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June 1979

Why Not Say It Clearly: A Guide to Scientific Writing

Author Affiliations

Brookline, Mass

Arch Surg. 1979;114(6):756. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370300110029

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When I received this book, my first reaction was a query: Should the title have a question mark? When I noted the author's name, I concluded that the title must be correct. Long respected as an editor, author, medical historian, and philosopher, Dr Lester King has written a book that reflects his many capabilities. Why Not Say It Clearly contains practical points for any writer, novice to professional. Fortunately, this is more than a "how to" book, whose shortcoming would have been emphasis on technique at the expense of perspective.

As Dr King observes, the problem in medical publication is not simply the lack of clarity, but the dearth of value. A helpful friend or a good editor can salvage a poor paper if it has an original idea or important data. That the content of so many journals comes from papers given at meetings ensures a flood of material

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