HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

by Bryan A. Garner

  • Write chronologically
  • Be clear
  • Shorter. More varied sentences.
  • The passive voice is to be avoided
  • Eliminate unnecessary words
  • Write in plain English; avoid Bizspeak
  • Rule of 3 numbers: one, two, three, and too many numbers
  • MACJ Framework
    1. Madman: conduct research
    2. Architect: draft outline
    3. Carpenter: write unfiltered
    4. Judge: edit
  • Ask coworkers to edit your work
  • Picture the person you’re writing for as you write
  • Use contractions; they’re not that bad
  • Never use two or three words when one will do
  • Watch your tone
  • Do not draft and edit emails simultaneously
  • Use ‘I,’ ‘we,’ ‘us’ to make writing more personal