Business Writing: 10 Great Authors


Great business writers combine narrative skills with sound judgment to create classics that help both the beginner and the mid-career professional.

Writing's completely subjective. What interests you may not interest me. But if somebody told me I could read the wisdom of only ten business writers, these are the ones I'd choose:

1. Socrates - He was likely history's first "self-help" writer. He taught people to seek ultimate truths by questioning conventional wisdom and examining their own beliefs. He said folks shouldn't accept opinion as fact.

2. Sophocles - Another guy with no last name. He created plays that usually centered on a single heroic character who chose an unpopular course of action. This dramatist may have been the first "niche" marketer.

3. Benjamin Franklin - This multi-talented American championed succinct writing, and his epigrams became part of our national heritage. Ben warned, "He that speaks much is much mistaken." Franklin succeeded in multiple business ventures.

4. Mark Twain - He's been called America's finest author because he wrote in American dialect, using phrases and speech unique to the United States. He punctured pompous prose, and laced his stories with regional references. (Many say Twain was also America's greatest lecturer.)

5. Claude Hopkins - This researcher wrote "Scientific Advertising" in 1923. He's among the first to discuss the use of product samples and demonstrations.

6. Edward Bernays - This nephew of Sigmund Freud is called the "father of public relations." He authored the classic book "Crystallizing Public Opinion" in 1923.

7. Dale Carnegie - His book "how to Win Friends and Influence People" is one history's greatest guides. He discussed the value of developing one's personality, and wrote beautifully.

8. David Ogilvy - This brilliant copywriter and ad agency executive believed in the value of brand image, and valued advertising research and testing.

9. John Caples - His wonderful books like "Tested Advertising Methods" serve as a great source of information on powerful words, phrases, sentences, headlines, and much more.

10. Al Ries and Jack Trout - They wrote the classic "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind," which discusses ways to get your product or service remembered. (It's my favorite business book.)

Rix Quinn wrote "Words That Stick: A Guide to Short Writing with Big Impact." It's a writing book to help people who hate to write. It's available from your local bookstore, or from http://www.tenspeed.com/catalog/all/item.php3?id=1661


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