How was I not in Boston for MarketingProfs B2B Forum? Seriously. How did this happen? It’s a long story and one I hope to rectify next year, but instead I had to settle for the countless tweets, posts and photos of Seth Godin and others basking in the glory that is Ann Handley.
First things first, I *highly* recommend her latest book, Everybody Writes, for anyone who has any reason to write anything from a status update to a manuscript. I’ll get to why in a minute.
But the way Ann and I met in person for the first time will go down as one of my favorite social meets IRL stories ever. It was at South by Southwest Interactive Conference about 5(!) years ago. Ann and I had communicated virtually for a number of years by then. Picture me, in a pedicab, on the way to a party, yelling across to Ann, a passenger in another pedicab, “Hey! You are Ann Handley!” That’s seriously how it went down. Ann of course graciously acknowledged that she was, indeed, Ann Handley. By the time we both arrived at the party, we were well connected in person.
Back to the book. Ann writes so well it makes most of us angry. She does it with such seemingly ease and poise that those of us who have to work at it get annoyed. She breaks down complex subjects with humor and authority, and the rest of us benefit from it.
But this book. OMG is it useful. Like really useful.
1. Ann doesn’t suffer fools.
The writing is fresh, funny and smart. You don’t feel like a dummy for reading a book about what makes better writing. You feel brilliant as the reader. It’s some sort of writing kung fu trick. I often end up disliking the tone of the typical “rule” book. It’s natural to become defiant and declare “you don’t know it all!” But this book makes the reader feel like she is the smart one. Yes, Ann absolutely has the authority to say “read two chapters and call me in the morning,” but instead it feels like discussing a writing project with a friend and mentor.
2. The rules are written for how we live and write today.
Everybody DOES write. All of us are content creators in a content-hungry world. This book goes into detail about how to write for today’s audiences and how to laser focus your message for the medium. It’s not the Elements of Style 2.0. It’s the Elements of How-You-Like-Me-Now? Ann understands and communicates which rules are sacred and which rules are meant to be broken. (I’ve paid attention to those in this post!)
3. Packed with real-life information and gosh-darn usefulness, this book is also fun to read.
Everything from the examples to the anecdotes are refreshing and delightful to read. Instead of the pedantic and sanctimonious tone of so many books these days, this one is fun and funny!
I truly believe anyone could benefit from reading this book. Go get it! Your writing and your audience will thank you for it. And for anyone thinking this doesn’t apply to them, think again. The business world is driven by content created well. This book is a must for the modern business leader’s arsenal.