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Who Was William Zinsser?
William Zinsser (October 7, 1922 – May 12, 2015) was an American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher. He began his career as a journalist for the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked as a feature writer, drama editor, film critic and editorial writer. He was a longtime contributor to leading magazines.
The Best William Zinsser Books of All Time
Why these best William Zinsser books and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by a combination of what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timlessly relevant (first publication date).
This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best William Zinsser books ever published as decided by book lovers like you.
And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other books by William Zinsser that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.
Until then, here are the best William Zinsser books of all time...
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Best William Zinsser Quotes
Here are some of the best William Zinsser of all time...
"The professional writer must establish a daily schedule and stick to it… writing is a craft, not an art, and… the man who runs away from his craft because he lacks inspiration is fooling himself. He is also going broke… if your job is to write every day, you learn to do it like any other job."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what – these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"Leaders who bob and weave like ageing boxers don’t inspire confidence – or deserve it. The same thing is true of writers. Sell yourself, and your subject will exert its own appeal. Believe in your own identity and your own opinions. Writing is an act of ego, and you might as well admit it. Use its energy to keep yourself going."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"Make a habit of reading what is being written today and what was written by earlier masters. Writing is learned by imitation… I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"Such considerations of sound and rhythm should go into everything you write. If all your sentences move at the same plodding gait… read them aloud. (I write entirely by ear and read everything aloud before letting it go out into the world.) You’ll begin to hear where the trouble lies."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"Every successful piece of nonfiction should leave the reader with one provocative thought that he or she didn’t have before. Not two thoughts, or five – just one. So decide what single point you want to leave in the reader’s mind."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"The longer I work at the craft of writing, the more I realize that there’s nothing more interesting than the truth… The assumption is that fact and color are two separate ingredients. They’re not; color is organic to the fact. Your job is to present the colorful fact."- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
"My favourite definition of a careful writer comes from Joe DiMaggio, though he didn’t know that’s what he was defining… A reporter once asked him how he managed to play so well so consistently, and he said ‘I always thought that there was at least one person in the stands who had never seen me play, and I didn’t want to let him down.'"- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
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