Book Review: On Writing Well by William Zinsser – The Best Book on Writing

Are you a passionate blogger or writer looking to boost your writing confidence and sharpen your skills with a book like On Writing Well?

First off, let me tell you that you don’t need a book on writing to make your blog a smashing success.

Loads of bloggers out there are thriving (and some wildly so), even if they break a few “rules” that books like On Writing Well preach.

Take exclamations, for example.

These books say you should avoid or use them sparingly.

But, they’re everywhere! (<- see?) Ha!

And let’s not even get started on the typos in some blog posts – which, by the way, Grammarly can quickly fix.

If you haven’t heard of Grammarly, do yourself a favor and snag this nifty tool ASAP.

Professional writer or not, everyone’s writing these days. Grammarly is a must-have, and it’s free!

(Disclosure: If you purchase through the link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog, my dear reader!)

H2: Book Overview: On Writing Well – A Classic Guide to Writing

Book TypeNon-fiction, Writing, Communication
Main FocusWriting skills, clarity, brevity
Key TakeawayEmphasise simplicity and economy in writing to improve the quality
Reading DifficultyEasy to moderate

Discovering the Importance of On Writing Well

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes – you don’t need to be a gifted writer to build a wildly successful blog.

But if you’re a bit obsessed with mastering the craft like me, you’ll want to read this book.

I’ve read three other books on writing, which I’ll review at some point. But, hands down, this one takes the cake.

I did heaps of research on books about writing, and I found fewer than 20 worth mentioning. This gem was the first one I bought.

I fell head over heels for Jon Morrow’s writing style before launching my blog, so when I saw this book on his recommendation list, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

And, boy, am I chuffed I did!

But don’t just take my word for it; author James J. Kilpatrick praised On Writing Well in his book The Writer’s Art, saying that if he were limited to just one book on how to write, it would be William Zinsser’s masterpiece.

He further highlights Zinsser’s emphasis on “economy” in writing, as the quality improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.

? Update: I’ve now got a collection of recommended books for writers and bloggers if you’re keen to learn more about writing. So, be sure to check it out!

On Writing Well by William Zinsser: A Timeless Resource for Writers

William Zinsser was a celebrated journalist and professor at both Yale and Columbia. 

His classic book, On Writing Well, first hit the shelves in 1976 and has since sold nearly 1.5 million copies – talk about a timeless masterpiece!

Honestly, I can’t stress enough how much I adore this book. 

Wait, let me try: “I love, love, love this book!” 

You see the repetition there? That’s precisely the kind of thing Zinsser would frown upon. 

He’s all about brevity and simplicity.

Now, you might assume that an instructional, educational book like this would be a snooze-fest, but brace yourself for a delightful surprise! 

This book is laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to Zinsser’s clever wordplay and sharp wit. It genuinely makes you appreciate the richness of the English language even more.

His examples of wordy phrases and expressions used by prominent figures had me in stitches. 

(I probably should omit “in stitches” and “probably” if I learned anything from Zinsser, but hey, it’s all in good fun!)

Zinsser’s blunt yet warm, and his incredible humour shines through every page. 

Reading this book felt like savouring my favourite steak – I couldn’t get enough and devoured it from cover to cover!

Essential Takeaways from On Writing Well

Here are some standout lessons from the book I’ve paraphrased:

  1. Write every day to develop your skills.
  2. Use active verbs to bring life to your writing.
  3. Avoid clutter at all costs – keep it simple and clear.
  4. Dedicate yourself to mastering the craft.
  5. Expand your vocabulary to enrich your writing.

It’s comforting to know that even a prolific writer like Zinsser acknowledged that writing could be challenging.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is an essential read for nonfiction writers. 

Actually, let me rephrase that: it’s a must-read for anyone who spends a significant amount of time writing emails, reports, and so on. 

The book is easy to read and comprehend, making it accessible for everyone.

I feel the need to re-read the book review section of the book, as I’m sure I didn’t do it justice. 

That’s another fantastic aspect of this book – you can easily jump from chapter to chapter, as each one focuses on a specific purpose of writing, complete with guidelines and examples, like writing a book review.

Where to Purchase On Writing Well by William Zinsser

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(Disclosure: If you purchase through the link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog, my dear reader!)

Final Thoughts on On Writing Well

On Writing Well by William Zinsser is a timeless classic that provides invaluable insights and guidance for writers and anyone who wants to improve their written communication skills. 

It’s witty, engaging, and filled with practical advice that can help elevate your writing to new heights. 

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting, this book is a gem that you’ll want to keep on your bookshelf and revisit time and again. 

So, go ahead and dive into the world of On Writing Well – you’ll emerge a more confident and skilled writer, ready to tackle any writing challenge that comes your way. 

Happy writing!

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