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Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog) RSS feed


compiled by Joan Detz and Pat McNees
(originally posted by Washington Speechwriters Roundtable)

Let us know of resources you found helpful that aren't listed here.

General anthologies of quotations

Guides to pronunciation

Special-occasion resources 

Business and corporate life

Politics and government
Religious and inspirational quotations

Humor and irreverence

Proverbs, aphorisms, and regional quotation

Great speeches collections

How to give a speech


The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, ed. Rosalie Maggio.
The Speaker’s Sourcebook: Quotes, Stories, and Anecdotes for Every Occasion, ed. Glenn Van Ekeren
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature, ed. by John Bartlett
The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes
Simpson's Contemporary Quotations: Most Notable Quotes From 1950 to the Present (ed. by James S. Simpson) boo
Webster’s New World Dictionary of Quotable Definitions, ed. Eugene E. Brussell.
New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources, ed. H.L. Mencken.
Random House Webster’s Quotationary, ed. Leonard Roy Frank.
The International Thesaurus of Quotations, ed. Rhoda Thomas
Statistically Speaking, ed. C.C. Gaither and A.E. Cavozov-Gaither.
Speaker’s Treasury of Sports Anecdotes, Stories, and Humor, ed. Gerald Tomlinson.
The Military Quotation Book, ed. James Charlton (no index).


NBC Handbook of Pronunciation by Eugene Ehrlich and Raymond Hand, Jr.
Is There a Cow in Moscow? by Charles Harrington Elster
There is no zoo in zoology: And other beastly mispronounciations : an opinionated guide for the well-spoken by Charles H. Elster <!--more-->
The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations by Charles H. Elster


Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time, ed. Cyrus M. Copeland
Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces by Paul Dickson
Irish Blessings, Toasts & Curses, ed. Padraic O’Farrell
The Book of Ages ed. Desmond Morris
The Oxford Book of Ages chosen by Allan and Sally Sampson (clever quotes for special birthdays.
The Wisdom of Christmas, ed. Criswell Freeman (quotations and verses)
Witty Words: A Hilarious Collection of Outrageous Quotations for Every Day of the Year, ed. Eileen Mason
Timelines of Everything (Smithsonian) An illustrated history of the world through timelines for kids
Dying: A Book of Comfort, ed. Pat McNees (or buy the book directly from Pat and get an autographed version)
Can You Say a Few Words? by Joan Detz (How to Prepare and Deliver a Speech for Any Special Occasion--that is, how to make award presentations, dedications, eulogies, etc.)


Quotable Business: Over 2,800 Funny, Irreverent, and Insightful Quotations About Corporate Life, ed. Louis E. Boone.
The Manager’s Book of Quotations, ed. Lewis Eigen and Jonathan Siegel.
Gene Perret's Funny Business: Speaker's Treasury of Business Humor for All Occasions


The Bully Pulpit: Quotations from America's Presidents ed. Elizabeth Frost
Congressional Anecdotes by Paul Boller, Jr. (Oxford)
Speaker’s Treasury of Political Stories, Anecdotes, & Humor , ed. Gerald Tomlinson.
Power Quotes, ed. Daniel B. Baker.
The Wit & Wisdom of Politics, ed. Charles Henning.
Presidential Wit and Wisdom ed. by Charlotte Lee Gross


Treasury of Religious Quotations, ed. Gerald Tomlinson
Speakers Sourcebook ed. Eleanor Doan.
Pocket Positive--Faith & Belief, ed. John Cook.
C. S. Lewis' Little Book of Wisdom: Meditations on Faith, Life, Love, and Literature, ed. by Andrea Kirk Assaf and Kelly Anne Leahy
12,000 Inspirational Quotations, ed. Frank S. Mead.
The Routledge Dictionary of Religious and Spiritual Quotations, ed. Geoffrey Parringer
Book of Positive Quotations, ed. John Cook


The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations ed. Fred Metcalf
The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, ed Ned Sherrin.
Cassell's Humorous Quotations, ed. Nigel Rees.
The Complete Book of Zingers, ed. Croft M. Pentz
Dictionary of Outrageous Quotations, ed. C.R.S. Marsden.


The Viking Book of Aphorisms, ed. W.H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger.
The Oxford Book of Aphorisms, ed. John Gross
The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs, ed. Rosalind Fergusson


Great Speeches of the Twentieth Century, collected by George Skene (four audio CDs or audiocassettes)
Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History, ed. by William Safire
The World's Great Speeches, ed. Lewis Copeland, Lawrence Lamm, and Stephen McKenna
Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time, ed. Cyrus M. Copeland


How to Write and Give a Speech: A Practical Guide for Anyone Who Has to Make Every Word Count. by Joan Detz. A how-to classic.
I Can See You Naked: A Fearless Guide to Making Great Presentations by Ron Hoff (Andrews & McMeel)
Is There a Speech Inside You? by Don Aslett. Practical tips, lighthearted style.
The Power of Eloquence by Thomas Montalbo (Prentice-Hall). What makes a speech like “I Have a Dream” eloquent.
The Smile Connection: How to Use Humor in Dealing with People, by Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern.

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Things I wish I'd known before age 70

That your feet grow longer because the fat on the soles disappears.
That your body grows shorter, as the bones in your spine get thinner.
That older people call other people "darling" because they can't remember their names.
That remembering may be harder, but in many ways you're a lot smarter.
That your ears keep growing. ("My mom in her old age complained she looked like Lyndon Johnson.")
That you need more  Read More 
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Artificial intelligence (AI)--what the heck is it? What problems does it bring?

Updated 12-5-19.

Admitting to myself that I had no idea what AI is was the first step. This is what I learned (from humans and AI):
What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence (Nick Heaht, ZDNet, 2-2-18) An executive guide to artificial intelligence, from machine learning and general AI to neural networks. Here are some examples:
Artificial Intelligence Is Primed to Disrupt Health Care Industry (Ben Hernandez, ETF Trends, 7-12-15) Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the prime technologies leading the wave of disruption that is going on within the health care sector. Recent studies have shown that AI technology can outperform doctors when it comes to cancer screenings and disease diagnoses. In particular, this could mean specialists such as radiologists and pathologists could be replaced by AI technology. Whether society is ready for it or not, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, or any other type of disruptive technology will be the next wave of innovation.
Artificial You: AI and the Future of Your Mind by Susan Schneider. Can robots really be conscious? Is the mind just a program? "Schneider offers sophisticated insights on what is perhaps the number one long-term challenge confronting humanity."―Martin Rees
Beyond the Hype of Machine Learning (Free download, GovLoop ebook, 15-minute read) Read about machine learning's impact in the public sector, the 'how' and 'why' of artificial intelligence (AI), and how the Energy Department covers the spectrum of AI usage.
What will our society look like when Artificial Intelligence is everywhere? (Stephan Talty, Smithsonan, April 2018) Will robots become self-aware? Will they have rights? Will they be in charge? Here are five scenarios from our future dominated by AI.
Amazon Is Latest Tech Giant to Face Staff Backlash Over Government Work (Jamie Condliffe, NY times, 6-22-18) Tech "firms have built artificial intelligence and cloud computing systems that governments find attractive. But as these companies take on lucrative contracts to furnish state and federal agencies with these technologies, they’re facing increasing pushback  Read More 

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Code of Ethics of the Association of Personal Historians

The Association of Personal Historians declared bankruptcy in 2017, but its code of ethics is still useful. Personal historians still need to uphold professional standards that protect the integrity of the profession and safeguard the interests of individual clients and narrators. The Code of Ethics states the core values of those of us helping others tell their personal stories (whether as memoirs, autobiographies, family histories, video tributes, and so on). Those values are to
• Conduct business according to impeccable standards of fairness and integrity.
• Represent honestly their qualifications, background,  Read More 
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The Risk of Telling the Truth

by Pat McNees
Ken Ackerman ( led a discussion of the Washington Biography Group (4-30-12) that was interesting enough for me to resurrect, update, and rearrange items in my original e-letter. Ken began by identifying several elements of risk in writing biographies:
• The risk of lawsuits, especially if what you write is not true  Read More 
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After 17 years: Payment in the freelance writers' class action suit

$9 Million Is Paid to Freelance Writers in 17-Year-Old Copyright Suit (Authors Guild, 4-30-18) The class-action suit grew out of an earlier action brought by Jonathan Tasini and several other writers, which led to the Supreme Court ruling in the freelancers’ favor.
• If you have moved since filing your claim, there is a link to provide the administrator with your current address, but you will need your claim number:

It Took 17 Years: Freelancers Receive $9 Million in Copyright Suit (Jacklyn Peiser, NY Times, 4-30-18) "Seventeen years after nearly 3,000 freelance journalists filed a class-action lawsuit claiming copyright infringement by some of the country’s biggest publishers, the checks are finally in the mail....The Authors Guild filed the suit — along with the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Writers Union and 21 freelance writers named as class representatives — in 2001 after publishers licensed articles by freelancers to the electronic database Lexis/Nexis and other digital indexers without getting the writers’ approval. The publishers include  Read More 
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The Daphne Project: 45 journalists will continue the slain Maltese journalist's work

The Silencing of Daphne (Stephen Grey, Reuters Investigates, 4-17-18. Valletta, Malta) Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated by a car bomb. This is the inside story of a murder that tarnishes Europe. That bombing last October did more than kill Daphne, as she was universally known on the island. It ripped open the dark side of Malta. The brazen assassination and the lawlessness it implies appalled not only Daphne’s friends and family, but also political leaders across Western Europe.
The Daphne Project: 'Her voice will not be silenced' (Will Fitzgibbon, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 4-17-18) A team of 45 journalists from 15 countries will continue the work of Malta reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia. Forbidden Stories plans  Read More 
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A short history of the Association of Personal Historians

by Pat McNees (revised)
For twenty years, members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH, which folded in May of 2017) met at a popular annual conference, where people originally from many other fields met to talk about a new type of business: helping others tell their life stories. Here below is a brief history of the organization for those who may be curious about it; former members of the organization are invited to join the conversation through the Comments section. The term “personal historians” never became a household word, but personal histories (usually by other names) are still being produced and local groups of personal historians still meet  Read More 
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What's not to like about The Republican Tax Bill

I asked Wise Elder what he thought of Your financial shock wealth: Understanding money, inequality, and why the tax bill is important by Yonatan Zunger. He replied:

Overall it makes sense.* The tax bill is indeed a naked power grab by the wealthy and powerful to become even more wealthy and powerful, even though they tell us (and themselves) they are doing it for our own good. I was surprised that he didn't say anything thing about the role of unions in the reduction of inequality between 1945 and 1970; the unchallenged economic power of the US at a time when Europe and Japan were prostrate  Read More 
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Where to Celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 24-30) 2017!

Happy Banned Books Week! The annual celebration of the freedom to read is running all this week, and the Banned Books Week Coalition invites you to participate by getting involved in the incredible activities (see below) brought to you by our sponsor organizations! From theatrical performances, bookstore parties, and online advocacy, there’s lots of ways you can help  Read More 
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