≡ 

Search by Category

Recent Posts

BLOGS Aug 2017
BLOGS Jun 2017
BLOGS Apr 2017
BLOGS Feb 2017
BLOGS Jan 2017
BLOGS Dec 2016
BLOGS Nov 2016
BLOGS Oct 2016
BLOGS Sep 2016
BLOGS Jul 2016
BLOGS May 2016
BLOGS Apr 2016
BLOGS Mar 2016
BLOGS Feb 2016
BLOGS Nov 2015
BLOGS Aug 2015
BLOGS Jul 2015
BLOGS Jun 2015
BLOGS May 2015
BLOGS Apr 2015
BLOGS Mar 2015
BLOGS Feb 2015
BLOGS Jan 2015
BLOGS Dec 2014
BLOGS Nov 2014
BLOGS Oct 2014
BLOGS Sep 2014
BLOGS Aug 2014
BLOGS Jul 2014
BLOGS Jun 2014
BLOGS May 2014
BLOGS Apr 2014
BLOGS Mar 2014
BLOGS Feb 2014
BLOGS Jan 2014
BLOGS Dec 2013
BLOGS Sep 2013
BLOGS Jul 2013
BLOGS Jun 2013
BLOGS May 2013
BLOGS Apr 2013
BLOGS Feb 2013
BLOGS Jan 2013
BLOGS Dec 2012
BLOGS Oct 2012
BLOGS Jul 2012
BLOGS Apr 2012
BLOGS Feb 2012
BLOGS Dec 2011
BLOGS Aug 2011
BLOGS May 2011
BLOGS Apr 2011
BLOGS Jan 2011
Share |
Nov 2015 by PCI College

Bite-Sized Book Review: The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century to help us do so by Steven Pinker.

Eoin Stephens reviews a new book by Steven Pinker, psychologist, linguist and popular author The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century to help us do so.

There are times, whether student or practitioner, when we need to write. (For me, obviously, it is one of those times right now…) We may be tackling an essay, an article, a blog post, a workshop flier, or some website content. It may be entirely motivated by our own desires, even by some inspiration that is in need of expression. Or it may be just one of those chores that sometimes needs doing. Either way, it presumably needs doing well. If we are going to go to the trouble (often quite costly in terms of time and anguish) of trying to communicate something in writing, it would be nice to reap the benefits of having communicated it clearly.

Is this something we can learn to do better? Steven Pinker, psychologist, linguist and popular author, thinks we can, and has written The Sense of Style. The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century to help us do so. It takes a brave writer to write about good and bad writing, but Pinker has never been one to avoid difficult topics (How the Mind Works, The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined, etc). He is an excellent communicator himself and while this book is obviously not holiday reading (except for word nerds such as myself) it is entertaining, practical and helpful.

Pinker makes many suggestions; here are just a few of them:

•    Read lots of good writing.
•    Try as far as possible to use what he calls “Classic Style”. This is where you as writer think of yourself as mainly drawing the reader's attention to certain aspects of the world (offering a window into the world, so to speak).
•    Use nominalisation rarely. This is where we make things unnecessarily formal and bureaucratic by using a noun form where a verb form would be clearer ("Rather than postponing something, you implement a postponement", p.50).
•    Be mindful of the Curse of Knowledge. This refers to the fact that the more familiar we are with a subject, the harder it is to put ourselves in the mind of a reader who is much less familiar with it.


So, if you need to write, I think this book is worth a read.

I hope I have made myself clear?
Eoin Stephens, MIACP, MACI (June 2015)
PCI College President


What our Students Say

The enthusiasm of the facilitator and the neuroscience aspect of positive psychology is very interesting
Johanne Kenny

What our Students Say

"Lecturer was very approachable and able to apply theoretical work to all forms of therapy".
2012-2013 Student - Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy
Web Design by Active Online © Copyright 2012 PCI College
PCI College, Corrig House, Old Naas Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)1 464 2268 info@pcicollege.ie
Privacy statement |Terms & Conditions |websites for education |