100 books like The Elements of Style

By William Strunk, E.B. White,

Here are 100 books that The Elements of Style fans have personally recommended if you like The Elements of Style. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Diana Drake Long Author Of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

From my list on creativity, happiness and success in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

Diana's book list on creativity, happiness and success in life

Diana Drake Long Why did Diana love this book?

This is another book that I consider a classic and, for years, has held a place of honor on my bookshelf. I go back to it from time to time. It's like visiting a wise friend who inspires you to be the most self-expressed you can be. Julia is a great guide, and I enjoy the author's writing style, which is easy to read and relate to. As a prolific author of dozens of books, she is intelligent and generous, and she encourages readers to go deeper and wider in their creative lives. She leads the reader through a twelve-week program in the book to unleash one's creative genius.

Her signature "field work" for readers is an exercise called "morning pages," a practice of writing down your unedited thoughts each morning to clear out the old thoughts and make space for new perspectives and ideas to come forth. I have…

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…


Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

James Phelps Author Of Australia's Most Infamous Jail: Inside the walls of Pentridge Prison

From my list on getting any writer started in the industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about this book list because it helped me get where I am today, a multiple-times bestselling author and an award-winning senior reporter. I began working as an overnight police round reporter before moving into sports, where I became one of Australia's best news-breaking rugby league journalists. I was then appointed News Corp Australia's Chief National Motorsports Writer and traveled the world chasing Formula 1 story, as well as covering Australia's V8 Supercar races. Everyone has to start somewhere, and for me, this list of books helped me begin and continue to grow to reach the level of success that I have.

James' book list on getting any writer started in the industry

James Phelps Why did James love this book?

It’s 2005, and it’s my first day at The Daily Telegraph. I still couldn’t believe they had hired me as a cadet journalist. The smile I was wearing–from ear to ear–suddenly vanished when the Chief of Staff walked over and said, ‘Phelpsy, a bus has just crashed in Egypt. We have been told that there may have been some Australian tourists on board. Punch out 500 words and give it to me in an hour.’ 

I turned to my computer screen, looked down at my keyboard, and suddenly realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never had any writing training, and my experience was limited to the gibber I had been submitting to the paper (for free) for the past year in the hope of landing a job. After ten minutes of writing a word or two, deleting them, and then doing it again, I…

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked On Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King

ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP 100 NONFICTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the…


Book cover of The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Larry A. Brown Author Of How Films Tell Stories: The Narratology of Cinema

From my list on the art of filmmaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

One reason I became a professor of humanities, teaching subjects like film, theater, and literature, was to share my enthusiasm for the great works of imagination which have inspired people for centuries. Stories shape our lives and pass on our most important values and beliefs to future generations. In my academic career, I have directed plays and have written two novels, but teaching film has been my major passion for the last several years. 

Larry's book list on the art of filmmaking

Larry A. Brown Why did Larry love this book?

This popular text on screenwriting relates films to narrative ideas found in ancient myths around the world.

Vogler does an excellent job in demonstrating how films often use elements of plot and character that have proven to be universal characteristics of stories for centuries. He applies these concepts not only to fantasy films but standard Hollywood dramas such as Titanic

By Christopher Vogler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Writer's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally an influential memo Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives regarding The Lion King, The Writer’s Journey details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired method that has galvanized Hollywood’s treatment of cinematic storytelling. A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler’s comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with universal acclaim, and is detailed herein using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies. This book has changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years, and continues to do so.


Book cover of Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

This book coined the maxim far and away the most quoted in Hollywood to this day: “Nobody knows anything.” I first read it the year before I broke in. My copy is heavily annotated with yellow highlighter and red pen; a black paperclip still marks the second of Goldman’s two capitalized maxims, “Screenplays are structure.” The value of this book to anyone wanting to understand – or survive in – Hollywood is that, ironically, Goldman, one of the most successful screenwriters and novelists in Hollywood history, knew almost everything, not only about screenwriting, but also the psychology, cautious care, and perilous feeding of actors, directors, executives, and the rest of the Hollywood zoo. It’s both a textbook and survival guide, illustrated with a veteran’s vivid stories about life behind the tinsel.

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Adventures in the Screen Trade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available as an ebook for the first time!

No one knows the writer's Hollywood more intimately than William Goldman. Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the bestselling author of Marathon Man, Tinsel, Boys and Girls Together, and other novels, Goldman now takes you into Hollywood's inner sanctums...on and behind the scenes for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and other films...into the plush offices of Hollywood producers...into the working lives of acting greats such as Redford, Olivier, Newman, and Hoffman...and into his own professional experiences and creative thought processes in the crafting of screenplays. You get…


Book cover of Exhalation

Robin Reames Author Of The Ancient Art of Thinking For Yourself: The Power of Rhetoric in Polarized Times

From my list on transforming how you think about language.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of language to propel everything we think—from our values and beliefs, to political views, to what we take for absolute truth. Once I learned there’s a whole field devoted to studying language called “rhetoric”—the field in which I’m now an expert—there was no turning back. Rhetoric has been around for more than 2,000 years, and since its inception, it has taught people to step back from language and appraise it with a more critical eye to identify how it works, why it’s persuasive, and what makes people prone to believe it. By studying rhetoric, we become less easily swayed and more comfortable with disagreement. 

Robin's book list on transforming how you think about language

Robin Reames Why did Robin love this book?

I love Ted Chiang’s short stories. Chiang’s background is in computer science, and he’s drawn to questions concerning the relationship between language, technology, cognition, and the physical universe. 

His stories are fascinating thought experiments: They depict how a change in the medium or format of language transforms meaning and opens new possibilities for what language can be and do, what humans can think and know, and what it means to be a thinking, speaking human against the backdrop of a vast, infinitely complex universe. His stories are often backed by years of detailed research.

When I read Chiang, I find myself entangled in a strong emotional bond with his characters even as I ruminate on larger questions about what it means to be a language-using human. 

By Ted Chiang,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Exhalation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Lean, relentless, and incandescent.' Colson Whitehead, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys

This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate,' a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary 'Exhalation,' an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. And in 'The Lifecycle of Software Objects,' a woman cares for…


Book cover of Astrobiology: The Search for Life Elsewhere in the Universe

Mike X Cohen Author Of Linear Algebra: Theory, Intuition, Code

From my list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor of neuroscience at the Donders Institute in the Netherlands. My research lab focuses on discovering how the brain uses electrical signaling to compute information, and transfer information across different regions of the brain. I also have a few decades of experience teaching scientific coding, data analysis, statistics, and related topics, and have authored several online courses and textbooks. I have a suspiciously dry sense of humor and insufficient patience to read five books on the same topic.

Mike's book list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic

Mike X Cohen Why did Mike love this book?

“Are we alone?” An age-old question that we may never answer. Andrew May walks us through the scientific study of whether there might be life elsewhere in the universe, and how we might identify it. And by “scientific study,” I mean actual scientific investigations, not wishy-washy sci-fi fluff. The book is both inspiring and terrifying, because the immense distances in space and time make you realize that intelligent life is both incredibly insignificant and incredibly precious.

By Andrew May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Astrobiology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Extraterrestrial life is a common theme in
science fiction, but is it a serious prospect in the real world? Astrobiology
is the emerging field of science that seeks to answer this question.

The possibility of life elsewhere in the cosmos
is one of the most profound subjects that human beings can ponder. Astrophysicist
Andrew May gives an expert overview of our current state of knowledge, looking
at how life started on Earth, the tell-tale 'signatures' it produces, and how
such signatures might be detected elsewhere in the Solar System or on the many 'exoplanets'
now being discovered by the Kepler…


Book cover of Sand: The Never-Ending Story

Mike X Cohen Author Of Linear Algebra: Theory, Intuition, Code

From my list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor of neuroscience at the Donders Institute in the Netherlands. My research lab focuses on discovering how the brain uses electrical signaling to compute information, and transfer information across different regions of the brain. I also have a few decades of experience teaching scientific coding, data analysis, statistics, and related topics, and have authored several online courses and textbooks. I have a suspiciously dry sense of humor and insufficient patience to read five books on the same topic.

Mike's book list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic

Mike X Cohen Why did Mike love this book?

Sand (yes, that grainy stuff at the beach that never fully gets out of your shoes) is a ubiquitous feature of dream-vacations, and yet is a really obscure topic to study. Michael Welland managed to present a fascinating and thought-provoking story of where sand comes from and where it goes. But this book isn’t only about sand; it is about the unimaginable timescales of geology and how a countless number of tiny grains can fill nearly 400,000 miles of beaches, not to mention deserts, ocean floors, and volcanos. Welland’s writing style is poetic and flowing, and overall a joy to read.

By Michael Welland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From individual grains to desert dunes, from the bottom of the sea to the landscapes of Mars, and from billions of years in the past to the future, this is the extraordinary story of one of nature's humblest, most powerful, and most ubiquitous materials. Told by a geologist with a novelist's sense of language and narrative, "Sand" examines the science - sand forensics, the physics of granular materials, sedimentology, paleontology and archaeology, planetary exploration - and at the same time explores the rich human context of sand.Interwoven with tales of artists, mathematicians, explorers, and even a vampire, the story of…


Book cover of Themes and Conclusions

Mike X Cohen Author Of Linear Algebra: Theory, Intuition, Code

From my list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor of neuroscience at the Donders Institute in the Netherlands. My research lab focuses on discovering how the brain uses electrical signaling to compute information, and transfer information across different regions of the brain. I also have a few decades of experience teaching scientific coding, data analysis, statistics, and related topics, and have authored several online courses and textbooks. I have a suspiciously dry sense of humor and insufficient patience to read five books on the same topic.

Mike's book list on for people who can’t read five books on the same topic

Mike X Cohen Why did Mike love this book?

Igor Stravinsky was one of the most influential and innovative music composers of the 20th century. He was also remarkably intelligent, humorous, and insightful. This book is a collection of interviews, letters, and notes made by and about Stravinsky. Some of these writings would interest only classical music enthusiasts, but much of the book comprises witty observations of human nature, art, and what it really means to praise or critique someone.

By Igor Stravinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Themes and Conclusions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The conversations between Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft are unique in musical history.' Sunday Times

Dialogues is the final volume in the legendary series of Stravinsky's conversations with Robert Craft.
In his Foreword, dated March 1971 shortly before his death, Stravinsky wrote of his 'final work of words': 'They are hardly the last words about myself or my music that I would like to have written, and in fact they say almost nothing about the latter, except tangentially, in comments on Beethoven. It is almost five years now since I have completed an original composition, a time during which I…


Book cover of The Immense Journey

Teri Dunn Chace Author Of Seeing Flowers: Discover the Hidden Life of Flowers

From my list on flowers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hiking in the flower-covered hillsides of Central California as a nature-loving kid, I couldn’t help but wonder about my companions. One of my first purchases (with babysitting money!) was a wildflower guide. I’ve moved around the country many times and every time I’ve had to start over, make new plant acquaintances and discoveries—always an orienting process. Of course, I’ve also studied plants formally, in college and in my career, and (honestly, best of all) via mentors and independent study. All this has shown me that flowers are more than just beautiful! They’re amazingly diverse, and full of fascinating behaviors and quirks. In fact, they are essential parts of the complex habitats we share.

Teri's book list on flowers

Teri Dunn Chace Why did Teri love this book?

This book is a revelation! The author (1907-1977) was a scientist (a naturalist, anthropologist, and paleontologist), and, boy, could he write. The title refers to the arc of time on this planet. There are chapters that describe and ponder fossils, evolution, so-called missing links, “the great deeps,” and so forth in the most captivating, poetic language. But the chapter to read is “How Flowers Changed the World.” I consider it the most important and insightful essay ever written on the dramatic arrival of angiosperms (flowering plants)—because he takes into account all context, and because he marvels. As we should.

By Loren Eiseley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Immense Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anthropologist and naturalist Loren Eiseley blends scientific knowledge and imaginative vision in this story of man.


Book cover of Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting

Graham Rawle Author Of Woman's World: A Novel

From my list on storytelling and what makes great stories great.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an artist, designer, writer. I usually work in collage. I enjoy how the constraints of collage generate more inventive thinking, forcing me to come up with unexpected solutions. I also like how the found material retains traces of its original context. I’ve always been interested in the interplay between words and images – for 15 years I did the weekly Lost Consonants series in the Weekend Guardian – and that gradually led me to writing fiction. All my books have visual or structural elements designed to bring an additional narrative dimension to the story. Over the years, I’ve become fascinated by what makes great stories great. Hence this list.

Graham's book list on storytelling and what makes great stories great

Graham Rawle Why did Graham love this book?

Syd Field is revered as the original master of screenplay story structure, and this guide continues to be the industry's gold standard for learning the foundations of screenwriting. Even if you’re not writing a screenplay, read this book.

I have learned over the years that the principles of three-act structure can be recognised in, or applied to, almost every form of storytelling, whether you are making a film; telling a joke; designing a firework display; writing a novel, a play, a song; performing a magic act or making a speech. No one explains 3-act structure more clearly than Syd Field. He doesn’t offer it as a failsafe formula, but I have found his paradigm invaluable as both a writer and a teacher, especially for identifying narrative flaws in a story that is not working. (Usually mine).

By Syd Field,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Screenplay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hollywood's script guru teaches you how to write a screenplay in "the 'bible' of screenwriting" (The New York Times)—now celebrating forty years of screenwriting success!

Syd Field's books on the essential structure of emotionally satisfying screenplays have ignited lucrative careers in film and television since 1979. In this revised edition of his premiere guide, the underpinnings of successful onscreen narratives are revealed in clear and encouraging language that will remain wise and practical as long as audiences watch stories unfold visually—from hand-held devices to IMAX to virtual reality . . . and whatever comes next.

As the first person to…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the English language, rhetoric, and writing?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the English language, rhetoric, and writing.

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