From the former editor of the New York Times op-ed page, a book that is part memoir, part self-help, and part writing guide.
At its core, Hall’s text is about becoming a better listener, friend, partner, and citizen. Readers looking for tips on how to run the editorial gauntlet of the New York Times or other top national publications will find a few here. Unfortunately, some of the determining factors are beyond the fledgling writer’s control. As the author clearly shows, your work is more likely to be read by an editor if you are a celebrity, a writer with a following, or someone referred by a journalistic colleague. For those without such advantages who hope to rise above the slush pile, the advice is fairly routine: Focus your piece, write clearly and conversationally, tell stories, be specific, have a different perspective or experience, surprise the editor with your story, and delight her with the quality of your prose. Beyond such standard advice, the worth of Hall’s counsel extends well beyond writing, as she illuminates the types of attitudes and approaches that might make others more receptive or resistant and how crucial it is to find common bonds or frames of reference, to engage rather than antagonize. In these times of political polarization, she suggests that it’s still possible to find common ground and to talk to each other rather than shout past each other. This may not result in publishable opinion pieces or help you persuade anyone of anything, but it might make for a more civil, polite society. Near the end, the author offers a helpful section called “How to Write and Pitch an Op-Ed,” including the advice, “you need to offer an opinion, not just an analysis of the problem or applause for someone else’s solution.”
A lucid book about building bridges through communication along with some interesting behind-the-scenes background at the NYT.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)