Read: Style - Lessons in Clarity and Grace
Maybe two or three years ago I already read “Style - Toward Clarity and Grace” which is a version of Style for a more general audience based on an older textbook edition. By now I have read quite a few (text)books on writing, especially on writing in economics; it is, at the end of the day, how I earn my living. So I should put some effort in it. Reading the 9th edition of the textbook is, however, not really an effort. It is quite enjoyable. The reason, of course, is that Williams put quite some effort into writing and over the years constantly revising it.
Unfortunately, just reading the book is not enough. Williams himself gives a nice metaphor explaining why: Knowing all the ingredients does not make you a good cook. And, I have to admit I did not do the exercises.
Nevertheless, I think I learned at lot from his advise. I noticed how my personal style and approach of revising my texts changed since I left school, since I finished my studies, and since I first read Style. I wish there was something similar in content and style for my native tongue. And that it would be taught at school and first year courses at universities – for both languages.
An interesting and important part of the later Style editions is a chapter on the ethics of style. How we can be fooled by an author’s rhetoric. How we can see through such attempts.