Writing at Work

The ability to communicate effectively is a primary prerequisite for almost any job today. This guide urges people engaged in job-related writing to understand and scrutinize written assignments. The author creates an attitude toward communication in a quickly paced and easily read format. He reinforces the major points with numerous examples, lists, and exercises, while he raises one’s level of awareness about the power of words.

What to do to achieve effective writing skills is the focus of the first of three major sections. By listing his eleven commandments of interesting writing, Jacobi establishes a foundation for the communication process. The chapters on finding an editor and the benefits of having one, however, seem out of place in a book primarily intended for occasional writers in college, business, and professional capacities.

The next section covers what to avoid in written communication, such as surprise endings, passive voice, redundancies, pompous words, and mixed constructions. The treatment of this last item is quite clear but indicates the author’s very broad interpretation of the term.

The concluding section on how to proceed with various forms of written communication mentions letters, memos, reports, proposals, resumes, and the use of certain punctuation to convey meaning. A somewhat extraneous and detailed section on producing documents, followed by appendices on proofreading symbols, charts and graphs in writing, and additional exercises, completes the text.

Unfortunately, examples of letters of recommendation, performance appraisals, and position descriptions--all vital forms of written communication today--are not included. Although some readers will be bothered by this omission and by the lack of clear audience focus, WRITING AT WORK is a useful basic guide.