Writing to Persuade: How to Bring People Over to Your Side

Trish Hall. Liveright, $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-63149-305-8
Hall (A Little Work) delivers an instructional guide to writing the sort of persuasively argued think pieces she oversaw during her four years as editor of the New York Times Op-Ed page. Writing broadly rather than in bullet points, and illustrating her observations with examples of submissions she handled during her tenure, she addresses the many aspects of writing that distinguish an exercise in expository writing and make it attract attention, such as drawing on a deeply personal experience to crystallize a generally relevant concern (she cites Angelina Jolie’s column on her double mastectomy to raise breast cancer awareness) and playing on feelings to connect emotionally with one’s audience. Some of her insights will seem obvious, if useful: don’t make readers defensive by arguing, enliven a theme with storytelling, and prune one’s prose of clichés and jargon, to name a few. Others are profound in their clarity: speaking about the different moral values to which people cling, she writes, “You can’t expect someone to change their basic values, so you have to make your argument in a way that fits with their values.” This book offers sound, well-reasoned advice that will benefit any writer. (June)
Reviewed on : 03/06/2019
Release date: 06/11/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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