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10 Best Books on Essay Writing (You Should Read Today)

Author: Rafal Reyzer

You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition, and perusing books on essay writing, which are full of useful examples.  

While simply living life, observing your surroundings, and diving into classic essays can naturally hone your writing skills, sometimes a trusty guidebook can give you that extra edge. Interested in mastering the craft of essay writing? Dive into some of the best essay-writing manuals out there. If you dream of becoming a professional essay writer , it’s essential to grasp the nuances of structure, tone, and format. Not all gifted writers can craft an exemplary essay, after all. Recognizing the significance of essays, especially in college admissions, can elevate your approach. If you’re gearing up to write a compelling college admission essay , I’d recommend perusing my guide on crafting an outstanding essay .

“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker

Here are 10 Books That Will Help You With Essay Writing:

1. a professor’s guide to writing essays: the no-nonsense plan for better writing by dr. jacob neumann.

This is the highest-rated book on the subject available on the market right now. It’s written for students at any level of education. The author uses an unorthodox approach, claiming that breaking essays down into different formats is unnecessary. It doesn’t matter if it’s a persuasive or a narrative essay – the difference is not in how you write, but rather in how you build your case . Length: 118 pages Published: 2016

2. College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay – by Ethan Sawyer

Every year, millions of high-schoolers scramble to achieve above-average GPAs and score well on the SAT , or in some cases, the ACT , or both. They also have to write a 650-word essay and find their way to their dream college. If you’re one of them, then make sure you read this concise book . Ethan Sawyer (The College Essay Guy), breaks the whole essay-writing process down into simple steps and shows you the way around the most common mistakes college applicants usually make. Length: 256 pages Published: 2016

3. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman

The institution of a grammar school is defunct, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic rules that govern your language. If you’re writing an essay or a college paper , you better keep your grammar tight. Otherwise, your grades will drop dramatically because professors abhor simple grammar mistakes. By reading this little book , you’ll make sure your writing is pristine. Length: 192 pages Published: 2003

4. Escape Essay Hell!: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays by Janine W. Robinson

A well-written essay has immense power. Not only that, it is the prerequisite to getting admitted to colleges and universities, but you also have to tackle a few essay questions in most, if not all exams you will ever take for career or academic advancement. For instance, when taking the LSAT to qualify for law school , the MCAT to get into med school , the DAT to pursue a degree in dentistry, or even the GRE or GMAT as the first step in earning a master’s degree. That is why this book is highly recommended to anyone navigating through the sea of higher learning. In this amusing book, Janine Robinson focuses mostly on writing narrative essays . She’s been helping college-bound students to tell unique stories for over a decade and you’ll benefit from her expert advice. The book contains 10 easy steps that you can follow as a blueprint for writing the best “slice of life” story ever told. Length: 76 pages Published: 2013

5. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate

This large volume is a necessary diversion from the subject of formal, highly constrained types of writing. It focuses only on the genre of the personal essay which is much more free-spirited, creative, and tongue-and-cheek-like. Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist, gathers seventy of the best essays of this type and lets you draw timeless lessons from them. Length: 777 pages Published: 1995

6. The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates

The art of the modern essay starts with Voltaire at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Since then, many a writer attempted to share their personal stories and philosophical musings in this free-flowing form. Americans are no different. In this anthology, Joyce Carol Oates shares some fantastic reads that you need to absorb if you want to become a highly skilled polemicist. Length: 624 pages Published: 2001

7. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

On Writing Well is a classic writing guide that will open your eyes to the art of producing clear-cut copy. Zinsser approached the subject of writing with a warm, cheerful attitude that seeps through the pages of his masterpiece. Whether you want to describe places, communicate with editors, self-edit your copy, or avoid verbosity, this book will have the right answer for you. Length: 336 pages Published: 2016 (reprint edition)

8. How To Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide by Jesse Liebman

The previous titles I mentioned were mostly for “grown-up” writers, but the list wouldn’t be complete without a book for ambitious high-school students. Its length is appropriate, making it possible even for the most ADHD among us to get through it. It contains expert advice, easy-to-implement essay outlines , and tips on finding the best topics and supporting them with strong arguments. Length: 124 pages Published: 2017

9. Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond by C.M. Gill

On average, after finishing high school or college, Americans read only around twelve books per year. This is a pity because books contain a wealth of information. People at the top of the socio-economic ladder read between forty and sixty books per year – and you should too! But reading is just one skill that gets neglected after college. Writing is the other one. By reading the “Essential Writing Skills” you’ll be able to crush all of your college writing assignments and use them throughout your life to sharpen your prose. Length: 250 Published: 2014

10. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing by Margot Livesey

If you want to write, you first need to read some of the best essays ever written . Developing your style results from conversing with great minds and then borrowing from them to create something new. All great artists are inspired by someone. In Hidden Machinery, Margot Livesey shares her essays on what makes good fiction and a strong narrative. It’s a must-read for all aspiring writers. Length: 224 Published: 2017 How did you like this article? Are you going to read any of the books listed above? Can you recommend any other book that I should add to this list?

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18 of the Best Books on Writing (Updated for 2023)

18 of the Best Books on Writing (Updated for 2023)

Table of contents

books on how to write an essay

Ashley R. Cummings

The need for writers isn’t going away. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of writers and authors will continue to grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031 . And it’s projected that there will be an average of 15,000 job openings for writers and authors each year.

While there’s a huge need for writers, it’s also projected future writers will invest anywhere from $7000 to $40,000 to learn the craft. Gasp!

But there’s good news. You don’t necessarily need to invest $40K into a degree to learn how to write. There are countless books that will help you become the writer you’ve always dreamed of becoming and will help you earn money straight out of the gate.

Here’s a list of the top eighteen books that will prepare you for your writing career. ‍

“Read, read, read. Read everything  —  trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.” — William Faulkner

Best books on writing for business and marketing

Marketing is so important the U.S. spent more than $17 billion in 2021 on marketing data. A large part of marketing is knowing how to write marketing materials that engage audiences. Marketing is also one of the most lucrative freelance writing niches.

When marketing and selling anything, the words you choose to represent your products and brand are critical—these books will help you find the right ones.

1. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin

Best for : Entrepreneurs and marketers in the SaaS space

books on how to write an essay

In his book Lost and Founder, Fishkin walks readers through the process of creating a startup. He’s very transparent and doesn’t leave anything out—the roses and the warts are on full display. Lost and Founder is a wealth of first-hand experience that any new startup can learn from.

Most of this book is about all the steps involved in creating a startup, but he also goes through how to write pitches and marketing strategies that worked for him.

Furthermore, if you want to write for startups, it’s important to understand everything that goes into creating a startup. This will help you meet the writing needs of a startup, regardless of what stage it may be in.

2. Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi & Robert Rose

Best for : Modern marketing strategies/techniques

books on how to write an essay

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose are founders and partners who love content marketing. In their book Killing Marketing, they say content isn’t just marketing; it’s an essential business strategy. 

This book focuses mostly on modern digital marketing techniques. It addresses how marketing has gone from creating ‘sale’ posters to being an essential part of adding value to a brand or company. Pulizzi and Rose use anecdotes and data from their own experiences to illustrate content writing and marketing techniques.

3. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Best for : Experienced marketers looking to fine-tune writing/strategies

books on how to write an essay

Predictably Irrational isn’t so much a book about writing as a book that can help writers understand what motivates us humans—which is essential for any great writer to understand.

Dan Ariely is an expert in behavioral economics, which studies how people behave when they perform any sort of action (e.g.,. shop, get married, apply for jobs, etc.).

Ariely and his team used experiments to see how suggestion, context, and even subliminal messaging can affect people’s behavior. To illustrate this point, Ariely uses an example where his team created a test that was easy to cheat on. 

Then, his team had respondents take the test again, but reminded them of any sort of moral code (like the ten commandments or even a fake ‘honor code’) right before taking the test to see if people cheated less after the reminder. You’ll have to read to find out the results, but I bet you can guess what happened.

This book is most beneficial for experienced writers and marketers looking to understand their audience on a deeper level.

Best books for copywriting

The biggest issue for copywriting (especially digital copywriting) is people don’t really read things all the way through anymore. 

According to a 20+ year study done by the Nielsen Norman Group , eye tracking research confirms that most internet users only skim and skip around a webpage for relevant info. That means copywriters must understand how to capture the attention of these skimmers and skippers. Here are books that will teach you the ins and outs of successful copywriting.

4. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Best for : Learning the fundamentals of advertising

books on how to write an essay

Ogilvy on Advertising is admittedly an older book that was first published in 1983. But it’s still considered one of the foremost texts for beginner copywriters and even marketers. It goes over all the fundamentals of advertising and how to write compelling copy.

If you’re new to copywriting and marketing in general, this book uses real life examples to illustrate advertising concepts. And although some of the advice about getting jobs and how to market in foreign markets may be out of date, Ogilvy’s lessons on things like research and brand image are still relevant today.

5. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

Best for : Creating visual stories

books on how to write an essay

Luke Sullivan has been a successful advertiser for over 30 years. He’s worked at elite agencies, taught, consulted and trained. His book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This , uses real life examples like Charmin’s advertising campaign of the 1960s and 1970’s (the namesake of the book) to illustrate all aspects of advertising. 

Sullivan goes through everything from how to protect your work to how to write for social media. The book is snarky and witty and gives you a glimpse of what it feels like to work in the creative department at an ad agency. 

6. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice

Best for : How to research your audience

books on how to write an essay

Finding the Right Message is all about delving deeper into understanding what makes your customers tick. It offers step-by-step guides on things like:

  • How to craft customer-centric messages
  • The types of questions to ask when conducting interviews and surveys
  • How to research your customers and the market

Havice offers insight into how to study your audience. She then goes through how you can create messages that will pique your audience’s interest. Using her expertise as a messaging strategist and copywriter, she goes over all the things a copywriter needs to reach their audience.

Best books for longform writing

The average time spent on any webpage is 54 seconds. So, it’s important for longform articles to really engage readers in order to keep them reading for more than 54 seconds. Learning how to write engaging longform articles and books may not come naturally, but here are some books to lead you in the right direction.

7. Writing Feature Stories by Matthew Ricketson & Caroline Graham

Best fo r: Comprehensive writing fundamentals

books on how to write an essay

Matthew Ricketson and Caroline Graham go over the fundamentals of writing engaging and informative longform writing in their book, Writing Feature Stories . They help both journalists and blog writers go beyond the basic who, why, what, where, and when. 

This book will help you generate new ideas, teach you how to do research for your stories, how to edit your work, and how to find the best platform for your work. Using all the information Ricketson and Graham provide, it’ll also help you get over any fear of longform writing.

8. Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein

Best for : Novelists

books on how to write an essay

Sol Stein is a well known editor and teacher that uses practical and his own real-world experiences to help writers write better. Stein on Writing gives writers practical ways to improve their writing instead of relying on theory. 

A lot of this book is focused on helping novelists with creating more interesting characters, more realistic dialogue, and structure. But it also goes over things like how to trim the fat away from your writing and more efficient ways to edit and revise your drafts.

9. How to Write a Lot by Paul Silvia

Best for : Motivation and practical strategies

books on how to write an essay

The title says it all. Paul Silvia uses his book, How to Write a Lot to help you become a more efficient and effective longform writer. He uses practical strategies that even go through how to make a schedule, how to get over writer’s block, and ultimately how to write like a professional.

Best books for essay writing and academic writing

Whether you’re trying to write OpEds for the New Yorker or just finishing your term paper, you can use these books to learn how to write effective essays for the world of academia.

10. A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Newman

Best for : Straightforward and practical writing

books on how to write an essay

If you feel intimidated by academic writing, A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays is a great book to help you overcome that. Dr. Jacob Newman has been a professor for a long time and uses his experiences to help writers navigate the world of academia. 

Giving useful tips and real world examples, Dr. Newman helps to dispel the idea that academic writing is any different from other kinds of writing. His book is straightforward and practical and focuses on helping students, professors, and anyone else looking to conquer writing academic papers.

11. Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword

Best for : Analysis of real articles and essays

books on how to write an essay

Helen Sword believes that data deserves to be presented in an elegant way. Her book Stylish Academic Writing , presents her analyses of over a thousand peer-reviewed articles (on all subjects) that show how important it is for academic writers to know how to write well.

She shows readers the skills they can learn through the examples in her book. Sword will make you a believer that compelling data should be presented with compelling writing. Slapping data onto a page just isn’t good enough anymore. 

12. Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers by Jacques Barzun

Best for : Exercises that help readers learn concepts

books on how to write an essay

Jacques Barzun was a noted teacher, historian and author. His book Simple & Direct, is just that. He uses a no-nonsense style to help writers improve their technique.

Simple & Direct may have been published in the 70s, but the writing exercises, model passages, and examples provided in the book are a treasure trove for any writer looking to better their craft.

Books that relate to writing in 2022

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know that advertising must change with the times. Not only does the medium change (e.g., newspapers, radio, TV, internet, etc.) but so does your audience. 

For example, Baby Boomers were concerned with security, Gen Xers were concerned with buying things, millennials cared about buying experiences, and Gen Zers care about supporting companies that have the same beliefs as them. 

So while you can keep the same foundational concepts, there are things writers must learn as they write for the 21st century.

13. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

Best for : Relating to all types of writing

books on how to write an essay

Steven Pinker is a Harvard psychology professor who has used his own research and experience to write, The Sense of Style . In this book, writers will learn writing techniques to create compelling prose and Pinker gives real-world examples to help illustrate his points.

If you’re looking to infuse more style into your writing and interested in making your writing stand out in today’s day and age, then this is the book for you.

14. You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

Best for : Bloggers, content creators, indie authors

books on how to write an essay

“Dress for the job you want” and “fake it ‘till you make it.” The idea that you should start acting like the writer you want to be is exactly what Jeff Goins addresses in his book, You are a Writer .

This book is a guide that will help writers in their craft, work ethic, and in marketing their material. It’s perfect for bloggers, content creators, and anyone who has been waiting to fulfill their dream of becoming a full-time writer.

15. The End of Marketing : Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI by Carlos Gil

Best for : focus on engagement

books on how to write an essay

Carlos Gil breaks down the science of modern marketing in his book The End of Marketing . He breaks down essential topics like:

  • What modern audiences want
  • Storytelling
  • How to get attention on social media and how to use social media as feedback
  • How to be genuine
  • How to find your customers

The End of Marketing unravels the mysteries of influencers, social media algorithms, and staying on trend. It’s a must read for any writer today.

Books on writing for social media

There are over 4.7 billion active social media users worldwide. In a global survey done by Statista in 2022, 61% of marketers said they would increase their usage of Instagram and 37% said they’re increasing usage of TikTok advertising. Social media isn’t going away, and it always needs content, which means, it needs good writers.

16. Everybody Writes : Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Best for : Bloggers and content creators

books on how to write an essay

Everybody Writes teaches readers not only how to write, but also how to engage audiences with truthful storytelling. She offers practical how-tos for writing technique, publishing, and even how to find content ideas. 

Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes is one of the most highly rated overall writing books, and is especially helpful for those looking to write for social media. She also recently released an updated version with new examples.

17. Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story by: Miri Rodriguez

Best for : Step-by-step guide on how to build a brand story

books on how to write an essay

Miri Rodriguez is an award winning storyteller and creative journalist at Microsoft. In her book Brand Storytelling she shows readers the importance of creating an emotional connection with your audience.

She uses case studies and interviews to show readers how, in this world of digital screens and AI, human connection will always win out. 

18. Faster, Smarter, Louder: Master Attention in a Noisy Digital Market by Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey

Best for : How to grow business from start to multimillion global company

books on how to write an essay

Aaron Agius and Gián Clancey are the founders of the successful global marketing firm Louder.online. But they weren’t always successful, they actually first went into business together in 2008, but that business didn’t work out and forced them to move back home to Australia. But their experiences made them write Faster, Smarter, [and] Louder. 

This book gives writers technical and practical tips on how to gain credibility, increase online traffic, and engage with audiences. 

Read to become a better writer!

This list is just a start. If you want to be a writer, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, all you need is a library card or a connection to the internet.

In fact, even if you don't have time to learn how to write, that’s no longer an obstacle either. There are several AI and editing tools that will write content for you and help you fine-tune your sentences to stand out from other writers. There are also blogs that will give you all the resources and info you need to become a stellar writer. 

So stop sitting around thinking “one day” you’ll be a writer. As Stephen King said in On Writing , “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

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9 Great Books on Essay Writing

By Med Kharbach, PhD | Last Update: October 17, 2023

Books on essay writing are the topic of our blog post today!

Essay writing stands as a cornerstone in education. It sharpens critical thinking, conveys ideas, and showcases understanding. Yet, mastering it isn’t just about practicing the act of writing. Reading, in all its wonder, plays a pivotal role too. By diving into books, students can absorb styles, structure, and nuances, essentially refining their own writing arsenal. It’s like training the mind, equipping it with tools for better essays. So, if one wishes to elevate their essay-writing game, turning pages is a brilliant place to start.

books on essay writing

Image source: Unsplash

Books on Essay Writing

Here are our top picks for best books on essay writing

1. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is a classic in the realm of writing guides. Though not an essay writing service , this compact book acts as a mentor, offering writers techniques to enhance their craft. It champions the principles of clarity and brevity, urging writers to be concise and to the point. White and Strunk emphasize eliminating superfluous words, ensuring every word counts. For students and writers alike, this guide is a beacon, directing them towards crisp, clear, and effective prose in their essays.

2. “On Writing” by Stephen King

Stephen King’s “On Writing” provides an intimate look into the mind of one of the world’s most renowned authors. King delves deep, sharing personal anecdotes intertwined with invaluable insights on the craft of writing.

He firmly believes in the symbiotic relationship between reading and writing. According to King, a good writer must be an avid reader. Moreover, he emphasizes the necessity of discipline, asserting that consistent effort and dedication are key to refining one’s craft.

3. “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott offers a heartfelt dive into the tumultuous world of writing. Lamott presents her journey, riddled with challenges and moments of self-doubt, providing solace to writers everywhere.

One of her most resonating pieces of advice is on the nature of first drafts. She reassures that they are meant to be rough and imperfect. Lamott emphasizes that perfectionism is the adversary of creativity, urging writers to let go and simply get the words down, refining as they go along.

4. “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” by Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish’s “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” is a deep dive into the essence of sentences. Fish examines the intricate art and craft behind constructing a sentence, illuminating the rhythm, structure, and beauty inherent in them.

His analysis doesn’t just focus on the technicalities but ventures into what elevates a sentence from good to great. According to Fish, a great sentence captivates, conveying both meaning and emotion. It’s not just about stringing words together but creating a symphony that resonates with the reader.

5. “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

6. “reading like a writer” by francine prose.

In “Reading Like a Writer,” Francine Prose delves into the practice of absorbing literature through the discerning lens of a writer. Rather than just skimming pages, she promotes truly engaging with the text.

Prose champions the art of close reading, urging writers to dissect language, structure, and rhythm. By immersing deeply, one uncovers layers of craftsmanship, benefiting from insights that can be mirrored in one’s own writing. This method, Prose argues, not only enhances comprehension but also enriches the writer’s toolbox, nurturing the journey from reader to adept writer.

7. “The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker

“The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker is not your conventional style guide. Instead, Pinker brings a fresh, modern perspective, intertwining linguistics with style.

Pinker places a strong emphasis on coherence and clarity, advocating for a balance between rules and artistry in writing. But what truly distinguishes this guide is Pinker’s delve into the science of language. He unravels the psychology behind good writing, providing readers not just rules to follow, but an understanding of why certain styles resonate more deeply. This book stands as a bridge between traditional grammar and the evolving nuances of effective communication.

8. “Writing With Power” by Peter Elbow

Peter Elbow’s “Writing With Power” provides valuable insights into the liberating practice of free writing. Emphasizing the importance of letting ideas flow without judgment, he showcases techniques that many consider the best essay writing service one can give to oneself.

Elbow believes in the power of uncensored writing to generate raw, authentic ideas. To tackle the all-too-familiar writer’s block, he offers strategies that center on continuous writing without overthinking. By doing so, writers can navigate around mental barriers and unearth genuine thoughts and expressions, making the writing process both therapeutic and productive.

9. “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler

“The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler explores the timeless pattern of the hero’s journey, a narrative structure pervasive in myths and stories worldwide. Vogler meticulously unpacks this universal motif, revealing its applicability to various forms of writing, essays included.

Understanding the hero’s journey allows writers to craft compelling narratives, even within the constraints of an essay. It offers a framework for organizing ideas and creating a flow that engages readers. With the wisdom gleaned from this book, one can construct essays that are not just informative but also captivating and resonant.

Reading is an indispensable ally in honing essay writing skills. The books discussed not only offer techniques but inspire deeper connections with words and ideas. To truly elevate one’s essay craft, immersing in these literary treasures is invaluable. By diving into these pages, readers can glean insights and strategies that will undoubtedly enrich their essays, making them more compelling and resonant. So, let the journey of exploration begin.

books on how to write an essay

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Meet Med Kharbach, PhD

Dr. Med Kharbach is an influential voice in the global educational technology landscape, with an extensive background in educational studies and a decade-long experience as a K-12 teacher. Holding a Ph.D. from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada, he brings a unique perspective to the educational world by integrating his profound academic knowledge with his hands-on teaching experience. Dr. Kharbach's academic pursuits encompass curriculum studies, discourse analysis, language learning/teaching, language and identity, emerging literacies, educational technology, and research methodologies. His work has been presented at numerous national and international conferences and published in various esteemed academic journals.

books on how to write an essay

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Writing a strong essay can make a huge difference in job and college applications. Here are 15 online classes and books to learn how to do it.

When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

  • Communicating ideas in a clear way is a crucial life skill no matter which field you work in.
  • Writing personal essays can help perfect your storytelling and presentation skills.
  • Below are 15 online classes, books, podcasts, and resources to start with.

Insider Today

Everyone has a story, but not everyone knows how to tell their story. One place to start is finding the perfect container for your experiences and insights. Enter: the personal essay. 

Well-crafted essays mark the difference between a meandering group of paragraphs and a clear, resonant idea. Almost every occupation can benefit from stronger communication, research, and persuasion skills — all of which can be sharpened from essay writing classes.

Think about the application prompts you've muddled through or the chances for publication you've felt too intimidated to attempt. The confidence to explore a topic, land on a perspective, and express it effectively is universally valuable, whether you're writing a personal statement for college, crafting a cover letter for a new job, or giving a presentation at work. 

The essay writing resources below range from 200-page books to eight-week online courses. Some require submitting original work to receive feedback, while others are prompts meant to inspire new ideas. 

15 essay writing online courses, workshops, and books to strengthen your storytelling skills: 

For the basics.

books on how to write an essay

How to Write a Personal Essay (CreativeLive)

Joyce Maynard is a celebrated memoirist and personal essayist who knows what it takes to get an essay noticed for publication. In five hours of video instruction, students will learn how to identify ideas that could become pieces, how to build an outline, create an interesting character, and even end an essay to emphasize the final discovery. With a review rating of 100% from former students, this course is the perfect place to start your next essay. 

How to Write an Essay (edX)

This UC Berkeley class hones in on the hidden mechanisms of essays. The five-week course is more academic than creative, but ideal for those hoping to write with immaculate grammar and rigorous self-editing habits. The course (which is free to audit) provides both instructional videos and readings, and students will produce one essay as a takeaway from the class. 

Memoir and Personal Essay: Write About Yourself Specialization (Coursera)

Presented by Wesleyan University, this four-month specialization is instructed by four published essayists and memoirists. Through 16 writing assignments across four courses, students develop an approach to their own storytelling skills. And for those looking to take their writing out of the classroom, this course leaves you with a portfolio of work upon completion. 

"The Situation and The Story" by Vivian Gornick

Drawing on her experience from teaching MFA programs, Vivian Gornick challenges the writer to step back and evaluate their role in relation to the work. Are they the same person as the narrator? What details matter to the story? It's an invitation to look below the surface of life as it unfolds and ask questions of larger significance. The book is short, but explores diverse greats of the genre, from Joan Didion to Oscar Wilde. 

For coming up with ideas

books on how to write an essay

Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge (Skillshare)

Seasoned journalist, novelist, and publisher Emily Gould only wants ten minutes of your time a day. In a 10-day course described as "perfect for writers and enthusiasts eager to rekindle creativity in a personal and artful way," she packs in countless creative prompts and revision tricks. It's great for writers who are crunched for time and looking to discover a new topic right under their nose.

The New York Times' Writing Prompts

This archive of questions inspired by the NYT's own stories is a perfect place to start, since jumping in can often feel like the hardest part. The Learning Network is targeted towards students, but the conversations following each prompt can be helpful for writers of all ages. After all, many essays begin as questions. Why not borrow some from the Times? 

Personal Essay Independent Study: Generating Fresh Ideas for the Personal Essay (Catapult)

Writing from life can make it difficult to be objective. What's interesting? What could become a full length essay? Led by essayist and editor Lilly Dancyger , this independent study is the perfect place to start coming up with fresh ideas. Self-guided, with three separate lessons ranging in topics from perspective to conversation, is an ideal fit for new writers looking to demystify the craft of storytelling via essays.  

"Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg

The best writers are always avid readers and this book is a great start. With over one million copies sold and translations in 12 languages, it's hard to deny the creative jumpstart writers find from "Writing Down the Bones." The tone of the book is conversational and approachable, and it's full of compelling personal narratives and prompts. Goldberg integrates tenets of Zen meditation with writing in order to create what she coins a "Writing Practice." The practice includes self-interrogation, creating a specific space, and carving out time to read. 

For developing style

books on how to write an essay

Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact (Skillshare)

Let The New York Times bestselling author and revered professor Roxane Gay inspire your writing to ask questions of deep resonance. Her one-hour masterclass is an insightful lesson on transforming your personal essay with cultural context. Learn how to take yourself (and your essay) seriously by expanding your story and connecting with the audience you want to reach. The class comes with a downloadable worksheet and links to additional resources. 

David Sedaris Teaches Humor and Storytelling (MasterClass)

No one writes humor like David Sedaris . With 10 bestselling essay collections under his belt, there's hardly a more qualified teacher. In his MasterClass, he explores how to pull meaning out of the mundane, how humor helps us move through the dark subjects of our stories, and how everything depends on an attention-grabbing opening. Prepare to learn, laugh, and be charmed for over three hours of his beautifully shot video lessons.

Begin with the Body (Skillshare)

Chelsea Hodson's essays have been described as, " anchors for the themes  —  identity, sexuality, loss  —  we so often see reflected back at us ." In under 45 minutes, you'll be inspired to examine a strong starting point for any essay — your own body. Plus, Hodson's demonstration of her editing process in real time and analysis of other creative works leaves you with no excuse but to, as she says, "write without expectation." She also occasionally offers feedback on essays submitted through the class.

For practice and feedback

books on how to write an essay

8-Week Personal Essay & Memoir Writing (Sackett Street Writers)

For writers with some experience or an essay ready to be workshopped, writing workshops like Sackett Street 's are an excellent option. This particular class is taught by published author Anna Qu , exploring the responsibility of nonfiction writing while learning literary techniques to create a compelling story. On top of Qu's guidance, the comradery with fellow students, even online, can lead to new perspectives and creative inspiration through in-class writing prompts.

"Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" by Anne Lamott

Few books reign supreme when it comes to authors' favorites "books on books" like "Bird by Bird." Lamott's down-to-earth, homespun advice on life and writing has sold over a million copies. Simultaneously practical and profound, the book leans on the basic tenet that the most important practice is sitting down every day and simply writing. As Lamott writes: "One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around."

Memoir Monday (Substack)

Every Monday, a collection of the best essays published the previous week on sites like Granta, Longreads, and Literary Hub are mailed directly to your inbox. A monthly reading series, plus interviews with notable authors provide a dose of inspiration and a curated look at up and coming work. 

WMFA Podcast hosted by Courtney Balestier

" Writing can be lonely work ," and this podcast sees conversation as a combatant to that problem. Writers across all genres and walks of life are interviewed by writer Courtney Balestier , and talks range from craft practices to book recommendations. There's also a minisode (around five minutes) on a single topic, like paying attention or restraint, released every other week. The conversation continues in a monthly newsletter featuring links, news, and recommendations. 

books on how to write an essay

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Summer Boarding Courses

10 Books for Essay Writing You Need To Know About

male-writing-essay-on-laptop

Do you have an essay writing task? Are you looking for an example of essay writing which is the absolute best? We understand how essay writing can feel very daunting at first. It can take time to research, understand the material, plan what you want to write and have the creativity and confidence to produce the work. There are some great books for essay writing to help you out!

At Summer Boarding Courses, we recommend you take the time to work through the format for essay writing step-by-step. Many of our courses, including our Creative Writing Course at  Oxford College , can help you with this.

We advise you to keep practicing. Listen to feedback from your friends and teachers. Most of all, do not give up! Soon enough you will be able to deliver excellent work.

To help you become a better writer, it’s essential to have the best instruction too. Whilst you’re waiting for our Summer Boarding Courses to start in Oxford, why not read up on our favourite books on essay writing?

Here are our Top 10 Books for Essay Writing that will have you creating unique and captivating essays for your school assignments!

four-students-reading-in-library.

Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students  – Stephen Bailey

If you’re one of our ESL international students wanting help for essay writing at University, this is a great book to start with! We recommend reading this before you attend University in the UK as there are many an example of how to write an excellent piece inside. Many exercises are included that you can try, which is perfect for self-study in your own time.

College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay  – Ethan Sawyer

Are you applying to a College or University? Do you need to write a personal statement ( check out our personal statement guide here )?

Writing your application to enter the school you’re dreaming of may be making you feel very anxious, but college counsellor Ethan Sawyer has written a fantastic guide to help you through it. He will help you bring your personal experiences to life and show you that this application is not too scary after all.

We particularly love his advice in answering these two very important questions:

Have you experienced significant challenges in your life?

Do you know what you want to be or do in the future?

College Essay Essentials has lots of essay writing tips, tricks, exercises and real-life examples to reassure you. Good luck! You can do it!

Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation  – John Seely

If you want to produce good essay writing, you need your English Grammar to be clear and correct. At Summer Boarding Courses, we understand that English Grammar can sometimes be very confusing and unintuitive.

For a clear, simple and easy-to-understand pocket grammar book, John Seely’s Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation is extremely helpful.

Whether you are writing a professional piece, a school paper or a fun personal letter to a friend, this book will give you straightforward advice – and it’s small enough to easily fit in your rucksack!

Study with us in the UK!

Take your English writing to the next level.

How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps  – Inklyo

Do you need a short and easy introduction to essay writing? We recommend you start with this. It is 58 pages long, not a difficult read and covers all the basics that you need to know. The authors take you through your essay writing step-by-step and help you minimise your anxiety, even if it is the night before your project is due!

We love their recommendation about how to make your instructor happy:

‘Demonstrate that you have understood the course material and write intelligently about your subject’.

A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing  – Dr. Jacob Neumann

Dr. Neumann is straight-talking. He believes that the plan for any type of essay is the same but how you approach essay writing is critical. The only thing that changes for each essay is the length and complexity of the project.

This book covers every aspect of academic writing for College, University and Secondary (High School) students. We love how simple, honest and clear his instructions are and believe you will complete your writing task much more confidently with his advice.

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100 Ways to Improve Your Writing  – Gary Provost

This book may have been written in 1985, but it still a fantastic resource for the best essay writing! It does not matter if you are a student or an established successful writer. This easy-to-use guidebook will inspire you to write even better than before.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing includes many writing examples and plenty of straightforward writing tips. It’s also easy to dip in and out of. Read through it all in one go or pick a chapter or two when you are feeling inspired!

GCSE English Writing Skills Study Guide  – CGP Books

For our younger learners aged 14 to 16, this is an excellent guide for students to refine their writing skills in essays, non-fiction, creative writing and more. There are clear, helpful exercises throughout the book for students to complete and understand the best English topics for essay writing.

The content is also written for students studying GCSE English: if you are taking this exam, you’ll have a much better chance of passing!

How to Write Better Essays (Palgrave Study Skills)  – Bryan Greetham

We all want to be confident when we are writing our essays. This step-by-step guide will help you analyse concepts, consider different arguments about a subject, and argue your ideas well. The chapters are easy to read and digest and will show you how to research ideas, take notes, write productively in exams and be engaging in your writing.

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present  – Phillip Lopate

It is by reading other writers, that we develop our own ideas and unique style. Discover how your own writing can progress and grow through gaining an insight into other writers’ minds and lives.

The Art of the Personal Essay is an excellent collection of essays, from old to new, that are highly entertaining, creative and reflective. Make sure to have this text on your bookshelf or in your bag, so that you can take it out whenever you are seeking inspiration for your next essay. Enjoy!

The Oxford Book of Essays  – John Gross

For the ultimate essay writing book, this is the collection of work that you need to read. There are 140 essays in here by 120 writers. You will find every kind of style; from poetry and fantasy to serious arguments. Some pieces are old, others are incredibly modern. Read through the essays at your own leisure, so that your ideas about how to write gently expand alongside your imagination and creativity.

Do you feel ready to write with our recommended books for essay writing?

Essay writing is an essential skill for English students but just getting started can be difficult! You will need to think about what type of essay you are being asked to write. You will have to plan your outline in essay writing – considering the introduction, the main body of the essay, an excellent conclusion and references.

Having excellent research skills, avoiding plagiarism, and making your essay stand out from the rest of the students in your class are key things you need to know.

We hope our recommendations have inspired you and lead you to writing excellent essays in the future. Good luck and get started. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Boarding Courses in Summer, where you can receive the best writing tips from our teachers in the UK!

Essay on Books for Students and Children

Children's Books

500 Words Essay on Books

Books are referred to as a man’s best friend . They are very beneficial for mankind and have helped it evolve. There is a powerhouse of information and knowledge. Books offer us so many things without asking for anything in return. Books leave a deep impact on us and are responsible for uplifting our mood.

Essay on Books

This is why we suggest children read books from an early age to gain knowledge. The best part about books is that there are various types of books. One can read any type to gain different types of knowledge. Reading must be done by people of all ages. It not only widens our thinking but also enhances our vocabulary.

Different Genres of Books

There are different genres of books available for book readers. Every day, thousands of books are released in the market ranging from travel books to fictional books. We can pick any book of our interest to expand our knowledge and enjoy the reading experience.

Firstly, we have travel books, which tell us about the experience of various travelers. They introduce us to different places in the world without moving from our place. It gives us traveling tips which we can use in the future. Then, we have history books which state historical events. They teach about the eras and how people lived in times gone by.

Furthermore, we have technology books that teach us about technological developments and different equipment. You can also read fashion and lifestyle books to get up to date with the latest trends in the fashion industry.

Most importantly, there are self-help books and motivational books . These books help in the personality development of an individual. They inspire us to do well in life and also bring a positive change in ourselves. Finally, we have fictional books. They are based on the writer’s imagination and help us in enhancing our imagination too. They are very entertaining and keep us intrigued until the very end.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Benefits of Reading Books

There are not one but various advantages of reading books. To begin with, it improves our knowledge on a variety of subjects. Moreover, it makes us wiser. When we learn different things, we learn to deal with them differently too. Similarly, books also keep us entertained. They kill our boredom and give us great company when we are alone.

Furthermore, books help us to recognize our areas of interest. They also determine our career choice to a great extent. Most importantly, books improve our vocabulary . We learn new words from it and that widens our vocabulary. In addition, books boost our creativity. They help us discover a completely new side.

In other words, books make us more fluent in languages. They enhance our writing skills too. Plus, we become more confident after the knowledge of books. They help us in debating, public speaking , quizzes and more.

In short, books give us a newer perspective and gives us a deeper understanding of things. It impacts our personality positively as well. Thus, we see how books provide us with so many benefits. We should encourage everyone to read more books and useless phones.

FAQs on Books

Q.1 State the different genres of books.

A.1 Books come in different genres. Some of them are travel books, history books, technology books, fashion and lifestyle books, self-help books, motivational books, and fictional books.

Q.2 Why are books important?

A.2 Books are of great importance to mankind. They enhance our knowledge and vocabulary. They keep us entertained and also widen our perspective. This, in turn, makes us more confident and wise.

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing an Essay on a Book

Topic and assignment prompt, essay structure, why is it important.

How to write an essay on a book

Outlining Essay Structure

Organizing your essay efficiently is important for making sure it’s clear, concise, and to the point. Before you start writing, it’s important to understand the basic structure of an essay. Most essays are composed of an introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction serves as an opening paragraph where you should introduce the topic and provide any necessary background information that readers may need in order to understand the essay. A good introduction will explain why a reader should care about your topic and capture the attention of the reader.

The body is the main section of the essay where you will provide evidence, quotes, and any other relevant information to prove your point. It is important to make sure that each body paragraph has only one main point, and all of the evidence presented in the paragraph supports that one point.

The conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay. It should wrap up all of the points you made in the body and leave the reader with a sense of closure. It should also create a takeaway, or something for the reader to remember about what they have just read.

To make sure your essay is organized and has a consistent tone throughout, it is important to outline what each section should include. Outlining your essay structure before beginning eliminates unnecessary stress and makes sure you don’t forget any important points.

Research Phase: The Importance of Researching the Book

Before you dive into writing your essay on a book, you’ll want to make sure that you have done your research. No matter how familiar you are with the subject, it’s important to conduct research to ensure that your essay is accurate and well-informed.

Research can help you form a stronger thesis statement, better support your arguments, and provide evidence for your claims. It can also help you to organize your thoughts, uncover new ideas and angles, gain a deeper understanding of the text, or even find quotes or references that you can use in your essay.

Research should always come first. It helps to lay a strong foundation for the rest of your essay and it can save you from making any embarrassing mistakes. Have a clear understanding of the book’s themes, characters, and plot before you begin. Read reviews and criticisms, and take down notes for later.

Start by reading the book itself. Take your time and pay attention to details. Make notes, highlight any important passages, and consider different interpretations. After you get an overall gist of the book, expand your research outward into scholarly reviews, biographies, and other texts that can provide an objective, informed perspective.

The more research you do, the stronger your essay will be. Be sure to include all of the sources you used in your bibliography section. Research can be a tedious process, but with enough effort and dedication, you’ll be able to craft a well-informed, thoughtful essay on any book.

Pre-Writing Phase: Planning Your Essay

The pre-writing phase is the most important part of writing an essay on a book. Taking the time to plan your essay and organize your thoughts will help structure your argument and make your writing smoother. The pre-writing phase should involve a few key steps.

  • Brainstorm – Before you start writing, spend some time thinking about the book and how it relates to any themes, characters, or symbolism. Jot down your ideas so that you have a better understanding of what you want to focus on.
  • Outline – Write down some notes and make an outline of what you will cover in each paragraph. This will help you stay organized while writing and keep everything on track.
  • Research – Research any facts or quotes you may need to include in your essay. This will help you back up your claims and make your paper stronger.

Taking the time to plan ahead will help ensure your essay on a book is written clearly and effectively. You’ll be able to shape your argument easily and make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Thesis Formation

The thesis statement is a critical part of any essay on a book. It should be clear, concise, and capture the main argument and point of view of the essay. To ensure that your essay’s thesis statement is well-crafted, it is essential to follow a step-by-step guide.

Step One: Brainstorming Ideas

Before writing a thesis statement, you should brainstorm some ideas related to the book’s content. Consider the key elements of the book and think about how they could be connected into an argument or observation. Write down any ideas that pop into your mind, and use them as a basis for forming your thesis statement.

Step Two: Developing the Argument

Once you have a few ideas in mind, it is time to start developing a coherent argument. Try to make a connection between the ideas to create an original argument. Then, think about why this argument is important and what makes it relevant to the text.

Step Three: Writing the Thesis Statement

Now that you have an argument in mind, you are ready to craft your thesis statement. It should be a single sentence that clearly and concisely expresses your main argument. Generally, it should follow the same structure as any other essay’s thesis statement, stating the primary point of view, the evidence supporting it, and any other relevant details.

Step Four: Proofreading

The final step of crafting a great thesis statement is to proofread and edit it. Make sure that the statement is clear, concise, and captures the argument accurately. Additionally, pay attention to grammar and spelling. A minor mistake can weaken the force of the statement significantly.

Creating an effective thesis statement can help get your essay off to a strong start. As long as you follow these steps, you will be able to form a well-developed argument that can help you write a great essay on a book.

Drafting an Organized Paragraph

Editing: benefits and how to approach it effectively.

When writing an essay on a book, editing is a crucial step in the process. It can often be overlooked or skipped, but it shouldn’t be! Editing offers many valuable benefits, and it’s important to understand how to approach it effectively.

One of the biggest benefits of editing is that it gives you the opportunity to look at your essay with fresh eyes. Once you’ve written the paper, it can be nearly impossible to look at it objectively. Editing allows you to look at it critically and make necessary changes.

Editing also helps you to catch grammar mistakes, spelling errors, and typos. A single error can easily ruin an entire essay, so it’s essential to go over the paper and make sure everything is perfect. This can only be done by editing the paper carefully.

Finally, editing can help you to make sure that the essay is coherent and well-written. After writing the paper , you might realize that the introduction and conclusion don’t match up, or that two paragraphs contradict each other. Editing will help you to identify such issues and make the necessary adjustments.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of editing, let’s look at how to approach it effectively. The first step is to read the entire essay through once without making any changes. This should give you a good overview of the paper and allow you to spot any major issues. The next step is to go through the paper again and make notes as you go along.

You should pay particular attention to grammar, spelling, typos, and structure. Make a note of anything that stands out and needs to be changed. Don’t worry if you can’t fix it right away – just write it down and come back to it later. The goal is to get an overall picture of what needs to be done.

Finally, it’s time to make the actual changes. Take your time and read each sentence carefully before you make any changes. Don’t be afraid to delete or add content between paragraphs to ensure that the essay flows naturally.

In summary, editing is an essential step in the essay-writing process. It offers many benefits, including the ability to look at the essay objectively, catch grammar mistakes and typos, and ensure that the essay is coherent and well-written. When approaching the editing phase, it’s important to read the paper through once without making any changes, make notes as you go, and take your time when making the actual changes.

Formatting – Adhering to Academic Standards

Formatting your essay correctly is a critical step in the writing process. It shows that you have taken care to put together an essay that follows the academic standards.

Here are a few tips for formatting your essay according to academic standards:

  • Make sure the margins of your essay are set to one inch on all sides.
  • Your font should be size 12 Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Use double spacing between lines, and make sure there is no extra space before or after each paragraph.
  • When quoting direct text, indenting it five spaces will make it easier to read.
  • Include a header at the top of your document that includes the title of the essay, your name, and the page number.

Formatted correctly, your essay will present itself as concise, organized, and professional. This is a must when following academic standards.

If you want to ensure that your essay looks even better, check with your professor for specific formatting requirements for your assignment.

By taking the time to properly format your essay, you are showing that you understand the importance of adhering to academic standards. This will help you get the best grades possible!

Understanding the Assignment

Writing an essay on a book can be quite a challenge for many students. One of the most important skills for tackling this task is to understand the assignment. To begin, students should read carefully and take notes on the writing prompt. Pay close attention to all the instructions as they are key to crafting an effective essay. This includes being mindful of any keywords or phrases in the prompt that will require further research.

When interpreting the instructions, it is also important to consider any extra guidelines or expectations the professor may have provided. These can include formatting, length, and specific areas of emphasis such as themes or characters. Questions such as ‘Who is the protagonist?’ or ‘How do the themes interact?’ should be actively considered while writing the essay. This helps produce a focused piece of work that is tailored to meet the requirements.

In addition, consider questions such as ‘What do I need to include?’ or ‘What is the purpose of this essay?’. Answering these questions allows students to identify their main points and develop an argument around them. This is a crucial step for forming an essay that is logical and cohesive.

Finally, students should always use the essay assignment to test their understanding of the book. It is often beneficial to leave time at the end of the writing process to review knowledge and reflect on any unanswered questions. Doing so ensures that the essay is comprehensive and addresses all aspects of the prompt.

Understanding the assignment is a vital step when writing an essay on a book. By paying attention to the prompt and any additional guidelines, students can ensure that their assignment is focused, detailed, and suitable for the task.

Effective Use of Quotes

Make sure your quote is relevant to the main argument of your essay.

Choose a quote that is engaging and thought-provoking.

Include the right amount of detail – don’t use too much or too little.

Explain the quote in your own words and provide context.

Think critically about the quote and how it applies to your argument.

Integrate the quote into your essay so that it flows naturally.

Tools for Writing an Essay on a Book

When writing an essay on a book there are certain tools that can help make the process easier. Knowing some of these basic terms and tools can help you write a better essay and make it much more enjoyable.

Creating an outline is one of the most important steps in writing an essay. It provides structure to your essay, ensuring that each point is made in the correct order and that the essay flows logically. Outlining also helps you stay organized and remember what needs to be included in the essay.

Doing research is important when writing an essay about a book. Read through the text and make notes about any interesting or pertinent information you find. Also, look for additional sources that can provide further insight into the book or the topics it raises.

Grammar and Spelling Checkers

Grammar and spelling checkers can be extremely useful when writing your essay. They can help you identify mistakes or typos that you may have missed. Double-check your work before you submit it to make sure it is as accurate and error-free as possible.

Writing Resources

Finally, there are many great writing resources available online that can provide further advice and guidance on how to write an effective essay. Look through examples of essays written by other students and learn from their techniques and approaches.

Knowing some of these basic terms and tools can help you get off to a strong start when writing an essay on a book. Do your research, create an outline, and use grammar and spelling checkers to make sure your work is as perfect as possible. Finally, don’t forget to look for other writing resources that can provide insight and advice.

Writing an essay on a book can be a daunting task, especially when attempting it for the first time. This guide aims to make the process of writing an essay on a book simple and easy-to-follow. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make the process of writing your essay much easier.

A good conclusion should summarize the main points of the article, explain how to approach writing the final version, and reiterate why the content was important. To conclude your essay, start by summarizing the arguments and ideas that you presented throughout your paper. Then, move on to discussing why you chose to write the essay and the importance of studying the book. Finally, provide a brief statement that sums up the main points of the essay.

When writing the final version of your essay, there are some key points to keep in mind. First, proofread your work for any typos or errors. Make sure to properly cite any quotes or references that you used in your essay. Finally, consider having a peer review your essay to get another perspective and catch any mistakes that you might have missed.

Writing an essay on a book can be a rewarding experience when done correctly. The most important part of the process is to fully understand the material and the prompt. By following the steps outlined in this article and taking the time to research and plan, you can write an effective essay on a book.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's " Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization ," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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The Titan nuclear missile in the silo in Arizona, US

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Not long after the last world war, the historian William L. Shirer had this to say about the next world war. It “will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it. There will be no conquers and no conquests, but only the charred bones of the dead on an uninhabited planet.”

As an investigative journalist, I write about war, weapons, national security and government secrets. I’ve previously written six books about US military and intelligence programmes – at the CIA, The Pentagon, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency– all designed to prevent, or deter, nuclear world war III . In the course of my work, countless people in the upper echelons of US government have told me, proudly, that they’ve dedicated their lives to making sure the US never has a nuclear war. But what if it did?

“Every capability in the [Department of Defense] is underpinned by the fact that strategic deterrence will hold,” US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which is responsible for nuclear deterrence, insists publicly. Until the autumn of 2022, this promise was pinned on STRATCOM’s public Twitter feed. But to a private audience at Sandia National Laboratories later that same year, STRATCOM’s Thomas Bussiere admitted the existential danger inherent to deterrence. “Everything unravels itself if those things are not true.”

If deterrence fails – what exactly would that unravelling look like? To write Nuclear War: A scenario , I put this question to scores of former nuclear command and control authorities. To the military and civilian experts who’ve built the weapon systems, been privy to the response plans and been responsible for advising the US president on nuclear counterstrike decisions should they have to be made. What I learned terrified me. Here are just a few of the shocking truths about nuclear war.

The US maintains a nuclear launch policy called Launch on Warning. This means that if a military satellite indicates the nation is under nuclear attack and a second early-warning radar confirms that information, the president launches nuclear missiles in response. Former secretary of defense William Perry told me: “Once we are warned of a nuclear attack, we prepare to launch. This is policy. We do not wait.”

The US president has sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. He asks permission of no one. Not the secretary of defense, not the chairman of the joint chief of staff, not the US Congress. “The authority is inherent in his role as commander in chief,” the Congressional Research Service confirms. The president “does not need the concurrence of either his [or her] military advisors or the US Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons”.

When the president learns he must respond to a nuclear attack, he has just 6 minutes to do so. Six minutes is an irrational amount of time to “decide whether to release Armageddon”, President Ronald Reagan lamented in his memoirs. “Six minutes to decide how to respond to a blip on a radar scope… How could anyone apply reason at a time like that?” And yet, the president must respond. This is because it takes roughly just 30 minutes for an intercontinental ballistic missile to get from a launch pad in Russia, North Korea or China to any city in the US, and vice versa. Nuclear-armed submarines can cut that launch-to-target time to 10 minutes, or less.

Today, there are nine nuclear powers, with a combined total of more than 12,500 nuclear weapons ready to be used. The US and Russia each have some 1700 nuclear weapons deployed – weapons that can be launched in seconds or minutes after their respective president gives the command. This is what Shirer meant when he said: “Such a war will not last long and none will ever follow it.”

Nuclear war is the only scenario other than an asteroid strike that could end civilisation in a matter of hours. The soot from burning cities and forests will blot out the sun and cause nuclear winter. Agriculture will fail. Some 5 billion people will die. In the words of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, “the survivors will envy the dead”.

I wrote Nuclear War: A scenario to demonstrate – in appalling, minute-by-minute detail – just how horrifying a nuclear war would be. “Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” UN secretary-general António Guterres warned the world in 2022. “This is madness. We must reverse course.”

Nuclear War: A Scenario   by Annie Jacobsen, published by Torva (£20.00), is available now. It is the latest pick for the New Scientist Book Club: sign up  here  to read along with our members

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NPR defends its journalism after senior editor says it has lost the public's trust

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David Folkenflik

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NPR is defending its journalism and integrity after a senior editor wrote an essay accusing it of losing the public's trust. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

NPR is defending its journalism and integrity after a senior editor wrote an essay accusing it of losing the public's trust.

NPR's top news executive defended its journalism and its commitment to reflecting a diverse array of views on Tuesday after a senior NPR editor wrote a broad critique of how the network has covered some of the most important stories of the age.

"An open-minded spirit no longer exists within NPR, and now, predictably, we don't have an audience that reflects America," writes Uri Berliner.

A strategic emphasis on diversity and inclusion on the basis of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, promoted by NPR's former CEO, John Lansing, has fed "the absence of viewpoint diversity," Berliner writes.

NPR's chief news executive, Edith Chapin, wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday afternoon that she and the news leadership team strongly reject Berliner's assessment.

"We're proud to stand behind the exceptional work that our desks and shows do to cover a wide range of challenging stories," she wrote. "We believe that inclusion — among our staff, with our sourcing, and in our overall coverage — is critical to telling the nuanced stories of this country and our world."

NPR names tech executive Katherine Maher to lead in turbulent era

NPR names tech executive Katherine Maher to lead in turbulent era

She added, "None of our work is above scrutiny or critique. We must have vigorous discussions in the newsroom about how we serve the public as a whole."

A spokesperson for NPR said Chapin, who also serves as the network's chief content officer, would have no further comment.

Praised by NPR's critics

Berliner is a senior editor on NPR's Business Desk. (Disclosure: I, too, am part of the Business Desk, and Berliner has edited many of my past stories. He did not see any version of this article or participate in its preparation before it was posted publicly.)

Berliner's essay , titled "I've Been at NPR for 25 years. Here's How We Lost America's Trust," was published by The Free Press, a website that has welcomed journalists who have concluded that mainstream news outlets have become reflexively liberal.

Berliner writes that as a Subaru-driving, Sarah Lawrence College graduate who "was raised by a lesbian peace activist mother ," he fits the mold of a loyal NPR fan.

Yet Berliner says NPR's news coverage has fallen short on some of the most controversial stories of recent years, from the question of whether former President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, to the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19, to the significance and provenance of emails leaked from a laptop owned by Hunter Biden weeks before the 2020 election. In addition, he blasted NPR's coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

On each of these stories, Berliner asserts, NPR has suffered from groupthink due to too little diversity of viewpoints in the newsroom.

The essay ricocheted Tuesday around conservative media , with some labeling Berliner a whistleblower . Others picked it up on social media, including Elon Musk, who has lambasted NPR for leaving his social media site, X. (Musk emailed another NPR reporter a link to Berliner's article with a gibe that the reporter was a "quisling" — a World War II reference to someone who collaborates with the enemy.)

When asked for further comment late Tuesday, Berliner declined, saying the essay spoke for itself.

The arguments he raises — and counters — have percolated across U.S. newsrooms in recent years. The #MeToo sexual harassment scandals of 2016 and 2017 forced newsrooms to listen to and heed more junior colleagues. The social justice movement prompted by the killing of George Floyd in 2020 inspired a reckoning in many places. Newsroom leaders often appeared to stand on shaky ground.

Leaders at many newsrooms, including top editors at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times , lost their jobs. Legendary Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron wrote in his memoir that he feared his bonds with the staff were "frayed beyond repair," especially over the degree of self-expression his journalists expected to exert on social media, before he decided to step down in early 2021.

Since then, Baron and others — including leaders of some of these newsrooms — have suggested that the pendulum has swung too far.

Legendary editor Marty Baron describes his 'Collision of Power' with Trump and Bezos

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Legendary editor marty baron describes his 'collision of power' with trump and bezos.

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger warned last year against journalists embracing a stance of what he calls "one-side-ism": "where journalists are demonstrating that they're on the side of the righteous."

"I really think that that can create blind spots and echo chambers," he said.

Internal arguments at The Times over the strength of its reporting on accusations that Hamas engaged in sexual assaults as part of a strategy for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel erupted publicly . The paper conducted an investigation to determine the source of a leak over a planned episode of the paper's podcast The Daily on the subject, which months later has not been released. The newsroom guild accused the paper of "targeted interrogation" of journalists of Middle Eastern descent.

Heated pushback in NPR's newsroom

Given Berliner's account of private conversations, several NPR journalists question whether they can now trust him with unguarded assessments about stories in real time. Others express frustration that he had not sought out comment in advance of publication. Berliner acknowledged to me that for this story, he did not seek NPR's approval to publish the piece, nor did he give the network advance notice.

Some of Berliner's NPR colleagues are responding heatedly. Fernando Alfonso, a senior supervising editor for digital news, wrote that he wholeheartedly rejected Berliner's critique of the coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, for which NPR's journalists, like their peers, periodically put themselves at risk.

Alfonso also took issue with Berliner's concern over the focus on diversity at NPR.

"As a person of color who has often worked in newsrooms with little to no people who look like me, the efforts NPR has made to diversify its workforce and its sources are unique and appropriate given the news industry's long-standing lack of diversity," Alfonso says. "These efforts should be celebrated and not denigrated as Uri has done."

After this story was first published, Berliner contested Alfonso's characterization, saying his criticism of NPR is about the lack of diversity of viewpoints, not its diversity itself.

"I never criticized NPR's priority of achieving a more diverse workforce in terms of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. I have not 'denigrated' NPR's newsroom diversity goals," Berliner said. "That's wrong."

Questions of diversity

Under former CEO John Lansing, NPR made increasing diversity, both of its staff and its audience, its "North Star" mission. Berliner says in the essay that NPR failed to consider broader diversity of viewpoint, noting, "In D.C., where NPR is headquartered and many of us live, I found 87 registered Democrats working in editorial positions and zero Republicans."

Berliner cited audience estimates that suggested a concurrent falloff in listening by Republicans. (The number of people listening to NPR broadcasts and terrestrial radio broadly has declined since the start of the pandemic.)

Former NPR vice president for news and ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin tweeted , "I know Uri. He's not wrong."

Others questioned Berliner's logic. "This probably gets causality somewhat backward," tweeted Semafor Washington editor Jordan Weissmann . "I'd guess that a lot of NPR listeners who voted for [Mitt] Romney have changed how they identify politically."

Similarly, Nieman Lab founder Joshua Benton suggested the rise of Trump alienated many NPR-appreciating Republicans from the GOP.

In recent years, NPR has greatly enhanced the percentage of people of color in its workforce and its executive ranks. Four out of 10 staffers are people of color; nearly half of NPR's leadership team identifies as Black, Asian or Latino.

"The philosophy is: Do you want to serve all of America and make sure it sounds like all of America, or not?" Lansing, who stepped down last month, says in response to Berliner's piece. "I'd welcome the argument against that."

"On radio, we were really lagging in our representation of an audience that makes us look like what America looks like today," Lansing says. The U.S. looks and sounds a lot different than it did in 1971, when NPR's first show was broadcast, Lansing says.

A network spokesperson says new NPR CEO Katherine Maher supports Chapin and her response to Berliner's critique.

The spokesperson says that Maher "believes that it's a healthy thing for a public service newsroom to engage in rigorous consideration of the needs of our audiences, including where we serve our mission well and where we can serve it better."

Disclosure: This story was reported and written by NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik and edited by Deputy Business Editor Emily Kopp and Managing Editor Gerry Holmes. Under NPR's protocol for reporting on itself, no NPR corporate official or news executive reviewed this story before it was posted publicly.

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  • How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on June 1, 2023.

Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.

Paraphrasing is an alternative to  quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.

Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .

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Table of contents

How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.

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Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.

Incorrect paraphrasing

You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for  synonyms .

Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).

This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:

  • “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
  • Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
  • Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
  • Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.

Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .

Correct paraphrasing

Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.

Here, we’ve:

  • Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
  • Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
  • Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
  • Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
  • Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order

Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.

Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.

  • Journal article
  • Newspaper article
  • Magazine article

Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.

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The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
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It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:

  • Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
  • Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
  • Quotes reduce the readability of your text

But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:

  • Giving a precise definition
  • Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
  • Providing evidence in support of an argument
  • Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim

A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.

When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .

Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.

When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .

This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.

Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.

To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Critical thinking

 Plagiarism

  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:

  • Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
  • Combining information from multiple sentences into one
  • Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
  • Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning

The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.

Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.

However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .

As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.

Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.

So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?

  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
  • Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
  • Paraphrasing  is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .

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To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

  • Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
  • You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
  • You’re presenting a precise definition
  • You’re looking in depth at a specific claim

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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2023, June 01). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved April 9, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-paraphrase/

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