Writing is an essential skill for knowledge-based workers. They must compose documents to inform, lead, and persuade others both inside and outside their organization.

Unfortunately, good writing is hard to find. As a professor, I have often encountered MBA students who are very articulate when they participate in class, but when they hand in exams, their writing is disjointed. In the business world, I have met very smart people who have a great idea for a new product but cannot compose a good memo about that product. And in government agencies, I’ve dealt with officials who can brilliantly defend a position in a debate but whose briefs on the same subject are turgid and wandering.

As emails increasingly take the place of ...

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