Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson

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Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson

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Category: Reference
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ed Prior
Reviewed by Ed Prior
Summary: Are you confused by the fast pace at which language seems to be changing thanks to the internet? Or maybe you're sick of the grammar police telling you that you're doing it wrong? Perhaps you just want to be better at grabbing people's attention in a world flooded with words? If so, naming and verbal branding expert Christopher Johnson is here to take you by the hand and guide you through the basics of writing small.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 246 Date: August 2012
Publisher: WW Norton and Company
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780393341812

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Language changes and evolves all the time, but since the dawn of the internet that change seems to have accelerated. Not only that, the pervasion of the web into nearly every aspect of our daily lives means the written word has more power and relevance than perhaps at any other time in human history. Given its influence over us, it seems only prudent that we should try to understand something of how this new vernacular of the internet works. In Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little naming and verbal branding expert Christopher Johnson seeks to do just that, presenting us with a field guide to everyday verbal ingenuity.

Johnson makes it clear from the outset that his book is not intended as prescriptive list of rules for what to do and not do, rather he hopes to help people to see languages as something fun to play with, rather than as a source of potential embarrassment. With a clear, friendly style and a dry sense of humour he takes us through the ins and outs of this new microstyle of writing which, it turns out, is not so new after all (Dwight D. Eisenhower apparently used it in his election campaigns in the fifties). Johnson also makes it clear that concise, attention-grabbing writing is not necessarily lazy or mindlessly sensational, but rather a natural response to a world in which we are flooded with written information and must be increasingly discerning about where we choose to spend our attention.

If you've ever wondered why Apple is a good name for a technology company, or how Squidoo are cleverly manipulating search engines, then you're in for a treat. Microstyle combines linguistics, philosophy and psychology to investigate the meaning of words, both as discrete units of information, but also for the power they have to evoke broader meanings and make connections with more abstract concepts. You'll find out why being clear is often more important that being clever, why a solid understanding of poetry is vital for people who work in marketing and you'll even discover seven ways to build a new word.

This book really should be essential reading for anyone who reads or writes anything on the internet, which these days is just about everyone. Each page is packed full of useful information and concepts, making it a great resource for anyone interested in creating more engaging writing, whether for the internet or not. It's also fascinating simply as a guide to the way language works on readers, to deliver ideas that grab their attention, stick in their mind and ultimately get passed on. Both broad enough that it will remain relevant as our language continues to change and evolve, while still specific that it'll keep you coming back to its pages time and again for fresh inspiration, Microstyle is a powerful tool for the internet age.

If this book appeals then you might also appreciate English Grammar In Use by Raymond Murphy

Buy Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little by Christopher Johnson at Amazon.com.

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