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Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please


Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material

Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please

The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law

by Joseph Kimble

2012 $23.00 184 pp jacketed hardback ISBN: 978-1-61163-191-3 LCCN 2012013645

Tags: Legal Writing

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This unique book has been described as "the one we've been waiting for" and "a game-changer for public communication." It collects the empirical evidence for the value of plain language in business, government, and law. Professor Kimble summarizes 50 studies (no less) showing that using plain language can save organizations and agencies a ton of money and that plain language serves and satisfies readers in every possible way. They strongly prefer it to legalese and officialese, they understand it better and faster, they are more likely to comply with it, and they are more likely to read it in the first place. Because it makes for readers who are more motivated, trusting, and confident, it could even help to restore faith in public institutions. The potential benefits are extraordinary.

The book also debunks the ten biggest myths about plain language, including the myths about plain legal language. It looks back on 40 highlights in plain-language history. And it outlines the elements of plain language. The book's call for clarity and simplicity is vital to everyone who writes for the public—and to every legal writer as well, since more than 15 of the studies involved legal documents. And the book's lively, distinctive style makes it a pleasure to read.

Professor Kimble is a leading expert on this subject. He has lectured throughout the United States and abroad, and has won several national and international awards for his writing and work.

“Professor Joseph Kimble . . . has gathered and updated a career’s worth of insight into the myths, best practices, case studies, and international developments in plain language in one accessible and indispensable little book.” — “Clear Language and Design” Newsletter (June 2013).

“This book is a real 'must' for anyone looking to make their legal documents more accessible.” — National Adult Literacy Agency (Ireland), “Simply Put” newsletter (February 2013).

“[T]his big little book is a closing argument for the cause of clarity and simplicity in legal expression . . . . The book includes a six-page compendium of the elements of plain language [that] alone . . . make[s] the book worthy of a place on the credenza of every lawyer and judge . . . . In prose so incisive that it is itself an argument for what he advocates, Kimble dispels the myths about plain language and answers the critics. . . . Kimble's case reaches a crescendo spoken in our profession’s lingua franca: dollars. Plain writing not only increases efficiency, and thereby saves time and money, it empowers the practitioner to attract, satisfy, and retain clients, and so be more successful. This is a book worth reading, worth study. It is a reference, it is a resource, and it is a relief . . . .” — Michigan Bar Journal (January 2013)

“What a terrific compilation of resources for those of us interested in more successful workplace writing! . . . If any of you are trying to convince management that it’s worth it to spend time creating more efficient and effective documents, you need to get a copy of this book.” — "Pros Write" Blog (January 2, 2013)

“Kimble does not merely offer opinions. His book includes hundreds of footnotes with citations to important articles and resources for those interested in plain language. There is a treasure trove of information in these notes…. The book is readable and well organized. Kimble's list of the elements of plain language would be useful for any lawyer. For lawyers interested in more than the basics of plain language, this book is a wonderful resource….” — The Colorado Lawyer (November 2012)

“With a refreshingly honest tone,…Kimble presents compelling…arguments and evidence that plain language is the only sensible choice for any legal document….” — American Association of Law Libraries, “Spectrum” Blog (August 22, 2012)

“Kimble sets to rest arguments against using plain language…[and] gives those who care about good writing the backup they need…. The numbers [in the case studies] are astounding.” — CBA (Chicago Bar Association) Record

“If you are looking for clear evidence to support the claim that plain language works, you can’t go wrong with a new book, Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please by Joseph Kimble, an international expert on legal writing. It’s full of examples from real agencies.... The book has over 50 case studies showing clear, measurable improvements and the value of plain language in reducing costs and increasing effectiveness.” — “Usability in Civic Life” Blog (July 5, 2012)

“Joe Kimble's past writings on [plain language] have been classics; this book promises to be another.” — Raymond Ward, “The (New) Legal Writer” Blog (June 17, 2012)

“The book…make[s] a powerful case for the value of plain language: the business case, the government case, and the citizens’ case.” — Blog of the Center for Plain Language, Plain Language Matters (May 30, 2012)

“This is the one we’ve been waiting for—Joe Kimble’s update of his classic earlier work on the benefits of plain language, written in his lively, distinctive style. If this doesn’t convince lawyers, business writers, and government writers to use plain language, nothing will. They all need to have this book and take it to heart. It promises to be a game-changer for public communication.” — Annetta Cheek, Chair, Center for Plain Language

“When people demand proof that plain language works, we can now utter four short words: ‘Read Joe Kimble’s book.’ Proof aside, it will also give them sound guidelines for creating clear documents, plus a fresh and inspiring history of our field.” — Martin Cutts, author of The Oxford Guide to Plain English


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