Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little (Hardcover)

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A field guide for the age of the incredible shrinking message.

Some of the most important verbal messages we craft are also the shortest: headlines, titles, sound bites, brand names, domain names, slogans, taglines, company mantras, email signatures, bullet points. These miniature messages depend not on the elements of style but rather on the atoms of style. They require microstyle. Branding consultant Christopher Johnson here reveals the once-secret knowledge of poets, copywriters, brand namers, political speechwriters, and other professional verbal miniaturists. Each chapter discusses one tool that helps miniature messages grab attention, communicate instantly, stick in the mind, and roll off the tongue. As he highlights examples of those tools used well, Johnson also examines messages that miss the mark, either by failing to use a tool or by using it badly. Microstyle shows readers how to say the most with the least, while offering a lively romp through the historic transformation of mass media into the media of the personal.

About the Author

Christopher Johnson is a blogger and branding consultant, with a PhD in linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Praise For…

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, is a work of pop linguistics… it synthesizes a wide range of current thinking from recent books about grammar, branding, cognitive science and Web theory. But it does so with intelligence and friendly wit. Mr. Johnson’s point is that words are for wooing, in ways both personal and professional, and his own prose is sociable enough to underscore that point and spritz it with a bit of sophisticated perfume. His book is here, like a dating guide, to whisper: You too can woo.

— Dwight Garner - New York Times

With advice for writing compelling blogs, pitches, ads, slogans, and social-media postings, Johnson’s sophisticated, richly referenced, and example filled microstyle guide is distinctive, instructive, enjoyable, and inspiring.
— Donna Seaman - Booklist

Think big. Write small. Read Microstyle.

— George Lakoff, author of The Political Mind

Are you microstylish? In the 140-character universe we now inhabit, you better be.
— Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box

What do Oscar Wilde, Steve Jobs, and Jello Biafra have in common? Each has mastered microstyle. With this riotous and readable book, Christopher Johnson helps you join the club. In no time you’ll be coining witty epigrams, imagining unforgettable brands, or crafting a distinctive identity.
— Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax

Useful and entertaining.
— Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393077407
ISBN-10: 0393077403
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: July 25th, 2011
Pages: 256
Language: English