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Student Edition
Instructor Edition
Effective Technical Communication


ISBN: 0070599521
Copyright year: 2005


Communication is as fundamental to our social living as eating is to our biological existence. Naturally, even without any special training everyone develops proficiency in it. Why then do we need books on communication? For the same reason we need books that advise us on eating. If we ignore expert advice and let our instincts prevail, we may develop faulty eating habits and ruin our health. The rich and the poor are equally at risk although in vastly different ways. Something similar may happen with our communication. We may be able to articulate words but not communicate well. We may hear or read and recognize words, but not comprehend well. If we don’t master communication skills, we may ruin our social and professional relationships.

There was a time, not long ago, when soft skills including communication were thought of as poor cousins of the hard skills. While investing considerable time and resources to acquire the hard skills, bright students ignored the soft skills. Once you mastered the hard skills, they thought, the lowly soft skills would follow without any special effort. Teachers and parents often endorsed this lop-sided view of social and technical skills.

In the globalized world ‘techies’ are discovering the harsh reality that technical skills without soft ones make them knowledge workers, not managers or leaders. Hard skills are perishable and machine-replaceable. Those who cannot communicate well lose out; they get much less credit for their achievements than they deserve.

It is in this context that Dr Ashraf Rizvi’s book Effective Technical Communication has to be viewed. It is not so much a narrow textbook on technical communication as a comprehensive guide to communication designed for professionals and technical persons. Dr Rizvi takes the reader through the whole spectrum of communication. He takes into account the needs of students and practicing professionals. He meshes sound theory with pragmatic advice. He treats discrete skills such as sentence construction with as much felicity and clarity as integrated communication skills such as writing technical articles and proposals.

As a large part of technical and professional communication the world over is through the medium of the English language, Dr Rizvi also pays attention to it. He has three very useful appendices on functional grammar, common errors, and vocabulary building.

Effective Technical Communication is undoubtedly a student-friendly book. In order to help the learner cope with the wide range of concepts and skills that he covers, Dr Rizvi has thoughtfully inserted learning aids such as Review Tips, Checklists, and Progress Checks.

I warmly recommend Effective Technical Communication to students and professionals of all shades everywhere.

MM Monippally
Professor, Communications
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

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