Review: Sides’ Fourth Edition on Writing and Presenting Technical Information

How does Charles Sides update his How to Write and Present Technical Information book to bring it to its fourth edition? He starts with the idea that technology is now a dominant force in professional communications and the audience should learn to maximize the impact of technology to create effective information products.

With this update, How to Write and Present Technical Information becomes a valuable textbook or reference for today’s audiences, covering newer tools such as social media, Skype, and webinars while still covering the basics and older tools still in use today, including topics such as the Flesch Readability Scale and Gunning Fog Index (pages 189 to 191).

With Sides working as a professor of communication and director of internships for the Department of Communications Media at Fitchburg State University, he has a good idea of what should go into this book to continue to make it a valuable asset for today. Sides is also a consultant, editor of the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and editor of the Baywood Series in Technical Communication, giving him a valuable perspective on what information is of value to the audience.

Sides covers both text and spoken presentations and how effective communication can have a positive impact on project management in professional environments.

Scientists and engineers could benefit from How to Write and Present Technical Information as it covers the basics of gathering information, keeping the focus on what the audience needs, editing, and making presentations. Information on how to write public relations, marketing, and advertising materials also appears and is of value to the audience if they need to prepare such information. Communicators and students could also benefit from the overview.

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans
Note to readers: A version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication.
How to Write and Present Technical Information, 4th Edition
Charles Sides (2017). Greenwood. 243 pages. ISBN: 978140855054. USD$61.00 (hardcover).
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