Book Review | The Gettysburg Approach to Writing & Speaking Like a Professional
Author: Phillip Yaffe
If you read only one self-help book this year, I implore you to consider The Gettysburg Approach. It will be indispensable to you, to your writing, and to your speaking.
I think that both writing and speaking have suffered tremendously over the last decade or so, and it doesn’t appear as though the climate will improve anytime soon. It’s tragic, really, the way many students write (both high school and college), not to mention how people write in the workplace.
Writing has long been my passion and, like Philip Yaffe, I did it well in grade school and high school. I received glowing feedback about my writing ability, routinely got As on my essays and papers, and was pretty smug about it all. Then came college. Talk about rude awakening! I was receiving Bs and Cs on my papers right out of the gate. How was that possible? I was so good!
Then I went to work at the university newspaper, because surely they would appreciate and welcome my writing skills, right? They didn’t! But the editors and the adviser saw something in me and — with great patience and effort — taught me how to write well. Writing well means writing clearly, concisely, and crisply.
Which brings me to The Gettysburg Approach.
The Gettysburg Approach will make you a more effective writer, a more interesting writer, and an overall better writer. Yaffe packs a lot into this book, but it’s all worthwhile and valuable, with examples to illustrate his points (both what to do and what not to do). Do you really know how to write a strong, well-structured sentence? Or what hot spots are (hint: it’s the first and last words of a sentence)? Yaffe explains how to properly use bullet points, how to incorporate the “inverted pyramid” in your writing, and — most importantly — the difference between creative writing and expository writing.
The Gettysburg Approach is one of the most valuable writing books I have ever come across. Every high school and college student should read it, as should anyone who wants their writing to be taken seriously.
I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*