XIV
PREFACE
information. Yo u profi t no t a t all b y becomin g emotional ; bu t i f yo u
can us e the criticis m t o improve your wor k the n yo u hav e trumped th e
critic.
This boo k i s a rathe r persona l tract , containin g persona l recom -
mendations tha t reflec t m y ow n tastes . I hav e reaso n t o believ e tha t
many other s shar e thes e tastes , bu t no t al l do . Ther e certainl y ar e
treatments o f th e ar t o f mathematica l writin g tha t ar e mor e scholarl y
than thi s one— I not e particularl y th e boo k [Hig ] o f Higham . H e ha s
careful discussion s o f ho w t o selec t a dictionar y o r a thesaurus , care -
ful cataloging s o f Britis h usag e versu s America n usage , a histor y o f
mathematical notation , cleve r exercise s fo r developin g skil l wit h En -
glish syntax , tutorial s o n revision , an d s o forth . Higham' s boo k i s a
real labo r o f love , an d I recommen d i t highly . Bu t ther e i s n o sens e
for m e t o duplicat e Higham' s efforts . Her e I wil l discus s ho w t o write ,
why to write, an d whe n to write. However , thi s i s not a scholarly tract ,
and i t i s no t a text . Th e boo k i s intended, rather , t o b e som e friendl y
advice fro m a colleague . I f an Assistan t Professo r o r Instructo r wer e t o
come t o m y offic e an d as k fo r suggestion s abou t writing , the n I migh t
reply "Let' s g o to lunc h an d tal k abou t it. " Thi s boo k comprise s wha t
I woul d sa y ove r th e cours e o f several suc h meetings .
In thi s boo k I shal l no t giv e a n exhaustiv e treatmen t o f grammar ,
nor o f any particular aspect o f writing . Whe n I d o g o int o som e con -
siderable detail , i t i s usuall y o n a topi c no t give n extensiv e coverag e
elsewhere. Example s o f suc h topic s ar e (i ) Ho w t o organiz e a paper ,
(ii) Ho w t o organiz e a book , (iii ) Ho w t o writ e a lette r o f recommen -
dation i n a tenur e case , (iv ) Ho w to writ e a referee' s report , (v ) Ho w
to writ e a boo k review , (vi ) Ho w to writ e a talk , (vii ) Ho w to writ e a
grant proposal , (viii ) Ho w to writ e you r Vita .
I hav e adopte d th e practic e o f labeling incorrect example s o f gram -
mar an d usag e wit h th e symbo l * . I d o thi s s o tha t example s o f wha t
is wrong wil l no t b e mistake n fo r example s o f wha t i s right .
I hav e benefite d enormousl y fro m man y friend s an d colleague s wh o
were kind enough to read various drafts o f the manuscript fo r this book .
Their comment s wer e insightful , an d i n man y case s essential . I n som e
instances the y save d m e from myself . I woul d lik e particularl y t o men -
tion Lyn n S . Apfel , Sheldo n Axler , Do n Babbitt , Harol d Boas , Rober t
Burckel, Jo e Christy , Joh n P . D'Angelo , Joh n Ewing , Geral d B . Fol -
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