I absolutely LOVE Writing Without Bullshit, Josh Bernoff’s latest book.
Seriously I love it. A lot.
If you communicate in writing (and that’s most of us), get this book and study it like a how-to manual.
One of my favorite nuggets in the book has become a personal mantra. I’ve challenged everyone at Brains on Fire to keep Josh’s thought in mind as they write anything – a slack comment, an email, a blog post, a post-it note or a proposal:
Treat the reader’s time as more important than your own.
I love people who write simple and clear sentences; who get right to the point. I love writing that’s direct and insanely clear.
I think we all do.
Want more Josh advice?
Never start an email with “I was just thinking.” Or “Thinking out loud here.”
Yet I’ve done it. And I’ve gotten plenty of those emails myself. Thinking out loud over email is NOT treating the reader’s time as more important than your own.
THINK first, then write.
I have a long way to go to become a better communicator, and you could argue I communicate for a living. I’ve even co-authored a couple of books of my own. These days I’m working on becoming a better writer with Josh’s advice in my heart every single day. I’m asking myself as I proof:
Who am I talking to?
Am I making my point insanely clear?
What do I want the reader to do?
Would Josh give this the NO-BULLSHIT stamp of approval?
Josh points out that “We are a society strangling in unnecessary words.” Kill the ones you don’t need. Shorter is better every time. This book has made me a much better editor.
So. If you want to be a better writer, take the first step. Study Josh’s book.
P.S. For those of you who are the cynical types, I have no reason to love on this book even thought it sounds like Josh bribed me. I did get it free at a conference, but I get lots of free conference books. Some that never even make it home. I do know Josh, but not really that well.