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Microstyle:the art of writing little, by Christopher Johnson is an essential book for everyone who writes and a worthwhile book for all those who read. This book was my lunch time reading this last couple of weeks, and was read aloud to me, by last week’s The New Yorker prize winning book puzzle solver, Debbie Foster, while I pondered, fussed and quibbled. I had some problems with this well written book because it was in some sort of time twist, space sponge, content conglomeration and style stilt. I couldn’t decide if it was a text book – it did have something of a didactic tone; a book of comedy – there were plenty of chuckles; a required reading for first year linguistic students – there was the required Chomsky quote – Colorless green ideas sleep furiously, and of other linguists’ elaborations. Or perhaps this book should be required memorization by Madison Avenue Madmen or a content resource book for spin doctors. There’s plenty of meat in these pages for hungry minds. The book could have ended with the Dwinerman quote – The three worst mistakes you can make are overpromising and underdelivering. If anything my conclusion would be the reverse. Microstyle is about little things, but it underpromises and overdelivers.

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