Impact Technical Publications Bibliography for White Paper Writing Guide

Here are four books mentioned in the White Paper Writing Guide and two special recommendations: one for non-writers and another for non-designers.

You can order The Elements of Style at the Tattered Cover bookstore.

The Elements of Style (Fourth Edition)

William Strunk Jr., E.B. White, and Roger Angell

Special recommendation for non-writers (and writers too!)

If you need help with your writing style, you will find it in this amazing little book. It gives elementary rules of usage, basic principles of composition, and a primer on style.

Here are some sample topics:

  • Use the active voice
  • Put statements in positive form
  • Omit needless words
  • Do not overwrite
  • Do not overstate

We can't think of another book that gives so much useful advice in so few pages!

You can order The Elements of Typographic Style at the Tattered Cover bookstore.

The Elements of Typographic Style

Robert Bringhurst

This is an immensely informative and beautifully written book on typography.

If you are a professional writer, this book should be in your reference library.

If you are not a professional writer, you should think seriously about buying this book. It will introduce you to the principles of typography and help you appreciate the beauty of typography. Reading a white paper with poor typography is like driving a vehicle covered with grime. You can do it, but it's not much fun.

You can order The Mind Map Book at the Tattered Cover bookstore.

The Mind Map Book

Tony Buzan with Barry Buzan

Brainstorming and creating a concept map or "mind map" are key parts of analyzing information in the White Paper Writing Guide. For more information about them, see The Mind Map Book. It explores the concept of "radiant thinking" in detail. Radiant thinking is an excellent counter-balance to linear thinking and to formal outlining.

Radiant thinking is not only a useful way to analyze information for use in a white paper, it is a powerful analysis tool for many kinds of intellectual challenges.

The Non-Designers Design Book (Second Edition)

Robin Williams (no, not that Robin Williams!)

Special recommendation for non-designers

We highly recommend that you work with a professional graphic designer or illustrator to design your white paper. If you cannot do that, then we even more highly recommend that you acquaint yourself with basic principles of graphic design.

Robin Williams cover the basics in 150 illustration-rich pages. You won't be a professional graphic designer when you finish the book (that takes years of study), but you will appreciate the importance of good design and typography. You will know basic principles like proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast (the titles of four chapters).

You can order Technical Marketing Communication at the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Technical Marketing Communication

Sandra Harner and Tom Zimmerman

White papers are a classic example of technical marketing communication. Although this book does not discuss how to write white papers, it has excellent chapters on "Needs Analysis" and "Audience Analysis."

The book covers other topics of value to white paper writers, such as "Print Media" and "Electronic Media." These chapters include information about a topic that the White Paper Writing Guide does not cover: how to reach your market.

You can order The Visual Display of Quantitative Information at the Tattered Cover bookstore.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Edward R. Tufte

We cannot recommend this book too highly. It may well change the way you analyze and communicate quantitative information.

The glory of Tufte's book is its presentation of graphics theory and practice. To quote from the introduction: "Modern data graphics can do much more than simply substitute for small statistical tables. At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers - even a very large set - is to look at pictures of those numbers."

Tufte provides classic examples - both good and bad. He proposes that the illustration on page 118 (second edition) "may well be the worst graphic ever to find its way into print." You won't believe it until you see it!

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