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Publisher's Summary

A wise and entertaining look at the struggle for clarity in modern journalism by one of the greatest newspaper editors of our time.

Harry Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger. He's even been knighted for his services to journalism. In Do I Make Myself Clear?, he brings his indispensable insight to us all in his definite guide to writing well.

The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK, and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of every kind we see a trend toward more - more speed and more information but far less clarity.

Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. Do I Make Myself Clear? is an essential text, and one that will provide every writer an editor at his shoulder.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Harold Evans (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The great French writer Émile Zola said that his prose style was 'forged on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines', but the anvil of journalism is no use without the hammer of a great editor. Few if any wordsmiths hit harder than Sir Harold Evans. From the foggy corridors of Fleet Street to the lofty heights of Manhattan publishing, he has dedicated his life to hammering sloppy verbiage into plain English. Witty, wonderfully well written, but above all wise, Do I Make Myself Clear? should be required reading for all who scribble, type, or otherwise 'word process.'" (Niall Ferguson, senior fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford)
"Clarity and wit have something in common, and it's Harry Evans. He clears a path through the thorny underbrush that stands between us and meaning, and he does it with cutting humor and graceful charm. He certainly does make himself clear, and us, too." (Alan Alda, actor and writer)
"Harold (Harry) Evans is a writer and thinker of deep and celebrated accomplishment and marked independence, and his new book on how our government hides behind a word it's never even heard of - prolixity - is acutely on target." (Peggy Noonan, author of The Time of Our Lives)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent, informative book

Applies critical thinking to the written word. Analyzes the difference between clear writing and sentence structures that obscure information. Included are plenty examples of the quagmires that writers fall into. For this reason, this book is also useful for dyslexics: some of their comprehension problems are caused by murky writing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

A work of inspiration for all who desire to be read, heard and understood. Guidance for all on the poetry of clear and concise language.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A much needed message.

The book is dry at some points but it makes its points well and it's a message we all need to hear.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Way Too Political

Early on, the author is very focused on rules and concepts to help readers write and communicate well. There’s plenty to benefit from. The latter half of the book, however, spends too much time on examples of bad writing by lawyers and government officials. Not only does it seem these sections are designed to simply add heft to the book, but most of the examples used are conspicuously ones written by "diabolical" Conservatives or corporations. The shortcomings of Liberals and others are mentioned a few times, but quickly glossed over in favor of dissecting the unforgivable crimes of Conservatives and corporate executives. By the end, it’s clear the book’s purpose is as much to drag Conservatives and their supporters through the mud as it is to teach readers how to write more clearly.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Get the printed book. Skip the audio version.

Harold Evans has a musicality with words that is lost in Greg Tremblay's narration. I found the reading so monotonous that I bought the book so that I could hear Evans intended meaning more clearly.

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  • Robert
  • Plainfield, Israel
  • 06-17-17

I wish my English comp teacher was this interesting!

I great teacher of the proper use of the words.......to Communicate! I wish I had this knowledge when I started my career.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Too much politics.

The author's injection of his personal left-wing politics detracted from what was supposed to be a book on writing and was a real turn-off.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Politics

The information was good, but middle of the road on politics would be much better. Give a writing style situation for each group and flag the play on useless words, misdirection, and great works.

It is still worth it to listen or read.

Enjoy

1 of 4 people found this review helpful