Indonesia | Economics

Sunday, October 08, 2006

On writing well

This blog is as much about economics as it is about writing economics that can be understood by the general public. That's why I really appreciate this set of advice from Greg Mankiw on clear writing. The two that I like (and need to remind myself over and over again) are: "Avoid jargon. Any word you don’t read regularly in a newspaper is suspect" and "Put details and digressions in footnotes. Then delete the footnotes".

I also second his recommendation to "[buy] a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Also, William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. Read them—again and again and again." They are truly the classics on clear and concise writing.

2 Comments:

  • i've several useful writing guides, but to be honest, i think the best thing you can do for your writing - i am not a good writer nor am i simple so i'm still learning - is to read light stuff and use the language.

    academics always make the same mistake of assuming a certain level of interest from the readers and then dig too deep and explain too much details. to new beginners, it's lost in chaos.

    By Blogger treespotter, at 10/11/2006 07:27:00 am  

  • Well treespotter... I don't know how much you know about Indonesian. As I recall when I was younger and lived there, if you had a PhD then your business card would list out all your previous degrees (i.e. Mr. XYZ BA, MA, PhD). I think it's partly culture and it's partly to show off (not many people had an opportunity to go to college)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/06/2006 05:59:00 pm  

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