COMMUNICATIONS

Writing To Persuade: How To Bring People over to Your Side

Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2019. 224p. index. ISBN 9781631493058. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631493065. COMM
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OrangeReviewStarFormer New York Times Op-Ed editor Hall delivers a guide as valuable to persuasive prose as to living the writer's life. In five sections, Hall lays out industry practices through her 20-plus years of experience, including personal asides on maintaining a sense of humor—and titanium nerve endings. Particularly important is knowing your audience and understanding what people love, loathe, relish, and dread. A connection can be made by touching on common feelings and reaffirming them. This "tactical" mode is easily visible in advertising campaigns, wherein persuasion is manipulation, and stirring emotions will influence readers across media. Empathy here is described as not inherently positive or negative but as a tool liable to be used generously or cynically. To writers, this means sensing—not judging—what others feel. Although it's not easy to define what changes people and their perceptions, the author leaves us with what works: qualify your statements, admit you might not know everything about your topic, use charts and graphs to help readers absorb information, target an audience through its values, and more.
VERDICT A sensible, all-encompassing resource for both seasoned and aspiring writers.

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