Zen and the Art of Business Communication


Book Title:   Zen and the Art of Business Communication: A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Your Business Writing Skills
Author: Susan L. Luck, PhD
Publisher: Business Expert Press
List Price: $34.95
Format: Paperback, 202 pages
Publication Date: 2016      
ISBN: 978-1-60649-956-6
Reviewer: Susan E. Slawson, PhD, PMP, CSM
Review Date: July 2017



In this digital age quite often your first communication with others, if not all your communication, is written: email, texts, blogs, social media posts, etc. Knowing how to write effectively is crucial, especially if you want to get ahead in the business world. One of the most important ideas to understand is that communication isn’t about you, the sender – it is about the receiver of the message. This becomes clear in Dr. Susan L. Luck’s book Zen and the Art of Business Communication: A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Your Business Writing Skills.

If absorbed and practiced the book offers guidance that will lead you to become a better communicator. Simple, straightforward instructions are shared that lead to concise and easy to understand communications that will showcase your professionalism. As the author explains: “…this book intends to … provide you with the concept. Your job is to explore the details, apply them, and practice them.”

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is broken up into an introductory chapter and 14 subsequent chapters. Each of the 14 chapters is dedicated to a specific topic. A closing chapter is not included.

The fourteen chapters cover a variety of topics including: focusing your message, knowing and targeting your audience, providing clarity and concrete messages, and identifying the goals of your communication. Additional chapters discuss the fear of writing, the importance of flow and getting the details right.

Important concepts are highlighted in text boxes and let you know to slow down and concentrate on the information. This makes it easier to revisit the main concepts of each chapter without re-reading the entire chapter.


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About the Reviewer

Susan E. Slawson, PhD

Carrollton, TX, USA


Susan E. Slawson
, PhD, PMP, CSM, is an IT project manager who delivers efficient and straightforward project solutions while developing and mentoring others. She is experienced at leading full life cycle software implementations and demonstrates pride and ownership in all of her deliverables. While being self-sufficient and operating under aggressive deadlines, she can manage multiple projects, priorities and budgets. Susan considers herself to be bilingual in the business world – she can speak equally well to business owners and technology resources.

Susan received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and promptly entered the workforce in management consulting. She has a varied background, including starting her own company and working for multiple industries such as professional services, healthcare, telecom, energy, financial services and retail. She is currently looking for her next opportunity while volunteering with the DFW Alliance of Technology and Women (ATW) and the Southlake Focus Group. She is a member of both the Dallas and Fort Worth PMI chapters as well as the club secretary for the Executive Toastmasters.

Susan Slawson can be contacted at [email protected]


Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

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