Re: list of *good* books

Subject: Re: list of *good* books
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 22:46:26 -0800

>I am in the process of changing careers from programming to
>technical writing. So please look through all those books you have
>aquired over the years and let me know which ones you think
>would be the most help to a newbie in this profession.

You should read Mastering Technical Writing by Joseph C. Mancuso
(Addison-Wesley, 1990, ISBN 0-201-52350-7). This book addresses people in
your situation. It won't make you a great writer, but if you read it
carefully and follow its precepts, you'll have a solid foundation to build on.

Then you should get Bugs in Writing by Lyn Dupre (Addison-Wesley, 1995, ISBN
0-201-60019-6). She says: "The simplest way to improve your expository
writing substantially is to learn to avoid a limited set of extremely common
errors." The 150 short essays in this book are a gold mine of useful
stylistic and grammatical advice.

You need a selection of dictionaries. I have quite a few, but the ones I use
the most are The American Heritage Dictionary, Merriam Webster's 10th
Collegiate, and, when only an unabridged will do, the Merriam-Webster Third
New International.

You need style guides that are specific to the areas you're going to publish
in. If you work for a big company, they may have a style guide. Practically
everyone recognizes the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed) as an authority.
There are many other useful ones as well.

That's more than enough to get you started and keep you going for quite a
while. ...RM

Richard Mateosian President, Berkeley STC
Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro

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