writing to winI received a review copy of Professor Joseph Kimble’s new book Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The case for plain language in business, government, and law. Professor Kimble has long been one of the leading advocates for the use of plain language in legal writing. His earlier book, Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language, is generally well regarded as a guide to developing the use of plain language in your legal writing.

In contrast, Writing For Dollars, Writing To Please is not an instructional book on how to develop plain language writing skills. Instead it sets out dozens of examples of the benefits of plain language in government, business and the legal industry such as:


  • § 95.455 – Authorized Frequencies
  • § 95.457 – Policy governing the availability of frequencies.
  • § 95.437 – Limitations on antenna structures.
  • § 95.511 – Transmitter service and maintenance.
  • § 95.613 – Transmitter power.
  • § 95.509 – External radio frequency power amplifiers prohibited.


  • § 95.401 – On what channels may I operate?
  • § 95.408 – How high may I put my antenna?
  • § 95.409 – What equipment may I use at my CB station?
  • § 95.410 – How much power may I use?
  • § 95.411 – May I use power amplifiers?

The book also goes on to detail many of the cost saving benefits from various implementations of plain language, citing sources ranging from the US Office of Veteran Affairs to the UK Royal Mail system. All in all, the book presents a powerful argument for the adoption of plain language in many settings.

Yet the book is not a technical or how-to guide on plain language writing. There is a broad overview on plain language in the beginning of the book but it is rather short. The book is much more focused on presenting why people should adopt plain language instead of showing people how to adopt it.

If you’re interested in the plain language movement or want some ammunition to back up your argument for adopting plain language in your organization, this book would be a valuable resource. But if you’re looking on how to actually integrate plain language concepts into your own writing, you’d be better off picking up Kimble’s earlier book or Steven Stark’s Writing to Win.

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