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The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing Book Review

The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing is a book written by Bryan A. Garner and is based on the different aspects of business writing. It focuses on how to help people come up with different business writing styles. It summarizes the quality of work based on the manner in which the readers are likely to respond. It uses examples such as unanswered emails and business writing that makes people ask more questions than the information they are expected to acquire from the business materials. This book was published by the Harvard Business Review Press in 2012. This book was dedicated to J.P. Allen, who was the author’s longtime friend. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

This book is well written and understands the different persons involved in the reading of business writing. For instance, in business, people can write with the target audience being the clients or the stakeholders. It would be a good thing for whatever is written to answer all the questions likely to be asked by the respondents. Some of the topics included in this book include Guides on making all meetings matter, managing stress, project management, persuasive presentations, giving effective feedback, better business writing, finance basics for Managers, getting the needed mentoring, getting the right work done, and getting the right job (Garner, 2012, p. 5). While it focuses on all these business aspects, the key focus is on writing in the best way. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

All people have challenges in writing and need to be pointed in the right direction. According to Garner, this can be achieved when people choose to sharpen their writing skills. This requires that people understand the content of their writing. For instance, if one needs to convince the clients to buy the products, they should know what they can use and what to avoid. For instance, writing to a Muslim population with the aim of selling pork would make people have poor business writing skills. He states that people would often assume that good business writing is not a big deal, but it could cost companies a lot of money. Joan also argues that poor business writing could easily cost people their careers and businesses (Killeen, 2013, p. n.p). In addition, it links business writing to the impressions people are likely to have whenever they have interviews. During interviews, people should consider the use of professional Business writing skills as this would make the interviewers have faith in their ability to help achieve the company objectives.

It also stresses that redundant writing makes people create a poor impression, especially in the first instances. He argues that a good content should be precise and have all the information that one needs. This way, the readers will spend a shorter time in accessing the main information. This applies to different forms of business writing such as Emails, Memos, Reports, Business Letters, and Performance Appraisals among many others (Garner, 2012). The use of examples shows how the same message, initially made using redundant words can be made precise to pass the same meaning. Even as a reader, I find it simpler to understand the shorter and precise examples rather than the redundant ones. It helps in saving time for both the reader and the writer. Garner also uses the situation of a blind beggar with a sign that states, “I am blind” to show the impact that content in a message can portray (Garner, 2012). The sign is later changed to “It is spring, and I am blind.” The difference between these two cases is that the latter made the beggar get his cup full of coins.

In the business context, content is also important. When people choose a poor choice of words, it becomes easier for businesses to make poor decisions. For instance, a Memo could easily be misinterpreted by people in an organization and in the process, the objectives of such a meeting are not achieved. The same could also happen to a company looking to convince an investor could also loose in the process by either overstating or understating the required amount. In addition to the content, he also argues that one can choose the right set of words to trigger the desired reaction from the reader. The reactions triggered from the three examples include friendly, hostility, and urgent tones (Garner, 2012, p. 27). It is a reality that people should understand the right instances to use such different tones. From a personal perspective, I think the second example serves as the best as it maintains both a professional and friendly tone between the tenant and landlord. It is obvious that good relationships are key to successful businesses. Therefore, a friendly and professional relationship would suit both the tenant and landlord for future experiences.

Recap is also an important feature in communication. Even the three letter examples in which tones are discussed have the main message included in the first paragraph. This way, it becomes simpler for the reader to understand what the body entails. Given the fact that business letters are professional, it makes sense to focus on the agenda and less on the social obligations associated with greetings. Recap and tones are a critical combination for any business writing. For instance, when people understand the amount of time on the hands of the readers, they can know the best tones to use. However, when such information is uncertain, it would be considerable for the writer to use a professional tone. Garner also states that if one has the chance, then he/she should choose the most intelligent person as the audience (Garner, 2012, p. 32). [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

Therefore, The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing is a well-written book that enlightens people on being the best writers. It relies on many examples to show some of the suggested changes people ought to make, and that makes it very professional. In addition, people can use the examples to understand the best instances to use the different writing styles. All people venture into the business world with the aim to make profits, and that relies on how they express themselves. This makes Garner’s book important to all people looking to create the best impression with whatever Business writing in which they involve themselves.


Garner, B. A. (2012). The HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Guide to better Business Writing, 1-241. Retrieved September 8, 2016

Killeen, J. (2013, March 25). Poor Writing Skills Lead to Lost Business and Career Paralysis. Executive Education, 1. Retrieved September 8, 2016, from Executive Education.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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