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Economical Writing

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A valuable short guide for mastering the craft of academic writing! Students and young professionals who care about direct, clear expression should read this lucid, delightful gem by an author who practices what she advises. McCloskey s systematic treatment provides a range of insights and practical advice for better writing by scholars in every field.
Hardcover, Second Edition, 98 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Waveland Press (first published May 1999)
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On Writing by Stephen KingThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.Bird by Bird by Anne LamottWriting Down the Bones by Natalie GoldbergEats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Best Books on Writing
312th out of 597 books — 1,072 voters
The Craft of Research by Wayne C. BoothWriting for Social Scientists by Howard S. BeckerThe Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago PressResearch Design by John W. CreswellCase Study Research by Robert K. Yin
Social science writing and research
6th out of 17 books — 19 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 05, 2014 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Certainly economical

JDN 2456722 PDT 15:29.

A review of Economical Writing by Deirdre McCloskey

There is a certain paradox inherent in the "style manual": Legislating style is like legislating personality. If we all followed such manuals to the letter, we'd all sound alike, and the world would be a boring place indeed. There are on the other hand certain useful things one can say, just as there are certain personality types we can all agree are unhealthy (e.g. obsessive-compulsive, antisocial). The
Matt C
May 19, 2015 Matt C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two spaces after a comma is barbaric

This deserves four stars, but lost one due to the completely baffling decision to advise readers to include two spaces after a comma.
Ben Labe
Feb 13, 2014 Ben Labe rated it really liked it
Deirdre McCloskey is an adequate writer, which is to say, a better writer than almost all economists. Most writing handbooks are exactly what they most admonish: unreadable. They tend to be dry and uninviting. Understanding that irony well, McCloskey has imbued "Economical Writing" with just enough wit and excursus to make it pleasurable. The book's funniest moments are when she sneaks the mistakes that she is describing into her descriptions of them, as in the chapter titled "The Order Around S ...more
Jun 28, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
"In brief, then: We can do better, much better, than the say-what-you're-going-to-say, elegant variation, inefficient exposition, boilerplate, incoherent paragraphs, impenetrable tables, unemphatic word order, straggling sentences, contrived triplets, verbosity, nominalization, passive verbs, barbaric neologisms, abstractions, five-dollar words, teutonisms, acronyms, this-es, and fractured idioms of modern economic prose. Please. For our splendid science."
Joshua Smith
May 20, 2016 Joshua Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
I read this book after reading Chris Blattman's blog post. the author accomplished her goal with this book: it is built from several short (2 page or so) chapters that can be read independently, but arranged in a sensible way. This book will be good as a reference, similar to Strunk & White.
N.D. Hendrix
Apr 05, 2016 N.D. Hendrix rated it really liked it
Somewhat outdated in parts (seriously, two spaces after a period??), but otherwise a useful way to write clearly and in a reader-friendly way. Her emphasis on accessible argument is a balm to the interdisciplinary soul, who often finds himself reading articles outside his field.
Dec 30, 2014 C.J. rated it really liked it
A small, simple, and concise book that talk about the techniques and mindset that the writers in economics should know about. The writing itself is concise and down-to-earth making the reading very enjoyable.
Priscilla Alexis
May 03, 2014 Priscilla Alexis rated it it was amazing
One of the best guides ever for writing clearly.
Sep 08, 2014 Iworld1991 rated it really liked it
Helpful. good read
Jan 10, 2012 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
If you are so pressed for time (but still feel the need to read a style book) that you cannot bear to pick one that is over 100 pages up, this is the text for you. If not, read Joseph Williams' Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, which is both richer in the similar advice it gives and more timeless in the ways it diverges from McCloskey.

Jun 22, 2013 Anita rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, reference
Improve your prose through the Game of Writing. Not sure if it is quite as fun as the Game of Thrones, but there is definitely less death involved. On a more serious note, this short and sweet book will definitely benefit students and academics. But I would also recommend it to anyone interested in improving their writing quality
Adam Ghahramani
Jan 08, 2016 Adam Ghahramani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My new favorite 'how to write well' book.
Sep 10, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Economists, Social Scientists
An entertaining and insightful book that should help any economist or social scientist become a better writer. "The big secret in economics is that good writing pays well and bad writing pays poorly."
Oct 27, 2007 Naeem rated it liked it
This one is short, efficient, and to the point. I can never work long enough on making my writing clear. McClosky demonstrates what it takes to write clearly.
Oct 09, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Fabulous... every student should read this. Fabuloso... todo estudiante debería leer esto.
Graeme Roberts
Aug 11, 2016 Graeme Roberts rated it it was amazing
A necessary addition to the writer's bookshelf, not just for economists.
Bill Zhou
Jul 18, 2015 Bill Zhou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
The way to write a paper in Economics.
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Deirdre N. McCloskey has been since 2000 UIC Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Trained at Harvard as an economist, she has written fifteen books and edited seven more, and has published some three hundred and sixty articles on economic theory, economic history, philosophy, rhetoric, feminism, ethics, and law. She tau ...more
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“Thus, it is suggested, a deeper understanding of the conditions affecting the speed and ultimate extent of an innovation's diffusion is to be obtained only by explicitly analyzing the specific choice of technique problem
which its advent would have presented to objectively dissimilar members of the relevant (historical) population of potential adopters.”
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