Writing Skills for Managers: 3 Books Everyone Needs

Communication skills are a top item in any list of what managers need to succeed. But “communication” isn’t limited to talking–it embraces writing skillsĀ as well. No one expects a manager to return to sixth grade to learn when to use a past participle. But questions do arise and these three books will answer most of them:

  1. The Elements of Style by Wlliam Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White. In less than 100 pages, this classic book answers your most frequent questions about usage and composition. It dives right in with 7 clear, definitive rules about forming possessives and using commas.
  2. The Little, Brown Compact Handbook, now in its eighth edition. If you have questions about grammar, research and documentation, formatting and special types of writing, grab this book. The glossary and index alone are worth the price.
  3. American Heritage Dictionary. Yes, you have spellcheck on your computer, and it is very good. But sometimes it’s faster and more accurate to use a dictionary, especially when you’re trying to decide between “effect” and “affect” or between “it’s” and “its.”

A note to the wise: while online spellcheckers are excellent, online grammar checkers are useless or worse. None of them give accurate grammatical help; in fact, you are usually better off doing the exact opposite of what they recommend.