William Zinsser, Author of ‘On Writing Well,’ Dies at 92

B.B. King died, marking the passage of a blues giant.

In less broadcast news, Zilliam Zinsser also died. Zinsser was the author of ‘On Writing Well‘, a classic that everyone writing proposals should read. (Confession: I haven’t read it.)

His advice was straightforward: Write clearly. Guard the message with your life. Avoid jargon and big words. Use active verbs. Make the reader think you enjoyed writing the piece.

“There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough,” he wrote in “On Writing Well.”

It added up to more fun than some readers might have expected. “You actually enjoy reading it, rather than feeling like you’re eating your spinach,” Ronald Kovach wrote in The Writer magazine in 2002 of a Zinsser book.


If only more sales people took his advice, they would sell a lot more and have much happier customers.

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