
V. good reminder that a note is a lovely way for us to connect person to person. It shows our respect and appreciation, and gives the other person a bit of who we are. I now realize I owe about 60 people thank you notes...that they will not be getting. However, tomorrow is a new day! Give away, folks. :)
Nov 03, 2013 C. rated it really liked it
A wonderful book to jump start any hand-writing notes you'd planned but never got around too. In the age of electronic mail, how sweet would it be if even one in 10 people wrote a letter by hand and mailed it to a friend or relative? Ms. Shepherd has suggestions for writing notes for every occasion. I found the book inspiring and I'm certain I will refer to it again and again.
Jun 13, 2011 May rated it really liked it
A beautiful book of common sense about writing handwritten notes, Sheppard reminds us of how appreciated this lost art is. It really inspired me to figure out how to do this more often; or at a minimum to do it at Christmas.
Michelle Hensley
Feb 05, 2016 Michelle Hensley rated it it was amazing
Just starting this book and so glad I am. Margaret does a great job being concise in why handwritten notes are important. I personally keep beautiful note paper and envelopes on hand to write. I don't have the best handwriting but it's always the thought. A good read to inspire.
Jul 09, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Great read! Very easy to get through. And it will definitely motivate you to start writing notes once again. Made me feel a little bad for all those missed opportunities to handwrite notes to people. :-/ Definitely worth the $7 I paid at B&N.
Nov 29, 2014 Juan added it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wishes to communicate better.
Shelves: 2014
I found this book really helpful. Its basic information, but worthy of being told in this way. Lots of insight, helpful suggestions. I enjoyed reading this. I like thinking about writing, and I like to practice writing. It is great encouragement.
May 01, 2016 Erika rated it really liked it
A sweet read of a book; brief but full of ideas , reasons, and a bit about the history of hand-writing notes.
Definitely a book I'd like to own as a reference book. Great small bibliography at the end.
Mar 18, 2013 Sherry rated it it was amazing
I enjoy writing and receiving hand written notes. I found the book to have some very good advice. It makes me stop and think before I begin writing. I recommend this book and will use it as a reference guide.
Felice Lam
Jan 21, 2011 Felice Lam rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A lot of the content was common sense but what's most interesting about this book is that reading about this art feels like it's slowly disappearing because of the internet and technology taking over our lives.
Jun 10, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it
A well written little book with lots of hints on writing notes and the etiquette behind handwritten notes. Oh, to be so good as to write on a regular basis, but I know I fall far short of that goal. It inspires me to write better and more regularly!
Jun 23, 2009 Troy rated it liked it
A cute little book that stresses the need to write to people at any time. As someone who practices such, I picked it up.

For someone like me, who writes a lot, there was really nothing new. Someone who's just getting into writing and has questions will get more out of it, I think.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success
  • Gift of a Letter: Giving the Gift of Ourselves-- Add Richness and Grace to Your Life Through the Art of Letter-writing
  • Knitter's handbook
  • The Elements of Grammar
  • Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting
  • Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less
  • GREEN CLEAN: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home
  • Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear
  • How to Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete with Step-by-Step Techniques, Stitch Library, and Projects for Your Home and Family
  • Mosaic Knitting
  • Spencerian Penmanship Theory +5 Copybooks
  • Things You Need To Be Told
  • Prosperity Pie: How to Relax About Money and Everything Else
  • Work in Progress: Risking Failure, Surviving Success
  • Clean House Clean Planet
  • The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success
  • Knitting on the Edge: Ribs * Ruffles * Lace * Fringes * Floral * Points & Picots - The Essential Collection of 350 Decorative Borders
  • The New Making of a Cook: The Art, Techniques, and Science of Good Cooking

Share This Book