‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser is the perfect writers guide

On Writing Well: Book Review


Kicking off my first website with a book review? I must be out of my mind. No introduction to your life? No heartwarming story about facing your fears and starting a website? I must admit - I do feel a little rebellious.


If you're reading this, I can assume that you're either looking to hone your writing skills (or you're one of my friends/family that reads this blog just because). Good news for you: I just finished reading one. More good news: it's REALLY good.


"On Writing Well," by William Zinsser is the first book I've read that is aimed specifically at becoming a better non-fiction writer.  If that's you, you've more than likely read the *countless* blogs out there 'helping' you become a better writer.


Stop what you're doing.


Buy this book.


The craziest part to me is that Zinsser created something that would go on to withstand the test of time, even in a near completely digital age. Originally published in 1976, 'On Writing Well' dives individually into different styles of nonfiction writing:


  • Science
  • Places
  • Sports
  • Writing a family memoir
  • Conducting a bad ass interview


Zinsser uses specific examples in each chapter via excerpts from some of his favorite pieces - rarely his own. This is probably the most beneficial part of the book, simply because you can see the technique being explained in action. I re-read every passage twice, at least.


While the book's main messages are stated by its chapter titles, the author teaches a few other valuable lessons as well. Zinsser teaches his readers to be confident in their voice and work hard to entertain - two common characteristics of historically great writers.


After just about 300 pages, you'll have learned how to remove "clutter" from your work, keep things simple and embrace your style.


Here's a few other reviews from satisfied readers, in case you don't believe me:



Reading this book gave me every bit of motivation I needed to believe in myself as a writer. Actually, I plan on reading Zinsser's other writing-related books: Writing to Learn and Writing about your life


Where can I buy it?


Right now, Amazon.com has the 30th-Anniversary edition on sale for $10 (if you have Amazon Prime, it's eligible). If you have any desire to expand your knowledge of writing and/or learn to write about many different subjects - and do it well - this book sits atop my recommendation list. Do your brain a favor and go buy it.


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