14 Great Books

I’m often asked for book recommendations. Here are ten of my favorite writing books for lawyers, plus I’ll throw in four other recent great reads.

Inspiration and Instruction on Style

Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
Fish’s 2011 take on superior sentences, with commentary on examples spanning from William Shakespeare to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Antonin Scalia.

Joseph Williams, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace
Before-and-after examples of clarity, concision, cohesion, coherence, and

Hands-On Exercises

GMAC, The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review, 2nd Edition
Delve into the Sentence Correction exercises, and you’ll see your grammar and syntax soar.

Richard Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers
Exercises and practical tips from a top advocate for accessible legal writing.

Guides for Transactional Attorneys

Kenneth A. Adams, A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting
A comprehensive authority on contract drafting.

Charles Fox, Working with Contracts: What Law School Doesn’t Teach You
An excellent practical guide for corporate attorneys at all levels.

Wording and Usage

Mark Davidson, Right, Wrong, and Risky: A Dictionary of Today’s American English Usage
An up-to-date and engaging resource for common usage questions and disputes.

Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Clever tips and tricks for troublesome grammar rules.

Bryan Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage
An authoritative guide to legal language.

University of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
The last word on style and process.

Beyond Writing

Yes, I do read non-writing books, and here are a few that I’ve enjoyed lately:

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
It will change how you think about thinking.

Patricia Schultz, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
You’ll need a lifetime to take all the vacations you’ll plan.

John Paul Stevens, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir
An insider’s take on the High Court.

James B. Stewart, Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff
Another narrative-nonfiction classic from James Stewart, featuring case studies of what the author calls a perjury epidemic.

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