Writing for Busy Readers: Communicate More Effectively in the Real World

Time and attention are two of the most valuable resources people possess. The demands made upon both of these influence how people read--and if they even decide to engage with a particular piece of writing at all. Writing for Busy Readers by Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink gives clear guidance on how to approach any written communication so that it serves both the aims of writers as well as those of the intended audience. Concision and precision are critical. The authors explain the principles of crafting "readable" writing, using common words and short, straightforward sentences that don't require extra effort on the part of readers. They also stress that the way information is designed is a critical component to crafting messaging that readers will process. Presenting the most important information first; separating distinct ideas while keeping related ideas close to each other; including heading elements that provide a clear road map for readers about what can be found where--the authors present all of these valuable recommendations alongside convincing examples and compelling data that make it clear that these tips are not their mere preferences. Additionally, they address when and how to include other visual elements and formatting that complement these solid writing principles.

The guidelines conclude with explicit suggestions for conveying why readers should care about a given message and how to make it easiest for them to take whatever action the writer is advocating, making this book an unequivocal must-have for writers of all kinds. --Elizabeth DeNoma, executive editor, DeNoma Literary Services, Seattle, Wash.

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