Writing has helped me to become better at thinking, speaking, and making decisions.
I firmly believe that anything worthwhile in your career should start with writing.
From creating resumes to business plans. If you don’t start with writing, you often lack clarity in your messaging.
And that was also the story of my life. In fact, it still is. Most people never think about it, but it’s damned hard to express yourself.
Do you have a clear answer to questions like:
- What’s the number one priority in your career?
- Why did you apply for this job?
- What does your business exactly do?
Often, we just come up with the first thing that pops up in our mind.
And after a barrage of meaningless words, we think, “what the fuck did I just say?”
I’ve made a list of the best books I’ve read on writing. I must say that I don’t consider myself as a writer first. Above everything else, I’m an entrepreneur. I like to share stories.
That’s why this list is more geared towards people who want to write better blogs, non-fiction, emails, cover letters, about pages, etc. Not people who want to write the next The Great Gatsby.
I hope you find a book that’s relevant to you.
1. On Writing by Stephen King
Stephen King is one hell of a thinker and writer. And the man churns out books like it’s nothing. Only that fact makes you want to read more about how his mind works.
If you write, and you haven’t read On Writing, it’s time to stop everything you do and get that book. My favorite Stephen King quote?
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
If you want to do something, don’t be such a weasel. Just start already.
2. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
A solid book with solid advice about writing non-fiction.
When you start reading this book, you immediately can tell the man knows his business. And he knows it well.
Zinsser, a respected writer and teacher, talks about the principles and methods of writing in this book. But he also shares tips about different writing forms such as memoirs, sports, business, and humor.
This is a valuable book for all people who want to improve their writing and messaging.
3. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
I like the simplicity of this book. It’s short, simple, and to the point.
This is more of a technical book with style suggestions about the English language.
In this little book, Strunk and White do a great job of demonstrating the most common style errors.
Style is such a complicated thing that I try to refer to this book often. One of my favorite pieces of advice from this book is this:
“Write in a way that comes naturally.”
4. Ernest Hemingway on Writing by Larry W. Phillips
There’s no point in denying it; Hemingway is one of the best writers in modern history.
And this little book is a collection of letters he sent to his editor, friends, and other authors.
He didn’t want them to be published initially. Hemingway believed that there’s no pride in writing about writing.
This book is not only packed with writing advice. It also shows Hemingway’s character. He was a funny guy who took satisfaction in what he did.
5. Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit by Steven Pressfield
Pressfield is one of my favorite writers. The War Of Art is a classic.
In his latest book, he talks about why no one cares about your shit. If you’re trying to write and no one’s reading it, read this book.
Pressfield has a background in advertising. And you can tell. He knows how to sell his shit without being annoying.
We live in a world where everyone is trying to sell us all kinds of things. And it’s annoying. This book is essential if you want to stand out in an information-flooded world.
6. The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler
The Writers Journey is the most in-depth book on this list. It’s also the most comprehensive book I’ve read on storytelling. It’s also a very practical book.
It’s more like a textbook that you want to take notes on. Vogler, a story consultant for major Hollywood film companies, talks about the relationship between mythology and storytelling in this book.
It’s a classic for screenwriters and playwrights. After reading this book, you’ll truly understand the art of storytelling.
However, putting this stuff into practice is another story. That takes a lot of practice.
7. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
I think too many people romanticize writing. But I don’t like to look at writing from a starving artist’s point of view.
In life, everything is business. And so is writing. If you don’t know how to sell your writing, no one will ever read it.
And one of the best books you can read about copywriting, selling, and advertising is Confessions Of An Advertising Man. Ogilvy doesn’t need an introduction.
The man is a legend. And this book is definitely worth your time.
Studying vs. Doing
I hope you pick up one of this books and read them, or maybe reread them. However, never read too much about writing.
Because writing is not something you study, it’s something you do.