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Writing and Other Skills

Writing and Other Skills Book Recommendations

You might enjoy our article on five books that will make you a better writer.

On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

The ability to write well can separate you from your competitors. Writing is a skill that one can develop, but few people do. It isn't just for novelists and professional writers. Almost everyone writes or could write to develop their job or business. And, nowadays, everyone writes, probably every day, even if just to drafting a text or email. Whatever you do, if you improve your writing skills, you will be more likely to reach your goals and extend your "ceiling." 

You can read our review of William Zinsser's On Writing Well here.

That is where William Zinsser's "On Writing Well," comes in. Not surprisingly, this is a well-written and readible book. Zinsser offers advice on non-fiction writing in many different areas, including science writing for the tech-inclined. This isn't a grammer manual; it is an entertaining book about how to improve your own writing, from specific tips that you can easily implement to the deeper issues of how you should approach your writing. Zinsser's "On Writing Well" is a classic and every bookshelf deserves a copy.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, by Scott Adams

You can read our more extensive review of Scott Adams' book here.

Yes, this is that Scott Adams, of Dilbert fameHe is also an accomplished author with several successful books published over the years. He might even admit that he is better at writing than drawing. What we like about this book is that it provides such great information in an effortless and humorous way. You sort of forget that you are learning; you are just enjoying the ride. Scott Adams prescribes a model for success that first improves your energy through diet and exercise, so you can be more productive, creative, and positive. Then, instead of trying to achieve goals, you should create systems in your life that will put you in a better position as luck comes along. One of those, which he describes in detail, is developing a variety of certain types of living skills, like public speaking, business writing, the psychology of persuasion, an understanding of basic technology, social skills, etc. 

If you haven't seen his blog, you might check it out. Scott Adams is an expert on persuasion and his blog posts are both interesting and entertaining.

The Art of X-Ray Reading, by Roy Peter Clark

You can read our review of The Art of X-Ray Reading here.

This is both a writing and a reading book. That is, you will improve your writing by learning to read more deeply, through the art of x-ray reading. Roy Peter Clark will take you through a tour of more than 25 great works of written art and help you understand the author's secrets. You don't need to have read these works already, as he offers short excerpts, then breaks them down and builds up the context around them. Excellent book. You can read a little at a time, as each chapter is a self-contained unit. 

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield

You can read our article reviewing Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art" here.

If "Resistance" is keeping you from starting your art, whether it is writing, painting, making movies, or starting that new business, this is the book for you. Steven Pressfield describes Resistance, in great detail, as that inner force that keeps you from doing the work. The goal is to overcome resistance, which may be a daily battle, so you can become a professional and complete the art that you were born to do. The War of Art is a short book that you can read in bit-sized pieces that is both funny and inspiring. It is the sort of book you can quickly read before starting a project. We recommend it.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it, by Chris Voss (with Tahl Raz)

You can read our full review of Never Split the Difference here.

If you want to take your negotiating skills to the next level, read this book by Chris Voss, former top hostage negotiator from the FBI. This isn't just a book that talks about figuring out your best walk-away option or learning how to create win-wins in negotiations. Those are important skills, but if you want to become a master negotiator, you must understand the human mind and its emotions. Voss' book is packed with practical advice and interesting stories. We highly recommend it. You might have trouble putting it down.