Five business writing tips from a best-selling author


[This post originally appeared on Clare Lynch’s blog, goodcopybadcopy]

If you read one book about the financial crisis in 2011 (actually, if you read one book about anything in 2011), make it The Big Short by Michael Lewis.

It reads like a thriller – an unputdownable romp about collateralised debt obligations (CDO) and credit default swaps. Oxymoron? Not in the hands of Lewis, who has a real gift for making the complex compelling.

In January, I heard Lewis speak about the book at his alma mater, the London School of Economics (LSE). When he touched on the writing process, I gleaned five tips for every business writer.

1. Sweat over every word
Like many professional writers, Lewis doesn’t find writing particularly easy …

Read the full post on Clarity’s website.

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One Response to Five business writing tips from a best-selling author

  1. Chris February 26, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    This is great stuff, Claire – not because any of it’s new, but because it’s repackaged in a fresh, engaging way. Thanks for sharing it.

    One quibble with Michael Lewis: Write for your mum. Really? What if mum is a philosophy graduate? A plastic surgeon? CEO of a Footsie 100 company? Supreme Court judge? Does it still work? Of course not – it’s predicated on the mum in question being just bright enough to follow a knitting pattern.

    Well, I’m ‘mum’ too, but only to my children. Used by others about me (in only one of my guises), it’s a patronising cliche and embarrasingly out of touch. ‘Mother’ would be more neutral and more respectful. I prefer to think of the reader as an intelligent teenager – old enough to grasp the content, but still young enough to demand clarity.

    So next time we hear someone use ‘Write for your mum’ let’s ask them to change it to ‘Write for your dad’, instead. And if they say it doesn’t carry the same punch, let’s ask them, why?

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