Writing for Busy Readers

Writing For Busy Readers
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Writing well is for school. Writing effectively is for life.

Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink offer the most valuable practical writing advice today. Building on their own research in behavioral science, they outline cognitive facts about how people actually read and distill them into six principles that will transform the power of your writing:

  • Less is more
  • Make reading easy
  • Design for easy navigation
  • Use enough formatting, but no more
  • Tell readers why they should care
  • Make responding easy

Including many real-world examples, a checklist and other tools, this guide will make you a more successful and productive communicator. Rogers and Lasky-Fink bring Strunk and White’s core ideas into the twenty-first century’s attention marketplace.

When the influential guides to writing prose were written, the internet hadn’t been invented. Now, the average American adult is inundated with digital messages each day. With all this correspondence, capturing a busy reader’s attention is more challenging than ever. This is how to do it.

Editorial Reviews:

“Genius! A succinct, sage guide to writing effectively—and the only one I know of that is grounded in evidence of what really works.”
Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania, Founder and CEO of Character Lab, author of Grit

“It’s Strunk & White for the internet age.”
Publishers Weekly

“This book won’t just make you a better writer—it will turn you into a more effective communicator. WRITING FOR BUSY READERS is a surprisingly captivating guide to conjuring words that captivate people. Move over, AI: this is the ultimate guide to sharpen every meaningful message you craft.”
Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Hidden Potential, and host of the TED podcast Re:Thinking

“Rogers and Lasky-Fink’s research has fascinated me for a long time—and one of the reasons it’s so great is because their writing is so readable. This book is an explanation about how to transform your own everyday writing so that it is easier to read, easier to write—and more likely to make a real difference in the world.”
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“I wish this book had existed earlier in my career, because it would have saved me from countless mistakes and wasted hours. Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink show how effective writing makes life and work easier, more pleasant, and more productive. Read it today and you will write better tomorrow.”
Arthur C. Brooks, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, author of From Strength to Strength

“A home run. A must read for everyone who communicates in writing.”
Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

“However skilled a writer you are, the insights and tools presented here will make you better. The techniques speak to both courtesy and strategy: respect readers’ time, understand their needs and you’ll gain their focus and  trust. Grounded in research but designed for impact.”
Nancy Gibbs, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University, former managing editor TIME, author of The Presidents Club

“Indispensable! This actionable, evidence-based guide will help you unleash the power of effective writing. Witty, well-organized and imminently useful, Writing for Busy Readers is a gem.  You’ll never craft a subpar email, text or memo again.”
Katy Milkman, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, author of How to Change

“Amazing. The best book ever written on effective writing.  It will change your life—and make the world a better place.”
Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard University, coauthor ofNudge

“Inspiring and practical in equal measure and successfully shows the profound difference that effective written communication can make. The contest for people’s attention is fierce but we’ve all got a better chance with this book as our guide.”  
Ros Atkins, BBC News
“Science-based tips to help you cut through the noise and reach readers. This is a helpful guide to achieving your communication goals.”
Viorica Marian, Northwestern University, author of The Power of Language
“Cost: $28 and three hours of time.  Benefit: Hundreds of hours of your time and thousands of hours of the time of others. Conclusion: Good deal.” 
Max Bazerman, Harvard Business School, author of Complicit

About the Author:

Todd Rogers is a Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, where he has won teaching awards for the past six consecutive years. He is a behavioral scientist and the co-founder of the Analyst Institute and Everyday Labs. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico, among others. Jessica Lasky-Fink is the Research Director at The People Lab, based at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focuses on improving the delivery of government programs and services.