About "Plain Style"

"In a world that grows more complex by the moment, simplicity of style becomes increasingly important."
  ·· Richard Lauchman

Good writing is good business.  Simple, straightforward writing saves time, creates good faith, and prevents expensive misunderstandings.  But why is it so hard to achieve?

This incisive guide suggests ways to think about writing -- what it should look like and sound like, as well as what it should accomplish -- that can simplify how writers choose to express their ideas.  It examines the reasons why many businesspeople with good skills tend to write strange, needlessly complicated sentences -- and shows them how to break the habit.

Plain Style offers 35 practical techniques that foster simplicity, conciseness, and emphasis.  For example, readers will learn how to:

  • Write with verbs instead of nouns
  • Decide when to use active versus passive constructions
  • Recognize wordy phrases and redundant expressions
  • Distinguish the uses of "that" and "which"
  • Put modifiers in the right place
  • Use idiomatic expressions

"This book is terrific -- fun to read and full of practical advice!  It will be a great help to anyone in business whose success depends upon good writing.  I intend to provide a copy for each member of my staff."
John K. Watsen, Vice President for Auditing
Federal National Mortgage Association

"Finally, a book that looks at the English language with humor and compassion, and brings us back to what we really meant to say."
Marcia B. Riley, Director of Training and Development
Student Loan Marketing Association

"Call us naive, but when we pick up a book on how to improve your business writing, it had better be pretty damn well written. And Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing is. Moreover, the author's common-sense attitude toward writing is refreshing. . . . If you're training fellow workers to be better writers, borrow from it; if you want to sharpen your own writing, depend on it. Plain Style won't let you down."
Curriculum Review

"Here's a throughly practical guide to better communication."
Orange County Register

"The author, in an exemplary plain style that's clear, forceful, persuasive, and humorous, explains how to write for a business audience. He hacks away at the thicket of phony "rules" you may have picked up over the years . . . and he shows how clear, concise, and "emphatic" writing makes you more effective on the job. This excellent short guide to writing will serve you well."
Soundview Executive Book Summaries

"Plain Style is a fine addition to any memo writer's reference shelf."

"Lauchman, who teaches business writing to corporations, adopts a low-key, practical, sometimes iconoclastic approach to the writing that people are required to do every day "where money changes hands." He talks in terms of "the order of words" rather than of dangling participles and misplaced modifiers. The many examples are often humorous and the comparisons excellent. . . . Business writers will enjoy and benefit from Plain Style."
Library Journal

Plain Style · ISBN 0-8144-7852-2 · 120 pages · © 1993 Richard Lauchman

Published by:

American Management Association
135 West 50th Street
New York, NY 10020
(212) 903-8076

Available at bookstores, through amazon.com, or from the publisher.

Lauchman Group
1324 Wild Oak
Rockville, MD 20852

Telephone 301-315-6040
Fax 301-838-9044
email richard@lauchmangroup.com

Our Clientele
ABB Environmental Services
American Bankers Association
American Chemical Society
American Institute of Architects
American Red Cross
American Security Bank
Agency for International Development
The Baldwin Group
British Aerospace
Bureau of the Public Debt
CAIS Internet
Central Intelligence Agency
Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank
Defense Communications Agency
Defense Informations Systems Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Mapping Agency
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Energy
Department of Homeland Security
Department of the Interior
DoD Office of the Comptroller
DoD Office of Health Affairs
DoD Office of Family Policy Support and Services
Edison Electric Institute
Fannie Mae
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Home Loan Bank Board
Federal Trade Commission
First American Bankshares
Freddie Mac
Goddard Space Flight Center
ICF Kaiser Engineers
I.M. Systems Group
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
InterAmerican Foundation
John Hanson Savings and Loan
Lockheed Martin
Military District of Washington
Mortgage Bankers Association
NASA Headquarters
National Archives and Records Administration
National Association of Child Care Resource
   & Referral Agencies
National Education Association
National Institutes of Health
National Cancer Institute
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal
National Institutes of Science and Technology
National Ocean Service
Naval Research Laboratory
Nextel Communications
Northeast-Midwest Institute
Office of Technology Assessment
Perot Systems
Perpetual Savings Bank
Potomac Electric Power Company
Project Performance Corporation
Riggs National Bank
Ryland Homes
Sallie Mae
Small Business Administration
Smithsonian Institution
State Department
Technology Planning and Management Corporation
United Savings Bank
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office