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.
"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)
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A much needed message.
- Scott Hansen
- Jennifer W. Keller