The Craft of Scientific Writing, 4th edition
The Craft of Scientific Writing aims to help engineers and scientists write about their work. To accomplish this goal, the book uses scores of examples from professional documents to show the differences between writing that succeeds and the writing that does not. Released in March 2018, the fourth edition of The Craft of Scientific Writing is available online from the following sites: Springer, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play.
Much has changed about scientific writing since the third edition came out in 1996. Foremost, the pace at which we communicate ideas and results has increased dramatically. This fourth edition reflects that change. In addition, although this fourth edition still teaches how to write reports and articles, the book does so with an eye on the impatience of many readers. Much has also changed about the teaching of scientific writing. Twenty-two years ago, if I were to ask students to identify the subject of a sentence that begins with a phrase, at least two-thirds would have been able to do so. Today, I am lucky if one-third of my students can. No doubt, students today are just as smart and hard working as they were in the past, but a misguided education movement in public schools has replaced the teaching of grammar with writing assignments that are more fun (such as first-person stories and "I believe" essays). In turn, many technical writing teachers in college (and managers in industry) have given up expecting young engineers and scientists to know what the subject of a sentence is or even what distinguishes a sentence from a run-on or fragment. I have not. You might call me old-fashioned, but I see a wonderful opportunity for young engineers and scientists to distinguish their writing by investing in learning the essence of grammar.
Although this book recognizes that the world has changed much since 1996, this book still pursues excellence in writing. Such excellence comes from crafting each idea into a precise and clear sentence, from connecting those sentences into paragraphs, and from sustaining energy by using strong verbs and by being concise. Such skills require the writer understand the essence of grammar. For that reason, this book teaches that essence. Finally, much has changed about me. In teaching my ideas to hundreds of engineers, scientists, and technical professionals around the world, I have learned many lessons. Many examples in this book have been analyzed by thousands of professionals, and their honest comments have shaped the advice in this book. Given that, I am not as brash as I was in my twenties and thirties. In turn, the advice of this fourth edition is more thoughtful than the advice of the 1996 edition. In conclusion, I have no doubt that you will learn much in reading the book, because I learned so much in writing it.