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October 1973

Medical Writing, The Technic and the Art, ed 4.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(4):628. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650100136044

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Various people, including writers, feel that no books on medical writing fulfill their purpose because one cannot "teach" individuals how to write. I share that view only partially. While I believe that one cannot really teach another to write, writing can be learned, by a devoted student. Books on writing do help—at least they teach what not to do. And that is helpful indeed.

Out of his rich background of experience, Fishbein does give useful caveats to the would-be medical writer. Even if the value of the book were to be limited to the negative examples-such as a catalogue of horrors that one should not emulate—it would be wholesome. Fishbein's long experience with manuscripts enabled him to collect a superb variety.

But the book contains more than that. It has a variety of information that is useful, including material on the preparation of a manuscript and its revision, preparation of

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