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In 1799 when Napoleon was bearing down on Egypt a stone slab was discovered that came to be called the Rosetta Stone. It bore text in three forms, including Egyptian hieroglyphics which hadn’t been understood since before the fall of the Roman Empire. The written wisdom of the ancient world had been lost for centuries, but the stone made it decipherable.

We want to be the modern-day equivalent of the Rosetta Stone (a peculiar aspiration perhaps for people instead of rocks). Only instead of making ancient script comprehensible in the modern age, we want to unlock the mysteries of the kind of writing done by people trained in academese for the rest of the world.

Toward that end, in collaboration with one of the smartest men we know, Donald F. Kettl, author of 25 books and professor emeritus and former dean of the Maryland School of Public Policy, we’ve written a new book titled “The Little Guide to Writing for Impact” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2024).

The book presents a series of guidelines that will enable readers to successfully frame a policy argument; pitch it to editors; organize the work so that the ideas have real impact; support it with data and stories; find the right publisher; and follow up after publication to ensure that the argument has enduring impact.

It’s aimed for people who want to write everything from short blog posts through op-eds, commentaries and policy briefs, dissertations, articles for both the popular press and academic journals, and books.

Truth in Advertising: The major point of this B&G Report is to persuade you to:

·        Tell others about the book if you think they can make use of it.

·        Buy the book yourself.

·        Use the book in your classes if you’re teaching.

In short, this is the most self-serving B&G Report we’ve ever written. But we’re just vain enough to believe that it can be of genuine use to you, your colleagues, your students, and your friends.

Here are some comments we’ve received about the book:

Donna Shalala, Interim President of The New School, and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commented that the book is “A little book that will have a big impact on policy. Imagine a whole generation who can clearly communicate great ideas!"

Katherine Willoughby, editor-in-chief of Public Administration Review and Golembiewski Professor of Public Administration at the University of Georgia, said that “If you want to author a classic book, have your research published in a premier academic journal, complete an award-winning dissertation, or simply write better, consult The Little Guide to Writing for Impact. This quick read is chock-full of golden nuggets that, if engaged, will boost your influence on people and policy through your writing.”


Chris Morrill, the Executive Director of the Government Finance Officers Association, commented that “With notes of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, Barrett, Greene, and Kettl have gifted us a highly practical guide for communicating in a hyper-distracted world. Even with an array of new digital tools and artificial intelligence, at core communicating involves crafting a clear, concise, and compelling message. Barrett, Greene, and Kettl gives us the tools to do so.”


Finally (actually there are more, but we’re running out of space, Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University wrote that "If you read it carefully and take its lessons to heart, this little book can have a big impact on the quality of your writing. Useful, readable, and above all sensible, it's pitched to scholars and policy wonks who want to reach a broad audience, but it will be helpful to anyone who puts words on paper and wants them to be read, understood, and to matter."


There are two ways for you to purchase this book: Go right to where you’ll find it by clicking here.

Alternatively, for readers of our website, we're providing a 30% discount on the book. To take advantage of this offer, click here and after registering to make a purchase, enter the code: WF130.


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