Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way

September 07, 2011 - by: Mike Maslanka 1 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Mike Maslanka explains how a specific passage in Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way influences the way he writes.

If you’re going to be writing something, take a look at Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the WayTaoism Books) a copy of which you can pick up at any bookstore. No. 81 from the Tao has been translated as “True words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not true. Experts do not argue; the argumentative are not experts. The knowledgeable are not generalists; generalists are not knowledgeable.” In other words, don’t try to sound smart, just write like you talk.

It reminds me of a passage from a great book by Peggy Noonan, Simply Speaking: How to Communicate Your Ideas with Style, Substance, and ClarityBusiness & Investing Books). She writes that we need to write and speak “straight and plain and direct.” She writes that when a soldier gets shot in battle, he doesn’t say, “I believe I’ve just been struck by a bullet,” he says, “I’m hit.” Unadorned expression is always the most powerful expression.

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Categories: Review / Skills / Writing

E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide

January 07, 2009 - by: Celeste Blackburn 0 COMMENTS

Resources for Humans managing editor Celeste Blackburn reviews the book E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide — How to Write and Manage E-Mail In the Workplace by Janis Fisher Chan. An industrious HR person could not only benefit personally from reading this book and applying its theories but could also condense the information to create a instructional class or worksheet for employees.

We do it every day without a second thought. E-mail has become the most prevalent form of communication in the business world. Professionals are increasingly known by their “e-mail personas” as this medium replaces face-to-face meetings and phone calls. Executives who once dictated letters to their secretaries now send their own e-mail from PCs, laptops, and Blackberries. In the space of a decade, all the rules have changed — and what we e-mail is, in the eyes of the recipients, who we are.

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Categories: Communication / Writing

Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better

November 26, 2008 - by: 1 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka comments on the book Send: Why People Email so Badly and How to Do It Better by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, highlighting the book’s advice on making business e-mail more personal.

I just finished an interesting book, Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, Revised Edition by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. The book basically deconstructs our e-mail habits. Part of the advice is to use e-mails for facts only, not opinions. The authors advise us to be thoughtful. Trust me, even in a business environment, especially if you’re dealing with colleagues or clients, it feels good to read an e-mail that starts off with a pleasant point (e.g., “Hope you are well”). Know what? It feels just as good to type those words out as it does to read them.
Why People E-mail so Badly and How to Do It Better by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe

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Woe Is I: A Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English

November 28, 2007 - by: Celeste Blackburn 0 COMMENTS

Resources for Humans Managing Editor Celeste Blackburn reviews the book Woe Is I: A Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner. Review highlights book’s tips for writing e-mails and avoiding cliches.

A Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English book review

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Categories: Review / Writing